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Sancho II of Castile and León

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Title: Sancho II of Castile and León  
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Subject: Assassinated Spanish people, 1040 births, 1072 deaths, Castilian monarchs, Murdered monarchs
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Sancho II of Castile and León

Sancho II
Sculpture of Sancho II inside the Alcazar de Segovia, Spain.
King of Castile
Reign 1065–1072
Predecessor Ferdinand I
Successor Alfonso VI
King of León
Reign 1072
Coronation 12 January 1072 (León)
Predecessor Alfonso VI
Successor Alfonso VI
King of Galicia
Reign 1071–1072
Predecessor García II
Successor Alfonso VI
Born c. 1036/1038
Died 6 October 1072 (aged 33–36)
Burial San Salvador de Oña
Consort Alberta
Dynasty Jiménez
Father Ferdinand I of León and Castile
Mother Sancha of León
Religion Roman Catholicism

Sancho II (1036/8 – 7 October 1072), called the Strong (el Fuerte), was King of Castile (1065–72), Galicia (1071–72) and León (1072).

Born at Zamora, Sancho was the eldest son of Ferdinand I of Castile and Sancha of León, the eventual heiress to the Leonese crown.[1] He was married to Alberta, a possible daughter of William I, king of England.[2] He succeeded in Castile while his younger brother Alfonso succeeded in their mother's inheritance of León and Galicia was given to the youngest son García.

In 1068, Sancho defeated his cousins Sancho IV of Navarre and Sancho of Aragon in the War of the Three Sanchos. He reconquered Bureba, Alta Rioja, and Álava, which his father had given to Sancho of Navarre's father, García, in return for aid against Bermudo III of León. In that year, he defeated Alfonso, his brother, at Llantada, but he soon teamed up with him to conquer Galicia. They succeeded (1071) and partitioned it, but Sancho then turned on Alfonso. With the aid of his alférez El Cid, he defeated Alfonso at Golpejera (1072).[3] He then forced him into exile in Toledo and took over León as king, being crowned in the city of León on 12 January 1072.[3]

Some Leonese resistance still persisted, and his sister, Urraca, Lady of Zamora, held that city against his rule. He had surrounded the city and begun a siege, when a Zamoran noble, named Vellido Dolfos, assassinated Sancho on 6 October 1072.[4] Vellido had gained entry to Sancho's camp pretending to be a deserter, and sought a private conference with Sancho to tell him the weakness of the Zamoran defence. Once before Sancho, however, he used the king's own sword to impale him in the back. Fleeing, he was chased back to Zamora by El Cid but escaped into the town through a gateway since called Portillo del Traidor ("gateway of the traitor"). Sancho was succeeded in his kingdoms by the brother he had previously deposed, Alfonso. He was buried in San Salvador de Oña.[5]

Political situation in the Northern Iberian Peninsula around 1065:
  Garcia II´s domains (Galicia)
  Badajoz, owing tribute to Garcia
  Seville, owing tribute to Garcia
  Alfonso VI´s domains (León)
  Toledo, owing tribute to Alfonso
  Sancho II´s domains (Castile)
  Zaragoza, owing tribute to Sancho


  1. ^ Reilly (1988), 3.
  2. ^ Kearney and Medrano, 173-174.
  3. ^ a b Reilly (1995), 41.
  4. ^ Reilly (1988), 4.
  5. ^ Gerli, 792.


  • Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia, ed. E. Michael Gerli, Routledge, 2003.
  • Milo Kearney and Manuel Medrano, Medieval Culture and the Mexican American Borderlands, Texas A&M University Press, 2001.
  • Bernard F. Reilly, 1988. .The Kingdom of León-Castilla under King Alfonso VI, 1065–1109 Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Bernard F. Reilly, The Contest of Christian and Muslim Spain, 1031-1157, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 1995.
Sancho II of Castile and León
Born: circa 1036/38 Died: 7 October 1072
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ferdinand I
King of Castile
Succeeded by
Alfonso VI
Preceded by
Alfonso VI
King of León
Preceded by
García II
King of Galicia and Portugal
(jointly with Alfonso VI)
alone 1072
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