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© David Koeller.  All rights reserved.

Ferdinand I of Castilla proclaims himself "Emperor of Spain," beginning the "Reconquista"


During the establishment of Moorish power, a remnant of Christian rule was preserved in the northern portion of the Iberian peninsula. Pelayo, a Visigothic chieftain, founded the most important Christian state of the northern peninsula, the small kingdom of Asturias, about 718. Pelayo's son-in-law, Alfonso, conquered nearly all the region known as Galicia, recaptured most of Leon, and was then crowned Alfonso I, king of Leon and Asturias. Alfonso III greatly extended these territories during his reign, which ended in 910.

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During the 10th century the region of Navarre became an independent kingdom under Sancho I. As the kings of Leon expanded their domains to the east in the early 10th century, they reached Burgos. Because of the castles built to guard the frontiers of newly acquired territory, this region became popularly known as Castilla, or Castile. Under Count Fernan Gonzalez the region became independent of Leon, and in 932 the Count declared himself the first king of Castile. In the 11th century Sancho III, king of Navarre, who also conquered Leon and Castile, captured a considerable part of Aragon from the Muslims and in 1033 he made his son, Ferdinand I, king of Castile.

This temporary unity came to an end at Sancho's death, when his domains were divided among his sons. The most prominent of Sancho's sons was Ferdinand, who acquired Leon in 1037, took the Moorish section of Galicia, and set up a vassal county in what is now northern Portugal. With northern Spain consolidated, Ferdinand, in 1056, proclaimed himself emperor of Spain (from the Latin Hispania), and he initiated the period of re-conquest from the Muslims.












Edited, Researched and Written by: 
Tipton Carlson
HIST 2010 Spring 2000
March 26, 2000

Text copyright 2000 by ThenAgain. All rights reserved.

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