Sancho III of Navarre

From Academic Kids

Sancho III of Navarre (c. 985October 18 1035; nicknamed "The Great"), was Count of Aragon and King of Navarre from 1000 until his death, as well as overlord of Castile 10291035. In his lifetime, he was the most important Christian monarch of Spain.

Born to García the Tremulous of Pamplona and Jimena Fernández, daughter of the Count of Cea (in the Galician frontier), he ascended the throne in 1004 or 1000, inheriting Navarre, Aragon, as well as Sobrarbe and Ribagorza in 1018. Having gone further than any previous Christian monarchs in uniting the principalities of Spain, his life's work was undone, from a modern point-of-view, when he divided his domains shortly before his death, to provide for each of his sons.

With his nephew, king Alfonso V of Leon and Count García Sánchez of Castile, he led a combined attack against Almanzor, conquering further territories in the south.

Relation between the three Christian entities soured after the assassination of Count García in 1027. In the ensuing hostilities Sancho occupied first Castile and later on, Leon. This was the height of his rule which extended from the borders of Galicia in the west to the county of Barcelona in the east and he styled himself Rex Hispaniarum, "King of the Spains".

He took residence in Najera instead of the traditional capital of Pamplona, as his realm was extended. He considered himself a European monarch, extending relations over the Pyrenees, with the Duchy of Gascony.

His reign coincided with a crisis in the world of the Caliphate, initiated by the death of Almanzor and leading to fragmented principalities, so-called Taifa. Sancho aspired to unify the Christian principalities.

He profited from the internal difficulties of Sobrarbe-Ribagorza utilizing his interests and rights as descendant of Dadildis of Le Pailhars and annexed the county in 10161019.

He was engaged to regency of his brother-in-law count Garcia of Castile. Alfonso V of Leon approved the situation against taking lands between river Cea and Pisuerga. Sancho III opposed the Leonese expansion and the matrimonial pact between Garcia of Castile and Sancha of Leon. Garcia was assassinated when he arrived in Leon to wed.

Due to his own marriage Sancho took the the destiny of Castile in his own hands, and settled it to his eldest legitimate son Ferdinand, heir of his wife Munia of Castile.

Sancho conquered Astorga and even León itself in (1034. He took the title of Emperor.


  • Ramiro Sánchez de Aragón, bastard, born of Sancha de Aibar
  • Fernando I "The Great" (1017-1065), king of Castile (1035-1065) and León (1037-1065)
  • García Sánchez "El de Nájera", king in Pamplona
  • Gonzalo Sánchez, king of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza, died 1038.
  • Bernardo Sánchez de Navarra.

Sancho was married to Muña Mayor Sánchez, daughter of count Sancho I of Castile. Besides four legitimate sons he also fathered one by his mistress Sancha de Aybar, named Ramiro who was the eldest of his sons but as bastard not entitled to succeed. Before his death in 1035 Sancho divided his possessions among his sons. Fernando received Castile and the high kingship, García received Navarre and the Basque country and Gonzalo got Sobrarbe and Ribagorza. The illegitimate son Ramiro obtained the county of Aragon, which was elevated to a kingdom, though was very small at that era, "petty king".

Preceded by:
Garcia IV
Count of Aragon Succeeded by:
Ramiro I
King of Navarre Garcia V
King of Castile Ferdinand I
de:Sancho III. (Navarra)

es:Sancho Garcés III de Navarra pl:Sancho III (król Nawarry) pt:Sancho III de Navarra


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