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Sancho IV of Castile

Sancho IV the Brave (12 May 1258 – 25 April 1295) was the King of Castile, León and Galicia from 1284 to his death. He was the second son of Alfonso X and Yolanda, daughter of James I of Aragon.

Biography

His elder brother, Ferdinand de la Cerda, died in November 1275, and in 1282 Sancho assembled a coalition of nobles to declare for him against Ferdinand's son Alfonso, then took control of the kingdom when Alfonso X died in 1284. This was all against the wishes of their father, but Sancho was crowned in Toledo nevertheless.

Sancho's ascension was in part due to his rejection of his father's elitist politics. Sancho was recognised and supported by the majority of the nobility and the cities, but a sizable minority opposed him throughout his reign and worked for the heirs of Ferdinand de la Cerda. One of the leaders of the opposition was his brother John, who united to his cause the lord of Biscay, Lope Díaz III de Haro. Sancho responded by executing the Lord of Biscay and incarcerating his brother. According to the chroniclers, he cemented his hold on power by executing 4,000 other followers of Infante Alfonso, son of Ferdinand de la Cerda, in Badajoz. He executed 400 more in Talavera and more in Ávila and Toledo.

Upon dispensing with this opposition, Sancho pardoned his brother, who was released. John bided his time before fomenting revolt again: the conflict over Tarifa. He called in the aid of the Marinids in Morocco and besieged Guzmán the Good in his castle (1291). At this siege occurred that famous act of heroism, the innocent death of the son of Guzmán. Tarifa was faithfully defended until Sancho could rescue it and the Marinids retreated to Magreb. The intent of both John and the Sultan of Marinids (to invade) was foiled.

When James II succeeded to the Crown of Aragon, he endeavoured to bind the two crowns more closely and to unite in the Reconquista. Indeed, both of James' predecessors had tried to do likewise. Sancho was also the friend and tutor of Manuel of Castile.

Just before succumbing to a fatal illness, he appointed his wife, María de Molina, to act as regent for his nine-year-old son, Ferdinand IV. He died in 1295 in Toledo.

Family

Sancho married Maria de Molina in 1282 and they had the following children:

He had three illegitimate children:

By María Alfonso Téllez de Menezes (d. Toro), wife of Juan García, Lord of Ucero:

by another woman whose name is unknown, he had:

  • Alfonso Sánchez, who married, as her second husband, María Díaz de Salcedo, without issue.

Ancestry

Notes

References

  • XXV años de la Escuela de Genealogía, Heráldica y Nobiliaria, Ed. Escuela de Genealogía, Heráldica y Nobiliaria, Hidalguia, 1985.
Born: 12 May 1258 Died: 25 April 1295
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Alfonso X
King of Castile and León
1284–1295
Succeeded by
Ferdinand IV



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