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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

XII: The Spanish and Portuguese reconquest, 1095-1492,   pp. 396-456 PDF (13.3 MB)

Page 403

and the urban militias of the newly colonized towns and castles, averted
disaster on the frontier. 
 It was in Urraca's troubled reign (1109—1126) that Leon-Castile, for
the first time since the days of Ferdinand I, lost the leadership of the
reconquest, which passed eastward to Aragon, a state which had existed only
since 1035 but whose rulers had long been pressing the anti-Moorish war against
the Taifas of Lerida and Saragossa. King Ramiro I (1035—1063) had died
fighting the allied Saragossans and Castilians at Graus in an effort to move
down the Cinca valley to the Ebro. Sancho Ramirez I (1063—1094), fearing
imperial Leonese Castilian domination, had tried the radical expedient of
enlisting papal, French, and Catalan collaboration for a kind of proto-crusade;
and when this failed at Barbastro (1064-1065), he made Aragon a fief of the
papacy (1068) so as to give his kingdom's independence a papal shield. In
1076 Sancho further strengthened himself by becom ing king of Navarre. Fighting
continuously against the Moors on the line of the Cinca river, he took Estada
(1087) and Monzón (1089) and built the fortress of El Castellar threatening
Saragossa; but in 1094, when besieging Huesca, he was fatally wounded by
an arrow. His son Peter I (1094—1104), who defeated a Saragossan-Castilian
relief force at Alcoraz and then compelled Huesca to surrender (1096), also
regained Barbastro of bloody memory (1100). In 1101 Peter took the cross,
the first Iberian sovereign to do so, enlisted French knights for an attack
on Saragossa, and in his last years was constructing just outside the latter
city, as a prelude to its invest ment, a fortress significantly called Juslibol
(i.e., Deus le veult, the war cry of Clermont). 
 When Alfonso the Warrior (el Batallador, 1104—1134) came to the Aragonese-Navarrese
throne, he naturally continued this expansionist policy by occupying additional
towns and territories on the left bank of the Ebro in the Cinco Villas district
above Saragossa, and else where. Plunged from 1110 into the troubles with
Urraca and the Leonese-Castilian civil wars, the king came home in 1117 still
cling ing to the imperial title, the symbol of leadership in the reconquest,
that his marriage had brought him. Thus Hispanic imperial tradition, familial
pursuit of the reconquest in association with the papacy and the crusading
movement, and a warlike, religious temperament all entered into his career
as a reconquistador. 
 After leading the Aragonese-Navarrese forces across the Ebro to take Belchite,
Aifonso I pushed preparations for an authentic crusade against Saragossa.
A council held at Toulouse in January 1118 and attended by the archbishops
of Aries and Auch as well as numerous 

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