Sancho III, king of Navarre

Sancho III or Sancho the Great sänˈchō [key], c.970–1035, king of Navarre (1000–1035). Having inherited the kingdom of Navarre, which included Aragón, he launched an annexation campaign that made him the leading power in Christian Spain. After conquering (c.1015–25) the territories of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza from the Moors, he took possession of Castile, Bizkaia (Vizcaya), and Araba/Álava (1028) as his wife's inheritance from her deceased brother, the count of Castile, for whom he had been protector since 1017. Sancho the Great also claimed overlordship of Barcelona, forcing Berengar Raymond I to become his vassal. He occupied the eastern part of León and was crowned in its capital in 1034. Although his kingdom was the largest Christian political unit in Spain, Sancho regarded it as his personal domain, to be divided at will. Its unity was thus broken at his death when he bequeathed his lands to his four sons. Navarre passed to García; Castile and Aragón, made into kingdoms, went respectively to Ferdinand I and Ramiro I; Sobrarbe and Ribagorza, joined as a separate kingdom, were given to Gonzalo.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Spanish and Portuguese History: Biographies