Monarchy Past: Alfonso III of Asturias
(848 – December 910)
(848 – December 910)
Little is known about Alfonso except the bare facts of his reign and of his comparative success in consolidating the kingdom during the weakness of the Umayyad princes of Córdoba. He fought against and gained numerous victories over the Muslims of al-Andalus.
He defeated a Basque rebellion in 867 and, much later, a Galician one as well. He moved his capital forward from Oviedo to the recently restored Roman city of León.
He conquered Oporto (868) and Coimbra, Zamora, and Burgos by 878, settling refugees from the south and doubling the size of his kingdom. He formed an alliance with the Kingdom of Pamplona, and solidified this link by marrying Jimena, who is thought to have been daughter of king García Íñiguez, or less likely, a member of the Jiménez dynasty, and also married his sister Leodegundia to a prince of Pamplona.
He ordered the creation of three chronicles which presented the theory that the kingdom of Asturias was the rightful successor of the old Visigothic kingdom. He was also a patron of the arts, like his grandfather before him. He built the church of Santo Adriano de Tuñón. According to a letter of disputed authenticity dated to 906, the Epistola Adefonsi Hispaniae regis, Alfonso arranged to purchase an "imperial crown" from the cathedral of Tours.
A year before his death, three of Alfonso's sons rose in rebellion and forced him to abdicate, partitioning the kingdom among them. The eldest son, García, became king of León. The second son, Ordoño, reigned in Galicia, while the third, Fruela, received Asturias with Oviedo as his capital. Alfonso died in Zamora, probably in 910. His former realm would be reunited when first García died childless and León passed to Ordoño. He in turn died when his children were too young to ascend, Fruela became king of a reunited crown. His death the next year initiated a series of internecine struggles that led to unstable succession for over a century.