of Castile, Alphonso VIII

Birth Name of Castile, Alphonso VIII
Nick Name The Noble
Gender male
Age at Death 58 years, 10 months, 25 days


Alfonso VIII (November 11, 1155 - October 5, 1214), king of Castile only, and grandson of Alfonso VII, is a great name in Spanish history, for he led the coalition of Christian princes and foreign crusaders who broke the power of the Almohades at the battle of the Navas de Tolosa in 1212.

His personal history is that of many medieval kings. He succeeded to the throne, in infancy, on the death of his father, Sancho. Though proclaimed king, he was regarded as a mere name by the unruly nobles to whom a minority was convenient. The devotion of a squire of his household, who carried him on the pommel of his saddle to the stronghold of San Esteban de Gormaz, saved him from falling into the hands of the contending factions of Castro and Lara, or of his uncle Ferdinand of León, who claimed the regency.

The loyalty of the town of Ávila protected his youth. He was barely fifteen when he came forth to do a man's work by restoring his kingdom to order. It was only by a surprise that he recovered his capital Toledo from the hands of the Laras. His marriage with Leonora of Aquitaine, daughter of Henry II of England, brought him under the influence of the greatest governing intellect of his time. Alfonso VIII was the founder of the first Spanish university, the studium generale of Palencia, which, however, did not survive him.

During his reign, Castile annexed the province of Logroño.

The July 16 1212 battle of Las Navas de Tolosa is considered a major turning point in the history of Medieval Iberia. The forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by the armies of his Christian rivals, Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon and Alfonso II of Portugal in battle against the Muslim Almohad rulers of the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula. Caliph al-Nasir led the Almohad army.

The Pope called European knights to a crusade.

The defeat of the Almohads signaled the beginning of a long decline in the power of the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula, and gave further momentum to the Christian Reconquest begun by the kingdoms of northern Iberia centuries before.


Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth 1155-11-11 Castile, Spain   1
Death 1214-10-06 Gutierre Munoz, Avila, Castile   1

Age: 58y 10m 25d


Relation to main person Name Birth date Death date Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father of Castile, Sancho III11341158-08-31
Mother of Narvarre Jiminez, Blanche11331158-08-31
         of Castile, Alphonso VIII 1155-11-11 1214-10-06


Family of of Castile, Alphonso VIII and Plantagenet, Eleanor

Married Wife Plantagenet, Eleanor ( * 1162-10-13 + 1214-10-25 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage 1177-09-22 Burgos, Spain   1
Name Birth Date Death Date
of Castile, Berengaria11801246-11-08
of Castile, Urraca1186
of Castile, Blanche Alphonsa1187-03-041252-11-27