Sancho II of Pamplona

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sancho II of Pamplona
Sancho II of Pamplona, in the Codex Vigilanus
Spouse(s) Urraca Fernández
Noble family House of Jiménez
Father García Sánchez I of Pamplona
Mother Andregota Galíndez
Born c. 938
Died December 994

Sancho II Garcés Abarca (c. 938 – December 994) was King of Pamplona from 970 until his death. He was the son of García Sánchez I and Andregota, daughter of Galindo Aznárez II, Count of Aragon. After his succession, he recognised his younger brother Ramiro as King of Viguera.

The Historia General de Navarra by Jaime del Burgo says (referencing in turn the Anales del Reino de Navarra of José de Moret) that on the occasion of the donation of the villa of Alastue by Sancho to the monastery of San Juan de la Peña in 987, he titled himself "King of Navarre," the first time that title had been used. This title, however, did not come into common usage until the late eleventh century. The epithet "Abarca," meaning "sandal," is not contemporary, but is medieval.

Under Sancho, the kingdom solidified some of the gains of his predecessor, but also suffered several significant military setbacks at the hands of Umayyad troops. Navarre was linked with the Kingdom of León and the County of Castile by familial bonds, and the realms frequently worked in concert, with the Navarrese monarchy supporting the young Ramiro III of León.

In 972, he founded the monastery of San Andrés de Cirueña. In 976, at the monastery of Albelda, the cultural and intellectual centre of his kingdom, the Codex Vigilanus was completed. It is one of the most important illuminated manuscripts of medieval Spain, containing the canons of the Councils of Toledo, a copy of the Liber Iudiciorum, and the first Western representation of the Arabic numerals, among many other texts.

Upon the death of the Caliph of Cordoba, Al-Hakam II, in 976, and the succession of his son Hisham II, who had been taught by Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir, the prospects of the Christian kingdoms seemed dim. The troops of Al-Mansur defeated the Christians at Torrevicente, south of Soria. Afterwards, the Muslims returned to triumph at Taracueña, near Osma. In 975, Sancho was defeated by the Moors at San Esteban de Gormaz and it has been suggested that he was captured at the Battle of Estercuel that year.[1]

In 981 at the Battle of Rueda, a dozen kilometers from Tordesillas, the Christians suffered another humiliating defeat.

Because he could not defeat Al-Mansur by arms, Sancho went to Córdoba as an ambassador for his own kingdom, bringing many gifts for the victorious Al-Mansur, making a pact with him and agreeing to give the Muslim his daughter Urraca in marriage. From this union was born Abd al-Rahman Sanchuelo, the second successor of Al-Mansur who tried to usurp the Caliphate of Córdoba from the Umayyad heir.

He faced further incursions from Almanzor in 989, 991 and 992, the last of which resulted in a second submission at Córdoba, and the next year he sent his son Gonzalo on an embassy to the Caliphate. In 994, the year of his death, the kingdom saw yet another incursion by a caliphate army.

Sancho married Urraca, the daughter of the Castilian count Fernán González and Sancha of Navarre, Sancho's aunt. The marriage occurred after 962 and before 970. Before 950, Urraca had been married twice previously, to Ordoño III and Ordoño IV of León, from both of whom she separated. Sancho was her third and last husband. Their children were:


  1. ^ Antonio Ubieto Arteta (1950), "Monarcas navarros olvidados: los reyes de Viguera", Hispania, 10(38), 6 note 10, argues that his younger brother Jimeno, who appears as a hostage at the court of al-Hakim II in Córdoba later in 975, may have been exchanged for Sancho's freedom.
Sancho II of Pamplona
Born: after 935 Died: December 994
Preceded by
García Sánchez I
King of Pamplona
Succeeded by
García Sánchez II