Sancho IV of Navarre

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Sancho IV Garcés (c. 1038 – 4 June 1076),[1] called Sancho of Peñalén (Spanish: el de Peñalén) or Sancho the Noble, was King of Navarre from 1054 to 1076. He was the eldest son and heir of García Sánchez III and his wife Estefanía.

At the age of fourteen Sancho was proclaimed king in the camp by the field where his father was killed at the Battle of Atapuerca. Sancho's mother served as his regent, remaining faithful to her husband's wishes, she continued the support of the monastery he founded at Nájera, where several Navarrese monarchs are interred.

With his uncle, King Ramiro of Aragon, he forced al-Muqtadir, ruler of Zaragoza, into submission and exacted a tribute.

He was in constant conflict with Castile, culminating in the so-called War of the Three Sanchos (1067–1068). Years before, Sancho's father had managed to retain a series of frontier lands, including Bureba and Alta Rioja, which had been claimed by Ferdinand I of Castile. Ferdinand's son, Sancho II the Strong sought to reconquer these lands for his kingdom. Faced with an invasion by his cousin the Castilian Sancho, The Navarrese Sancho asked for aid from his other cousin, Sancho of Aragón. But their forces were defeated by Sancho the Strong and his trusted alférez (supreme commander) El Cid, Sancho lost Bureba, Alta Rioja, and Álava to Sancho of Castile.

He was assassinated in Peñalén, whence his nickname, by a conspiracy headed by his brother Ramón (el Fratricida, the Fratricide) and his sister Ermesinda. During a scheduled hunt, Sancho was forced from a cliff by his siblings. Upon his assassination, Navarre was invaded and ultimately partitioned between Sancho of Aragon and a third cousin, Alfonso VI of León and Castile. Alfonso occupied La Rioja and Sancho was proclaimed king in Pamplona.


Sancho was married in 1068 to a Frenchwoman, Placencia,[2][3] and they had two sons, both named García:[4]

  • García
  • García Sánchez, who died in Toledo after 1092 and who was displaced by Sancho I of Aragón with the support of the Navarrese nobility who did not want to have a child-king.

With a slave named Ximena,[5] he fathered two children

  • Raimundo Sánchez, lord of Esquiroz
  • Urraca Sánchez[6]


  1. ^ "Sancho IV (king of Navarre)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  2. ^ Bernard F. Reilly, The Contest of Christian and Muslim Spain 1031–1157, (Blackwell Publishing Inc., 1995), 71.
  3. ^ Women of the World
  4. ^ It was a common practice in Navarre at that time to have more than one child with the same name. In 1092, at the Monastery of Valvanera, Garsea et alter Garsea, germani, filii Sanchii regis Nagerensis confirmed a charter.
  5. ^ On 18 July 1071, in the documentation of the Cathedral of Pamplona, Sancho donated Esquiroz to his slave Jimena and their son Raimundo.
  6. ^ In 1072, in a charter in the Monastery of Leyre, king Sancho entrusts the education of his daughter Urraca to the abbot of Larrasoaña, donating some property in the valley of Sardaraig.

Further reading[edit]

Preceded by
García Sánchez III
King of Navarre
Succeeded by
Sancho V