García Sánchez III of Pamplona

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García Sánchez III
Garcia III Sanches de Pamplona - The Portuguese Genealogy (Genealogia dos Reis de Portugal).png
Late medieval representation of García Sánchez III in a book about the Portuguese monarchs
King of Pamplona
Tenure 1035–1054
Predecessor Sancho III
Successor Sancho IV
Died 1054
Burial Monastery of Santa María la Real of Nájera
Spouse Stephanie of Foix
Issue Sancho Garcés
Sancho (illegitimate)
House House of Jiménez
Father Sancho III
Mother Muniadona of Castile
Religion Catholicism

García Sánchez III (Basque: Gartzea III.a Sanoitz; c. 1012 – 15 September 1054),[1] nicknamed García from Nájera (Basque: Gartzea Naiarakoa, Spanish: García el de Nájera) was King of Pamplona from 1034 until his death. He was also Count of Álava and had under his personal control part of the County of Castile. As the eldest son of Sancho III he inherited the dynastic rights over the crown of Pamplona, becoming feudal overlord over two of his brothers: Ramiro, who was given lands that would serve as the basis for the Kingdom of Aragón; and Gonzalo, who received the counties of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza. Likewise, he had some claim to suzerainty over his brother Ferdinand, who under their father had served as Count of Castile, nominally subject to the Kingdom of León but brought under the personal control of Sancho III.


García Sánchez inherited the crown of Pamplona after the death of his father Sancho III in 1035, bypassing the late king's eldest son Ramiro, who was illegitimate. In 1043 he defeated his half-brother in battle, setting the eastern border of the kingdom. García Sánchez III took advantage of the weakened state of the numerous Islamic taifa kingdoms that arose after the dissolution of the Caliphate of Córdoba to push the southern border over their territory, taking the city of Calahorra in 1045. He also inherited from his father the County of Álava and a great part of the County of Castile (La Bureba, Trasmiera, Montes de Oca, the Encartaciones and Las Merindades).

In the year 1037 he joins his brother Ferdinand, the nominal Count of Castile, in a battle against the Kingdom of León that took place near the river Pisuerga and that came to be known as Battle of Tamarón. Bermudo III, King of León, was defeated and killed in battle, ending a dynasty of monarchs that went back to Peter of Cantabria. Ferdinand would then be crowned King of León.[2] The relationship between the two brothers would however turn sour by the conflictive distribution of the lands of Castile between León and Pamplona, leading to the Battle of Atapuerca, where García Sánchez would perish.[1][3]

Marriage and family[edit]

García Sánchez III married Stephanie of Foix in Barcelona in 1038. Stephanie was the youngest daughter of Bernard-Roger, Count of Bigorre[4] They had nine children:

García Sánchez had two illegitimate children by unknown women:



  1. ^ a b Europäische Stammtafeln: II #56, III.1 #145; Moriarty, Plantagenet Ancestry of King Edward III and Queen Philippa of Hainault, p80, 109
  2. ^ Bernard F. Reilly, The Contest of Christian and Muslim Spain 1031–1157, (Blackwell Publishers Inc., 1995), 27.
  3. ^ Joseph F. O'Callaghan, A History of Medieval Spain, (Cornell University Press, 1975), 195.
  4. ^ Salazar y Acha agrees with the opinion of Languedoc historians who held that she was the daughter of Bernard-Roger, Count of Bigorre and his wife Gersenda, explaining Stephanie's presence in Barcelona as a lady in the court of her maternal aunt Ermesinde of Carcassonne married to Ramon Borrell, count of Barcelona.
  5. ^ Appears for the last time on 27 May 1085 at the Monastery of Santa María la Real of Najera confirming a donation made by her brother Ramiro.
  6. ^ Salas Merino 2008, pp. 216-218.


Preceded by
Sancho III
King of Navarre
Succeeded by
Sancho IV