Mumadona Dias

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Statue of Mumadona in Guimarães

Mumadona Dias, or Muniadomna Díaz, Countess of Portugal in the 10th century, who ruled the county jointly with her husband from about c. 920 and then on her own after her husband's death around 950 until her death in 968. Celebrated, rich and the most powerful woman in the Northwest of the Iberian peninsula, she has been commemorated by several Portuguese cities.

Biographical sketch[edit]

She was one of the three daughters of Count Diogo Fernandes and of countess Onega (or Onecca) who had been the tutors of the future King Ramiro II of León.[a] Between 915 and 920 and, most certainly by 926—the year in which they appear together for the first time when King Ramiro II gave the couple the villa of Creximir near Guimarães[7][8][9]— she married Count Hermenegildo González.

Hermenegildo died between 943 and 950, and Mumadona governed the county alone after her husband's death. She left it in the ownership of countless domains, in an area that coincided reasonably with zones that would integrate the back counties of Portugal and of Coimbra.

Those domains were divided in July 950 among her six children, giving Gonzalo Menéndez the county of Portugal. In 950 or 951, with divine inspiration, she founded, on her property in Vimaranes, a monastery under São Mamede's invocation (Mosteiro of São Mamede or Mosteiro of

Guimarães Castle, built by Mumadona

Guimarães). Later she professed her vows there. To protect this monastery and its people from Viking raids, she initiated the construction of the Castle of Guimarães,[10] in the shade of which Guimarães' burgh was developed, and due to the constant raids, in 968 she gave this castle to the monastery for its protection.[10] Eventually this became the headquarters of the court of the counts of Portugal.

The testamentary document in which she makes the donation of her domains, cattle, incomes, religious objects and books to Guimarães monastery, dated January 26, 959,[6] was important for verifying the existence of several castles and villages in the region.


  1. ^ Her mother Onega could have been a member of the royal house of Pamplona due to the Basque-Navarrese origin of her name and that of her son Jimeno and other descendants.[1] It has been suggested that she could have been the daughter of Leodegundia, a probable daughter of King Ordoño I of Asturias, married to an Infante or a member of the aristocracy of the Kingdom of Pamplona.[2][3]In 928, she appears at the Monastery of Lorvão with her four children, all mentioned, Munia, Ledegundia, Ximeno and Mummadomna making a donation for the soul of Veremudo dive memorie, referring to Infante Bermudo Ordóñez, son of Ordoño I, who would have been the brother of Leodegundia, and therefore, Onega's uncle.[4][5] This charter was also confirmed by Hermenegildo González, Mumadona's husband, and by Rodrigo Tedoniz, who was probably married to Onega's daughter Leodegundia. In 959, Mumadona ex regio sanguine orta (of royal blood), made a donation to the Monastery of Lorvão.[6]


  1. ^ Torres Sevilla-Quiñones de León 1999, p. 310.
  2. ^ Cardozo 1963, p. 383.
  3. ^ Sáez 1947, p. 62.
  4. ^ Sáez 1947, p. 108.
  5. ^ Herculano 1868, p. 21, doc. XXXIV.
  6. ^ a b Herculano 1868, p. 44, doc. LXXVI.
  7. ^ Herculano 1868, p. 20, doc. XXXI.
  8. ^ García Álvarez 1960, p. 218, n. 74.
  9. ^ Mattoso 1981, p. 139.
  10. ^ a b Amaral 2009, p. 121.