Sancho I of Pamplona

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Sancho I
King of Pamplona
PredecessorFortún Garcés
SuccessorJimeno Garcés
Bornc. 860
Died10 December 925
Castle of San Esteban Deio, Villamayor de Monjardín
García Sánchez I
Urraca Sánchez
Onneca Sánchez of Pamplona
HouseHouse of Jiménez
FatherGarcía Jiménez
MotherDadildis de Pallars

Sancho Garcés I (Basque: Antso Ia. Gartzez; c. 860 – 10 December 925),[1] also known as Sancho I, was king of Pamplona from 905 until 925. He was the son of García Jiménez and was the first king of Pamplona of the Jiménez dynasty.[2] Sancho I was the feudal ruler of the Onsella valley, and expanded his power to all the neighboring territories. He was chosen to replace Fortún Garcés by the Pamplonese nobility in 905.


Sancho Garcés was born around the year 860, son of García Jiménez and his second wife Dadildis de Pallars.[3] Around the time of the death of King García Íñiguez he ruled the Onsella valley in the western part of the kingdom. He managed to take control of the city of Pamplona while Fortún Garcés was still king, aided by Alfonso III of Asturias and the Count of Pallars. Along with the Pamplonese nobility, they plotted to remove the king's children from the line of succession, which passed down to the king's granddaughter Toda, who was married to Sancho Garcés. He proclaimed himself King of Pamplona in 905.[2]

Throughout his reign, he involved himself in the squabbles among the Muslim lords to the south with repeated success. In 907, he turned on his former ally Lubb ibn Muhammad, killing him in battle. Four years later, another former ally, Galindo Aznárez, joined with his brother-in-law Muhammad al-Tawil and Abd Allah ibn Lubb al-Qasawi to attack Sancho, but they were defeated and neutralized as a threat. Al-Tawil fled and was killed shortly afterward, and the power of the Banu Qasi was severely crippled, while Galindo was forced into vassalage to Sancho, leading to the incorporation of the County of Aragon into the Pamplona kingdom.

In 918, Sancho combined with Ordoño II of León to attack the Upper March. Though they failed to occupy Nájera, they took Calahorra, Arnedo and Viguera from the Banu Qasi, and attacked Valtierra, and though they failed to take its fortress, they burned its mosque and surrounding lands. Two years later Sancho teamed with Bernard I of Ribagorza and Amrus ibn Muhammed, son of Muhammad al-Tawil, to attack Banu Qasi-held Monzón. His successes allowed him to join Lower Navarre to his own dominions and extend his territory as far as Nájera. As a thanksgiving offering for his victories, in 924 he founded the monastery of San Martín de Albelda.

He died near the town of Resa, close to the Ebro river on 10 December, 925 and was buried in Villamayor de Monjardín. His son, García, was only seven years old, so Sancho was succeeded by his brother, Jimeno Garcés.

Sancho appears to have been the original king called by the byname Abarca, though confusion among family members of the same name had led to it being instead applied to his grandson, Sancho II of Pamplona, by the 19th century. Sancho I gave rise to a dynasty that would rule several Iberian kingdoms, the last ruling until the 13th century, and the dynasty would be called the Banu Sanyo or the Banu Abarca by Al-Andalus scholars, denoting his role as founder.[4]

Marriage and issue[edit]

The Kingdom of Pamplona at the death of Sancho I

Sancho Garcés was married to Toda Aznárez, daughter of the Count Aznar Sánchez and Onneca Fortúnez, herself being daughter of Fortún Garcés. According to the Códice de Roda, they had one son, García, and five daughters, all of whom except Orbita married either kings of León or counts:[5]

Out of wedlock, he had a daughter, Lupa Sánchez, who was married to Dato II, Count of Bigorre, with whom she had one son, Raymond I, Count of Bigorre (940–956).[6]


  1. ^ Martínez Díez 2007, p. 27.
  2. ^ a b Martínez Díez 2007, p. 26.
  3. ^ Lacarra de Miguel 1945, pp. 205, 209.
  4. ^ Cañada Juste 2012, pp. 79–132.
  5. ^ a b Lacarra de Miguel 1945, p. 209.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Lacarra de Miguel 1945, p. 210.
  7. ^ Lacarra de Miguel 1945, pp. 209–210.


  • Cañada Juste, Alberto (2012). "¿Quién fue Sancho Abarca?" (PDF). Príncipe de Viana (in Spanish) (Año 73, N. 255): 79–132. ISSN 0032-8472.
  • Lacarra de Miguel, José María (1945). "Textos navarros del Códice de Roda" (PDF). Estudios de Edad Media de la Corona de Aragón (in Spanish). 1: 193–284. OCLC 694519776.
  • Martínez Díez, Gonzalo (2007). Sancho III el Mayor Rey de Pamplona, Rex Ibericus (in Spanish). Madrid: Marcial Pons Historia. ISBN 978-84-96467-47-7.
  • Salas Merino, Vicente (2008) (in Spanish). La Genealogía de Los Reyes de España The Genealogy of the Kings of Spain (4th ed.). Madrid: Editorial Visión Libros. pp. 216–218. ISBN 978-84-9821-767-4.
Preceded by King of Pamplona
Succeeded by