Urraca of Castile

Urraca of Castile

Urraca of Castile (1082 – March 8 1126) was Queen of Castile and León from 1109 to her death. She was the daughter of Alfonso VI of Castile by his second wife, Constance of Burgundy. She became heiress to her father's kingdom after her only brother was killed in the Battle of Ucles in 1108.

She was married, as a child, to Raymond of Burgundy who died in September 1107. They had two children: the Infante Alfonso Raimúndez (born 1104) and the Infanta Sancha (born before 1095). Now a widow, Urraca was ruler of Galicia. She was also her father's only surviving legitimate child, and now the heiress to Castile. King Alfonso VI selected a new husband for her. His choice fell on Alfonso I of Aragon who he hoped would safeguard the kingdom. Alfonso was renowned as a great warrior. According to the chronicler Ibn al-Athir, Alfonso once remarked that "a real soldier lives with men, not with women".

Urraca and Alfonso of Aragon were related within forbidden degrees. Bernard, Archbishop of Toledo, objected to the marriage on these grounds and condemned it as consanguinous. Nevertheless, Urraca and Alfonso were married in October 1109 in Monzón. Urraca accused Alfonso of being physically abusive to her. Their inability to produce a child created a further rift between them. The royal couple were separated by 1111 and their marriage was annulled in 1114. Urraca never remarried though she took several lovers, including Count Gómez González.

Urraca's reign was disturbed by strife among the powerful nobles and especially by constant warfare with her husband who had seized her lands. Another thorn on her side was her brother-in-law, Henry, the husband of her half-sister Teresa of Leon. He alternatively allied with Alfonso I of Aragon, then betrayed Alfonso for a better offer from Urraca's court. After Henry's death in 1112, his widow, Teresa, still contested ownership of lands with Urraca. With the aid of her son, Alfonso Raimúndez, Urraca was able to win back much of her domain and ruled successfully for many years.

According to the "Chronicon Compostellanum", Urraca died in childbirth in 1126. The father was her lover, Count Pedro González of Lara. She was succeeded by her legitimate son, Alfonso VII.

Illegitimate children

Besides her two legitimate children by Raymond of Burgundy, Urraca also had an illegitimate son by her lover, Pedro González de Lara. She recognized their son, Fernando Perez Furtado, in 1123.

External links

* [http://libro.uca.edu/urraca/urraca.htm Reilly, Bernard F. "The Kingdom of León-Castilla under Queen Urraca, 1109-1126"]
*Reilly, Bernard F. "The Medieval Spains", 1993.

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