Alfonso IX of León

Alfonso IX (15 August 1171 – 23 or 24 September 1230) was king of León and Galicia, from the death of his father Ferdinand II in 1188 until his own death. According to Ibn Khaldun, he is said to have been called the Baboso or Slobberer because he was subject to fits of rage during which he foamed at the mouth.

Alfonso was born in
Zamora, the only son of King Ferdinand II of León and Urraca of Portugal. He took a part in the work of the reconquest, conquering the whole of Extremadura (including the cities of Cáceres and Badajoz). He was also the most modern king of his time, founding the University of Salamanca in 1212 and summoning in 1188 the first parliament with representation of the citizenry ever seen in Western Europe, the Cortes of León.

One of the most important events of his reign will be the convening of the Cortes de Leon held in the cloisters of the
Basilica of San Isidoro. The difficult economic situation at the beginning of his reign was necessary to raise taxes on the underprivileged classes who protested. The king summoned an assembly of nobles, clergy and representatives of cities who demanded compensatory and control expenditures of the crown. This assembly was included in the third state is considered by many historians, like Australia's John Keane as instrumental in creating democratic parliaments in Europe to be the cortes de Leon before the parliament of England in the thirteenth century.

In spite of all the above - some of whose significance became evident only later - this king is often remembered mainly for the difficulties into which his successive marriages led him with Pope Celestine III. He was first married in 1191 to his cousin
Teresa of Portugal, who bore him two daughters, and a son who died young. The marriage was declared null by the papal legate Cardinal Gregory.

Alfonso VIII of Castile was defeated at the battle of Alarcos, Alfonso IX invaded Castile with the aid of Muslim troops. He was summarily excommunicated by Pope Celestine III. In 1197, Alfonso IX married his second cousin Berenguela of Castile to cement peace between Leon and Castile. For this act of consanguinity, the king and the kingdom were placed under interdict by Pope Celestine III.

The Pope was, however, compelled to modify his measures by the threat that, if the people could not obtain the services of religion, they would not support the clergy, and that heresy would spread. The king was left under interdict personally, but to that he showed himself indifferent, and he had the support of his clergy. Berenguela left him after the birth of five children, and the king then returned to Teresa, to whose daughters he left his kingdom in his will.


Alfonso's children by
Teresa of Portugal were:
1) Fernando (ca. 1192-August 1214, aged around 22), unmarried and without issue
Sancha (ca. 1193-1270), unmarried and without issue
Dulce, also called Aldonza (1194/ca. 1195-ca./aft. 1243), unmarried and without issue

His eldest daughter, Sancha, was engaged to her cousin King
Henry I of Castile, but Henry died in 1217 before the marriage could be solemnized. After his heir, from his first marriage, (Fernando de Leon y Portugal) died in 1214, Alfonso wanted to dis-inherit the eldest son from his second marriage (Fernando de Leon y Castilla). King Alfonso IX invited the former King Consort of Jerusalem John of Brienne to marry his daughter Sancha and thus inherit the Leonese throne through her.

However, his former second wife, Queen
Berenguela of Castile sabotaged this plan by convincing John of Brienne to marry her own daughter, Berenguela of Leon, instead.

Though unmarried and pious spinster, Sancha was the nominal heiress of Leon-Galicia on her father's death in 1230, Sancha was easily set aside by negotiations, including a good single woman dowry between the former first wife and the former second wife. Sancha became a nun at
Cozollos, where she died in 1270; she was later beatified. Her sister Dulce-Aldonza spent her life with her Consort Queen of Leon mother in Portugal.

Alfonso's children by
Berenguela of Castile were:
4) Leonor (1198/1199-31 October 1210)
5) King
Fernando III the Saint (1200-1252), named also Fernando III de Castilla y Leon after 1230 when his father Alfonso IX de Leon died.
Alfonso, 4th Lord of Molina (1203-1272)
Berenguela of Leon (1204-1237), married John of Brienne
8) Constanza (1 May 1200 or 1205-7 September 1242), became a nun at Las Huelgas, Burgos, where she died

Alfonso also fathered many illegitimate children, some fifteen further children born out of wedlock are documented.

Alfonso's children by
Aldonza Martínez da Silva (daughter of Martim Gomes da Silva & Urraca Rodrigues):
9) Pedro Alfonso of León, 1st Lord of
Tenorio (ca. 1196/ca. 1200-1226), Grand Master of Santiago, married N de Villarmayor, and had issue
10) Alfonso Alfonso of León, died yong
11) Fernando Alfonso of León, died young
12) Rodrigo Alfonso of León (ca. 1210-ca. 1267), 1st Lord of
Aliger and Governor of Zamora, married ca. 1240 to Inés Rodriguez de Cabrera (ca. 1200-), and had issue
13) Teresa Alfonso of León (ca. 1210-), wife of Nuno Gonzalez de Lara, el Bueno, señor de Lara
Aldonza Alonso of León (ca. 1212/ca. 1215-1266), wife, first, of Diego Ramírez Froilaz, nephew of her stepfather, without issue, and, second, of Pedro Ponce de Cabrera, (ca. 1210-), and had issue, ancestors of the notorious Ponce de León family.

Alfonso's child by
Inés Iñíguez de Mendoza (ca. 1180-) (daughter of Lope Iñiguez de Mendoza, 1st Lord of Mendoza (ca. 1140-1189) and wife Teresa Ximénez de los Cameros (ca. 1150-)):
15) Urraca Alfonso of León (ca. 1190/ca. 1197-), first wife ca. 1230 of Lopo II Díaz de Haro (1192-15 December 1236), 6th Sovereign Lord of Viscaya, and had issue

Alfonso's child by
Estefánia Pérez de Limia, daughter of Pedro Arias de Limia and wife, subsequently wife of Rodrigo Suárez, Merino mayor of Galicia, had issue):
16) Fernando Alfonso of León (ca. 1211-), died young

Alfonso's children by Maua, of unknown origin:
17) Fernando Alfonso of León (ca. 1215/1218/1220-
Salamanca, 1278/1279), Archdean of Santiago, married to Aldara de Ulloa and had issue

Alfonso's children by Dona
Teresa Gil de Soverosa (ca. 1170-) (daughter of Dom Gil Vasques de Soverosa & first wife Maria Aires de Fornelos):
18) María Alfonso of León (ca. 1190/1200/1222-aft. 1252), married as his second wife Soeiro Aires de Valadares (ca. 1140-) and had issue and Álvaro Fernández de Lara (ca. 1200-) and had female issue, later
mistress of her nephew Alfonso X of Castile
19) Sancha Alfonso of León (1210/ca. 1210-1270), a Nun after divorcing without issue Simón Ruíz, Lord of Los Cameros
20) Martín Alfonso of León (ca. 1210/ca. 1225-1274/ca. 1275)
22) Urraca Alfonso of León (ca. 1210/1228-aft.1252, married twice, first to García Romeu of Tormos, without issue, then Pedro Guillén de Guzmán y González Girón

Alfonso's other illegitimate child, mother unknown:
23) Mayor Alfonso de León, married Rodrigo Gómez de Trava, without issue