Alfonso VI, 1030–1109, Spanish king of León (1065–1109) and Castile (1072–1109). He inherited León from his father, Ferdinand I. Defeated by his brother Sancho II of Castile, he fled to the Moorish court of Toledo. After Sancho's assassination (1072) Alfonso succeeded to the throne of Castile and took Galicia from his brother García (1073). He thus became the most powerful Christian ruler in Spain. He encouraged Christians in Muslim lands to migrate north, and he raided Muslim territory, penetrating as far south as Tarifa. After the conquest of strategic Toledo (1085), he took many other cities and reached the line of the Tagus River. Alarmed by his advance, Abbad III (see Abbadids) and his Muslim allies called to their aid the Almoravid Yusuf ibn Tashfin, who defeated Alfonso in 1086. Alfonso was defeated again in 1108, and his only son died in the battle. Alfonso's reign gave a great crusading impulse to the reconquest of Spain and was also notable for the exploits of the Cid. Alfonso's court at Toledo became the center of cultural relations between Muslim and Christian Spain. French influence was strong because of the king's many French followers; French monks introduced the Cluniac reform into León during his reign. Alfonso was succeeded by his daughter Urraca.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Spanish and Portuguese History: Biographies