Alfonso VIII, Spanish king of Castile

Alfonso VIII (Alfonso the Noble), 1155–1214, Spanish king of Castile (1158–1214), son and successor of Sancho III. Chaos prevailed during his minority, but he quickly restored order after assuming (1166) the government. Alfonso took (1177) Cuenca from the Moors, but later (1195) he was seriously defeated by them at Alarcos. León and Navarre then invaded Castile, but Alfonso forced them to make peace, annexing Araba/Álava and Gipuzkoa (Guipúzcoa) from Navarre. Allied with his former Christian enemies, he led them to the great victory over the Almohads at Las Navas de Tolosa (1212). Alfonso was married to Eleanor, daughter of Henry II of England. Their children included Henry, who succeeded his father as Henry I; Blanche, who married Louis VIII of France; and Berenguela, who married Alfonso IX of León and whose son Ferdinand III united Castile and León.

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