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Sancho in a contemporary manuscript

Sancho IV the Brave (1257 or 1258 – 25 April 1295, Toledo) was the king of Castile, León and Galicia from 1284 to his death. He was the second son of Alfonso X and Yolanda, daughter of James I of Aragon.

His elder brother, Ferdinand de la Cerda, died in November 1275, and in 1282 Sancho assembled a coalition of nobles to declare for him against Ferdinand's son Alfonso, then took control of the kingdom when Alfonso X died in 1284. This was all against the wishes of their father, but Sancho was crowned in Toledo nevertheless.

Sancho was recognised and supported by the majority of the nobility and the cities, but a sizable minority opposed him throughout his reign and worked for the heirs of Ferdinand de la Cerda. One of the leaders of the opposition was Don Juan, his uncle, who united to his cause the lord of Vizcaya, Lope Díaz III de Haro. Sancho responded by executing the lord of Vizcaya and incarcerating his uncle. According to the chroniclers, he cemented his hold on power by executing 4,000 other followers of the infante Alfonso, son of Ferdinand de la Cerda, in Badajoz. He executed 400 more in Talavera and much more als in Ávila and Toledo.

Upon dispensing with this opposition, Sancho pardoned his uncle, who was released. Don Juan bided his time before fomenting revolt again: the conflict over Tarifa. He called in the aid of the Marinids of Morocco and besieged Guzmán the Good in his castle (1291). At this siege occurred that famous act of heroism, the innocent death of the son of Guzmán. Tarifa was faithfully defended until Sancho could rescue it and the Marinids retreated to Morocco. The intent of both Don Juan and the king of Morocco (to invade) was foiled.

When James II succeeded to the Crown of Aragon, he endeavoured to bind the two crowns more closely and to unite in the Reconquista. Indeed, both of James predecessors had tried to do likewise. Sancho was also the friend and tutor of Juan Manuel, Lord of Villena.

Just before succumbing to a fatal illness, he appointed his queen, María de Molina, to act as regent for his nine year-old son, Ferdinand IV. He died in 1295 in Toledo.


Sancho married Maria de Molina in 1282 and they had the following children:

He had several bastard children before his marriage as well. by an unknown woman:

  • Teresa Sanchez, who married Joao Afonso de Menezes, the 1st Earl of Barcelos, Portugal

by Maria Afonso Teles de Menezes:

  • Violante Sanchez, who held the dowry of Uzero, married Fernando Rodriguez de Castro, Lord of Lemos.[1]

by Maria Perez:

  • Alfonso Sanchez, who married Maria Diaz de Haro, without issue.


  1. ^ XXV años de la Escuela de Genealogía, Heráldica y Nobiliaria, Ed. Escuela de Genealogía, Heráldica y Nobiliaria, (Hidalguia, 1985), 431.


  • XXV años de la Escuela de Genealogía, Heráldica y Nobiliaria, Ed. Escuela de Genealogía, Heráldica y Nobiliaria, Hidalguia, 1985.
Preceded by
Alfonso X
King of Castile and León
Succeeded by
Ferdinand IV

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