Alfonso VII of León

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Alfonso VII (1 March 1105 – 21 August 1157), born Alfonso Raimúndez, called the Emperor (el Emperador), became the King of Galicia in 1111 and King of León and Castile in 1126. Alfonso first used the title Emperor of All the Spains, alongside his mother Urraca, once his mother vested him with the direct rule of Toledo in 1116. Alfonso later held another investiture in 1135 in a grand ceremony reasserting his claims to the Imperial title. He was the son of Urraca of León and Raymond of Burgundy, the first of the House of Burgundy to rule in the Iberian peninsula.

Alfonso was a dignified and somewhat enigmatic figure. His rule was characterised by the renewed supremacy of the western kingdoms of Christian Iberia over the eastern (Navarre and Aragón) after the reign of Alfonso the Battler. He also sought to make the imperial title meaningful in practice, though his attempts to rule over both Christian and Muslim populations was even less successful. His hegemonic intentions never saw fruition, however. During his tenure, Portugal became de facto independent, in 1128, and was recognized as de jure independent, in 1143. He was a patron of poets, including, probably, the troubadour Marcabru.

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Succession to three kingdoms

In 1111, Diego Gelmírez, Bishop of Compostela and the count of Traba, crowned Alfonso King of Galicia in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.[1] He was but a child at the time, but his mother had already (1109) succeeded to the united throne of León-Castile-Galicia and desired to assure her son's prospects and groom him for his eventual succession. By 1125 he had inherited the formerly Muslim Kingdom of Toledo. On 10 March 1126, after the death of his mother, he was crowned in León and immediately began the recovery of the Kingdom of Castile, which was then under the domination of Alfonso the Battler. By the Peace of Támara of 1127, the Battler recognised Alfonso VII of Castile. The territory in the far east of his dominion, however, had gained much independence during the rule of his mother and experienced many rebellions. After his recognition in Castile, Alfonso fought to curb the autonomy of the local barons.

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