Bermudo II (984-999)

Bermudo II
Autor: Fresno, Jerónimo

Bermudo II obtained the throne through his victory in a civil war against Ramiro III. A lot of the nobility that had been by Ramiro’s side began to support Almanzor’s armies instead.

The kingdom was very weakened, so Bermudo had to create a pact with Almanzor to achieve a break in the attacks: he paid tribute to him for some time, and allowed Andalusian troops in some Leonese cities.

But in the year 986 Bermudo grew tired of this situation, and kicked out the muslim garrisons. Faced with this declaration of war, Almanzor attacked and swept the main cities of the kingdom: Zamora, Salamanca, Alba de Tormes, León, Toro, Astorga, Coyanza (Valencia de Don Juan), Sahagún… Some of these cities were destroyed multiple times, and the same was done to a long list of monasteries all over the Leonese kingdom (Sahagún, Carracedo, San Pedro de Eslonza, etc., etc.). According to the chronicles, only one tower was left standing in the city of León so that future generations could contemplate the past magnificence of the capital. During some time Bermuda moved the capital from León to Astorga, but this city was also conquered and sweeped by Almanzor.

In the year of 997, Almanzor destroyed the city of Santiago de Compostela, while still respecting the Apostle’s tomb. As a symbol of his victory, he took the Cathedral’s doors and bells to the mosque of Córdoba.

In September of 999, amidst these catastrophic events, Bermudo II passed away in Villabuena del Bierzo. It is suspected that he was also born in that region, which is why many refer to this king as “The Berciano King”. Since he suffered from gout, he is also nicknamed “The Gouty”.

A historian from the time described Bermudo as prudent, merciful and fair.