Ramiro III (966-984)

Ramiro III
Autor: Rodríguez de Losada, José María

Sancho I “The Fat” was succeeded by his son Ramiro, who was only five years old at the time. So, while he grew up, his aunt the nun Elvira (daughter of Ramiro II) was the one in charge.

During the second year of his rule, vikings invaded Galicia and won against the troops of Bishop Sisnando. The invaders stayed in the north and raided the northeast of the Peninsula for three years, reaching the region of the Land of Fields (Tierra de Campos).

The nobles took advantage of Ramiro’s young age to do whatever they wanted. The caliph al-Hakam II made a pact with them and, for many years, made it clear that al-Ándalus was superior. These were dark times for the kingdom of León.

When Ramiro III grew up, things did not get better. In al-Ándalus, al-Hakam II passed away in 976 and was succeeded by his son Hisham II, who was only eleven. This supposedly could have been a sigh of relief for Ramiro III, but Hisham II had Abu Amir’s help, who would later be known as the Almanzor. This leader directed dozens of victorious campaigns against all of the christian territories.

At first the main Leonese cities were able to resist Almanzor’s attacks, but everything changed for the worse when a civil war broke out in the kingdom of León. In 982 the Galician nobles proclaimed Bermudo, Ordoño III’s son, as king. This caused the kingdom’s troops to be divided between the two kings, and also to waste their energy fighting each other instead of fighting the Almanzor. This muslim leader resulted unstoppable with his victories, and Ramiro III, feeling humiliated, was forced to ask for peace so that he could focus on the civil war. Nonetheless, Ramiro passed away shortly after, on the 26th of June of 985, in Destriana (La Valduerna). His rival came into León and was recognized as king with the name Bermudo II.

Ramiro III didn’t leave good memories: historians from the time say he lacked intelligence, and was arrogant and a liar.