El Cid

( 1043-1099 )

 

by: Breanna Scott

 

The Legend

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar , better known as El Cid Campeador ("The Lord Champion"), was born, near Burgos, in 1043 and died in Valencia in 1099 . El Cid is a famous Spanish national folk hero and the embodiment of chivalry and virtue. El Cid grew up in the the household of the future king, Sancho II of Castile. El Cid was very close to Sancho. Prince Sancho was the eldest son of King Ferdinand I. When the king died, he divided his kingdom among his five children. Sancho was given Castile, Alfonso was given Leon, Garcia was given Galicia, Urraca was given Zamora, and Elvira was given Toro. When prince Sancho became King Sancho II in 1065, he gave Rodrigo the highest position at court. Rodrigo was given the position of Standard Bearer or Head of Royal Armies. Sancho believed that the kingdom should stay united and Rodrigo stood by him. Urraca resisted uniting the kingdom, as well as Sancho's other siblings. Sancho was assassanated in 1072 . The Castillians proclaimed that Alfonso would be their king. Alfonso was now the King of Castile as well as King of Leon.

El Cid accused Alfonso of taking part in the murder of his brother, Sancho and el Cid made Alfonso swear that he had not taken any part in the assassanation of Sancho. The Cid continued in the royal service and married Alfonso's neice Jimena in 1074. El Cid was sent to Sevilla as an ambassador and he was accused of keeping money and treasures that were for King Alfonso. El Cid was disinherited and exiled; he sought to serve several Arab kings. He spent his first decade of exile fighting for various Christian and Moslem rulers. He remained loyal to King Alfonso despite the King's refusal to forgive him.

In 1090 the Cid, with both the kings of Saragossa and Aragon, concentrated on resisting the advance of the Berber Almoravids in eastern Spain. In November,1092 he began a siege of Valencia. In 1094, El Cid conquered the region of Valencia with his troops and offered Valencia to King Alfonso. Alfonso accepted his offer of Valencia and El Cid was made Lord of Valencia . The Cid tried to maintain the Christian presence in the largely Moslem town. He ruled there until his death on July 10,1099. His widow Jimena continued to rule, but in 1102 she was forced to abandon Valencia to the Almoravids.

To this day, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar is known as a hero of Christian Spain. El Cid was also a great war hero due to his excellent acheivements in the the Reconquest of Spain . El Cid was a superior and extremely successful soldier of fortune who apparently never lost a battle.

 

El Cid Links - Credits

 

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