Rodrigo “El Cid Campeador” Diaz

Rodrigo “El Cid Campeador” Diaz

Burgos, Provincia de Burgos, Castilla y León, Spain
Death 10 Jun 1099 (aged 55–56)
Valencia, Provincia de València, Valenciana, Spain
Burial Burgos, Provincia de Burgos, Castilla y León, Spain
Memorial ID 8091411 · View Source
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Medieval Spanish Military Leader. A national hero of Spain, he was a Castilian nobleman and was called El Cid (the Lord) by the Moors and El Campeador (the Champion) by Christians. He was born in Vivar, Spain (also known as Castillona de Bivar), a small town about six miles north of Burgos, the capital of Castile at that time. His father, Diego Lainez, was a courtier, bureaucrat, and cavalryman who had fought in several battles. He was brought up at the court of the Spanish Emperor Ferdinand the Great and served in the household of Prince Sancho. He rose to become commander and the royal standard-bearer of Castile upon Sancho II's ascension in 1065. He went on to lead the Castilian military campaigns against Sancho's brothers, the rulers of the kingdoms of Leon and Galicia as well as against the Muslim kingdoms in Andalusia. He became famous for his military prowess in these campaigns and helped enlarge Castilian territory at the expense of the Muslims while driving Sancho's brothers from their thrones. However, it ended up putting him in a difficult position when, in 1072, Sancho died suddenly without any direct heirs to his throne, leaving his brother, Alfonso VI, as his only heir and ruler of the reunified empire. Although he continued to serve the crown in the person of Alfonso, who was now Emperor of Spain, he lost his status in court and was held in suspicion. In 1079, at the Battle of Cabra he rallied his troops and turned the battle into a rout of Emir Abdulallh of Granada and his ally Garcia Ordonez. However, his unauthorized expedition into Granada greatly angered Alfonso IV, in 1081 he was ordered into exile. This is the generally given reason for his exile, although several others are plausible and may have been contributing factors, e.g., jealous nobles turning Alfonso against him, Alfonso's own animosity towards him, and an accusation of pocketing some of the tribute from Seville. After his exile he found work fighting for the Muslim rulers of Zaragoza, whom he protected from the domination of Aragon and Barcelona, further bolstering his military record and reputation as a leader. He was also victorious in battles against the Muslim rulers of Lerida and their Christian allies, as well as against a large Christian army under King Sancho Ramirez of Aragon. In 1086, Alfonso was defeated by Almoravids, Berber residents of present-day North Africa, led by Yusuf ibn Tashfin, and he overcame his antagonism to talk Rodrigo into fighting for him again. Over the next several years he set his sights on the kingdom-city of Valencia, operating more or less independently of Alfonso while politically supporting the Banu Hud and other Muslim dynasties opposed to the Almoravids. He gradually increased his control over Valencia and the Muslim ruler, al-Qadir, became his tributary in 1092. However, the Almoravids instigated an uprising that resulted in the death of al-Qadir. He then responded by laying siege to the city and it fell in 1094, and he established an independent principality on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, ruling over a pluralistic state with the popular support of both Christians and Muslims. In his final years he fought the Almoravids, inflicting the first major defeat on them in 1094 at the plains of Caurte outside Valencia and continued resisting them until his death. Although he would remain undefeated in Valencia, he suffered a tragedy when his only son and heir, Diego Rodriguez, died fighting against the Almoravids at the Battle of Consuegra in 1097, in the service of Alfonso IV. He and his wife, Jimena Diaz whom he married in 1075, lived peacefully in Valencia until the Almoravids besieged it and on June 10, 1099 he died defending the city. According to legend, his wife ordered that his corpse be fitted with his armor and set atop his horse, to bolster the morale of his troops. In several variations of the story, the dead Rodrigo and his knights win a thundering charge against Valencia's besiegers, resulting in a war-is-lost-but-battle-is-won "cleansing" for generations of Christian Spaniards to follow. He was originally buried in Castile in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardena; when his wife fled to Burgos, Castille in 1101, she took his body with her and it now lies at the center of the Burgos Cathedral. After his death, his wife succeeded him as ruler of Valencia, but she finally was forced to surrender the principality to the Almoravids in 1102 and it did not become a Christian city again for over 125 years.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mongoose
  • Added: 16 Nov 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8091411
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rodrigo “El Cid Campeador” Diaz (1043–10 Jun 1099), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8091411, citing San Pedro de Cardeña Monastery, Burgos, Provincia de Burgos, Castilla y León, Spain ; Maintained by Find A Grave .