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Alfonso IX

king of Leon from 1188 to 1230, son of Ferdinand II of Leon, and cousin of Alfonso VIII of Castile (next to whom he is numbered as a junior member of the family). A forceful personality, Alfonso IX was determined to recover Leonese territory lost to Castile; and, despite the fact that he had done homage to Alfonso VIII, he did not hesitate to ally himself with the Muslim Almohads to further this end. As a result, his kingdom was placed under papal interdiction, and he was finally compelled to marry the Castilian king's eldest daughter. He refused, however, to join his father-in-law in the Crusade against the Almohads in 1212 unless the lost lands were first restored by Castile. This was not done and the Leonese army was, therefore, absent from the decisive Christian victory at Las Navas de Tolosa. Nevertheless, operating on his own, Alfonso IX won important victories beyond the southern frontiers of Leon, taking Caceres (1227) and Merida and Badajoz (1230) from the Almohads. These victories opened the road for a future reconquest of Sevilla (Seville)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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