Former kingdom in the northwestern part of the Iberian peninsula, now a civil province of Spain. As a Roman military colony in the Asturias, it was called Legio Septima Gemina, which was modified to Leon. Christianity was early introduced, and there were bishops in the 3rd century. The numerous martyrs in the Roman persecutions included Saint Facundus (from which Sahagun is derived), Saint Marcellus and Saint Nonia with their sons Claudius, Victoricus, and Lupercus, Saint Vincent, and Saint Ramirus. In the 4th century a monastery was built on the site of the death of Claudius and his brothers. Leon fell into the hands of the Moors, but was recovered by Alfonso I the Catholic, and again by Ordofio I (850-866). In the 10th century under Ordoño II Castile was subjugated, the cathedral of Leon founded, and Leon became the leading Christian state of western Spain. In 983 it fell into the power of Almanzor but was recovered by Alfonso V, and given a charter by the politico-ecclesiastical Council of Leon establishing the right of benefactoria by which a vassal could bind himself to any lord. In 1029 Leon and Castile became the possessions of Ferdinand I of Navarre, and from this time the leadership passed to Castile with which Leon was finally incorporated in 1230. In 1063 the relics of Saint Isidore were transferred from Seville to the church of San Juan Bautista which was rebuilt and renamed for the Sevillian Doctor. In 1135 Alfonso VIti was proclaimed Emperor of Spain in the basilica of Santa Maria.

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