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Born to King Fernando the Great of Castile, Sancha was named the heiress to the kingdom by her father. However, upon his death, her brother usurped the throne from her and exiled her to Madrid. He proved to be an unpopular ruler and was quickly deposed, allowing Sancha to return and become Queen of Castile at the age of 18. Ambitious and intelligent, Sancha vowed to see Spain united as one nation one day and she set out to fullfil her dream.
Soon after her ascension, Sancha defeated King Pelayo II of Galicia, usurping his throne and gaining the Kingdom of Galicia in the process. In 1195, Sancha inherited the Kingdom of Navarra from her childless uncle, making Castile the undisputed superpower in the Spanish peninsula. By 1205, Sancha had conquered all of Spain, and was crowned the first Empress of All Spain by the Pope.
Reigning for 55 more years, Sancha became a revered figure among the Spanish and upon her death, the nation descended into deep mourning. Today, she is remembered for having founded the Spanish nation and is often called the Mother of the Nation. Sancha was succeeded by her grandson Carlos.