El Cid (c. 1034 – 1099)
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar widely known as El Cid Campeador was a Castilian knight in service of Sancho II and later of his brother Alfonso VI. Later, El Cid came into conflict with Alfonso VI which resulted in his exile but not in the end of his military career. In 1081, El Cid offered his service to the Moorish king Yusuf al-Mutamin as well as to his successor Al-Mustain II.
After the defeat of combined army of Leon, Aragon and Castile against the Moorish Andalusians, Alfonso VI recalled El Cid from exile who appeared in Castilian court in 1087, however, it is not clear what happened afterwards. About the same time began El Cid with preparations against the city of Valencia held by the Moors but first he had to deal with Ramon Berenguer II who ruled the nearby Barcelona. El Cid defeated and captured Berenguer in the Battle of Lebar in 1090 and removed the first obstacle in his conquest of Valencia which finally fell into El Cid’s hands in 1094. He officially ruled the city in the name of Alfonso VI but he was de facto independent ruler until his death in 1099. El Cid died peacefully of natural causes although the 1961 production El Cid featuring Charlton Heston implied otherwise.