Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a Castilian knight and warlord in medieval Spain. Fighting with both Christian and Muslim armies during his lifetime, he earned the Arabic honorific al-sīd, which would evolve into El Cid (“the lord”), and the Spanish moniker El Campeador (“the champion”). He was born in Vivar del Cid, a village near the city of Burgos. As the head of his loyal knights, he came to dominate the Levante of the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 11th century. He reclaimed the Taifa of Valencia from Moorish control for a brief period during the Reconquista, ruling the principality as its Prince (Señorío de Valencia). His wife, Jimena Díaz, inherited the city and maintained it until 1102 when it was reconquered by the Moors.
Díaz de Vivar became well known for his service in the armies of both Christian and Muslim rulers. After his death, El Cid became Spain’s celebrated national hero and the protagonist of the most significant medieval Spanish epic poem, El Cantar de mio Cid, which presents him as the ideal medieval knight: strong, valiant, loyal, just, and pious.
There are various theories on his family history, which remains uncertain; however, he was the grandfather of García Ramírez de Pamplona, King of Navarre, the first son of his daughter Cristina Rodríguez.