'Abd al-Rahman was born and died in Cordoba. He was the son of Almanzor and chief minister of Hisham II, Caliph of Cordoba.
His originally Christian mother was Abda (born Urraca), daughter of Sancho II of Pamplona, after whom he was named; Sanchuelo (Arabic: Shanjoul) being the diminutive of Sancho; because he looked like his Christian grandfather.
Almanzor actually had all power in his hands but nominally recognized the suzerainty of the caliph. His son and successor 'Abd al-Malik al-Muzaffar acted in the same way.
When 'Abd al-Malik died, his younger brother 'Abd al-Rahman succeeded him on October 20, 1008. He used his great influence and forced the weak caliph to designate him as his heir (November 1008). Because of this, the population of Córdoba was very angry. They had already disliked the rule of Almanzor because he had recruited many Berbers as mercenaries. 'Abd ar-Rahman was accused of poisoning his brother 'Abd al-Malik.
When 'Abd al-Rahman went on an expedition against King Alfonso V of Leon (February 1009), the citizens of Córdoba rose up against him. They were led by Muhammad II al-Mahdi, a member of the dynasty of the Umayyads. Muhammad II al-Mahdi dethroned his relative Hisham II, became new caliph and destroyed the residence of 'Abd al-Rahman called al-Madina al-Zahira -- "the flourishing city". On receiving this news, 'Abd al-Rahman returned to Córdoba but his troops abandoned him. He was arrested and later assassinated by the order of al-Mahdi.
Alternative names include:
'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi 'Amir
'Abd al-Rahman Sanchuelo
Ibn Abi 'Amir
Ibn Abi 'Amir, 'Abd al-Rahman
The Little Sancho
Sanchuelo, 'Abd al-Rahman