, Afonso I Of Portugal

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Afonso I of Portugal
b: 25 JUN 1109
d: 6 DEC 1185
Afonso I[1] (25 June 1109, Guimarães or Viseua[›] – 6 December 1185,Coimbra), more commonly known as D. Afonso Henriques (Portuguesepronunciation: [?''fõsu ?''?ik??]), nicknamed "the Conqueror" (Portuguese:o Conquistador), "the Founder" (o Fundador) or "the Great" (o Grande) bythe Portuguese, and El-Bortukali ("the Portuguese") and Ibn-Arrik ("sonof Henry", "Henriques") by the Moors whom he fought, was the first Kingof Portugal. He achieved the independence of the southern part of theKingdom of Galicia, the County of Portugal, from Galicia''s overlord, theKing of León, in 1139, establishing a new kingdom and doubling its areawith the Reconquista, an objective that he pursued until his death, in1185, after forty-six years of wars against the Moors.

Afonso I was the son of Henry, Count of Portugal, and Theresa of León,the natural daughter of King Alfonso VI of León. The pair reigned jointlyas Count and Countess of Portugal until Henry''s death, after whichTheresa reigned alone.

Afonso, born in 1109, took the title of Prince after taking the thronefrom his mother, supported by the generality of the Portuguese nobility,who disliked what the alliance between Galicia and Portugal whichCountess Theresa had come to, she having gotten remarried to the mostpowerful Galician count. In 1120, the young prince took the side of Paio
Mendes da Maia, the Archbishop of Braga, a political foe of Theresa, andboth were exiled on her orders. In 1122, Afonso turned fourteen, theadult age in the 12th century. He made himself a knight on his ownaccount in the Cathedral of Zamora, raised an army, and proceeded to takecontrol of his mother''s lands. Near Guimarães, at the Battle of SãoMamede (1128) he overcame the troops under his stepfather and ally CountFernando Peres de Trava of Galicia, exiling her forever to a monastery inGalicia. Thus the possibility of re-incorporating Portugal (up to thenknown as Southern Galicia) into a Kingdom of Portugal and Galicia asbefore was eliminated and Afonso became sole ruler (Duke of Portugal)following demands for independence from the county''s church and nobles.He also vanquished his mother''s nephew, Alfonso VII of León, came to herrescue, and thus freed the kingdom from political dependence on the crownof his cousin of León. On 6 April 1129, Afonso Henriques dictated thewrit in which he proclaimed himself Prince of Portugal.

Afonso then turned his arms against the persistent problem of the Moorsin the south. His campaigns were successful and, on 25 July 1139, heobtained an overwhelming victory in the Battle of Ourique, and straightafter was unanimously proclaimed King of the Portuguese by his soldiers,establishing his equality in rank to the other realms of the Peninsula.The first assembly of the estates-general convened at Lamego (wherein hewould have been given the crown from the Archbishop of Braga, to confirmhis independence) is a 17th-century embellishment of Portuguese history.

Independence from Alfonso VII of León''s suzerainty, however, was not athing he just could achieve militarily. The County of Portugal still hadto be acknowledged diplomatically by the neighboring lands as a kingdomand, most importantly, by the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. Afonsowed Mafalda of Savoy, daughter of Amadeus III, Count of Savoy, and sentambassadors to Rome to negotiate with the Pope. He succeeded inrenouncing the suzerainty of his cousin, Alfonso VII of León, becominginstead a vassal of the papacy, as the kings of Sicily and Aragon haddone before him. In 1179 the bull Manifestis Probatum accepted the newking as vassal to the pope exclusively.

In Portugal he built several monasteries and convents and bestowedimportant privileges to religious orders. He is notably the builder ofAlcobaça Monastery, to which he called the Cistercian Order of his uncleBernard of Clairvaux of Burgundy. In 1143, he wrote to Pope Innocent IIto declare himself and the kingdom servants of the church, swearing topursue driving the Moors out of the Iberian Peninsula. Bypassing any kingof León, Afonso declared himself the direct liege man of the papacy.Afonso continued to distinguish himself by his exploits against theMoors, from whom he wrested Santarém (see Conquest of Santarém) andLisbon in 1147 (see Siege of Lisbon). He also conquered an important partof the land south of the Tagus River, although this was lost again to theMoors in the following years.

Meanwhile, King Alfonso VII of León (Afonso''s cousin) regarded theindependent ruler of Portugal as nothing but a rebel. Conflict betweenthe two was constant and bitter in the following years. Afonso becameinvolved in a war, taking the side of the Aragonese king, an enemy ofCastile. To ensure the alliance, his son Sancho was engaged to Dulce,sister of the Count of Barcelona and Infanta of Aragon. Finally, in 1143,the Treaty of Zamora established peace between the cousins and therecognition by the Kingdom of León that Portugal was a sovereign kingdom.

In 1169 the now old Dom Afonso was disabled in an engagement near Badajozby a fall from his horse, and made prisoner by the soldiers of the kingof León Ferdinand II also his son-in-law. Portugal was obliged tosurrender as his ransom almost all the conquests Afonso had made inGalicia (north of the Minho River) in the previous years.

In 1179 the privileges and favours given to the Roman Catholic Churchwere compensated. In the papal bull Manifestis Probatum, Pope AlexanderIII acknowledged Afonso as king and Portugal as an independent crown withthe right to conquer lands from the Moors. With this papal blessing,Portugal was at last secured as a kingdom.

In 1184, in spite of his great age, he still had sufficient energy torelieve his son Sancho, who was besieged in Santarém by the Moors. Afonsodied shortly after, on 6 December 1185. The Portuguese revere him as ahero, both on account of his personal character and as the founder oftheir nation. There are mythical stories that it took 10 men to carry hissword, and that Afonso wanted to engage other monarchs in personalcombat, but no one would dare accept his challenge.
  • 25 JUN 1109 - Birth - ; Guimarães or Viseu, County of Portugal
  • 6 DEC 1185 - Death - ; Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
  • 26 JUL 1139 - Reign - King ; Portugal
  • 26 JUL 1139 - Crowned -
Afonso I of Portugal
25 JUN 1109 - 6 DEC 1185
Alfonso VI of León and Castile
BEF JUN 1040 - June 29/July 1, 1109
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Henry, Count of Portugal
Marriageto Teresa de León
FatherHenry of Burgundy
PARENT (F) Teresa de León
Marriageto Henry, Count of Portugal
FatherAlfonso VI of León and Castile
MotherXimena Moniz
MAfonso I of Portugal
Birth25 JUN 1109Guimarães or Viseu, County of Portugal
Death6 DEC 1185Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Marriageto Mafalda of Savoy
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Afonso I of Portugal
Birth25 JUN 1109Guimarães or Viseu, County of Portugal
Death6 DEC 1185 Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Marriageto Mafalda of Savoy
FatherHenry, Count of Portugal
MotherTeresa de León
PARENT (F) Mafalda of Savoy
Marriageto Afonso I of Portugal
FatherAmadeus III, Count of Savoy
MotherMahaut of Albon
FUrraca of Portugal
Marriageto Ferdinand II of León
Descendancy Chart