Afonso IV of Portugal

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Afonso IV[1] (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]; 8 February 1291 – 28 May 1357), called the Brave (Portuguese: o Bravo), was the seventh king of Portugal and the Algarve from 1325 until his death. He was the only legitimate son of King Denis of Portugal by his wife Elizabeth of Aragon.

Afonso, born in Lisbon, was the rightful heir to the Portuguese throne. However, he was not, according to several sources, Dinis' favourite son; his half-brother, the illegitimate Afonso Sanches, enjoyed full royal favour. From early in life, the notorious rivalry led to several outbreaks of civil war. On 7 January 1325, Afonso's father died and he became king, taking full revenge on his brother. His rival was sentenced to exile in Castile, and stripped of all the lands and fiefdoms donated by their father. Afonso Sanches, however, did not sit still. From Castile, he orchestrated a series of attempts to usurp the crown for himself. After a few failed attempts at invasion, both brothers signed a peace treaty, arranged by Afonso's mother Queen Elizabeth.

In 1309, Afonso IV married Infanta Beatrice of Castile, daughter of King Sancho IV of Castile by his wife Maria de Molina. The first-born of this union, Infanta Maria of Portugal, married King Alfonso XI of Castile in 1328, at the same time that Afonso IV's heir, Peter I of Portugal, was promised to another Castilian infanta, Constance of Penafiel. These arrangements were imperiled by the ill will of Alfonso XI of Castile, who was, at the time, publicly mistreating his wife. Afonso IV was not happy to see his daughter abused, and started a war against Castile. Peace arrived four years later, with the intervention of Infanta Maria herself. A peace treaty was signed in Seville in 1339 and, in the next year, Portuguese troops played an important role in the victory of the Battle of Rio Salado over the Marinid Moors in October 1340.

The last part of Afonso IV's reign is marked not by open warfare against Castile, but by political intrigue. Civil war between King Pedro of Castile and his half-brother Henry of Trastamara led to the exile of many Castilian nobles to Portugal. These immigrants immediately created a faction among the Portuguese court, aiming at privileges and power that, somehow, could compensate what they lost at home. The faction grew in power, especially after Inês de Castro, daughter of an important nobleman and maid of the Crown Princess Constance, became the lover of her lady's husband: Peter, the heir of Portugal. Afonso IV was displeased with his son's choice of lovers, and hoped that the relationship would be a futile one. Unfortunately for internal politics, it was not. Peter was openly in love with Ines, recognized all the children she bore, and, worst of all, favoured the Castilians that surrounded her. Moreover, after his wife's death in 1349, Peter refused the idea of marrying anyone other than Ines herself.

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