Afonso I of Portugal

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Afonso I or Alfonso I [1] (c. 1109, Guimarães or Viseu – 6 December 1185, Coimbra), more commonly known as Afonso Henriques (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu ẽˈʁikɨʃ]), nicknamed "the Conqueror" (Portuguese: o Conquistador), "the Founder" (Portuguese: o Fundador) or "the Great" (Portuguese: o Grande) by the Portuguese, and El-Bortukali ("the Portuguese") and Ibn-Arrik ("son of Henry", "Henriques") by the Moors whom he fought, was the first King of Portugal. He achieved the independence of the southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia—County of Portugal—from the Kingdom of León, in 1139, doubling its area with the Reconquista, an objective that he pursued until his death, in 1185, after forty-six years of wars against the Moors.

Contents

Life

Afonso I was the son of Henry of Burgundy, Count of Portugal, and Teresa of León, the illegitimate daughter of King Alfonso VI of León. He was proclaimed king on 25 July 1139, immediately after the Battle of Ourique, and died on 6 December 1185 in Coimbra.

At the end of the 11th century, the Iberian Peninsula political agenda was mostly concerned with the Reconquista, the driving out of the Muslim successor-states to the Caliphate of Córdoba after its collapse. With European military aristocracies focused on the Crusades, Alfonso VI called for the help of the French nobility to deal with the Moors. In exchange, he was to give the hands of his daughters in wedlock to the leaders of the expedition and bestow royal privileges to the others. Thus, the royal heiress Urraca of León wedded Raymond of Burgundy, younger son of the Count of Burgundy, and her half-sister, princess Teresa of León, wedded his cousin, another French crusader, Henry of Burgundy, younger brother of the Duke of Burgundy. Henry was made Count of Portugal, a burdensome county south of Galicia, where Moorish incursions and attacks were to be expected. With his wife Teresa as co-ruler of Portugal, Henry withstood the ordeal and held the lands for his father-in-law.

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