Ferdinand I of Portugal

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Ferdinand I (Fernando, Portuguese pronunciation: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃du]; Lisbon, 31 October 1345 – 22 October 1383 in Lisbon), sometimes referred to as the Handsome (Portuguese: o Formoso, or o Belo ) or rarely as the Inconstant (Portuguese: o Inconstante), was the ninth King of Portugal and the Algarve, the second (but eldest surviving) son of Peter I and his wife, Constance of Castile. He succeeded his father in 1367.

On the death of Peter of Castile in 1369, Ferdinand, as great-grandson of Sancho IV by the female line, laid claim to the vacant throne, for which the kings of Aragon and Navarre, and afterwards John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster (married in 1370 to Constance, the eldest daughter of Peter), also became competitors.

Meanwhile Henry II of Castile, Peter's illegitimate brother, who had defeated Peter, assumed his crown and took the field. After one or two indecisive campaigns, all parties were ready to accept the mediation of Pope Gregory XI. The conditions of the treaty, ratified in 1371, included a marriage between Ferdinand and Leonora of Castile. But before the union could take place Ferdinand had become passionately attached to Leonor Telles de Menezes, the wife of one of his own courtiers. Having procured a dissolution of her previous marriage, he lost no time in making Leonor his queen.

This strange conduct, although it raised a serious insurrection in Portugal, did not at once result in a war with Henry. However, the outward concord was soon disturbed by the intrigues of the duke of Lancaster, who prevailed on Ferdinand to enter into a secret treaty for the expulsion of Henry from his throne. The war which followed was unsuccessful; and peace was again made in 1373. On the death of Henry in 1379, the duke of Lancaster once more put forward his claims, and again found an ally in Portugal. According to the Continental annalists, the English proved as offensive to their allies as to their enemies in the field. So Ferdinand made a peace for himself at Badajoz in 1382. It stipulated that Beatrice, Ferdinand's daughter and heiress, would marry King John I of Castile, and thus secure the ultimate union of the two crowns.

Ferdinand left no male heir when he died on 22 October 1383, and the direct Burgundian line, which had been in possession of the throne since the days of Count Henry (about 1112), became extinct. The stipulations of the treaty of Badajoz were set aside, and John, Grand Master of the order of Aviz, Ferdinand's illegitimate brother, claimed the throne. This led to a period of war and political indefinition known as the 1383-1385 Crisis. John became the first king of the House of Aviz in 1385.

Marriages and descendants

Fernando married Leonor Telles (or Teles) de Menezes, formerly the wife of the late nobleman João Lourenço da Cunha, Lord of Pombeiro, and daughter of Martin Alfonso Telles de Menezes (Martim Afonso Teles de Menezes). She gave him two sons who both died young, and one daughter.


Beatrice, titular Queen of Portugal · Infante Pedro · Infante Afonso · Infante Fernando, Lord of Eça· Infanta Maria Brites, Countess of Valencia de Campos* · Infanta Isabel Brites, Countess of Cigales and Buelna*  · Infanta Joana, Lady of Buendía* · Infante Fernando, Lord of Cifuentes* · Infante Pedro, Lord of Colmenarejo* · Infanta Beatrice*

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