Manuel I of Portugal

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Manuel I (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐnuˈɛɫ]; Archaic Portuguese: Manoel I, English: Emmanuel I), the Fortunate (Port. o Venturoso), 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves (Alcochete, May 31, 1469 – December 13, 1521 in Lisbon) was the son of Infante Fernando, Duke of Viseu, (1433 - 1470), by his wife, Infanta Beatriz of Portugal.



His mother was the granddaughter of King John I of Portugal; his father, Prince Fernando, was the second surviving son of King Edward of Portugal, being thus the cadet brother of King Afonso V of Portugal. Manuel succeeded his first cousin King John II of Portugal, who was also his brother-in-law, in 1495.

Manuel grew up among the conspiracies of the aristocratic high nobility against king John II. He watched many people being killed and exiled. His older brother Diogo, the duke of Viseu, had been murdered in 1484 by the king himself.

Thus, when receiving a royal order in 1493 to present himself to the king, Manuel had every reason to worry. Without reason: John II wanted to name him heir to the throne, after the death of his son, Prince Afonso, and the failed attempts to legitimise Jorge, Duke of Coimbra, his illegitimate son. As a result of this stroke of luck he was nicknamed the Fortunate.

Manuel would prove a worthy successor to his cousin King John II, supporting the Portuguese exploration of the Atlantic Ocean and the development of Portuguese commerce. During his reign, the following was achieved:

All these events made Portugal rich on foreign trade whilst formally establishing its empire. Manuel used the wealth to build a number of royal buildings (in the Manueline style) and to attract scientists and artists to his court. Commercial treaties and diplomatic alliances were forged with China and the Persian Empire. The Pope received a monumental embassy from Portugal during his reign, designed to be a show of the newly acquired riches to all Europe.

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