Afonso I, Duke of Braganza

Afonso I

posthumous engraving; Carlos António Leoni
Duke of Braganza
Tenure 30 December 1442 – 15 December 1461
Successor Fernando I
Born (1377-08-10)10 August 1377
Veiros, Estremoz, Alentejo, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 15 December 1461(1461-12-15) (aged 84)
Chaves, Trás-os-Montes,
Kingdom of Portugal
Spouse Beatriz Pereira de Alvim
Constance de Noronha
Issue Afonso, 1st Marquis of Valença
Isabella, Lady of Reguengos de Monsaraz
Fernando I, Duke of Braganza
House House of Braganza
Father João I of Portugal
Mother Inês Peres
Religion Roman Catholicism

Dom Afonso I of Braganza (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]; 10 August 1377 – 15 December 1461) was the first Duke of Braganza and the eighth Count of Barcelos. He would start a dynasty, the House of Braganza, that would end up being the most powerful and wealthy in all of Portugal. His descendents would go on to become high-ranking nobles, imperial officials, and even the Kings of Portugal and the Emperors of Brazil.

Early life

Historians believe he was born in Veiros, Estremoz, Alentejo, as a natural son of Portuguese King John I and Inês Peres.[1] He married the heiress Beatriz Pereira de Alvim, daughter of Nuno Álvares Pereira, a general and the wealthiest man in the kingdom.

A traveled and cultivated man, Afonso was present in 1415 when the Portuguese conquered Ceuta. When his half-brother King Edward I of Portugal died in 1438, his son Afonso V (Afonso's nephew) was an infant and the choice for the regency was his sister-in-law, the Queen Mother Eleonor of Aragon.

This choice for the regency was not popular because Eleonor was Aragonese, so in a meeting of the Portuguese Cortes summoned by Afonso's half-brother John, Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz, the regency was awarded to the Infante Peter, Duke of Coimbra, another half-brother of Afonso and an uncle of the young king. This choice pleased both the people and the fast-growing bourgeoisie.

Aristocratic Complications

Within the Portuguese aristocracy, however, especially those in the circle around Afonso, Eleonor of Aragon was preferred, and there were doubts about Peter's political policies. A contest for the young king's affection began, and within a few years, Afonso managed to become Afonso V's favourite uncle.

In 1443, in a gesture of reconciliation, Peter made Afonso the first Duke of Braganza.[2] But, in 1445, Afonso took offence because Isabella of Coimbra, Peter's daughter, became the choice for Afonso V's wife, and not one of his granddaughters. Indifferent to the intrigues, Peter continued his regency and the country prospered under his rule. It was during this period that the first subsidies for the exploration of the Atlantic Ocean were appropriated under the supervision of Henry the Navigator (another of Afonso's half-brothers).

On 9 June 1448, King Afonso V came of age, and Peter turned over control of the country to the king. An ambitious man, he persuaded the young king to turn against Peter. Influenced by Afonso, the king nullified all of Peter's edicts. The following year, under accusations that years later would prove false, Afonso V declared his uncle Peter a rebel. The situation became unsustainable and a civil war begun. On 20 May 1449, during the Battle of Alfarrobeira, near Alverca, Peter was killed.[2]

After the Battle of Alfarrobeira, Afonso V gave new powers to his uncle Afonso and nine years later when he departed to Africa, the regency was delegated to him.

Marriages and Issue

Afonso married twice. His first marriage was to Beatriz Pereira de Alvim, on 8 November 1401, with whom he had three children:

Afonso14009 October 14604th Count of Ourém, 1st Marquis of Valença
IsabellaOctober 140226 October 1466Married John, Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz
Fernando I14031 April 14789th Count of Barcelos, 5th Count of Ourém, 3rd Count of Arraiolos, 2nd Duke of Braganza, 1st Marquis of Vila Viçosa, 1st Count of Neiva

Afonso married a second time, to his third cousin, Constance of Noronha, daughter of Alfonso, Count of Gijón and Noronha (a natural son of Henry II of Castile), and of Isabel of Portugal (a natural daughter of Fernando I of Portugal). They had no issue.


See also


  1. She is sometimes said to be the daughter of a Jewish cobbler (Isabel Violante Pereira, De Mendo da Guarda a D. Manuel I, Lisboa, 2001, Livros Horizonte), but the Nobiliaries make her born at Borba, sister of Gil Peres and daughter of Pero Esteves, o Barbadão, of an old Portuguese noble family, akin to the Pinheiro family, and wife Maria Anes.
  2. 1 2 Gerli, E. Michael, and Armistead Samuel G., Medieval Iberia, p. 182, Taylor & Francis, 2003 ISBN 9780415939188


External links

Media related to Afonso, Duke of Braganza at Wikimedia Commons

Afonso I, Duke of Braganza
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 10 August 1377 Died: 15 December 1461
Portuguese nobility
Preceded by
Nuno Álvares Pereira
Count of Barcelos
Succeeded by
Fernando I
Preceded by
New Title
Duke of Braganza
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