Biography of King of Portugal Alfonso I (1110-1185)

King of Portugal, known as Alfonso Henríquez the Conqueror, born in Guimaraes 25 July 1110 and died in the monastery of Decelas the 6 December 1185 in Coimbra. He/She was the founder of the Portuguese monarchy and the dynasty of Burgundy, which stood about two and a half centuries.

Son of Henry of Burgundy and Doña Teresa, daughter of Alfonso VI of León, inherited the County of Portugal at the death of his father in 1112, taking charge of the Doña Teresa Government because of the minority of don Alfonso. He/She remained in the care of the mighty hidalgo Egas Moniz, who was his guardian until the age of twelve. Knight based in Zamora was armed in 1124. Meanwhile, Doña Teresa had set as a political objective deviate to the influence of the Kingdom of León and had the general support of nobility to the South of the river Miño, but emerged an opposition faction when the Regent took as valid to don Fernando Pérez, count of Trava. Alfonso Henríquez stood in front of this faction, instigated by the gentlemen that the valid had excluded from public affairs.

In 1127, don Alfonso claimed the Government, but his mother refused to leave the Regency, which led to a clash between the parties that number to the King or to the Regent. When earlier this year broke out the revolution, Alfonso VII of Castile and Leon, wanting to retain sovereignty over the County of Portugal, invaded and besieged Guimarães; the nobles encircled there, stated on behalf of Alfonso Henríquez, hereafter Portugal would be vassal of the Crown of León; Egas Moniz was as guarantor of this promise and that was enough to Alfonso VII lifted the siege of the city. In 1128 resumed the war between don Alfonso and his mother. The victory of the first in the field of San Mamede, near Guimarães, was final and both the count of Trava and Doña Teresa were expelled from the County. Alfonso VII, occupied on other issues, could not intervene in Portugal, which allowed for the following years resistance against Castile Alfonso I. But don Alfonso should request a peace the Leonese King when escalated the war against the Muslims, who defeated the Portuguese in taking and destroyed the castle of Leiria (1137). Alfonso Henríquez defeated the Saracens led by the Governor of Santarem in the battle of Ourique (1139), in the Alentejo. The historian Herculano has wanted to see in the victory of Ourique "the cornerstone of the Portuguese monarchy". The truth is that after the truce requested by Alfonso VII in 1140, Alfonso Henríquez took the Royal title, which, for the moment, was not recognized by the Leonese King.

In 1143, Alfonso I obtained the Papal protection in Exchange for a yearly census of four ounces of gold. A conference between the two Alfonsos at the behest of Cardinal Guido de Vico, which, as a papal representative, claimed the peace between Portugal and Castile was held in Zamora. The Conference of Zamora gave rise to recognition as King of Alfonso I by Alfonso VII, to surrender her allegiance. In the courts of 1145 Lamego, don Alfonso was sworn by the nobility and the prelates as King of Portugal, while recognizing its how hereditary title.

As King of Portugal, Alfonso I tried to extend its territory. With the Kingdom of León in the West, the only way that Portugal had to expand was the South, dominated by Muslims. The 15 March 1147 conquered Santarém in a stroke of hand and fixed their attention on the conquest of Lisbon. The King bought the collaboration of an armada of German, English, and Flemish Crusaders who at the time was in the Douro and conducted a grueling siege, which ended with the surrender of the city on 23 October. The conquest of Lisbon had a great psychological effect: the region surrendered immediately and the strategic strengths of Sintra and Palmela were abandoned by its Muslim defenders.

It is the hypothesis of Alfonso I of Portugal to collaborate in 1150 with the Governor of Mértola, when it was attacked by the Governors of the King of Morocco. If we give credit to the source from which these data comes from, don Alfonso would have assembled an army, joined the ibn Caci would have defeated the generals of the emir of Morocco in a battle that would share name of Ourique.

The following two decades were a powerful momentum of the process of conquest: in June 1158 was conquered Alcácer do Sal, after a siege of two months; in November of 1162 a such Fernando Gonçalves, accompanied by a group of bourgeois and villains, seized Beja in a stroke of hand; in 1166 the King penetrated Alentejo and conquered Serpa, Moura, and Alconchel, then rebuilding the castle of Courache, between Evora and the Tagus. the same year, Giraldo Giraldes, named Sem Pavor (without fear), took the city of Évora.

The marriage of Doña Urraca (1165), daughter of Portuguese King, with the King Fernando II of Leon, one of the successors of Alfonso VII, was not enough to ensure a perpetual peace. The fact is that a violent war between the two kingdoms, in which Alfonso Henríquez took the initiative exploded: he/she sent his son Sancho to the conquest of Rodrigo city, but this was intercepted and defeated by Leon in a place called Arganal and was forced to flee. Alfonso I responded with the occupation of Galicia from Tuy to lérez river banks and the construction of the fortress of Cedofeita. In the spring of 1169 he/she returned to Portugal and continued the fight against Muslims with the site of Badajoz, but the concurrence of the Lion King at the siege of the city Alfonso I and became besieger and besieged; wanting to leave the square broke a leg and during its transfer to a safe place was captured by the Leonese troops and remained prisoner for two months. Alfonso Henríquez offered their States to Fernando II in Exchange for their freedom, but it did honor to his reputation as a generous and freed the Portuguese King only in Exchange for the places conquered by don Alfonso.

Alfonso I arrived in Portugal, unable to the war, but in 1171 he/she was besieged by General almohades of Abu Yacub, in the city of Santarém. Muslims only retreated when Fernando II went to helping his father-in-law. After having been invalid, Alfonso I returned not to undertake military expeditions.

13 April 1179, the Holy See recognized first King to Alfonso I, in the bull Relatum est. Thereafter the annual census that the monarch sent to Rome was promoted to two frames of gold and in 1181 Alfonso Henríquez donated a thousand gold maravedíes Pope. He/She died after his successor, Sancho I the repopulation achieved a dream win against the Almohads (1184) and was buried in the monastery of Santa Cruz of Coimbra, where later her son did build a superb mausoleum.

Alfonso Henríquez was the creator of two Portuguese military orders, the wing and that of San Bento de Aviz; for your patronage were introduced in the Kingdom the Knights of Rhodes. It is the Foundation of the monastery of Santa Cruz of Coimbra, Santa María de Alcobaça, San Vicente de Fora in Lisbon and San Juan Bautista de Tarouca.


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