Biography of King of Portugal Manuel I (1469-1521)

King of Portugal Alcochete-born May 31, 1469 and died on December 13, 1521. Known by the nicknames of the lucky and also the great, was the first absolute monarch of Portugal, by instituting a series of taxes without talking to the courts. He/She supported the maritime expeditions of Vasco de Gama and Alburquerque and decreed the expulsion of the Jews from Portugal. Held on the sidelines of struggles that wracked Europe during his time, although he/she maintained cordial relations with the Kings of Spain. During his reign, Portugal was enriched with monuments of a very particular flamboyant Gothic that was called Manueline style.

Biographical synthesis

Son of the Duke of Viseu, infante don Fernando, and of infanta Doña Beatriz, don Manuel was brother of don Diego, who inherited the Duchy of Viseu to the death of his father in 1470; Doña Leonor, married with Juan II of Portugal, and therefore Queen; and Doña Isabel, who married the Duke of Braganza. In 1481, don Manuel was handed over to the Kings of Castile in Exchange for the infante Isabella, to ensure compliance with the Treaty of the Tercarias de Moura and returned to Portugal two years later, when his brother don Diego was to replace him.

In 1481 the Duke of Viseu, was murdered by order of King Juan II and don Manuel received from his brother-in-law, the King, goods and honors that had belonged to his brother and obtained by currency figure of the sphere. Don Manuel was named heir to the throne where the infante don Alfonso died and, as the King didn't want it used the titles of don Diego, ordered him to be titulase Duke of Beja and Lord of Viseu. He/She also received the titles of Marquis of Covilhã and Vila Viçosa, master of the order of Christ and Constable of the Kingdom.

The death of Juan II the perfect October 25, 1495, don Manuel received in Alcácer do Sal to the carriers of the testament of the deceased monarch, who instituted him heir to the throne. He/She then traveled to Montemor-o-Novo, from which convened the courts to receive the homage and oath of fidelity of the nobles of the realm. One of his first acts of Government was called the exile and restore their former property to the children of the Duke of Braganza, expelled from Portugal after the Duke don Fernando do is a revolt against Juan II, being beheaded in Évora (1483). This measure was not accepted by some populations, as Setubal, which revolted against the Royal order.

Manuel I and Princess Isabella of Castile marriage lasted only two years, as the Queen died giving birth to the eldest son of the King, the Prince don Miguel, who died in 1500; These two deaths took to Manuel I hope someday gird the crowns of Castile and Aragon. The King then married his sister-in-law, the Princess María, who bore him eight children: Juan, who succeeded him; Isabel, who was Empress; Beatriz, Duchess of Savoy; Luis Alfonso, Fernando, Enrique, the cardenal-rey and Eduardo. He/She married the sister of the Emperor Carlos V, Leonor, whose marriage was born the infanta María and Prince Carlos in third nuptials.

Foreign policy

In foreign policy, Manuel the fortunate was characterized by prudence and always tried not to interfere in the struggles maintained by other European countries. In 1496 the Portuguese monarch refused to ally themselves with Castile against Carlos VIII of France, although Queen Elizabeth said Portuguese troops turnout when Castilla was invaded by France. Relations between Portugal and Castile were intensified after the marriage of don Manuel with the infanta Isabella of Castile (October 1497) and don Manuel ordered the expulsion of Portugal to Jews who had taken refuge in Portugal after being expelled from Spain; a year later the Kings of Portugal were recognized his rights to the succession in Castile and Aragon in the Confederation and Alliance Treaty signed by Fernando the Catholic and Luis XII of France.

In 1511 Fernando of Aragon proposed to Manuel I to take part in the League against France, in which were the Papacy, the Empire and the Swiss; at the same time, the Portuguese monarch was receiving from the King of France the proposition that take part in a Council whose aim was to depose the Pope Julius II; Manuel I refused both offers, but in 1514, thanks to its intervention was a truce between Castile, the Emperor Maximiliano and the King of England on one side, and the Kings of France and Scotland on the other. That same year Manuel I sent to Rome as Ambassador to Tristão da Cunha, so it jurase the obedience to the Pope Leo X. Also could maintain neutrality Manuel I when uploading to the French throne Francisco I resumed the wars of Italy and, on the other hand, was one of the architects of the peace of Noyon (September 13, 1516), signed between Carlos V and the French monarch. But Manuel I always maintained excellent relations with the Spanish monarchs and volunteered to put Portuguese troops in the service of Carlos V when the communities of Guerra, occurred in Spain but in 1521 he/she refused to go to the call of Pope León X to join Carlos V in his war against Francisco I, and instead collaborated with the King of France in its fight against Turkish piracy.

During the reign of Manuel I occurred the maximum relevant events at the level of navigations and the geographical explorations, among which include the discovery of the sea routes to the India and Brazil, the Government of don Francisco de Almeida in the India, the trip around the world of Fernando de Magallanes, the conquests of Alfonso de Alburquerquethe establishment of relations with Java and China or the exploration of the Moluccas by Antonio de Abreu. However, he/she had little to show the King in all these conquests, the personal initiative of the aforementioned product, they almost never received support enough of the Portuguese monarch; This complied with holder senhor da conquista, navegação e commercio gives Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and India. Manuel I ordered to build fortresses in those places, but these, far from contributing to the consolidation of the Portuguese power, were the germ of the decomposition of such vast Empire.

Religious policy

The main condition of the infanta Isabella of Castile put to hold the marriage with Manuel I was that until he/she travelled to Portugal is deporting the country all Muslims and Jews. The Portuguese monarch convened a Council to deliberate in this regard, which had a greater perception of the expulsion on those who argued that the presence of Jews was tolerated in many Christian Nations and even in the territories of the Papacy, provided that these remain subject to its jurisdiction. Opposed to the expulsion, among which were Jerónimo Osório and Fernando Continho, also argued that Jews with their capitals and their good offices, is go away especially on the construction of weapons, which would go to stop Nations, some of them enemy. At the beginning of December 1496 don Manuel decreed that all Jews and Muslims in the country should leave within the period of ten months under the death penalty and the awarding of its properties to one who reported them. However it allowed stay in Portugal to those who turn and in April 1497 ordered that boys and girls under fourteen years of age Hebrews were away from their parents to receive a compulsory Catholic education; subsequently expanded the age up to twenty years. This measure had drastic consequences, since many parents preferred to kill their sons before they will allow that they might be educated in Christianity. The King pledged to enable ports for the transportation of Jews, but did not meet its commitment; more than 20,000 Jews were baptized by force in the port of Lisbon, which, to support its position, the King ordered that they should not bring any distinctive. Muslims were expelled with much more favorable for them, measures to avoid reprisals by the rulers of their destination countries.

The forced conversion created in Portugal the figure of the "new Christian", whose situation was much more precarious than the King had foreseen. It was considered new Christian who had Hebrew blood until the seventh grade. These had prohibited the exercise of public offices, as well as marriage with nobles or old Christians, trade in the newly conquered lands and other freedoms. In addition the Portuguese people had ill will toward new Christians who were persecuted (despite the prohibition regia) to snatch their property. In 1506 the converts were a hard chase after being accused by the populace to be responsible for the epidemic of plague that devastated Lisbon, because of their unbelief toward true miracle that, they said, had occurred in the city. Three days their homes and temples were burned and killed more than 3,500 people, some of them old Christians who had been accused of converts because of personal vendettas. After three days the authorities managed to take control of the situation and executed severe punishments against the perpetrators of the massacres.

Domestic policy and tax

The Ascension to the throne of Manuel I coincided with a period of decline of the nobility, which made it possible for the monarch to a centralization of all public administration policy. The King ordered all those who have privileges, freedoms and mercy cards that send them confirm, especially those who had got them during the last years of the reign of Juan II. It took place a review of all these privileges by a team formed by the leading lawyers in the Kingdom, which resulted in modification, sometimes through extensions, other restrictions or even derogations. But if the Manueline policy aimed to further limit the power of the nobility, the results were contrary: the nobility recovered their fueros, the clergy won preponderance and the true injured party was the people. The King tried to limit freedoms popular, especially in the city of Porto, until 1509 governed virtually autonomously; that same year Manuel I revoked the privilege by which the hidalgos were not allowed to live within the precincts of the city and which made possible by both its inhabitants to elect their representatives, thus avoiding external interference.

Manuel I also initiated a reform of the courts by increasing the appellate judges in the courts of civil and the desembargadores in supplication, corregidores also by the entire Kingdom. To avoid personal interference from the judges in the processes, the King ordered that these should be outsiders in cities that play their trades. However, one of the major evils that weighed on the Portuguese Justice of the time of Manuel I was the existence of Apostolic judges special, designated directly by Rome, that they understood both ecclesiastical causes such as secular and that they were usually people without any preparation, so was the case that became judges friars or ignorant clerics. One of the aspects that most worried the monarch was the aristocratic violence on the Councils, that noble justified by the letter of charters, many of them composed in the early days of the monarchy. At the end of the 15th century were themselves municipalities which called for reform of the fueros, which was undertaken by Manuel I in a context of policy of aggrandizement of Royal power. This was appointed a Commission composed of the greater Chancellor, Dr. Rui Boto, the desembargador Joao Façanha and by Fernando caballero de Pina, later others joined them that. The main objective of the Commission was to standardize the economic life in the territory of the nation, which should know the disadvantages that exist for collection from the portazgo and other fees of the Crown and set the equivalences of the coins mentioned in the charters, many of them missing, which circulated in the country effectively; It was necessary to clarify the vague sense of the costumagens, taxes without a defined name enshrined by the use of the land and put an end to the diversity of names with that same tribute was known in different territories.

The basis of the tax system of the time of Manuel I were armholes and customs duties. To facilitate trade, the free movement of people and goods from the villages to its terms and vice versa, was decreed by abolishing tolls, except in seaports and those subject to the law places. Thus, immunity granted by the King to the city of Lisbon in January 1500 seemed more a customs regulation that a jurisdiction in the old sense of the word. The inhabitants were exempt from paying other tax that was not the tenth, levied trade transactions. From 1512 were carried out a series of reforms, known as a whole with the name of Manuelinos systems, aimed at the improvement of the tax collection and tax systems. That year was promulgated a new regulation from the armholes to avoid fiscal fraud resulting from the application of the old rules, which named coins into disuse; in September 1514 was amended the regulation of accountants and in October 1516 entered into force new regulations for the Treasury and the House of Indies. Although there was a first edition of legal systems in 1512 (1513) and one back of 1514, they were definitely fixed in 1521. With various modifications and additions, the systems of 1521 followed faithfully to those already issued seventy years earlier by Alfonso V. The first book, which regulate the actions of the officers of Justice and finance, was which underwent further modifications. Held a complete rearrangement of the courts in civil and supplication and took a out the separation of the Palacio Desembargo Court of the House of supplication; In addition, to avoid the problems that the administration of Justice carried out the inhabitants of paragraphs or small nuclei, a special regulation gave the ancient rural judges, which came to be called guises cle pepper. Book II tried to Crown relations with the Church and the nobles and it disappeared all legislation relating to Jews and Muslims. Book III treated of the judicial proceedings. The fourth on the contracts and inheritance rights. The fifth and last book regulated the criminal proceedings.

Despite the huge profits that provided overseas trade, the financial situation of Portugal during the reign of the lucky was never very strong. Soon repented of the decision taken in 1498 King of exempt from the payment of taxes to the Church, because then, under the pretext of the war against the infidels, he/she requested and attained the Pope the right to tax the Church yields. Don Manuel made to mint new coins: in 1499 began the minting of gold Portuguese, with a value of forty Crusaders and Indians of silver, with a value of thirty-three reais; five years later he/she ordered the minting of silver Portuguese, that were worth four hundred copper reales.

Portrait of Manuel the fortunate staff

The chronicler Gois describes Manuel I as a man of tall, slender body, green eyes and brown hair. It have been several portraits in the triptych of Nossa Senhora da Porto mercy, in the illuminations of the Livros da Leitura Nova and the Chronicle of Rui Pina and a praying statue on the porch of the Jerónimos. The same chronicler says that the King was someone who performed their duties with diligence, great worker and a good disposition toward luxury and refinements, making him to be always surrounded by musicians and writers. However the rise of Portuguese literature did not take place until the reign of his successor and was the architecture art that flourished more in his time, with a characteristic style of decoration, which received the name of Manueline style; the King commissioned and financed the building of palaces, convents and fortresses, in the own Portugal as in the newly discovered land.


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