Biography of King of Portugal Pedro I (1320-1367)

King of Portugal in Coimbra born 19 April 1320 and died in Estremoz 18 January 1367. The most remarkable fact of his reign were his love with Doña Inés de Castro.

Dynasty of Burgundy, Pedro I was son of Afonso IV of Portugal. After a failed marriage project, in 1340 he married Spanish Princess dona Constanza, seventeen years of age, marriage of convenience that marked the life of the young Prince and later King. In the Queen's Entourage traveled to Portugal a young woman named Doña Inés Pérez (or Pirez) Castro, which don Pedro fell in love head over heels. Doña Constanza died in 1345 and the Prince married secretly with Doña Inés, raising the wrath of the King, who ordered the courtiers Álvaro González and Pedro Coello kill Doña Inés and her children (1355); of the four children made between the Prince don Pedro and Doña Inés, three managed to escape. Broke the civil war between the King and his son, which only ended with the death of Alfonso IV, two years later. This, perhaps repented of its mandate, ordered her son that it jurase not take revenge on the executors of his wife, but as soon as don Pedro ascended the throne, first thing he did was complain to the murderers of Doña Inés, refugees in Castile; the King made them run, but not before having inflicted severe torments. This Act earned him two nicknames that would share with its Spanish namesake, the Cruel and the Judicator. Then, wanting to pay tribute to the love of his life, he ordered to dig up the corpse of his wife and made her crowned Queen, presiding over a macabre ceremony of question by the nobility in the monastery of Santa Clara. In 1360, in Cantanhede, there was the Declaration by the King that had actually married Inés de Castro, as a means of legitimizing his seed with her. Don Pedro was buried in the monastery of Alcobaça, the tomb of Doña Inés; his grave is carved with scenes depicting the facts of life in common of don Pedro and Doña Inés, starting with the arrival in Portugal later, the children of both, don Juan, don Alfonso and don Dionís, were buried next to them. Pedro I was succeeded by his son Fernando I.

In the political aspect, his reign had little importance. It was liberal and beneficent and lowered taxes, prompting a euphoria in Portugal, but he did not win the love of the people. Nor it was in harmony with the nobility and the clergy, whose rights tried to cut; his attacks on the Church led to ecclesiastical historians to carry on more black inks. On the other hand, some of the great European writers recreated the tragic story of the King and Doña Inés, among them Shakespeare or Luis de Camões.


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