Afonso IV

From New World Encyclopedia
Afonso IV
King of Portugal
and the Algarve
Afonso IV of Portugal
Seventeenth century painting of Afonso IV.
Reign January 7, 1325 – May 28, 1357
Full name Afonso of Portugal
Titles Infante of Portugal (1291–1325)
Born February 8, 1291
Portugal Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Died May 28, 1357
Portugal Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Buried Lisbon See Cathedral, Lisbon, District of Lisbon, Portugal
Predecessor Denis of Portugal
Heir Infante Pedro (future Peter I) (1325–1357)
Successor Peter I of Portugal
Consort Infanta Beatriz of Castile
Issue Infanta Maria, Queen of Castile (1313–1237)
Infante Afonso (1315)
Infante Dinis (1317–1318)
Infante Pedro (future Peter I) (1320–1367)
Infanta Isabel (1324–1326)
Infante João (1326–1327)
Infanta Leonor, Queen of Aragon (1328–1348)
Royal House Capetian House of Burgundy
Father Denis of Portugal
Mother Elizabeth of Aragon

Afonso IV (IPA pron. [ɐ'fõsu]) (February 8, 1291 – May 28, 1357), called the Brave (Portuguese: o Bravo), was the seventh from 1325 until his death. He was the only legitimate son of Dinis of Portugal by his wife Elizabeth of Aragon.

Portuguese Royalty
House of Burgundy
Afonso Henriques (Afonso I)
Children include
  • Infanta Mafalda
  • Infanta Urraca, Queen of Léon
  • Infante Sancho (future Sancho I)
  • Infanta Teresa, Countess of Flanders and Duchess of Burgundy
Sancho I
Children include
  • Infanta Teresa, Queen of Castile
  • Infanta Sancha, Lady of Alenquer
  • Infanta Constança
  • Infante Afonso (future Afonso II)
  • Infante Pedro, Count of Urgell
  • Infante Fernando, Count of Flanders
  • Infanta Branca, Lady of Guadalajara
  • Infanta Berengária, Queen of Denmark
  • Infanta Mafalda, Queen of Castile
Afonso II
Children include
  • Infante Sancho (future Sancho II)
  • Infante Afonso, Count of Boulogne (future Afonso III)
  • Infanta Leonor, Queen of Denmark
  • Infante Fernando, Lord of Serpa
Sancho II
Afonso III
Children include
  • Infanta Branca, Viscountess of Huelgas
  • Infante Dinis (future Denis I)
  • Infante Afonso, Lord of Portalegre
  • Infanta Maria
  • Infanta Sancha
Children include
  • Infanta Constança, Queen of Castile
  • Infante Afonso (future Afonso IV)
Afonso IV
Children include
  • Infanta Maria, Queen of Castile
  • Infante Pedro (future Peter I)
  • Infanta Leonor, Queen of Aragon
Peter I
Children include
  • Infanta Maria, Marchioness of Tortosa
  • Infante Fernando (future Ferdinand I)
  • Infanta Beatriz, Countess of Alburquerque
  • Infante João, Duke of Valencia de Campos
  • Infante Dinis, Lord of Cifuentes
  • John, Grand Master of the Order of Aviz (future John I) (natural son)
Ferdinand I
Children include
  • Infanta Beatrice, Queen of Castile and Leon (future Beatrice I of Portugal)
Beatrice (disputed queen)
Children include
  • Infante Miguel of Castile and Portugal

As king, Afonso IV is remembered as a soldier and a valiant general, hence the nickname, the Brave. But perhaps his most important contribution was the importance he gave to the Portuguese navy. Afonso IV granted public funding to raise a proper commercial fleet and ordered the first maritime explorations. The Canary Islands (today a part of Spain) were discovered during his reign.

Early Life

Afonso, born in Lisbon, was his father's only legitimate son and the rightful heir to the Portuguese throne. However, he was not, according to several sources, Dinis' favorite son; his half-brother, the illegitimate Afonso Sanches, enjoyed full royal favor. From early in life, the notorious rivalry led to several outbreaks of civil war. On January 7, 1325, Afonso's father died and he became king, taking full revenge on his brother. His rival was sentenced to exile in Castile, and stripped of all the lands and fiefdoms donated by their common father. Afonso Sanches, however, did not sit still. From Castile, he orchestrated a series of attempts to usurp the crown for himself. After a few failed attempts at invasion, both brothers signed a peace treaty, arranged by the Afonso's mother Queen Elizabeth.


In 1309, Afonso IV married Infanta Beatrice of Castile, daughter of King Sancho IV of Castile by his wife Maria de Molina. The first-born of this union, Infanta Maria of Portugal, married King Alfonso XI of Castile in 1328, at the same time that Afonso IV's heir, Peter I of Portugal, was promised to another Castilian infanta, Constance of Penafiel. These arrangements were imperiled by the ill will of Alfonso XI of Castile, who was, at the time, publicly mistreating his wife. Afonso IV was not happy to see his daughter abused, and started a war against Castile. Peace arrived four years later, with the intervention of Infanta Maria herself. A peace treaty was signed in Seville in 1339 and, in the next year, Portuguese troops played an important role in the victory of the Battle of Rio Salado over the Marinid Moors in October 1340.

The last part of Afonso IV's reign is marked not by open warfare against Castile, but by political intrigue. Civil war between King Pedro of Castile and his half-brother Henry of Trastamara led to the exile of many Castilian nobles to Portugal. These immigrants immediately created a faction among the Portuguese court, aiming at privileges and power that, somehow, could compensate what they lost at home. The faction grew in power, especially after Ines de Castro, daughter of an important nobleman and maid of the Crown Princess Constance, became the lover of her lady's husband: Peter, the heir of Portugal. Afonso IV was displeased with his son's choice of lovers, and hoped that the relationship would be a futile one. Unfortunately for internal politics, it was not. Peter was openly in love with Ines, recognized all the children she bore, and, worst of all, favored the Castilians that surrounded her. Moreover, after his wife's death in 1349, Peter refused the idea of marrying anyone other than Ines herself.

The situation became worse as the years passed and the aging Afonso lost control over his court. Peter's only male heir, future king Fernando of Portugal, was a sickly child, while the illegitimate children sired with Ines thrived. Worried about his legitimate grandson's life, and the growing power of Castile within Portugal's borders, Afonso ordered the murder of Ines de Castro in 1355. He expected his son to give in, but the heir was not able to forgive him for the act. Enraged at the barbaric act, Peter put himself at the head of an army and devastated the country between the Douro and the Minho rivers before he was reconciled to his father in early 1357. Afonso died almost immediately after, in Lisbon in May.


Afonso's ancestors in three generations
Afonso IV of Portugal Father:
Denis of Portugal
Father's father:
Afonso III of Portugal
Father's father's father:
Afonso II of Portugal
Father's father's mother:
Urraca of Castile
Father's mother:
Beatrix of Castile
Father's mother's father:
Alfonso X of Castile
Father's mother's mother:
Maria de Guzmán
Elizabeth of Aragon
Mother's father:
Peter III of Aragon
Mother's father's father:
James I of Aragon
Mother's father's mother:
Violant of Hungary
Mother's mother:
Constance of Sicily
Mother's mother's father:
Manfred of Sicily
Mother's mother's mother:
Beatrice of Savoy

Marriage and descendants

Afonso married Beatrice of Castile (1293-1359) in 1309, daughter of Sancho IV, King of Castile, and Maria de Molia, and had four sons and three daughters.

Name Birth Death Notes
By Beatrice of Castile (1293-1359; married in 1309)
Infanta Maria 1313 1357 Queen of Castile by marriage to Alfonso XI of Castile.
Infante Afonso 1315 1315  
Infante Dinis (Denis) 1317 1318  
Infante Pedro April 8 1320 January 18 1367 Succeeded him as Peter I, eighth King of Portugal.
Infanta Isabel December 21 1324 July 11 1326  
Infante João (John) September 23 1326 June 21 1327  
Infanta Leonor (Eleanor) 1328 1348 Queen of Aragon by marriage to Peter IV, King of Aragon.
Illegitimate offspring
Maria Afonso 1316 1384 Natural daughter.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Garraty, John Arthur, and Peter Gay. A history of the world. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. ISBN 9780060422547
  • Levenson, Jay A. The Age of the baroque in Portugal. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1993. ISBN 9780894681981
  • Robertson, Ian. A traveller's history of Portugal. New York: Interlink Books, 2002. ISBN 9781566564403
House of Burgundy
Cadet Branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 8 February 1291; Died: 28 May 1357

Preceded by:
King of Portugal and the Algarves
1325 – 1357
Succeeded by: Peter I


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