Manuel I of Portugal

Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I
17th century painting of Manuel I
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Reign 25 October 1495—13 December 1521
(&1000000000000002600000026 years, &1000000000000004900000049 days)
Coronation 27 October 1495 in Alcácer do Sal
Predecessor John II
Successor John III
Consort Isabella, Princess of Asturias
Maria of Aragon
Eleanor of Austria
Miguel da Paz, Prince of Portugal and Asturias
John III of Portugal
Isabella, Holy Roman Empress
Beatrice, Duchess of Savoy
Infante Louis, Duke of Beja
Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Guarda and Trancoso
Cardinal-Infante Afonso
Henry of Portugal
Infante Edward, Duke of Guimarães
Infanta Maria, Duchess of Viseu
House House of Aviz-Beja
Father Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu
Mother Infanta Beatrice of Portugal
Born May 31, 1469(1469-05-31)
Alcochete, Kingdom of Portugal
Died December 13, 1521(1521-12-13) (aged 52)
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Religion Roman Catholicism

Manuel I (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐnuˈɛɫ]; Archaic Portuguese: Manoel I, English: Emmanuel I), the Fortunate (Port. o Venturoso), 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves (Alcochete, May 31, 1469 – December 13, 1521 in Lisbon) was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, (1433–1470), by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal. His name is associated with a period of Portuguese civilization distinguished by significant achievements both in political affairs and the arts. In spite of its small size and population in comparison to the great land powers of Europe, it was able to acquire an overseas empire of vast proportions during Manuel's reign.



King Manoel I

Manuel's mother was the granddaughter of King John I of Portugal; his father, Prince Fernando, was the second surviving son of King Edward of Portugal, thus the younger brother of King Afonso V of Portugal. Manuel succeeded his first cousin King John II of Portugal, who was also his brother-in-law, in 1495.

Manuel grew up amidst conspiracies of the Portuguese upper nobility against King John II. He was aware of many people being killed and exiled. His older brother Diogo, the duke of Viseu, was stabbed to death in 1484 by the king himself.

Manuel thus had every reason to worry when he received a royal order in 1493 to present himself to the king, but his fears were groundless: John II wanted to name him heir to the throne, after the death of his son, Prince Afonso, and the failed attempts to legitimise Jorge, Duke of Coimbra, his illegitimate son. As a result of this stroke of luck he was nicknamed the Fortunate.

Manuel would prove a worthy successor to his cousin John II, supporting the Portuguese exploration of the Atlantic Ocean and the development of Portuguese commerce. During his reign, the following was achieved:

All these events made Portugal rich on foreign trade while it formally established a vast overseas empire. Manuel used the wealth to build a number of royal buildings (in the Manueline style) and to attract scientists and artists to his court. Commercial treaties and diplomatic alliances were forged with China and the Persian Empire. The Pope received a monumental embassy from Portugal during his reign designed to draw attention to Portugal's newly-acquired riches to all of Europe.

In Manuel's reign, royal absolutism was the method of government. The Portuguese Cortes (the assembly of the kingdom) only met three times during his reign, always in Lisbon, the king's seat. He reformed the courts of justice and the municipal charters with the crown, modernizing taxes and the concepts of tributes and rights.

Coat of Arms of Manuel I, according to the Livro do Armeiro-Mor c. 1509

Manuel was a very religious man and invested a large amount of Portuguese income to sponsor missionaries to the new colonies, such as Francisco Álvares, and the construction of religious buildings, such as the Monastery of Jerónimos. Manuel also endeavoured to promote another crusade against the Turks.

His relationship with the Portuguese Jews started out well. At the outset of his reign, he released all the Jews who had been made captive during the reign of John II. Unfortunately for the Jews, he decided that he wanted to marry Infanta Isabella of Aragon, then heiress of the future united crown of Spain (widow of his nephew Prince Afonso). Ferdinand and Isabella had expelled the Jews in 1492, and would never marry their daughter to the king of a country that still tolerated their presence.

Manoel and Maria's wedding

In December 1496, it was decreed that any Jew who did not convert to Christianity would be expelled from the country. However, those expelled could only leave the country in ships specified by the king. When those who chose expulsion arrived at the port in Lisbon, they were met by clerics and soldiers who used force, coercion, and promises in order to baptize them and prevent them from leaving the country. This period of time technically ended the presence of Jews in Portugal. Afterwards, all converted Jews and their descendants would be referred to as "New Christians", and they were given a grace period of thirty years in which no inquiries into their faith would be allowed; this was later extended to end in 1534.

A popular riot in 1504 ended in the death of two thousand Jews; the leaders of the riot were executed by Manuel.

Isabella died in childbirth in 1498, putting a damper on Portuguese ambitions to rule in Spain, which various rulers had harbored since the reign of King Ferdinand I (1367–1383). Manuel and Isabella's young son Miguel was for a period the heir apparent of Castile and Aragon, but his death in 1500 ended these ambitions. Manuel's next wife, Maria of Aragon, was his first wife's sister, but not the oldest surviving one. That was rather Joanna of Castile, who had issue.

In 1506 the Pope Julius II gave Manuel I a Golden Rose. Later in 1514 Pope Leo X also gave Manuel I a second Golden Rose. Manuel I became the first individual to receive more than one Golden Rose.

The Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon houses Manuel's tomb. His son João succeeded him as king.


Marriages and descendants

Portuguese royalty
House of Aviz-Beja
Flag Manuel I of Portugal.svg

Manuel I
Children include
   Miguel da Paz, Prince of Portugal and of Asturias
   John III
   Isabella, Holy Roman Empress
   Beatrice, Duchess of Savoy
   Louis, Duke of Beja
   Ferdinand, Duke of Guarda and Trancoso
   Cardinal-Infante Afonso
   Edward, Duke of Guimarães
   Maria, Lady of Viseu
Grandchildren include
   Anthony (illegitimate)
   Maria, Duchess of Parma and Piacenza
   Catherine, Duchess of Braganza
Great-Great-Grandchildren include
   John IV
John III
Children include
   Maria Manuela, Princess of Portugal and of Asturias
   John Manuel, Prince of Portugal
Grandchildren include

Negotiations for a marriage between Manuel and Elizabeth of York in 1485 were halted by the death of Richard III of England. He went on to marry three times. His first wife was Isabella of Aragon, princess of Spain and widow of the previous Prince of Portugal Afonso. Next he married another princess of Spain, Maria of Aragon (his first wife's sister), then Eleanor of Austria, a niece of his first two wives who Francis I of France after Manuel's death.

Name Birth Death Notes
By Isabella of Asturias (October 2, 1470–August 28, 1498; married in 1497)
Miguel da Paz, Prince of Portugal August 23, 1498 July 19, 1500 Prince of Portugal, Prince of Asturias and heir to both Portugal and Spain.
By Maria of Aragon (June 19, 1482–March 7, 1517; married in 1501)
João, Prince of Portugal (John) June 6, 1502 June 11, 1557 Who succeeded him as John III, 15th King of Portugal.
Infanta Isabel (Elizabeth) October 24, 1503 May 1, 1539 Holy Roman Empress by marriage to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
Infanta Beatriz (Beatrice) December 31, 1504 January 8, 1538 Duchess of Savoy by marriage to Charles III, Duke of Savoy.
Infante Luís (Louis) March 3, 1506 November 27, 1555 Unmarried but had illegitimate descendants, one of them being António, Prior of Crato, a claimant of the throne of Portugal in 1580 (See: Struggle for the throne of Portugal).
Infante Fernando (Ferdinand) June 5, 1507 November 7, 1534 Duke of Guarda and Trancoso. Married Guiomar (Guyomare) Coutinho, 5th Countess of Marialva and 3rd Countess of Loulé (?-1534). No surviving issue.
Infante Afonso (Alphonse) April 23, 1509 April 21, 1540 Cardinal of the Kingdom.
Infanta Maria (Mary) 1513 1513  
Infante Henrique (Henry) January 31, 1512 January 31, 1580 Cardinal of the Kingdom who succeeded his grandnephew, King Sebastian (Manuel I's great-grandson), as Cardinal Henry, 17th King of Portugal. His death triggered the struggle for the throne of Portugal.
Infante Duarte (Edward) October 7, 1515 September 20, 1540 Duke of Guimarães and great-grandfather of John IV of Portugal. Married Isabel of Braganza, daughter of Jaime, Duke of Braganza.
Infante António (Anthony) September 9, 1516 1516  
By Eleanor of Austria (November 15, 1498–February 25, 1558; married in 1518)
Infante Carlos (Charles) February 18, 1520 April 14, 1521  
Infanta Maria (Mary) June 18, 1521 October 10, 1577 Unmarried.

See also

Manuel I of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 31 May 1469 Died: 13 December 1521
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John II
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Succeeded by
John III
Portuguese royalty
Preceded by
Prince of Portugal
Succeeded by

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