Henry, King of Portugal

Henry, King of Portugal
17th century painting of Cardinal-King Henry
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Reign 4 August 1578—31 January 1580
Predecessor Sebastian
Successor Anthony (disputed) / Philip I (accepted)
Father Manuel I of Portugal
Mother Maria of Aragon
Born 31 January 1512
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 31 January 1580 (aged 68)
Almeirim, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, District of Lisbon, Portugal
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

Henry or Henrique (Portuguese pronunciation: [ẽˈʁik(ɨ)]) (Lisbon, 31 January 1512 – Almeirim, 31 January 1580) was the seventeenth King of Portugal and the Algarves. He ruled between 1578 and 1580. He was known as Henry the Chaste (Portuguese Henrique o Casto).

Henry was the younger brother of King John III of Portugal and, as a younger son, he was not expected to succeed to the Portuguese throne. Early in his life, Henry took Holy Orders to promote Portuguese interests within the Catholic Church, then dominated by Spain. He rose fast through the Church hierarchy, becoming in quick succession Archbishop of Braga, Archbishop of Évora and Grand Inquisitor before receiving a Cardinal's hat, receiving the Titulus Ss. Quattuor Coronatorum. Henry, more than anyone, endeavoured to bring the Jesuits to Portugal and employed them in the colonial empire.

He served as regent for his grand-nephew, King Sebastian, after 1557, and then succeeded him as king after the disastrous Battle of Alcazarquivir in 1578 in which Sebastian died. Henry renounced his clerical offices and sought to take a bride for the continuation of the Avis dynasty, but Pope Gregory XIII, affiliated with the Habsburgs, did not release him from his vows. The Cardinal-King died without having appointed a Council of Regency to choose a successor. One of the closest dynastic claimants was King Philip II of Spain who, in November 1580, sent the Duke of Alba to claim Portugal by force. Lisbon soon fell, and Philip was elected King of Portugal on condition that the kingdom and its overseas territories would not become Spanish provinces.

External links


Cardeal D. Henrique - Tibaes.jpg
Henry, King of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 31 January 1512 Died: 31 January 1580
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Succeeded by
Anthony or Philip I

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