Sancho I of Portugal

Sancho I of Portugal
Sancho I
King of Portugal
17th century painting of Sancho I
Reign 6 December 1185 – 26 March 1212
Coronation 9 December 1185
Predecessor Afonso I
Successor Afonso II
Spouse Dulce of Aragon
Teresa, Queen of Castile
Infanta Sancha
Infanta Constança
Afonso II
Infante Pedro, Count of Urgell
Infante Fernando, Count of Flanders
Infanta Branca, Lady of Guadalajara
Berengária, Queen of Denmark
Mafalda, Queen of Castile
House Capetian House of Burgundy
Father Afonso I
Mother Maud of Savoy
Born 11 November 1154(1154-11-11)
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 26 March 1212 [aged 57]
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Santa Cruz Monastery, Coimbra, District of Coimbra, Portugal
Religion Roman Catholicism

Sancho I (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsɐʃu]), nicknamed the Populator (Portuguese o Povoador), second monarch of Portugal, was born on 11 November 1154 in Coimbra and died on 26 March 1212 in the same city. He was the second but only surviving legitimate son and fourth child of Afonso I of Portugal by his wife, Maud of Savoy. Sancho succeeded his father in 1185. He used the title King of the Algarve and/or King of Silves between 1189 and 1191.


In 1170, Sancho was knighted by his father, King Afonso I, and from then on he became his second in command, both administratively and militarily. At this time, the independence of Portugal (declared in 1139) was not firmly established. The kings of León and Castile were trying to re-annex the country and the Roman Catholic Church was late in giving its blessing and approval. Due to this situation Afonso I had to search for allies within the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal made an alliance with the Crown of Aragon and together they fought Castile and León. To secure the agreement, Infante Sancho of Portugal married, in 1174, Infanta Dulce of Aragon, younger sister of King Alfonso II of Aragon. Aragon was thus the first Iberian kingdom to recognize the independence of Portugal.

With the death of Afonso I in 1185, Sancho I became the second king of Portugal. Coimbra was the centre of his kingdom; Sancho terminated the exhausting and generally pointless wars against his neighbours for control of the Galician borderlands. Instead, he turned all his attentions to the south, towards the Moorish small kingdoms (called taifas) that still thrived. With Crusader help he took Silves in 1191. Silves was an important city of the South, an administrative and commercial town with population estimates around 20,000 people. Sancho ordered the fortification of the city and built a castle which is today an important monument of Portuguese heritage. However, military attention soon had to be turned again to the North, where León and Castile threatened again the Portuguese borders. Silves was again lost to the Moors.

Sancho's tomb

Sancho I dedicated much of his reign to political and administrative organization of the new kingdom. He accumulated a national treasure, supported new industries and the middle class of merchants. Moreover, he created several new towns and villages (like Guarda in 1199) and took great care in populating remote areas in the northern Christian regions of Portugal, notably with Flemings and Burgundians – hence the nickname "the Populator". The king was also known for his love of knowledge and literature. Sancho I wrote several books of poems and used the royal treasure to send Portuguese students to European universities.


Marriage and descendants

Sancho married Dulce of Aragon, daughter of Raymond Berengar IV, Count of Barcelona, and Petronilla, Queen of Aragon.

Name Birth Death Notes
By Dulce of Aragon (1152–1198; married in 1175)
Teresa (Theresa) 1181 1250 Queen consort of Castile by marriage to King Alfonso IX of Castile.
Raimundo (Raymond) c. 1180 1189  
Sancha a. 1182 13 March 1229 Abbess of Lorvão.
Constança (Constance) c. 1182 3 August 1202  
Afonso 23 April 1185 25 March 1223 Succeeded him as Afonso II, 3rd King of Portugal.
Pedro (Peter) 23 February 1187 2 June 1258 Consort Count of Urgell, and later titular Count of Urgell and Lord of the Balearic Islands. He lived in León and married Arembiaux Armengel, Countess of Urgell.
Fernando (Ferdinand) 24 March 1188 4 March 1233 Consort Count of Flanders. Lived in France and married Jeanne of Flanders.
Henrique (Henry) 1189 1189  
Branca (Blanche) c. 1192 1240 Lady of Guadalajara.
Berengária c. 1195 1221 Queen consort of Denmark by marriage to King Valdemar II of Denmark.
Mafalda c. 1200 1256 Queen consort of Castile by marriage to King Henry I of Castile.
By Maria Aires (c. 1180-?)
Martim Sanches or
Henrique Sanches
c. 1200 1229 Natural son and Count of Trastamara.
Urraca Sanches c. 1200 1256 Natural daughter.
By Maria Pais Ribeira (Ribeirinha) (c. 1170-b. 1258)
Rodrigo Sanches c. 1200 1245 Natural son.
Gil Sanches c. 1200 1236 Natural son.
Nuno Sanches c. 1200 ? Natural son.
Teresa Sanches 1205 1230 Natural daughter.
Constança Sanches 1210 1269 Natural daughter.
Maior Sanches ? ? Natural daughter.
Sancho I of Portugal
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 11 November 1154 Died: 26 March 1212
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Afonso I
King of Portugal
Succeeded by
Afonso II

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