Edward of Portugal

Edward of Portugal
15th century painting of Edward
King of Portugal and the Algarve
Reign 14 August 1433—9 September 1438 (&100000000000000050000005 years, &1000000000000002600000026 days)
Predecessor John I
Successor Afonso V
Spouse Eleanor of Aragon
Afonso V of Portugal
Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu
Eleanor, Holy Roman Empress
Infanta Catherine
Joan, Queen of Castile
House House of Aviz
Father John I
Mother Philippa of Lancaster
Born 31 October 1391(1391-10-31)
Viseu, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 9 September 1438(1438-09-09) (aged 46)
Tomar, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Imperfect Chapels, Monastery of Batalha, Batalha, District of Leiria, Portugal
Religion Roman Catholicism

Edward, KG, Portuguese: Duarte (Portuguese pronunciation: [duˈaɾt(ɨ)]; 31 October 1391 in Viseu – 9 September 1438 in Tomar), called the Philosopher or the Eloquent, was the eleventh King of Portugal and the Algarve and second Lord of Ceuta from 1433 until his death. He was the son of John I of Portugal and his wife, Philippa of Lancaster, a daughter of John of Gaunt. He was named in honor of his great-grandfather, King Edward III of England. Edward was the oldest member of the Ínclita Geração.


King Duarte of Portugal

As an infante, Edward always followed his father in the affairs of the kingdom. He was knighted in 1415, after the Portuguese capture of the city of Ceuta in North Africa, across from Gibraltar. He became king in 1433 when his father died of the plague. He soon showed interest in building internal political consensus. During his short reign of five years, Edward called the Portuguese Cortes (the national assembly) no less than five times to discuss he political affairs of his kingdom. He also followed the politics of his father concerning the maritime exploration of Africa. He encouraged and financed his famous brother, Henry the Navigator, who founded a "school" of maritime navigation at Sagres and initiated many expeditions. That of Gil Eanes in 1434 first rounded Cape Bojador on the northwestern coast of Africa, leading the way for further exploration southward along the African coast.

The colony at Ceuta rapidly became a drain on the Portuguese treasury, and it was realised that without the city of Tangier, possession of Ceuta was worthless. When Ceuta was captured by the Portuguese, the camel caravans that were part of the overland trade routes began to use Tangier as their new destination. This deprived Ceuta of the materials and goods that made it an attractive market and a vibrant trading locale, and it became an isolated community.

In 1437, Edward's brothers Henry and Ferdinand persuaded him to launch an attack on the Marinid sultanate of Morocco. The expedition was not unanimously supported: Infante Peter, Duke of Coimbra, and the Infante John were both against the initiative; they preferred to avoid conflict with the king of Morocco. Their instincts proved to be justified. The resulting attack on Tangier, led by Henry, was a debacle. Failing to take the city in a series of assaults, the Portuguese siege camp was soon itself surrounded and starved into submission by a Moroccan relief army. In the resulting treaty, Henry promised to deliver Ceuta back to the Marinids in return for allowing the Portuguese army to depart unmolested. Edward's youngest brother, Ferdinand, was handed over to the Marinids as a hostage for the final handover of the city.

The debacle at Tangier dominated Edward's final year. Peter and John urged him to fulfill the treaty, yield Ceuta and secure Ferdinand's release, while Henry (who had signed the treaty) urged him to renege on it. Caught in indecision, Edward assembled the Portuguese Cortes at Leiria in early 1438 for consultation. The Cortes refused to ratify the treaty, preferring to hang on to Ceuta and requesting that Edward find some other way of obtaining Ferdinand's release.

Edward died late that summer of the plague, like his father and mother (and her mother) before him. Popular lore suggested he died of heartbreak over the fate of his hapless brother (Ferdinand would remain in captivity in Fez until his own death in 1443).

Edward's premature death provoked a political crisis in Portugal. Leaving only a young son, Afonso, to inherit the throne, it was generally assumed that Edward's brothers would take over the regency of the realm. But Edward's will appointed his unpopular foreign wife, Eleanor of Aragon, as regent. A popular uprising followed, in which the burghers of the realm, assembled by John of Reguengos, acclaimed Peter of Coimbra as regent. But the nobles backed Eleanor's claim, and threatened civil war. The regency crisis was defused by a complicated and tense power-sharing arrangement between Eleanor and Peter.

Another less political side of Duarte's personality is related to culture. A reflective and scholarly infante, he wrote the treatises O Leal Conselheiro (The Loyal Counsellor) and Livro Da Ensinanca De Bem Cavalgar Toda Sela (The Art of Riding on Every Saddle) as well as several poems. He was in the process of revising the Portuguese law code when he died.


Portuguese royalty
House of Avis
Ordem Avis.svg

John I
   Edward I
   Peter, Duke of Coimbra
   Henry the Navigator
   Isabella, Duchess of Burgundy
   John, Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz
   Ferdinand the Saint Prince
Grandchildren include
   Isabella, Queen of Portugal
   Afonso V
   Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu
   Eleanor, Holy Roman Empress
   Joan, Queen of Castile
Grandchildren include
   Manuel I
   Eleanor, Queen of Portugal
   Isabella, Duchess of Braganza
Great-Grandchildren include
   James, Duke of Braganza, Prince of Portugal
Afonso V
Children include
   John, Prince of Portugal
   Joan, Princess of Portugal
   John II
John II
   Afonso, Prince of Portugal

Marriages and descendants

Duarte married Eleanor of Aragon, a daughter of Ferdinand I of Aragon and Eleanor of Alburquerque, in 1428.

Name Birth Death Notes
By Eleanor of Aragon (c. 1402-19 February 1445); married on 22 September 1428)
Infante John October 1429 b. 14 August 1433 Crown Prince of Portugal (1429–1433).
Infanta Philippa 27 November 1430 24 March 1439  
Infante Afonso 15 January 1432 28 August 1481 Who succeeded him as Afonso V, King of Portugal.
Infanta Maria 7 December 1432 8 December 1432  
Infante Ferdinand 17 November 1433 18 September 1470 Duke of Viseu. He was declared heir to his brother Afonso V for two brief periods, and therefore used the style of Prince instead of Infante. He was the father of future king Manuel I.
Infanta Eleanor 18 September 1434 3 September 1467 Holy Roman Empress by marriage to Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor.
Infante Edward 12 July 1435 12 July 1435  
Infanta Catherine 26 November 1436 17 June 1463  
Infanta Joan 20 March 1439 13 June 1475 Queen of Castile by marriage to King Henry IV of Castile.
By Joana Manuel de Vilhena (c. 1395-?)
João Manuel c. 1416 1476 Natural son. Bishop of Guarda. Ancestor of the Marquis of Tancos/Counts of Atalaia.
Edward of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Burgundy
Born: 31 October 1391 Died: 9 September 1438
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John I
King of Portugal and the Algarve
1433 – 1438
Succeeded by
Afonso V

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