Afonso III of Portugal

Afonso III of Portugal

Infobox Portuguese Royalty|monarch
name =Afonso III
title =King of Portugal and the Algarve; Count of Boulogne

caption =Statue of Afonso III in the city of Faro, in the Algarve
reign =January 4, 1248—February 16, 1279
predecessor =Sancho II
successor =Denis
spouse =Matilda II, Countess of Boulogne
Beatrice of Castile
issue =Infanta Branca
Infante Afonso, Lord of Portalegre
Infanta Sancha
Infanta Maria
issue-link = #Marriages and descendants
issue-pipe = among others...
royal house =Capetian House of Burgundy
dynasty =Affonsine Dynasty
father =Afonso II
mother =Infanta Urraca of Castile
date of birth =May 5, 1210
place of birth =Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
date of death =February 16, 1279
place of death = Alcobaça, Kingdom of Portugal
place of burial =Monastery of Alcobaça, Alcobaça, District of Leiria, Portugal|

Afonso III (pronounced|ɐˈfõsu in Portuguese; rare English alternatives: "Alphonzo" or "Alphonse"), or "Affonso" (Archaic Portuguese), "Alfonso" or "Alphonso" (Portuguese-Galician) or "Alphonsus" (Latin), the "Bolognian" (Port. "o Bolonhês") or the "Brave" (Port. "o Bravo"), the fifth King of Portugal (May 5 1210 in Coimbra – February 16 1279 in Alcobaça, Coimbra or Lisbon) and the first to use the title King of Portugal and the Algarve, since 1249. He was the second son of King Afonso II of Portugal and his wife, Urraca, princess of Castile; he succeeded his brother, King Sancho II of Portugal on 4 January, 1248.

As the second son of King Afonso II of Portugal, Afonso was not expected to inherit the throne, which was destined to go to his elder brother Sancho. He lived mostly in France, where he married Matilda, the heiress of Boulogne, in 1238, thereby becoming Count of Boulogne. In 1246, conflicts between his brother, the king, and the church became unbearable. Pope Innocent IV then ordered Sancho II to be removed from the throne and be replaced by the Count of Boulogne. Afonso, of course, did not refuse the papal order and marched to Portugal. Since Sancho was not a popular king, the order was not hard to enforce; he was exiled to Castile and Afonso III became king in 1248 after his brother's death. To ascend the throne, he abdicated from the county of Boulogne and later (1253) divorced Matilda.

Determined not to commit the same mistakes as his brother, Afonso III paid special attention to what the middle class, composed of merchants and small land owners, had to say. In 1254, in the city of Leiria, he held the first session of the "Cortes", a general assembly comprising the nobility, the middle class and representatives of all municipalities. He also made laws intended to restrain the upper classes from abusing the least favoured part of the population. Remembered as a notable administrator, Afonso III founded several towns, granted the title of city to many others and reorganized public administration.

This King showed extraordinay vision for that time. Humanists and Progessists measures taken during his kingship includes: The representatives of the people were for the first time included in the governance, besides the nobility and clergy; The end of preventive arrests, all arrests by the police had to be first presented to a judge to determine the detention measure, monetary economy measures, such as the negotiation with the mercators a extraordinary taxation instead of the typical devalorization of money. The first measures of a state towards laicity, including taxation of the catolic church wealth. This leads to his excomunication by the holy see. This precipitated his death and his son Dom Dinis prematurelly rise to the throne with only 18 years old.

Secure on the throne, Afonso III then proceeded to make war with the Muslim communities that still thrived in the south. In his reign the Algarve became part of the kingdom, following the capture of Faro—Portugal thus becoming the first Iberian kingdom to complete its "Reconquista".

Following his success against the Moors, Afonso III had to deal with a political situation arising from the borders with Castile. The neighbouring kingdom considered that the newly acquired lands of the Algarve should be Castilian, not Portuguese, which led to a series of wars between the two kingdoms. Finally, in 1267, a treaty was signed in Badajoz, determining that the southern border between Castile and Portugal should be the River Guadiana, as it is today.


Marriages and descendants

Afonso's first wife was Matilda II of Boulogne, daughter of Renaud, Count of Dammartin, and Ida of Boulogne. She had two sons (Roberto and an unnamed one), but both died young. He divorced Matilda in 1253 and, in the same year, married Beatrix of Castile, illegitimate daughter of Alfonso X, King of Castile, and Maria de Guzman.



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