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Portugal takes her name from the city near the mouth of the Douro which we call Oporto, and from the tenth century the names Portugal, Portugalis, Portucale, and Portugale are applied in Latin documents to it and the surrounding lands. The kingdom of Leon and Castile, to which they belonged, was divided into provinces ruled by counts, and in the reign of Ferdinand I the county of Portugal and the district of Coimbra to the south appear among these provinces. Though their exact boundaries are unknown, the first seems to have included the territory between the Minho and the Douro with part of the modern province of Tras-os-Montes, while the second comprised the territory from the Douro to the Mondego; in documents of the eleventh and twelfth centuries the terra portucalensis, which embraced both districts, sometimes figures as a distinct province, at others it is considered as part of Galicia.

On the death of Ferdinand in 1065 the monarchy was divided between his three sons, and Galicia with the terra portucalensis fell to Garcia, but it was again reunited under Alfonso VI, who in 1093 extended his frontiers to the Tagus by capturing Santarem from the Muslims and making Lisbon and Sintra tributary to him. In the following year, however, he handed over Galicia and the districts already mentioned to a French knight, Raymond, son of William, Count of Burgundy (Franche Comté), who had come to the Peninsula in or about 1087, and married Alfonso’s only legitimate daughter, Urraca.

Raymond’s cousin Henry, a great-grandson of King Robert II of France, followed him to Spain, and at the beginning of 1095 he was married to Teresa, one of the two illegitimate daughters of Alfonso; either then or some months before he obtained the government of the county of Portugal and the district of Coimbra under Raymond. This subordination was, however, ephemeral, and perhaps because the defeat of Raymond in the same year, followed by the loss of Lisbon and Sintra, convinced Alfonso that the frontier could not well be protected by the ruler of distant Galicia, he dismembered the territory south of the Minho from that to the north and entrusted the former to Henry to hold as an hereditary fief Thus the county of Portugal, extending from the Minho to the Tagus, became a distinct entity.

For the next few years the strife between Christian and Muslim seems to have been suspended, so that Henry was able to absent himself from his county; in the winter of 1097-98 he made the pilgrimage to Compostela, in 1100 and 1101 he was at the court of Alfonso VI, and in 1103 he set out for Palestine as a simple knight; afterwards we find him either residing at court, or at Coimbra, occupied in the work of administration.

In the meantime family disputes arose, in which he intervened and revealed qualities as a politician and an ambition for independence. Raymond considered that he had a right to succeed to the crown of his father-in-law, and in 1107, encouraged by Hugh, the powerful Abbot of Cluny, who was his near relation and had given three bishops to Portugal, he entered into an agreement with Henry by which the latter was to support him, in exchange for the gift of part of the treasure of Toledo and the government of the city and district; in case Raymond could not carry out this cession, he was to hand over Galicia to Henry, when he obtained possession of Leon and Castile. The death of Raymond in 1107, two years before that of Alfonso, rendered the pact nugatory, and Henry then sought to realise his designs by persuading the king to leave him a part of the monarchy; in this lie was disappointed, for on his death-bed Alfonso declared Urraca his sole heir. The choice displeased the magnates, who naturally desired a ruler capable of carrying on the war against the infidel, and they induced the new queen to espouse Alfonso I of Aragon, a young man famous for his military prowess; but strife soon arose between the pair and led to civil war, in which they were alternately allies or ranged on opposite sides, while a revolution broke out in Galicia in favour of Urraca’s son by her first marriage, Alfonso Raimundez.

The accession of Urraca irritated Henry. In the autumn of 1110 he proceeded to France to enlist troops, and on his return to the Peninsula the next year he entered into a treaty with Alfonso I for the deposition of the queen and the division of the monarchy. A temporary reconciliation between the consorts frustrated his hopes, and in 1111 he lost Santarem, but was able to renew his league with Alfonso, and in November they obtained a victory at Campo d’Espina. However, the Castilian magnates succeeded in separating him from the king, by promising to induce Urraca to hand over a part of the kingdom, and in 1112, joining his forces to hers, he besieged Alfonso in Peñafiel. On this occasion Teresa arrived at the camp and persuaded him to press for the fulfilment of the promises he had obtained; his compliance, and the fact that the Portuguese soldiers treated her sister as queen, revealed their ambitions to Urraca and angered her so far that she entered into secret negotiations with her husband to counteract them; nevertheless she agreed in public to a division of her States, but when Henry went to take possession of Zamora and Sahagun, which with other places had been allotted to him, the inhabitants, by order of the queen, refused to admit him. Cheated of his expectations once more, he resolved to carry on the war against both king and queen, but died in his town of Astorga in May 1112 or 1114, without having been able to idealise them; he left an only son, Afonso Henriques, two or three years of age.

On hearing of his death, Henry’s widow, whom the chroniclers describe as beautiful and astute, hastened to court to press the rights which had descended to her, and lacking force, she had recourse to intrigue, informing the king that his wife intended to poison him. The allegation seems not to have been without foundation, and Alfonso caught at so good a pretext to separate from the queen without losing her possessions; he expelled her from Astorga, but the nobles and burghers of Leon and Castile rallied to her side and he had to retreat to his own country. Teresa was now exposed to the vengeance of her sister, but found safety in submission and probably also in the support of Diego Gelmirez, Bishop of Compostela, a man of great influence in Galicia on account of his ecclesiastical rank and estates, whom Urraca dared not offend; moreover, though in her husbands lifetime Teresa had rarely used the titles of Countess or Infanta, she now styled herself Infanta and Queen in the charters she gave; her subjects also called her by that title and even spoke of the county as a kingdom. It is true that at the Cortes of Oviedo (1115) she figured after the queen and her elder sister Elvira and merely as Infanta, but while Elvira signed on behalf of her children and subjects, Teresa only spoke for the former; she recognised Urraca as her superior, but the absence of the Portuguese magnates, and the omission of any reference to them, suggests that they had already gone far on the road of independence.

In the following year a fresh revolution broke out in Galicia in favour of Alfonso Raimundez, the leaders being his tutor Pedro Froylaz, Count of Trava, and Bishop Gelmirez, and Teresa was induced to take their side, because like them she aspired to overthrow the queen’s authority. Though apparently unsuccessful in the field, she obtained from the count as the price of her support the districts of Tuy and Orense, north of the Minho, to add to her county, but had almost immediately to return to Portugal to meet the Muslim invaders, who had captured the line of castles covering Coimbra; thus exposed, the city itself was besieged in June 1117 for twenty days, but, inspired by the presence of Teresa, the garrison made a successful resistance. The next three years were tranquil; her troops took no part in the renewed war between Urraca and Alfonso, though nearly every other part of the monarchy was represented in it, and her barons by their aloofness seem to have wished to mark the growing separation between them and Leon and Castile. In 1121, however, they were drawn into the general conflict, and the occupation of Tuy, if not the motive, served as the pretext, though the ambition of Gelmirez to liberate his see from dependence on that of Braga was a contributory cause; Gelmirez obtained his wish and promotion to the rank of archbishop from Pope Calixtus II, in exchange for the promises he gave to help in securing the crown of Galicia for Alfonso Raimundez, who happened to be the Pope’s nephew. Urraca perhaps learnt of the plot to replace her by her son, and in any case she determined to attack Teresa, who adhered to the league. Accordingly in the summer of 1121 she invaded Portugal, overran the country as far as the Douro, and besieged the castle of Lanhoso, to which Teresa had retired. The latter probably had with her the Galician noble Fernando Peres de Trava, reputed to be her lover, whom she had made Count of Oporto and Coimbra; he was a friend of Gelmirez, therefore of the party hostile to Urraca, and the destruction of Teresa would have been fatal to the success of their plans. How they were able to prevent it is a mystery; all we know is that Urraca suddenly made a peace-treaty with her sister, and gave her dominion over the districts of Zamora, Toro, Salamanca, and Avila, in subordination to herself, in exchange for an offensive and defensive alliance. The territories thus ceded to Teresa appeal* to have been those which were allotted to her husband in 1111, but while he was to possess them independently, she only received them as her sister’s vassal. Nevertheless she had reason to be satisfied with the agreement, since her cause had been saved when on the brink of ruin and her possessions almost doubled.

During Urraca’s lifetime Teresa made no attempt to assert the independence of Portugal, but shortly after the accession of Alfonso VII she formally refused to fulfil her obligations under the treaty of 1121, with the result that the king declared war in the spring of 1127, and after a campaign of six weeks forced her to recognise his supremacy. An episode of the siege of Guimaraes is still remembered; the garrison, unable to hold out, undertook on behalf of the young Afonso Henriques that he would consider himself in the future a vassal to the Crown of Leon and Castile, and his tutor, Egas Moniz, one of the principal nobles and a man of high character, went surety for the fulfilment of the bargain. On this the siege was raised, but when in the following year the government came into the hands of Afonso Henriques, he ignored the promise made in his name; whereupon Egas Moniz accompanied by his wife and children went to court, and presenting himself to the king unshod and with a rope round his neck, asked leave to redeem by his death the broken word. This noble action earned him freedom and its incidents are engraven on his tomb.

After the check her ambitions had received, Teresa had to face an internal revolt, directed against the predominance of her lover and the influence of other Galician barons in the administration of the county. It was largely an anti-foreign movement, justified by the feeling that they were opposed to the general desire for independence; indeed it is probable that Fernando Peres induced Teresa to submit to Alfonso, since the chief author of the pacification was his friend Gelmirez. In Afonso Henriques the Portuguese magnates, including the Archbishop of Braga of the powerful family of Mendes de Maia, found a natural leader; he had reached the age of seventeen and according to a contemporary was a handsome youth, a keen soldier, prudent in all his actions, and possessed of a clear intelligence. In 1125, as if in pursuit of the plan realised only much later, he had knighted himself in the cathedral of Zamora, “according to the custom of kings,” and now needed no incitement to head a movement against the small clique which his mother had raised to power. Early in 1128 at Braga he published his intentions, the province of Minho rose in his favour, and when three months later Teresa reached Guimaraes with a Galician-Portuguese force, she found him encamped with his partisans at St Mamede outside the walls. In the battle that ensued she was defeated, and two years afterwards died in exile, the victim, not merely of her moral lapse and of the ambitions of others, but of the sentiment of nationality which she had worked to develop during a rule of fourteen or sixteen years.

The rebellion of Portugal against Teresa was a challenge to the king who had just reduced her to submission, but internal difficulties and the incessant war with Aragon forbad him to take it up. In 1130, encouraged by this inaction, Afonso Henriques invaded Galicia. He had a pretext in the conventions made with his father and the possession by his mother of the south of that province; the raids were repeated in the following years with varying success, and it is significant that the little county in the west continued its defiance while the rest of the Peninsula gradually recognised the supremacy of Alfonso, who was acclaimed Emperor of Spain in 1135. Two years later the King of Navarre sought to free himself and made a pact with the discontented barons of Galicia and Afonso Henriques for mutual action; while the former began hostilities in the East, the Portuguese count with his allies defeated the royal forces at Cerneja, and, but for a diversion, would have extended his conquests to the north of Galicia. The capture by the Muslims of the great castle of Leiria, which he had only just founded, and a disaster near Thomar, compelled him to return and defend his southern frontiers and, when he was thus occupied, Alfonso VII, having temporarily disposed of the King of Navarre, marched rapidly across his states to Tuy and there began to collect an army to invade Portugal. The count had to submit, and by the peace of Tuy (4 July 1137) he and 150 of his barons swore to help the Emperor against any foe, either Christian or Muslim, and to restore any territories he might receive, when so required. Alfonso was now free to direct his arms against the common enemy, and in 1138 he advanced as far as the river Guadalquivir and in the following year besieged the strong fortress of Aurelia; at the same time, by arrangement with him, Afonso Henriques led his troops across the Tagus for the first time and overthrew the Muslims under Esmar at Ourique (25 July 1139), and as a consequence Aurelia surrendered. According to an old tradition, Our Lord appeared to him on the eve and promised victory, while his men acclaimed him King on the field of battle; actually in a document of the previous March he had used the title. The success must have restored the self-confidence the Portuguese had lost by the humiliating conditions of the Peace of Tuy, and early in 1140 Afonso Henriques felt strong enough to break the pact and invade Galicia once more. When they met at Val de Vez, the Emperor was satisfied with a truce, instead of risking a battle against his disobedient cousin; it would seem that he considered the subjection of Portugal too difficult an enterprise. Its count was henceforth absent from the political assemblies of the monarchy, and Alfonso VII never enumerated Portugal among his dominions, though he may perhaps have considered it as part of Galicia, to which it had lately been attached.

In 1143 Afonso I, as we shall now call him, met the Emperor and Cardinal Guido, legate of Pope Innocent II, in conference at Zamora, and a definite peace between the cousins was arranged: Alfonso VII recognised the title Afonso I had taken and the latter received the lordship of Astorga in vassalage. Even in his capacity as King of Portugal, he doubtless remained in some sort of dependence on the Emperor, but it was a frail tie, and the meeting with Guido may have suggested how it might safely be snapped. While the Roman See exercised considerable authority in all Christian kingdoms, it had a special and immediate dominion in Spain, so that, if the Pope extended protection to the new State, that State’s existence was assured; Afonso I therefore did homage to the legate and wrote to Innocent offering his realm to the Holy See under an annual tribute of four ounces of gold. The conditions of the homage were that he and his successors should pay this sum in perpetuity, and in exchange receive support and not recognise any superior authority, stive that of Rome in the person of its legate. In May of the following year Lucius II replied, praising the king’s resolution and promising protection, but addressing Afonso I as dux   portugallensis and called his realm terra; nevertheless the acceptance of the king’s offer meant confirmation of the independence of Portugal, though his royal dignity was only recognised by Alexander III in 1179, probably owing to the papal desire for an undivided Spain as a barrier to the Muslim. The Emperor protested, but made no further attempt to recover his authority, while the king seems to have abandoned the idea of extending his territory to the north and east and to have lost Astorga, of which Alfonso VII naturally deprived him; henceforth he directed his efforts of expansion southward, mid the subsequent disputes with his cousin refer to the limits of Portugal on that side.

The death struggle between Almoravides and Almohades in Africa, and the consequent confusion in Spain itself, gave him his opportunity, and in 1146, allying himself with Ibn-Kasi, Wali of Mertola, he issued from his base at Coimbra, crossed the Tagus, leaving Lisbon and Santarem on his flank, and penetrated into the districts of Beja and Merida; his devastations led the authorities of Belatha, the province lying between the Mondego and the Tagus, to offer their submission and tribute. He followed up this success by surprising and taking by escalade the strong castle of Santarem, and next cast his eyes on Lisbon. In June 1147 a fleet of some 200 sail carrying 13,000 men, Anglo-Normans, Germans, and Flemings, entered the Douro on their way to Palestine; and the leaders were persuaded to put in at the Tagus and join him in an attack on the city, which was starved into surrender after a four months’ siege. Thereupon the almost inaccessible castle of Sintra submitted on terms and the garrison of Palmella fled, while many of the crusaders obtained grants of land and remained in Portugal. In the tract of country liberated from Muslim rule, the Military Orders, cathedrals, and monastic bodies were also given a share; near Leiria the monastery of Alcobaça was founded about 1153, and its monks reduced to cultivation a large district which had been a desert. These corporations established villages and towns with colonists attracted from the north, and the king divided up among his soldiers the estates belonging to the Muslim inhabitants of Lisbon who had died or fled, though the survivors who accepted the Christian yoke continued to enjoy their property under the name of mouros forros. He made two attempts in the next few years to capture the strongly fortified town of Alcacer do Sal with the aid of soldiers recruited in England, and though these failed, it fell on 24 June 1158, and in 1159 he appears to have taken and abandoned Beja and Evora.

The reputation he had gained is shewn by the fact that Alfonso II of Aragon sought his daughter Mafalda in marriage, and that in 1165 another daughter of his, Urraca, became the wife of Ferdinand II of Leon; and though he suffered a serious defeat in 1161 at the hands of the Almohad Emperor of Morocco, Abd-al-Mumin, a body of municipal troops acting independently won back Beja in 1162, and, some years after, a guerrilla band under Giraldo the Fearless took Evora, Serpa, Juromenha, and then striking north-east seized Caceres and Trujillo, in modern Spain. In 1163 the king himself had entered Leon and occupied Salamanca to avenge the injuries his subjects received from Ciudad Rodrigo, refortified by Ferdinand in 1161, and when defeated at Arganal he sought compensation by invading Galicia and seizing Tuy and the territory of Limia which had once been in the hands of his mother. Good fortune made him reckless; and, while the King of Leon was engaged in expelling the Portuguese from Galicia, he proceeded in 1169 to besiege the castle of Badajoz, at the summons of Giraldo, who had already captured the town. Ferdinand hastened back to oppose him and the besieger became the besieged, the Portuguese were driven from the place, and in the flight Afonso fractured a leg and was taken prisoner. The King of Leon behaved with extraordinary generosity, for when Afonso confessed his fault and offered to hand over all he had in exchange for freedom, he is said to have replied: “Restore what you have taken from me and keep your kingdom.” Afonso was only too glad to accept these terms; he handed over twenty-five castles and a large sum of gold and after two months1 imprisonment returned home. Incapacitated by his injury from bearing arms for the rest of his life, he provided for the defence of the Alemtejo by granting to the Templars a third of all they could acquire there, on condition that they used the revenues in the royal service. Two years later he was besieged in Santarem by an Almohad army and again saved by the prompt arrival of his son-in-law; since the affair of Badajoz he no longer inspired fear in his foes.

He now made a truce with the Muslims which lasted a decade; his reign as chief of a military nation had virtually come to an end, and on 15 August 1170 he knighted his son Sancho and gave him a share in the administration and in the control of military affairs; as Portugal had no rules of succession, it was advisable to accustom his subjects and foreigners to treat Sancho as king before his own death. In 1174 the prince married Dulce, sister of Alfonso II of Aragon, and four years later he recommenced the war by a raid against  Seville, where he burnt one of the principal suburbs; his boldness in penetrating as far as the capital of Andalusia stirred up Yusuf, Emperor of Morocco, who resolved to reduce Portugal, but a naval expedition against Lisbon in 1179 had no result and a serious invasion by land required time to prepare. However, in May 1184 the invading army from Africa arrived and shut up Afonso in Santarem and, though Sancho was able to hold the enemy at bay, Portugal owed its salvation to the aid of the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, who brought an army of 20,000 men on 26 June, and to that of the King of Leon, who arrived a month later. The sudden death of the Emperor and the dispersal of his host, followed by the failure of a fresh attack on Lisbon from the sea, completed the almost miraculous deliverance, and Afonso could die in peace on 6 December 1185 after a rule of forty-five years. Often unscrupulous in his methods, he succeeded by courage, persistency, and good fortune in making a nation, increasing its boundaries, founding a dynasty, and securing its recognition abroad.

Succeeding to the throne at the age of thirty, Sancho devoted himself to rebuilding towns, founding new ones, and erecting castles, and earned the name of Povoador for his work in repopulating the territories devastated by the long wars. To add to the defences and revenues of the kingdom, he encouraged the Military Orders, who in the field possessed the discipline lacking in the royal troops and in those of the communes, and by their strongholds protected the frontiers and the settlers under their walls; these Orders included the Templars and Hospitallers and the newer ones of Calatrava and Santiago. At first Sancho kept aloof from the quarrels between his brother sovereigns, and for some years intestine strife in Africa prevented Yaqub, the new Emperor of Morocco, from repairing the disaster of 1184 and, when he attempted it in the spring of 1189, he met with no permanent success. This encouraged Sancho to take the initiative, but instead of pushing south-east to recover Beja and the Guadiana fortresses, which had been lost in the last years of his father, he secured the aid of two crusading fleets on their way to Palestine, and sailing together down the flank of Muslim territory to the Algarve, where the Portuguese had never penetrated, the allies took Alvor and Silves, a city larger and richer than Lisbon, in 1189. The barbarities practised by the crusaders at the fall of Lisbon and their accusations of bad faith against the King of Portugal were repeated, but the prospect of booty never failed to secure their co-operation. This naval expedition, the first in Portuguese history, brought the submission of the western part of the province, and the king inarched back through Muslim territory and reconquered Beja, but in the spring of the following year he had to meet a fresh invasion from Africa; Yaqub proceeded first to Silves and, leaving a force to besiege it, he traversed the Alemtejo plains, crossed the Tagus, took Torres Novas, and sat down before the Templar fortress of Thomar, while some of his troops got as far as Coimbra.

Sancho now found himself in a critical position; the enemy was established in overwhelming force in the heart of the country and might enter his capital; but once again Providence came to its aid, in the shape of crusaders, who entered the Tagus and were persuaded to reinforce him. Moreover, a pestilence broke out in the Emperor’s camp and led him to offer terms; if Silves were restored, he would give back Torres Novas, retire, and make a seven years’ truce. Though the terms were refused, the Emperor none the less broke up camp and led his army to Seville, but in the following year he not only retook Silves and the other conquests of Sancho, but got possession of Alcacer, Palmella, and Almada, so that the Muslim frontier came up again to the Tagus. Evora held out, and the Muslims abandoned Palmella and Almada, but the king had to resign himself to his other losses, and during the next four years he sought to provide against a similar calamity by establishing strongholds of the Military Orders along the right bank of the Tagus, by peopling the province with colonists from the north, and by restoring the castle of Leiria.

In 1195 the prowess of Alfonso VIII of Castile provoked another invasion of the Peninsula by Yaqub, and a Portuguese contingent shared in the defeat of Alarcos. In the following year war broke out between the Kings of Portugal and Leon; the former overran the southern part of Galicia and captured Tuy, which he held until 1199, but he suffered a defeat in front of Ciudad Rodrigo; though hostilities appear then to have ceased, he founded the city of Guarda on the eastern frontier as a protection against Leon and made it the seat of a bishopric. He also reoccupied the north of the Alemtejo by members of the Military Orders, and the number of foreign settlers along the estuary of the Sado justified the grant of a charter to Cezimbra. The loss of life caused by the great famine of 1202 compelled him to greater efforts, and in the ensuing years he travelled over his kingdom, and established many new towns and districts in the centre, and even south of the Tagus. These acts rather than his exploits as a warrior, which were inferior to those of his father, are his true title to fame, and he was able to practise them by the peace he preserved with his neighbours, Christian and Muslim; on the other hand a breach with the Church and a grave malady clouded his last years.

A conflict broke out between Martinho Rodrigues, Bishop of Oporto, member of a noble family, and his Chapter, during which the populace rose against and imprisoned their overlord and the royal officers seized his goods and those of the see. Sancho took sides against the bishop, but was compelled by Innocent III to make restitution, while the citizens were adjudged to be vassals of the Church in accordance with the grant made by Teresa to Bishop Hugo in 1120, notwithstanding their charter. Before this peace came, long-standing differences between Sancho and the Bishop of Coimbra came to a head; when reproved for his personal misconduct and placed under an interdict, Sancho retorted with acts of violence and imprisoned the prelate, and to a papal protest he sent a violent reply, doubtless penned by his chancellor Julian, a lawyer who shared the ideas of Arnold of Brescia. However, before his death in 1211 he became reconciled with both bishops and left the country better defended, cultivated, and peopled, if no larger, than he had received it, but the sum total of his legacies,         in gold, suggests fiscal extortion.

On ascending the throne in 1211, Afonso II summoned Cortes at which it was decided that canon law should form part of the law of the realm, and that any civil enactment running counter to it should be void, the clergy were exempted from many forms of taxation, a concession which their maintenance of schools and hospitals justified, and in exchange they accepted a law forbidding ecclesiastical corporations to purchase more land. The king gained the favour of the Church by these measures, and Innocent III confirmed his royal title. Doubtless inspired by Julian, Afonso then felt strong enough to refuse to carry out the provisions of his father’s will in favour of his brothers and sisters, on the ground that Crown lands were inalienable. This led to civil war and an invasion by the King of Leon, who took Coimbra, but the King of Castile intervened, out of gratitude for the help rendered by Portuguese troops at the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (July 1212), and after five years of litigation the conflict was settled in Afonso’s favour by Innocent III, who received twenty-eight years’ tribute owing to the Papal See. Nevertheless, the former national unity had been broken, and the efforts of the king to remove the hostility of the nobles by a general confirmation of their title-deeds did not bear fruit; for as it suggested a right of revocation, many refused to accept it. Afonso was too much occupied with internal questions and too lacking in military spirit to seek to extend his frontiers, and he was absent when his troops won back Alcacer with the help of another crusading fleet, led by the Counts of Holland and of Wied, after a two months’ siege on 18 October 1217. In the following year he made the bishops a present of tithe on the revenues of the royal lands in each diocese, which had hitherto been exempt from the tax. This step seems to have been taken mainly on the advice of the dean of Lisbon, but shortly afterwards a dispute between the latter and the bishop, in which the king supported the dean, led to a change of policy. Gongalo Mendes, Julian’s successor, and the Lord High Steward, Pedro Annes, supporters of the supremacy of the civil power, incited Afonso to violate the immunities of the Church and the privileges granted to the clergy by the Cortes of 1211; the law against mortmain enacted at that time had not been observed, and land had continued to pass into the hands of the clergy to the detriment of the exchequer. The Archbishop of Braga convoked an assembly of prelates, and after condemning the public acts and adulterous life of Afonso excommunicated him and his ministers. About the same time a general inquest into titles to landed property, ordered in 1220, raised up enemies among the nobles, who were generally not heard in their defence, and Afonso’s bastard brother Martin Sanches and the King of Leon invaded Portugal and took Chaves. Though thenenergetic intervention of Honorius III in favour of the archbishop had not moved the king from his purpose, these events and the papal threat to release his subjects from their allegiance induced him to make peace with the Church some months before his death from leprosy in 1223.

By making reparation to, and a concordat with, the Church Sancho II, who came to the throne at thirteen, obtained the removal of the interdict which had been laid on the realm, but the hatreds provoked by the events of the last reign continued, and were reflected in perennial civil strife. To heal these divisions, the king, who had crusading in his blood, renewed the war against the Muslims in co-operation with the King of Leon and took Elvas (1226), but did not attain his end; noble contended with noble, Templar with Hospitaller, bishop with bishop, the monastic Orders suffered persecution from the prelates, who met the robberies and usurpations committed by the royal officials with spiritual weapons. The Cardinal of Abbeville, sent in 1228 by Gregory IX, secured a temporary pacification, during which new towns were founded on the eastern frontier, while Elvas, which the Muslims had reoccupied, and Juromenha were definitely conquered. The captures of Moura, Serpa, and Aljustrel followed in 1232-34, but Sancho’s weak government and his continual changes of ministers neutralised these victories, and the kingdom gradually fell into anarchy. In 1237 the Bishop of Oporto drew a terrible picture of its condition when he invited the Dominicans to establish themselves in the city, yet the Order contributed to the evils by its own dissensions, by evading the mortmain law, and by admitting to the priesthood men who only sought to evade taxation or military service; moreover, the clergy of Lisbon commonly compelled testators to leave part of their property to the Church under the threat of deprivation of the Sacraments. There was reason for extending the law of 1211, which forbade the purchase of land by ecclesiastical corporations, to the acceptance of gifts and bequests, as these had become excessive through the piety of the people; but the continual breaches of ecclesiastical immunities, the expulsion of the Bishop of Lisbon in a grossly sacrilegious manner by Sancho’s brother Ferdinand, and similar deeds by his uncle in the north, could not fail to provoke papal intervention, even against a crusading monarch. The king yielded and gave full satisfaction to the prelates, though the citizens of Oporto continued for two years the struggle with their bishop which they had inherited from their forbears; but in the midst of these contentions Sancho found time to pursue the Holy War, and he reduced the castles on the Guadiana from Mertola to the sea, together with the western part of the Algarve (1238-40) and confided them to the Order of Santiago,

Records are lacking for the next few years, and all we can be sure of is that the public disorder continued and that the king did nothing to check it; in consequence, the prelates presented at Rome a catalogue of the wrongs of the Church and the misdeeds of Sancho and his ministers, including toleration of heretical opinions, and to strengthen their case they detailed the injuries done to the State. The accusation that he had let the castles fall into disrepair and failed to defend the frontiers was well calculated to deprive him of the credit he had gained from Gregory IX for his campaign and, whether true or not, his recent indolence gave it colour. The intention of the prelates was to shew that he was incapable and ought to be deposed; in that case the Pope had a special right to take action, because Portugal was a papal fief. As Sancho had no children, his brother Afonso, Count of Boulogne, was the natural successor, and some of the bishops and nobles, apparently with the approval of the new Pope Innocent IV, had already invited him to play the part of saviour of the country. Early in 1245 the Pope commissioned the Bishops of Oporto and Coimbra to require the king to repair his past offences and give pledges for the future, and on their arrival at the Council of Lyons they reported his obduracy, whereupon Innocent appointed Afonso curator of the realm and ordered the authorities to obey him, though he declared that he had no intention of depriving Sancho of the crown. In September, at a meeting in Paris, Afonso accepted the conditions imposed by the Archbishop of Braga and the Bishop of Oporto, which referred mainly to the Church, and at the beginning of 1246 he proceeded to Lisbon, which declared for him in the first of its many revolutions. Though Sancho defended himself and called in the aid of Spanish troops, led by Alfonso, son of Ferdinand III of Castile, he was finally vanquished and died in exile at Toledo in 1248, whereupon the Count of Boulogne took the title of king.

In 1249-50 the forces of the Military Orders conquered the rest of the Algarve, but Ferdinand’s son claimed the province under a grant from the Wali of Niebla, invaded Portugal, and compelled Afonso III to yield it to him; however, in 1253 the latter, intent on its recovery, and though his wife was living, agreed to marry Beatrice, illegitimate daughter of the former, who had become King of Castile and Leon under the title of Alfonso X, and it was arranged that the Algarve should revert to Portugal when the first child of the union reached the age of seven. In 1263, after conflicts over its ownership, Alfonso X ceded it to the Infant Dinis, son of Afonso III, with certain reservations, on condition that he served him in war with 50 lances; the irregular marriage of the King of Portugal was validated by Urban IV on the death of the Countess of Boulogne; and finally in 1267, by the convention of Badajoz, all restrictions on Portuguese sovereignty were removed, and the Guadiana became the boundary between the two countries. Since then the frontiers of Portugal have hardly varied, a fact unique in European history. In internal affairs the policy of Afonso III was to strengthen the Third Estate as an ally against nobles and clergy, to recover the Crown property alienated by himself under compulsion at the beginning of his reign and by his predecessor, and to increase the revenue which these grants and the civil war had considerably diminished. The presence of representatives of the towns at the Cortes of 1254 for the first time showed their increasing importance, the provision for the payment of tributes in money and not in kind benefited the people as well as the king, who was the chief landowner, and the Inquest of 1258 enabled a correct schedule of Crown property to be prepared and revealed how far it had been alienated in favour of private persons and corporations, often fraudulently to avoid taxation. In 1261 the Cortes disputed the ancient right of the monarch to raise money by debasing the value of the coinage every seven years, and for a consideration Afonso had to renounce it and agree that he and his successors would accept instead a fixed sum payable once only in each reign; the principle that a new general tax could only be imposed by the consent of the nation was thus established. Notwithstanding this check, instructions were issued in 1265 to the judicial authorities for the recovery of lands held from the Crown which had been sold by the grantees to the loss of its rights; they were to be purchased at the price paid by the present owners and, if the latter refused to sell, they were to be confiscated, and lands abandoned or uncultivated were also to be seized. In no case was a Crown estate to be divided up between members of a family, unless one became responsible for the whole rent, and those granted to the Military Orders were in future to be subject to taxation.

If these revolutionary measures, which were carried out in part and without hearing the parties interested, failed to relieve the treasury, we may attribute this to the lavish expenditure of the king and to the rapacity of his courtiers, especially the Lord High Steward, Dorn Joao Peres de Aboim, and the Chancellor, Estevam Annes; but as they affected thousands of the nobility and clergy, this issue offered an excellent occasion for the leaders of the latter to open a campaign against the king they had helped to set up and who had abused their confidence. Five of the bishops went to Rome and presented a list of grievances, those of the clergy being in 43 articles. They contained the old charges of infringement of ecclesiastical immunities, interference in the appointment of bishops and clergy, robbery of the Church, and ill-treatment of clerics, but for the first time the municipalities appear as abettors of the monarch; the accusation that Afonso threatened the bishops with death to secure his ends, and had their servants castrated and killed and priests stripped naked, accords with his violent temper and the barbarity of the times. He met the storm by presenting a declaration of the towns in his favour and by enlisting for a new crusade promoted by Clement IV in 1267, and by his own efforts and those of his agents in Rome he succeeded in neutralising the representations of the prelates for some years, until the acts of violence and the illegalities grew worse and drove them to present fresh complaints. In 1273 Gregory X endeavoured to bring the king to reason, whereupon Afonso summoned the Cortes and had a committee consisting of his friends appointed to examine the matter, with the result that it reported in his favour. This further subterfuge did not avail him, for by a bull of 4 September 1275 the Pope required him to swear to carry out the obligations he had contracted in Paris and the resolutions contained in the bulls of Honorius III and Gregory IX, failing which he threatened him with excommunication and interdict, and in the last resort with deposition. The king remained obdurate and, now as before, changes in the occupancy of the Papal See favoured him by causing a delay in the execution of the threats, but in 1277 an apostolic commissary published the bull in Lisbon and intimated its provisions to the king, so that they became effective in due course. No revolution followed, because no pretender existed, and Dinis, a capable youth of sixteen, already shared in the administration; however, on his death-bed in January 1279, Afonso took the oath required of him without reserve. The tenacity of the clergy and the patience of successive Popes had won after a struggle of nineteen years.

The interdict continued for some time, because Dinis, following in the steps of his father, did not carry out the provisions of the bull of Gregory X, in the hope that they would be modified; and though he entered into negotiations at Rome, the short reigns of several Popes and differences between him and them delayed a settlement until 1289. The concordat then made and its sequels represented a fair compromise, and regulated the relations of clergy and Crown so as to preclude further disputes on questions of principle. By means of a declaration of war against Castile in 1295, the king obtained the restitution of the towns of Serpa and Moura and the cession of those of Aroche and Aracena on the east to which he laid claim, and by an invasion in the following year he annexed the district of Riba Coa between the river of this name and the Douro. On the suppression of the Templars by Clement V, he endeavoured to incorporate their property in that of the Crown, but as the Pope refused his consent, it was agreed that they should be transferred to a new Order, the Order of Christ, which was founded in 1319. After the conquest of the Algarve, the older Military Orders, through lack of occupation, fell into decay, of which we have evidence in the complaints of the Cortes in 1361,1472, and 1481, but the Order of Christ played an important part in the voyages directed by Prince Henry the Navigator, which were financed out of its revenues. Notwithstanding the war with Castile and the rebellion of the king’s eldest son Afonso, which disturbed the whole reign, it was one of moral and material progress, shown in the peaceable settlement of the conflict between Crown and clergy, in the foundation of the university, and in the development of letters, agriculture, industry, and the navy. A college had been founded in Lisbon in 1286 by Dom Domingos Jardo, one of the king’s tutors, under his protection and that of the monks of Alcobaça, and in the previous century schools existed in the cathedrals and monasteries, but Portuguese who aspired to a degree had to go abroad. To remedy this the clergy suggested the foundation of a university, offering to pay the teachers, and in 1290 the king founded it in Lisbon, but owing to the conflicts between students and citizens he transferred it to Coimbra in 1308. In imitation of his grandfather Alfonso X of Castile, he substituted Portuguese for Latin in judicial procedure, and caused that king’s code, the Siete Partidas, to be translated; his court, like that of his father, who had lived for many years in touch with French culture, was one of the literary centres of the Peninsula, and Dinis himself, beside being a protector of letters, left a large number of lyric poems which are contained in the Cancioneiros.

To benefit agriculture and the revenue, he sought to increase the number of small proprietors and prevent further land from falling into mortmain. Following in the trend of previous legislation, a law of 1286 forbade corporations from acquiring real estate by purchase, and ordered what had been bought since the beginning of the reign to be sold within a year, under pain of confiscation; in 1291 another law provided that the landed property of those who entered religious Orders should not pass to the latter but only to laymen; moreover, to induce the upper class to farm, it was decreed that fidalgos by so doing should not lose their nobility, and steps were taken for the division and leasing of uncultivated land. Marshes were drained and the pine forest of Leiria planted to provide wood for constructions and prevent sand from the sea-shore being thrown by the wind over the fields round the city; these measures gained for the king the title of Husbandman, while his reorganisation of the navy under the Genoese Emanuele Pezagno enabled the Portuguese in the next reign to commence the ocean voyages and reach the Canaries. The queen, St Isabel, contributed to the civilising work of her husband and ministers by the example of her life devoted to good works, by constant efforts to promote harmony between her husband and turbulent son, and by her charity in the great plague of 1333.

Happier than Castile, which was a prey to constant civil disturbances, Portugal during the forty years following the death of Dinis enjoyed internal peace, save for a conflict between Afonso IV and his bastard brother, Afonso Sanches, and the brief rebellion of his son Peter, consequent on the execution of the latter’s mistress Ignez de Castro by royal order. In spite of the war with Castile (1336-39), which had no tangible results for either side, Afonso helped its King Alfonso XI to repel the great Muslim invasion of the Peninsula from Africa in 1340, and shared in the Christian victory of the Salado (4 April). The foreign policy of his successor Peter I was one of neutrality, while at home he devoted himself to the stern administration of justice and to the increase of the Crown revenues, and amassed a large treasure which was squandered by his son Ferdinand; the ideal of equality of all men before the law was realised, and afterwards the people said that there had never been such ten years as those of his reign. We have an echo of the former quarrel between the monarchy and the Church at the Cortes of Elvas (1361), when the prelates complained without success of the exercise of the royal beneplacitum, they raised the point again at the Cortes of 1427 and 1477, and in 1487 John II renounced the right.

On the accession of Henry II of Castile, Ferdinand claimed the throne as great-grandson of Sancho the Brave, and at the invitation of certain magnates he invaded Galicia in 1369, but retired at the first sign of opposition, and a Castilian army entered Portugal and captured several strong places. A Portuguese naval expedition against Seville had to retreat with loss, and in the following year peace was made; Ferdinand agreed to marry Henry’s daughter, but with the volatility which characterised him, he ignored this promise and married Leonor Telles, wife of a vassal, in spite of the protests of his subjects, and he entered into an alliance with John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who claimed the crown of Castile in right of his wife Constance. In December 1372 Henry II invaded Portugal and reached Lisbon, while Ferdinand remained shut up in Santarem, waiting for English aid which never came, and in March 1373 he had to accept Henry’s terms, abandon the English alliance, and hand over six towns as security for his good faith. He then set about to build a new circuit of walls for Lisbon, a great work which was completed in two years by forced labour, and at the same time made preparations to renew the war with Castile at the first opportunity. This came with the death of Henry II in 1380. Having secured the assistance of an English expeditionary force under Edmund, Earl of Cambridge, the Portuguese opened hostilities on the eastern frontier, but a Castilian fleet entered the Tagus and laid siege to the capital (March 1382). It held out, though the king made no serious effort to relieve it, and in August he made peace without informing the earl, who had to return to England in September. Being a weak man, Ferdinand’s change of policy may be ascribed to the clash of interests and influences around him, and in any case the enactments in favour of agriculture and shipping shew that he had capable ministers; they included the Lei das Sesmarias, described later on, and two others, which granted privileges to builders and buyers of ships, and established a maritime insurance company, whose regulations influenced the formation of sea law in the Mediterranean. At this time Lisbon was already a great trading port, frequented by merchants of all nations, and, according to the chronicler Fernao Lopes, 400 to 500 cargo boats lay in front of it at once, many employed in the export of salt and wine.

On the death of Ferdinand in October 1383, the crown passed to his daughter Beatrice, who had been espoused to John I of Castile in the previous April, while Leonor Telles became regent and by the marriage contract was to hold office until a son of Beatrice completed the age of fourteen. These arrangements were generally resented, because Leonor had earned the fame of an adulteress by her relations with Joao Fernandes Andeiro, Count of Ourem, and because the crown of Portugal would pass to the King of Castile if Beatrice predeceased her husband. The great majority of the nation set its hopes on the Infant John, Grand Master of the Order of Aviz, bastard son of Peter I by Teresa Lourenço, as the champion of independence. The agitation against the scandalous life of the regent, coupled with the fear of foreign rule, grew until a group of nobles led by Nuno Alvares Pereira and by Alvaro Paes, one of the tribunes of Lisbon, with the support of the citizens, resolved on the death of Andeiro and persuaded John to carry it out. The latter was then proclaimed Defender of the realm by the populace of the capital, though the burgesses hesitated at first to join his party, through fear of the power of Castile and of the nobles, who were legitimists. Thereupon Leonor summoned her son-in-law to invade the realm, while John and his friends sent ambassadors to London to seek leave to recruit volunteers; this they obtained, but few came. In January 1384 the King of Castile reached Santarem, and Leonor found herself compelled to hand over the government to him; and, though Nuno Alvares Pereira defeated a Castilian force at Atoleiros, the main body arrived before the capital on 8 February and began the siege. Oporto had adhered to the nationalist cause, and after repelling a Galician attack directed by the Archbishop of Compostela, it sent a squadron to the relief of Lisbon which forced the Castilian blockade of the Tagus. The city continued to resist, plague worked havoc among the besiegers, and, when in September his wife fell ill, John I broke up his camp and returned home. After reducing some places which held out for Castile, the Master of Aviz and Nuno Alvares Pereira proceeded to Coimbra, where the Cortes had been summoned to settle the succession to the crown; some favoured the former, others another John, son of Peter I by Ignez de Castro, but the arguments of Dr Joao das Regras, afterwards chancellor, persuaded the assembly to elect the Master of Aviz (6 April 1385).

Though the King of Castile had retired, nearly all the north and centre of the realm with 70 towns and castles obeyed him, so that the nationalist cause remained in jeopardy; and though the King of Portugal and Nuno Alvares Pereira, now Constable, succeeded in reducing Vianna, Guimaraes, and Braga, and the Castilians lost a battle at Trancoso, their fleet of 63 vessels entered the Tagus in the spring of 1385 and blockaded Lisbon. In June John of Castile invaded Portugal with 32,000 men, and to meet this large army the King of Portugal could oppose only 6,500, including 200 English archers, when the two armies met at Aljubarrota (14 August 1385). Yet the Portuguese host, though small and fasting, for it was the eve of the Feast of the Assumption, had the advantages of position and desperation, and fighting on foot it routed the chivalry of Castile and their French allies in less than an hour; the allies lost 3,000 men killed, the royal standard of Castile, and the ornaments of the king’s chapel. So decisive was the victory that the Constable was able to invade Castile, and he defeated the Master of the Order of Alcantara and his army at Valverde (15 October). On his election to the throne, John I had sought an alliance with England, and on the news of the battle of Aljubarrota, the Duke of Lancaster decided to pursue by arms his claim to the crown of Castile, while the treaty of Windsor was signed between the King of Portugal and Richard II (9 May 1386). In July the duke landed at Corunna, and after over-running Galicia met John I and gave him his daughter Philippa in marriage; but the Anglo-Portuguese campaign proved a failure, and in May the duke accepted the terms of peace offered him, under which he received an indemnity for his expenses, while his daughter Catherine was betrothed to Henry, heir of the King of Castile. The war between this country and Portugal had virtually terminated, though frontier incursions continued, and in 1387 a three years’ truce was made, and renewed for fifteen years in 1393; in 1396 hostilities broke out afresh, followed soon by another truce for ten years, and finally the conflict, which had lasted since 1383, was ended by a definite peace treaty (31 October 1411).

The long war had drawn large numbers of men from their usual occupations and accustomed them to fighting and plunder or to a life of idleness and crime; to employ them abroad, to satisfy the chivalric ideas of his sons, to check piracy, and to continue the crusade against the Muslims which was a Portuguese tradition, the king was persuaded to undertake the first of the overseas expeditions, which resulted in the capture of Ceuta (21 August 1415) and its retention. His son Prince Henry the Navigator had previously sent ships down the west coast of Africa, but the methodical explorations he directed, which were inspired by religious and scientific ideas and based largely on the information obtained in that city, date from then. To supervise the expeditions, Henry fixed his abode in the Algarve and applied himself to the study of mathematics and cosmography, selected pilots, and had them instructed; moreover, he sent to Majorca for Master Jacome, a noted Jewish cartographer, who taught the Portuguese to make maps. In 1418-19 his captains rediscovered Madeira and Porto Santo, which were settled and cultivated so as to become sources of wealth in his lifetime. They made various attempts to conquer the Canaries from 1425, rounded Cape Bojador in 1434, and by 1436 had reached the Rio do Ouro; but the voyages were then interrupted for some years, first by the disastrous expedition against Tangier in 1437, where Henry had to leave his brother Ferdinand in the hands of the Moors to save his army, and secondly by a dispute over the regency.

To gain adherents and reward services in the war of independence, John I had made extensive grants of Crown lands to the Constable and others, so that, when peace came with Castile, the royal patrimony was exhausted and he had nothing for fresh claimants on his bounty and for his growing sons; by the advice of Dr Joao das Regras and others, he bought back part of the lands and took their tenants into his service, and in 1433 he made a further attempt to restore the position of the Crown by the Lei Mental, Promulgated by his son King Edward (1433-38) in 1434, it provided that lands granted by the Crown could only descend to the eldest son of the grantee and his successors, excluding females and collaterals, and that they could never be divided up nor alienated. This enactment and the preparation of a new code, published by Edward’s successor under the name of the Or denotes Afonsinas, together with a literary movement, in which he was foremost, mark the reign of the philosopher king; Fernao Lopes, the greatest of Portuguese chroniclers, in whose pages an epoch comes to life again, received his commission to write in 1434, and was succeeded by Gomes Eannes de Zurara, Ruy de Pina, and Garcia de Resende. When Edward died in 1438, he left the queen, Leonor of Aragon, regent for his son Afonso V who was a minor, but his brother, the Infant Peter, by force and intrigue succeeded in getting himself elected in her stead at the Cortes of 1440, and notwithstanding opposition from the queen and the nobles, he held the post until 1448, when at the instigation of the Duke of Braganza and others, Afonso took the government into his own hands. Thereupon the pent-up hatred against Peter broke out; he allowed himself to be driven into rebellion, and was defeated by the royal forces and killed at the battle of Alfarrobeira (20 May 1449).

The Henrician voyages recommenced in 1441, and the profits attracted adventurers and led to the formation of companies to exploit the trade of the new-found lands; already by 1446 as many as 51 caravels had left Portugal and penetrated 450 leagues beyond Cape Bojador, but after that date there is a gap in our information. In 1455-56 Antoniotto Usodimare and Alvise da Ca da Mosto explored the Senegal and Gambia, and then, or later, with Antonio da Noli, they discovered five of the Cape Verde Islands, while Diogo Gomes made two voyages in 1456 and 1460 with orders to reach the Indies, and he earned an interpreter in case he succeeded. Henry died in this year, and the Portuguese had then penetrated as far south as Sierra Leone, while the Azores had been known at least since 1439. In 1461 Pedro da Sintra went on to Cape Mesurado, and in 1469 Afonso V leased the royal rights in the Guinea trade to Fernao Gomes on condition that he discovered yearly 100 leagues of fresh coastline, with the result that the Equator was crossed and Cape Catherine attained between 1469 and 1471. The king did not therefore neglect maritime exploration, but he attached more importance to extending Portuguese dominion in Morocco, and in pursuit of this aim he captured Alcacer Ceguer in 1458, attacked Tangier and Arzila in 1462, and gained them in 1471; these strongholds served as schools of arms, but their maintenance drained the country of men and money it could ill afford to lose.

On the death of Henry IV of Castile in 1474, leaving an only child Joanna, the partisans of the latter invited Afonso V to invade the country and marry the princess, who was his niece, promising to recognise him as king, though Isabella, Henry’s sister, married to Ferdinand of Aragon, was already in possession of the crown. As Louis XI of France desired to recover Roussillon, which the Aragonese had annexed, Afonso proposed an alliance to him, which was accepted, and while Louis invaded Biscay, Afonso entered Castile in 1475 to uphold Joanna. After nine months, occupied with frontier raids and fruitless negotiations, the Castilian and Portuguese armies met at Toro (February 1475) and fought an indecisive battle, for while Afonso was beaten and fled, his son John destroyed the forces opposed to him. Nevertheless the king’s partisans in Castile grew fewer and fewer, and he decided to apply to Louis XI for help; but his journey to France proved fruitless, and he had to make peace with Ferdinand and Isabella at Alcaçovas (4 September 1479). This was followed by the treaty of Toledo (6 March 1480), the value of which to Portugal lay in its recognition of her right to the lands and islands to the south and to the conquest of Morocco; in exchange she ceded her claims to the Canaries, which had led to friction between the two countries at least from 1425. The wars and liberalities of Afonso left the treasury in debt, and under his easy rule the Braganza family had come to regard itself as almost equal to the sovereign. The energetic character of John II (1481-95) fitted him to grapple with these problems, and the general movement towards absolutism in other countries pointed out the way. Immediately after his accession, a question arose at the Cortes of 1481 as to the form in which the nobles should do homage; they considered the one suggested by the king too rigorous and the Duke of Braganza invoked his privileges and sent to his palace at Villa Viciosa for his title-deeds. The royal officer who accompanied the duke’s agent in the search found a treasonable correspondence with Castile, in which the duke and his brother the Marquess of Montemor were implicated, and he took and shewed it to the king, who waited for two years before striking at his greatest and richest subjects. At the same time the Third Estate asked John to examine the grounds on which the nobles held a number of towns under their jurisdiction and, if these proved invalid, to revindicate them for the Crown; they also demanded protection against the injustices they suffered at the hands of the great lords and their officials, and suggested a number of financial reforms. In seeking to promote their own interests, the municipalities facilitated the king’s absolutist policy, and he proceeded to act on their requests. In 1483 the Duke of Braganza was arrested, tried and sentenced to death, and executed at Evora (30 May); all his goods were confiscated, and the Marquess of Montemor only escaped by flight. The queen’s brother, the Duke of Viseu, who was involved in the conspiracy, received a pardon on account of his youth, but soon afterwards entered into a plot with some of the nobles to assassinate the king, who thereupon slew him with his own hand (28 August 1484), while some accomplices suffered imprisonment or death. Thenceforth John II provided himself with a personal guard, which his predecessors had not needed, for, unlike most other countries, Portugal did not suffer from regicide, and her sovereigns appear to have been esteemed by their subjects. John shewed a like ruthlessness to the Jews expelled in 1492 from Spain. He allowed some 90,000 to enter Portugal and stay eight months on payment of a poll tax of eight cruzados each, and agreed to supply vessels to take them wherever they wished to go; many were robbed and others slain by the people, who had suffered from the extortions of their own Jews and attributed the plague which broke out to the presence of the aliens, and when the time came for the latter to leave, the king ordered them to proceed to Africa. Those who went were treated even worse by the Moors; those who did not go were reduced to slavery. Previous to this, the Jews had no reason to complain of their lot in Portugal, as their own historians admit.

Afonso V had handed over the administration of the forts and factories on the African coast to John in 1474, and as soon as the latter came to the throne he took up Henry’s work, the search for a sea route to India, with Henry’s zeal. In 1482-83 Diogo Cao reached the Congo and Cape St Mary, in 1485 Cape Cross; in 1482 Diogo de Azambuja built the fort of St George at Mina, and in 1488 Bartholomew Dias rounded the Cape of Storms, renamed by the king Good Hope from the expectation that India would soon be attained, and discovered 1250 miles of fresh coast, but the death of Prince Afonso and a dispute with Spain caused delays, and the prize fell to John’s successor, Manuel the Fortunate; it was not until 1498 that Vasco da Gama anchored off* Calicut and realised the union of East and West of which Henry had dreamed. To supplement the voyage of Dias, John had endeavoured to obtain information about the route to India by means of land travellers; an expedition went up the Senegal, which was supposed to be connected with the Nile, while Pedro da Covilhan and Afonso de Paiva proceeded to Cairo and Aden, where they parted company. Paiva died, but his companion went on to India and East Africa and, after returning to Egypt, sent home an account of what he had learnt. His information combined with that of Dias led to the voyage of da Gama, which the king planned before he died in 1495.

The Portuguese failed to discover America, but John II had good reasons for rejecting the project Columbus submitted to him of a western passage to India, after its careful examination by his mathematicians and cosmo-graphers; the eastern route proved to be far shorter. When the navigator returned from his first voyage in March 1493, the king was advised that the new-found lands were in his sphere, and the rumour arose in Spain that he had sent a caravel thither and was equipping others for the same destination; thereupon King Ferdinand proposed that the matter should be settled by negotiations, but without waiting for these he persuaded Alexander VI, a Spaniard, to issue the bull of 4 May 1493 by which all lands west and south of a line drawn at 100 leagues from the Azores and Cape Verde islands were to belong to Spain; then, still not content, he induced the Pope to issue another bull on 26 September, enlarging the previous concession to the prejudice of Portugal. John had then to choose between a war and negotiations; he chose the latter, and by the Treaty of Tordesillas (7 June 1494) succeeded in getting the line between the Portuguese and Spanish spheres moved, so as to run at 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands. The king yielded to Spain the supposed route to the Indies discovered by Columbus, obtained control of the true way to the East, and secured possession of Brazil. This diplomatic victory was due to his skill in the conduct of the matter and to the ability of his plenipotentiaries. Duarte Pacheco, one of these, wrote of John: “his judgment and intelligence have been unequalled in our time,” and his opponent, Isabella the Catholic, spoke of him as “the man.”

When the history of the monarchy begins, the population was of Hispano-Arab stock with a landed aristocracy of Gothic origin. Portugal had a relatively well-endowed Church, whose prelates were men of culture, communes representing the middle class, possessing an internal administration, guaranteed by their charters, as independent as that of the nobles and clergy on their estates, and in the country districts freedmen and serfs; by the end of the thirteenth century personal servitude disappeared. The Muslims and Jews formed groups apart, and in the towns, where they usually lived, they had their own quarters, enjoyed certain privileges, and paid a special tax.

The monarchy was hereditary and, according to a doctrine inherited from the Visigoths and founded on Biblical texts, the king represented God, from whom he received his authority; but in practice the privileges and immunities of each class and local customs restricted it, and Sancho I and his successors, inspired by their chancellors trained in Roman Law, strove with success to escape most of these restrictions. Their efforts were directed to secure the supreme administration of justice, the limitation of baronial and ecclesiastical privileges and properties, the control of local administration, and untrammelled exercise of the legislative function. In 1317 Dinis, following in the steps of Afonso II, proclaimed that by the law and custom of the realm the right of judgment in the last instance was understood as reserved to the Crown in all royal grants, in recognition of its overlordship, and the people defended this doctrine in the Cortes of 1372. Though monarchs sometimes renounced this right in their grants, the Third Estate supported it and the Ordenafoes Afonsinas confirmed it; moreover, in this code the royal judges (Corregidores) were ordered to visit every place twice yearly. This was a direct challenge to the nobles, whose lands called coutos and honras were by custom exempt. In the Cortes of 1398 the nobles had complained that their privileges were not respected, and in the Cortes of 1434 the people asked Edward to assume the entire jurisdiction, but he refused; the time had not come for so sweeping a reform. Fiscal considerations, even more than the point of authority, were at the root of the war waged by the monarchs with the Church and nobility, because the lands of the latter were usually free from taxation, and they explain the Inquests and the laws against mortmain, which have already been mentioned. In their policy of aggrandisement, the kings often shewed the same lack of respect for the rights of others which was commonly imputed to nobles and clergy, as for instance in the seizure of six towns belonging to the abbey of Alcobaça in the reign of Afonso IV, which were restored by Peter I. The struggle between the Crown and the prelates, in which the former was usually the aggressor, ended by a compromise under Dinis, and subsequent disputes between the two were amicably settled, while the revocations of grants, the restrictions imposed by the Lei Mental, and the confiscations under John II, by destroying fraudulent titles and recovering property which the kings had been constrained to part within times of difficulty, broke the power of the landed aristocracy. With the abasement of the privileged classes, the support of the communes was no longer necessary to the Crown. In the past it had been regularly given; in the Cortes of 1472-73 the people told Afonso V that it was his duty to use his “absolute power” to repair the injuries done them and not to wait for their complaints. Moreover, a town considered it a calamity to be given to a magnate, when civil and criminal jurisdiction accompanied the grant, and some, like Oporto, counted among their privileges that a noble could not reside in them, in order that their womenfolk might be secure from outrage. Nevertheless, when in the Cortes of 1475 the Third Estate asked that its approved laws and customs should be maintained and royal orders and judicial decisions to the contrary be cancelled, Afonso V replied that the general request was ill-made, but that any special injury would be repaired.

In the course of time, legislative power became the chief attribute of royal authority. The early Portuguese kings based their ordinances on their own good pleasure and on the consent of the magnates, but in the fourteenth century this style was replaced by the will of the monarch, either with or without the consent of his Council, and in the middle of the same century documents attribute to the king unlimited power. Some of these emanating from Peter I speak of e<our free will and certain knowledge,” but this changes in the reign of his son Ferdinand to “our knowledge and absolute power”; the last formula becomes increasingly frequent and at the end of our period it corresponds to a fact, notwithstanding the institution of the Cortes. This assembly had its origin in the old Curia Regis, or Royal Council, which existed among the Visigoths; though in theory under no obligation to consult it, the kings did not fail to do so when they had to take important resolutions. The Curia acted in two distinct ways, as an ordinary assembly, or in extraordinary sessions, in which matters of great moment were discussed. Both were attended by members of the royal family, court officials, magnates, lay and ecclesiastical, and certain nobles and prelates in whose lands the meetings were held, or who happened to be at court. As lawyers grew in political importance, they began to have seats on the Council. At extraordinary meetings the nobility was represented, not only by the usual members, but by all the magnates, who were specially summoned, and the Church sent its prelates, secular and regular. The Masters of the three Military Orders also attended, and later on procurators of the cities enjoyed the right to be present. The king called the Council, and those summoned were bound to attend, because the duty of giving advice was one of the obligations of a vassal.

As thus described, it was an organism suited to the administrative and political conditions of the country in early times, but when these became more complex it necessarily underwent a transformation and the two forms of the assembly, the ordinary and extraordinary, became separate bodies with different functions. The Royal Council, a continuation of the ordinary sessions of the Curia Regis, directed the life of the State in its political, administrative, legislative, and judicial spheres, while the Cortes, as the heir of the extraordinary Councils, dealt only with general questions of an economic or legislative nature and with grave political matters.

This evolution was slow and may be said to have begun in the middle of the thirteenth century. It was marked by the following stages:

1.     The presence of representatives of the towns, at the Cortes of Leiria in 1254.

2.    The convocation of the Cortes to deal with finance and taxation, which originated in the practice pursued by monarchs, in times of pecuniary stress, of renouncing for a number of years, usually seven, the right to debase the coinage, in consideration of the grant of a sum sufficient to meet the needs of the treasury. Afonso III obtained a capital sum by these means at the Cortes of Leiria, as he could raise money in no other way; however, two centuries later Ferdinand dealt with the coinage as he thought fit, and a hundred years afterwards John II did not think it necessary to consult the people about it.

3.    The right of representation thus acquired led members of the Cortes to attend with the object of watching over the administration and of defending their privileges, and the assembly thus came to act as a check on the king.

4.    Little by little the idea of the representation of various classes as a fixed principle arose, and their duty to attend developed into a right to be summoned and to take part in these assemblies.

5.    Finally, to the privilege of giving advice, their only business at first, was added the right of petition, formulated in articles requesting the removal of abuses, which the king accepted or rejected.

The time of convocation remained dependent on the king's will and the mode of summons was by royal letter, sent to all who were entitled to sit in the assembly, stating the reasons for which the Cortes were called, the matters to be discussed, and the date and place of meeting. Each of the Three Estates was represented, but this title does not appear until the fifteenth century; they consisted of nobles, clergy, and procurators of the cities and towns. The choice of persons and their number depended on the king, but certain individuals owing to their high position could not be omitted, while the right of cities and towns to send members depended on custom, or on their charters. The voters consisted of the most important citizens, voting took place by signed lists, and one or two persons of position and wealth were elected, but rarely more. When the municipal spirit declined, nobles and prelates were often chosen by the Third Estate, and in this case they sat among the representatives of the people; sometimes the king wrote to recommend the choice of men in whom he had confidence. The members chosen were given procurations, in the form of an instrument written in a notary’s book, which contained their powers; they could not exceed these, and their expenses were paid by the municipality.

The Estates conferred separately and each communicated with the others by means of Definitors, elected on the ground that business could be dispatched more speedily by a few, and this committee did the real work. The written proposals submitted to the king had the name of chapters; the replies, signed by the sovereign or his secretary, were issued in the form of a letter, and together with the chapters they constituted legislative acts. Each class fought for its own interests, and divergent economic needs often led to discord even among members of the Third Estate. Moreover the latter objected to sharing its power with the common folk, and in the Cortes of 1481 it petitioned against the intervention of the trading gilds, even in municipal administration, on the ground that it was not the business of the lower class to rule, but to work and serve. The Cortes rarely lasted longer than a month, but, if necessary, the king was requested to continue them, which he generally did; he could, however, dissolve them before the term had elapsed. One of the most important attributes of the Cortes was taxation. In early times the revenue from Crown lands and the usual contributions were sufficient for the current expenses of the administration, and a further general tax was only needed on an extraordinary occasion; in that case a levy was made, and the Cortes would be called together to sanction it. The right of the assembly to a voice in the imposition of taxes obtained recognition at the end of the fourteenth century; in 1372 it refused to grant Ferdinand a general excise; in 1387, however, this was voted, but only for a year; and John I, when planning the attack on Ceuta, declared that he would make no levy, so as not to be obliged to summon the Cortes.

By customary law the king should have consulted the Cortes before declaring war or making peace, but he did not always do so. They first claimed to be heard on these matters with a view of ending the conflict upon which Ferdinand had embarked with Castile, and he promised to attend to their representations, but forgot his promise. In the Cortes of 1385 similar demands were made on John I with more success, for at least once, when he was negotiating for a peace with the neighbouring country, he called the Cortes at Santarem to consult them. Afonso V, however, never asked the consent of the people to his African expeditions; it is true that in 1475, when about to invade Castile, he summoned the Cortes to obtain a subsidy, and they gave it without questioning his project. The monarch could require the people to fight, but could not oblige them to contribute money without their consent. Nevertheless, this and other foreign wars would have been impossible had the nation been opposed to them.

It was one of the privileges of the Cortes to receive the oath of the sovereign on his accession and to do homage to the heir to the throne, and in addition to their ordinary attributes they had others on extraordinary occasions, such as the election of a king on the extinction of a dynasty, his deposition, the alteration of fundamental laws, and the appointment of a guardian or regent when the king was a minor. By their representations they provoked legislation, which, however, was more often carried out in the Council than in the Cortes, but they did not constitute a legislative assembly; their resolutions had not the force of law unless sanctioned by the king, and he claimed and exercised the power to make laws without their intervention.

The value of the Cortes as a means of obtaining the redress of grievances and other benefits may appear to us to have been slight, and the repetition of their complaints shews the small effect they had, but the Third Estate attached great importance to them and continually asked that they should be summoned periodically and often; its members could only find in union the force that the nobles and clergy possessed individually by rank and wealth. John I was requested to call the Cortes annually and consented to do so, but though a record of all the assemblies that were held has not come down to us, we may none the less be sure that the promise was not kept In the Cortes of Torres Novas in 1438, amid the agitation about the regency, an annual convocation was actually decided upon, but not carried out. Down to 1385 we have notice of twenty-seven Cortes and from 1385 to 1580 of fifty-six; the fifteenth century wits that in which they met most frequently. After the consolidation of the royal power under John II, they met only on ton occasions in a hundred years; they were replaced satisfactorily by the various Councils, composed of nobles and lawyers, who represented public opinion and had more power than the Cortes ever enjoyed.

The policy of centralisation was maintained by John’s successors and enabled Portugal to complete the discoveries, create an overseas dominion, and colonise and hold Brazil, the largest country in South America, achievements which give her a place in world history; only by the combination of the national resources under the direction of the monarch could a small, poor, and undisciplined people have achieved so immense an undertaking.

The ordinary revenue of the State was derived mainly from the royal lands and from direct or indirect taxation; the most lucrative impost in the last category was the sisa, payable on sales and purchases, at first purely municipal, next granted to the kings on special occasions for a year, and finally converted by John I into a regular tax, from which no one was exempt. The extraordinary revenue came from alterations in the value of the coinage, already referred to, “requests” (being a levy on private fortunes), forced loans, and the product of monopolies, such as the export of salt and hides. From the beginning of the fifteenth century, the revenue did not cover the expenditure and the deficit became permanent; the main causes were the war of independence, the African expeditions of Afonso V, his generous grants to the nobles, and attempts to win the crown of Castile. The exemptions enjoyed by the privileged classes and the faulty system of collection, entrusted largely to Jews in spite of popular protests, prevented an expansion of receipts sufficient to meet the growing needs. The net of taxation was cast so widely and frequently over the lower class that it formed a heavy burden, and may have been partly responsible for the agricultural depression which prevailed from the middle of the fourteenth century.

Agriculture was and still is the chief occupation and source of wealth in Portugal; it had reached a high level under the Muslims, and after the Reconquest the Cistercians carried on and even improved upon their traditions. The monks of Alcobaça made farming implements in their own forges with iron extracted from the mines they worked, and such was their skill on the land that they were employed to drain marshes and superintend the royal granaries. A law of 1252, fixing prices and the salaries of labourers, mentions all degrees of men employed to-day on a large estate and shews the progress realised at that date. The kings were the chief landowners, and all of them enacted agrarian laws and protected agriculture in the interests of the revenue, yet for reasons that are not quite apparent Dinis alone earned the name of the Husbandman. When the population was small and scattered, the land produced sufficient to feed it, but as the people and their needs increased, any irregularity in the season and harvest led to famine; the export of corn was forbidden in 1272 and afterwards on several occasions, but it could not be entirely prevented and, like cattle, it was often smuggled over the Spanish border. The Lei das Sesmarias only imitated previous legislation in the same sense: uncultivated lands were to be confiscated and granted to such as would till them, and idle persons were to be arrested and compelled to work. It was followed by similar enactments of John I, Edward, and Afonso V intended to increase the production of breads tuffs, but none of them achieved their purpose, and corn had frequently to be brought from abroad to make up for the shortage at home. The depression had many causes. The first was the scarcity of labour, owing to the mortality from plagues and famines and because labourers fled to the towns, where they found greater security and freedom, or adopted an easier mode of life in the service of noble or prelate, or took to begging as a profession. Hence wages and the cost of animals and tools rose, farmers could not pay them, and from the middle of the fourteenth century the land under cultivation gradually diminished; while in the fifteenth century the ocean voyages and the new-found islands took more and more men from the soil, especially in the Algarve, and their places were filled with slaves from Africa. The multiple taxes which the agriculturist had to pay and the oppression he suffered at the hands of the magnates and their servants were only contributory causes, for these burdens existed before and there is no reason to suppose that they grew worse.

Next in importance to agriculture came sea and river fisheries, followed by the raising of live stock and horses, which the kings took a prominent part in and encouraged by numerous enactments. The chase was pursued, not only as a preparation for war and as a diversion, but to obtain skins for home use and export; the quantity of wild animals in the forests which then covered a large part of the land made the occupation lucrative* Industries were entirely domestic, and wearing apparel, except some rough cloth, articles of luxury, manufactured goods, and minerals, save salt, came from abroad in exchange for the products of the soil—oil, wax, cork, honey, fruit, wine, and occasionally cereals. The population increased very slowly, and at the end of the fifteenth century probably did not much exceed one million; from the end of the fourteenth century the towns grew at the expense of the rural districts. The Cortes of 1481 give a sad picture of the internal state of the country, but though their chapters, like those of previous assemblies, abound in complaints of the wrongs from which the people suffered, the absence of revolts by towns or peasants, and even of literary tirades against kings and barons, suggests that conditions were not beyond endurance; a sunny climate, religion, pilgrimages, dancing, song, and the recital of folk poems, lightened the yoke of the peasantry, who had the hardest existence. The leisured classes sought recreation and acquired dexterity in the use of arms, in chess, riding, games of ball, jousts, tourneys, and jogos de cannas, while bullfights formed part of the programme on great occasions and even ecclesiastics took part in them until forbidden to do so.

Lisbon and Oporto were the chief commercial centres, and foreign trade was carried on mainly with the countries of the north and the Mediterranean. Portuguese merchants possessed a factory at Bruges and frequented Marseilles in the twelfth century, and in the thirteenth they were established in the French channel ports. In 1226 more than one hundred safe conducts were granted to them in England, and in 1352 Edward III made a commercial treaty for fifty years with Afonso Martins Alho, representing the Portuguese maritime towns, which was the precursor of the still existing alliance between the two countries; it contained a novel clause authorising Portuguese fishermen to carry on their industry on the coasts of England and Brittany.

In the fifteenth century the islands discovered and settled under the directions of Henry the Navigator and also the west coast of Africa sent their products to Portugal and to other countries; Madeira supplied wood for the building of houses, wheat, wax, honey, and sugar; the last article appears in the Bristol Customs Accounts from 1466 in increasing quantities, and it competed successfully with that of Sicily and the Levant. The Cortes of 1472-73 and 1481 complained that its export had fallen into the hands of foreigners, who in 1480 loaded twenty large vessels and more than forty smaller ones with it. The sugar industry gave Madeira its first importance and spread thence to the Azores and Cape Verde Islands. The Malvoisie grape, introduced from Crete, was used to make the famous Malmsey wine, while the raising of cattle and the export of dragon’s blood flourished in Porto Santo. West Africa sent to Portugal slaves, ivory, and pepper, and the large profits derived from the gold of Mina enabled John II to build up the maritime organisation by which the discoveries of his reign and that of his successor were made possible.