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Most Serene House of Braganza
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Country Portugal and Brazil
Parent house House of Aviz
Titles Duke, King, Emperor
Founder Afonso, 1st Duke of Braganza
Final ruler Manuel II (Portugal)
Pedro II (Brazil)
Current head Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza
Founding year 1442
Deposition 1910 (Portugal)
1889 (Brazil)
Ethnicity Portuguese, Brazilian
D. Afonso I of Braganza

Afonso I, Duke of Braganza (1377-1461; Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]) was the eighth Count of Barcelos and the first Duke of Braganza. Historians believe he was born in Veiros, Alentejo, as a natural son of Portuguese King John I and Inês Peres Esteves [1]. He married Beatriz Pereira de Alvim, daughter of Nuno Álvares Pereira, general of the kingdom, and heir of the most opulent house of the kingdom. Afonso was present in 1415 when the Portuguese conquered Ceuta.

When his half-brother Edward I, King of Portugal died in 1438, his son Afonso V (Afonso's nephew) was an infant and the choice for the regency was the Queen-Mother Leonor of Aragon (Afonso's sister-in-law). This choice for the regency was not popular because Leonor was Aragonese, so in a reunion of the Cortes, summoned by Afonso's half-brother John, Duke of Aveiro, another half-brother of Afonso, Pedro, was appointed as Regent of the Kingdom during the minority of his nephew Afonso V, a choice that pleased both the people and the fast-growing Bourgeoisie.

However, inside the Portuguese aristocracy, especially the ones around Afonso, Count of Barcelos, Leonor of Aragon was preferred and there were doubts about Pedro political hability. A war of influences started and few years later Afonso managed to become young King Afonso V's favourite uncle.

In 1443, in a gesture of reconciliation, Pedro made Afonso the first Duke of Braganza and the relations between both seemed to return to normality. But, in 1445, Afonso took offence because Isabel of Coimbra, Pedro's daughter was the choice for Afonso V's wife, and not one of her daughters. Indifferent to the intrigues, Pedro continued his regency and the country prospered under his influence. It was during this period that the first subsidies for the exploration of the Atlantic Ocean were implemented, and the organization was given to Henry the Navigator (Another of Afonso's half-brothers).

On June 9, 1448, King Afonso V came of age and Pedro gave the control of the country to the king. Influenced by Afonso, Count of Barcelos, and recently Duke of Braganza, Afonso V nulifies all Pedro's edicts.

The following year, under accusations that years later would prove false, Afonso V declared his uncle Pedro, Duke of Coimbra a rebel. The situation became unsustainable and a civil war begun. It was short because on May 20, 1449, during the Battle of Alfarrobeira, near Alverca, Pedro, Duke of Coimbra died. The exact conditions of his death are debatable: some say it was in combat, other say he was assassinated by one of his own men.

After the Battle of Alfarrobeira, Afonso V gave new powers to the Duke of Braganza and nine years later when he departed to Africa, the regency was delegated to Afonso.


Marriages and Issue

Afonso married twice. First, on November 8, 1401, to Beatriz Pereira Alvim, from whom he had three children:

Afonso married a second time in 1420, with his 3rd cousin, Constance of Noronha, daughter of Alfonso, Count of Gijón and Noronha (a natural son of Henry II of Castile), and of Isabel of Portugal (a natural daughter of Fernando I of Portugal). Constance was the first Duchess of Braganza and she is buried in Guimarães. They had no issue.

External links


"Nobreza de Portugal e Brasil", Vol. II pages 437 to 439. Published by Zairol Lda., Lisbon 1989.


  1. ^ She is sometimes said to be the daughter of a Jewish cobbler (Isabel Violante Pereira, De Mendo da Guarda a D. Manuel I, Lisboa, 2001, Livros Horizonte), but the Nobiliaries make her born at Borba, sister of Gil Peres Esteves and daughter of Pero Esteves, o Barbadão, of an old Portuguese noble family, akin to the Pinheiro family
Afonso, 1st Duke of Braganza
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz and House of Burgundy
Born: 1377 Died: 1461
Portuguese nobility
Preceded by
Nuno Álvares Pereira, 7th Count of Barcelos
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Count of Barcelos

Succeeded by
Fernando I of Braganza, 9th Count of Barcelos
Preceded by
New Title
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Duke of Braganza

Succeeded by
Fernando I, 2nd Duke of Braganza


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