Afonso III of Portugal: Wikis


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Afonso III
King of Portugal and the Algarve; Count of Boulogne
Statue of Afonso III in the city of Faro, in the Algarve
Reign 4 January 1248 – 16 February 1279
Predecessor Sancho II
Successor Denis
Consort Matilda II, Countess of Boulogne
Beatrice of Castile
Infanta Branca
Infante Afonso, Lord of Portalegre
Infanta Sancha
Infanta Maria
House Capetian House of Burgundy
Father Afonso II
Mother Infanta Urraca of Castile
Born 5 May 1210
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 16 February 1279[aged 68]
Alcobaça, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Monastery of Alcobaça, Alcobaça, District of Leiria, Portugal
Portuguese Royalty
House of Burgundy
Afonso Henriques (Afonso I)
Children include
Sancho I
Children include
Afonso II
Children include
Sancho II
Afonso III
Children include
Children include
Afonso IV
Children include
Peter I
Children include
Ferdinand I
Children include
Beatrice (disputed queen)
Children include
  • Infante Miguel of Castile and Portugal

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

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

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

Afonso showed extraordinay vision for the time. Progressive measures taken during his kingship include: representatives of the commons, besides the nobility and clergy, were involved in governance; the end of preventive arrests such that henceforward all arrests had to be first presented to a judge to determine the detention measure; and fiscal innovation, such as negotiating extraordinary taxes with the mercantile classes and direct taxation of the Church, rather than debasement of the coinage. This lead to his excommunication by the holy see and possibly precipitated his death, and his son Dom Dinis's premature rise to the throne at only 18 years old.

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

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


16. Henry of Burgundy, Count of Portugal
8. Afonso I of Portugal
17. Teresa of León, Countess of Portugal
4. Sancho I of Portugal
18. Amadeus III, Count of Savoy
9. Maud of Savoy
19. Mahaut of Albon
2. Afonso II of Portugal
20. Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona
10. Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona
21. Douce I, Countess of Provence
5. Dulce of Aragon
22. Ramiro II of Aragon
11. Petronila of Aragon
23. Agnes of Aquitaine
1. Afonso III of Portugal
24. Alfonso VII of Castile
12. Sancho III of Castile
25. Berenguela of Barcelona
6. Alfonso VIII of Castile
26. García VI of Navarre
13. Blanche of Navarre
27. Marguerite de l'Aigle
3. Urraca of Castile
28. Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
14. Henry II of England
29. Matilda of England
7. Eleanor of England
30. William X, Duke of Aquitaine
15. Eleanor of Aquitaine
31. Aenor de Châtellerault

Marriages and descendants

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

Name Birth Death Notes
By Matilda II of Boulogne (c. 1202–1262; married in 1239)
Infante Roberto (Robert) 1239 1239  
By Beatrice of Castile (1242–1303; married in 1253)
Infanta Branca (Blanche) 25 February 1259 17 April 1321 Abbess of the Convent of Huelgas
Infante Fernando (Ferdinand) 1260 1262  
Infante Dinis (Denis) 9 October 1261 7 January 1325 Succeeded him as Denis, 6th King of Portugal. Married Infanta Isabel of Aragon.
Infante Afonso 8 February 1263 2 November 1312 Lord of Portalegre. Married to Violante Manuel of Castile (daughter of Juan Manuel of Castile).
Infanta Sancha 2 February 1264 c. 1302  
Infanta Maria 21 November 1264 6 June 1304 Nun in the Convent of Saint John in Coimbra.
Infanta Constança (Constance) 1266 1271  
Infante Vicente (Vincent) 1268 1271  
By Madragana (Mor Afonso) (c. 1230-?)
Martim Afonso Chichorro c. 1250 a. 1313 Natural son; Married Inês Lourenço de Valadres.
Urraca Afonso c. 1260 ? Natural daughter; Married twice: 1st to D. Pedro Anes de Riba Vizela, 2nd to João Mendes de Briteiros
By Maria Peres de Enxara (?-?)
Afonso Dinis c. 1260 a. 1310 Natural son; Married to D. Maria Pais Ribeira, Lady of the House of Sousa.
Other natural offspring
Leonor Afonso c. 1250 1291 Natural daughter. Married twice: 1st to D. Estevão Anes de Sousa (without issue), 2nd to D. Gonçalo Garcia de Sousa, Count of Neiva (without issue).
Gil Afonso 1250 31 December 1346 Natural son; Knight of the Order of the Hospital.
Fernando Afonso ? ? Natural son; Knight of the Order of the Hospital.
Rodrigo Afonso 1258 about 12 May 1272 Natural son; Prior of the city of Santarém.
Leonor Afonso (nun) ? 1259 Natural daughter; Nun in the Monastery of Santa Clara of Santarém.
Urraca Afonso 1250 4 November 1281 Natural daughter; Nun in the Monastery of Lorvão.
Henrique Afonso ? ? Natural son; Married to Inês (last name unknown).
Afonso III of Portugal
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 5 May 1210 Died: 16 February 1279
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Sancho II
King of Portugal
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Moorish rulers
King of the Algarve




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