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John I
King of Portugal and the Algarve, and Lord of Ceuta
Reign 6 April 1385— 14 August 1433
Predecessor Beatrice (disputed)
Successor Edward
Spouse Philippa of Lancaster
Edward of Portugal
Infante Pedro, Duke of Coimbra
Henry the Navigator
Infanta Isabel, Duchess of Burgundy
Infante João, Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz
Infante Ferdinand, the Saint Prince
Afonso, 1st Duke of Braganza (natural son)
Beatrice, Countess of Arundel (natural daughter)
Father Peter I
Mother Teresa Lourenço
Born 11 April 1358
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 13 August 1433 (aged 76)
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Chapel of the Founder, Monastery of Batalha, Batalha, District of Leiria, Portugal
Portuguese royalty
House of Avis
Ordem Avis.svg

John I
   Infante Duarte (future Edward I)
   Infante Pedro, Duke of Coimbra
   Henry the Navigator (Infante Henrique, Duke of Viseu)
   Infanta Isabel, Duchess of Burgundy
   Infante João, Lord of Reguengos
   Infante Fernando, the Saint Prince
   Afonso, Duke of Braganza (illegitimate)
   Beatriz, Countess of Arundel (illegitimate)
Grandchildren include
   Infanta Isabel of Coimbra, Queen of Portugal
   Afonso, Prince of Portugal (future Afonso V)
   Infante Fernando, Duke of Viseu
   Infanta Leonor, Holy Roman Empress
   Infanta Catarina
   Infanta Joana, Queen of Castile
Grandchildren include
   Infante Manuel, Duke of Beja (future Manuel I)
   Infanta Leonor of Viseu, Queen of Portugal
   Infanta Isabella, Duchess of Braganza
Great-Grandchildren include
   Jaime, Duke of Braganza, Prince of Portugal
Afonso V
Children include
   João, Prince of Portugal
   Blessed Joana, Princess of Portugal
   João, Prince of Portugal (future John II)
John II
   Afonso, Prince of Portugal
   Jorge, Duke of Coimbra (illegitimate)

John I (or João I, Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈɐ̃ũ]; Lisbon, São João da Praça (extinct), 11 April 1357 – Lisbon, Castle, 14 August 1433), called the Good (sometimes the Great) or of Happy Memory, more rarely and outside Portugal the Bastard, was the tenth King of Portugal and the Algarve and the first to use the title Lord of Ceuta. He was the natural son of Peter I by a woman named Teresa Lourenço, who some say was a noble Galician, daughter of Lourenço Martins, o da Praça, and wife Sancha Martins. In 1364 he was created Grand Master of the Order of Aviz, by which title he was known. He became king in 1385, after the 1383–1385 Crisis.

On the death of his half-brother Ferdinand I in October 1383, without a male heir, strenuous efforts were made to secure the succession for princess Beatrice, Ferdinand's only daughter. As heiress presumptive, Beatrice had married king John I of Castile, but popular sentiment was against an arrangement in which Portugal would have become virtually united with Castile. The 1383–1385 Crisis followed, a period of political anarchy, when no monarch ruled the country.

On 6 April 1385, the council of the kingdom (cortes in Portuguese) met in Coimbra and declared John, then Master of Aviz, king of Portugal. This was in effect a declaration of war against Castile and its claims to the Portuguese throne. Soon after, the king of Castile invaded Portugal, with the purpose of conquering Lisbon and removing John I from the throne. John I of Castile was accompanied by French allied cavalry while English troops and generals took the side of John (see Hundred Years War). John I then named Nuno Álvares Pereira, his loyal and talented supporter, general and protector of the Kingdom. The invasion was repelled during the summer after the Battle of Atoleiros and, especially, the decisive battle of Aljubarrota ( 14 August 1385), where the Castilian army was virtually annihilated. John I of Castile then retreated and the stability of John I's throne was permanently secured.

On 11 February, 1387, John I married Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, who had proved to be a worthy ally, consolidating the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance that endures to the present day.

After the death of John I of Castile in 1390, without leaving issue by Beatrice, John I of Portugal ruled in peace and pursued the economic development of the country. The only significant military action was the siege and conquest of the city of Ceuta in 1415. By this step he aimed to control navigation of the African coast. But in longer perspective, this was the first step opening the Arabian world to medieval Europe, which in fact led to the Age of Discovery with Portuguese explorers sailing across the whole world. It should be noted that the global Muslim population had climbed to about 8 per cent as against the Christian population of 14 per cent by 1400.

Contemporaneous writers describe him as a man of wit, very keen on concentrating the power on himself, but at the same time with a benevolent and kind personality. His youthful education as master of a religious order made him an unusually learned king for the Middle Ages. His love for knowledge and culture was passed to his sons: Duarte, the future king, was a poet and a writer, Pedro, the duke of Coimbra, was one of the most learned princes of his time and Prince Henry the Navigator, the duke of Viseu, started a school of navigation and invested heavily in science and development of nautical topics. In 1430, his only surviving daughter, Isabella, married Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and enjoyed an extremely refined court in his lands; she was the mother of Charles the Bold.


Genealogical data



John's ancestors in three generations
John I of Portugal Father:
Pedro I of Portugal
Father's father:
Afonso IV of Portugal
Father's father's father:
Denis of Portugal
Father's father's mother:
Elizabeth of Aragon
Father's mother:
Beatrice of Castile
Father's mother's father:
Sancho IV of Castile
Father's mother's mother:
María de Molina
Teresa Lourenço
Mother's father:
Lourenço Martins, o da Praça
Mother's father's father:
Mother's father's mother:
Mother's mother:
Sancha Martins
Mother's mother's father:
Mother's mother's mother:

Marriages and descendants

John I married at Oporto on 2 February 1387 Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Blanche of Lancaster. From that marriage were born several famous princes and princesses of Portugal (infantes) that became known as the Illustrious Generation<<Dudenha>> (Portuguese: Ínclita Geração).

Name Birth Death Notes
By Philippa of Lancaster (1359– 19 July 1415; married on 2 February 1387)
Infanta Branca 13 July 1388 6 March 1389  
Infante Afonso 30 July 1390 22 December 1400  
Infante Duarte 31 October 1391 13 September 1438 Who succeeded him as Duarte I, 11th King of Portugal.
Infante Pedro 9 December 1392 20 May 1449 Duke of Coimbra. Died in the Battle of Alfarrobeira.
Infante Henrique 4 March 1394 13 November 1460 Known as Henry the Navigator. Duke of Viseu and Grand-Master of the Order of Christ.
Infanta Isabel 21 February 1397 11 December 1471 Duchess Consort of Burgundy by marriage to Philip III, Duke of Burgundy.
Infanta Branca 11 April 1398 27 July 1398  
Infante João 13 January 1400 18 October 1442 Constable of the Kingdom and grandfather of Isabella of Castile.
Infante Fernando 29 September 1402 5 June 1443 Grand Master of the Order of Aviz. Died in captivity in Fes, Morocco.
By Inês Peres (c. 1350–1400?)
Afonso 10 August 1377 15 December 1461 Natural son and 1st Duke of Braganza.
Branca 1378 1379 Natural daughter.
Beatriz c. 1382 25 October 1439 Natural daughter. Countess Consort of Arundel by marriage to Thomas Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel. Countess Consort of Huntingdon by marriage to John Holland, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, later Duke of Exeter.
John I of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Burgundy
Born: 11 April 1358 Died: 14 August 1433
Regnal titles
Title last held by
Ferdinand I
Disputed claim by
King of Portugal and the Algarves
1385 – 1433
Succeeded by

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


  • Williamson, D. 1988. ‘’Debrett’s Kings and Queens of Europe’’


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