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Afonso II and the Portuguese expulsion from Alentejo
Afonso II, was no warrior, but in 1212 a Portuguese contingent aided the Castilians in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, that resulted in a severe defeat for the Spanish Kingdoms. What followed however was more disastrous for Portugal. Having a free hand while Castilia and Leon were fighting each other (Castilian-Leonese Wars), the Almohad took the initiative and started raids and campaigns to recapture Lisboa and Alentejo. Afonso II could not organize effective defenses and counter campaigns due to having his own internal problems with the Church and between royal siblings. In 1214 he arranged the marriage of his sister Mafalda to the heir of the Castilian Crown, Enrique I, solidifying the alliance of Castille and Portugal. This however did not end the problems with the Church and his brothers and sisters, being excommunicated by the Pope prior to his death in 1223.
The region of Alentejo was definitively lost to the Almohad after 1222 as a consequence of numerous campaigns (1214, 1219 and 1222). Notable was the expulsion of the military Order of Aviz from its headquarters in the city of the same name in 1214, having to resettle in Santarem. From there it effectively resisted all attacks and sieges from the Almohad being granted afterwards the title of the muito heróico e invicta cidade de Santarém.
Sancho II and The Succession Rebellion (1246)
His heir Sancho II of Portugal continued the policy of reducing the Church's power within the country. Sancho II proved a capable military commander but, with regard to equally important administrative issues, he was less competent. With his total attention focused on military campaigns, the ground was open for internal disputes. The nobility was displeased by the king's conduct and started to conspire against him. Moreover, the middle class of merchants quarreled frequently with the clergy, without any intervention from the king.
As a result of the discontent of the clergy, the Archbishop of Porto made a formal complaint to the Pope about this state of affairs. Also came the Papal annulment of the marriage of Afonso II with Mécia Lopes de Haro. Pope Innocent IV felt free to issue a bull ordering the Portuguese to choose a new king to replace the so-called heretic. In 1246, recalcitrant nobles invited Sancho's brother Afonso, Count of Boulogne, to take the throne. Afonso immediately abdicated from his French possessions and marched into Portugal. With the kidnapping of the queen by his enemies and the arrival of Afonso to Lisboa and securing Santarem, Sancho II fortified in Coimbra calls for help from León. An army lead by the Infante Ramiro came to his assistance in November 1246, winning most of the battles against Afonso's allies. The merchants and burgueses also rose in help of Sancho II and resisted the forces of Afonso and demanded representation in the Cortes. After capturing Leiria, a brief truce was declared by Infante Ramiro so the parties could work out a their differences. Sancho II agreed to step down with the prevision that the Cortes would name successor heir to the Crown and the clergy accept the supremacy of the laws of the country and the end of most of their privileges. Afonso agreed to this and abdicated his rights to the county of Boulogne. He also agreed to divorced his first wife Matilda II of Boulogne (1253) and marry the illegitimate sister of Infante Ramiro, Beatrice of León. In 1248 he was named by the Cortes, with the decisive vote of the clergy and nobles as Afonso III King of Portugal and started the tradition of summoning them at least every two years. The former king Sancho II settled in Leon where he died in 1260. To appease the merchants Afonso II later include burgher delegates from the incorporated municipalities in the Cortes summoned in 1254, satisfying one of the demands of the cities in the Succession Rebellion.
Kings of Portugal
- (Afonsine Dynasty)...
- Afonso II (1186-1223) Reign 1212-1223
- Sancho II (1207-1260) Reign 1223-1248
- Afonso III (1210–1279) Reign 1248-1279
- Dinis I (1261-1322) Reign 1279-1322
- Alfonso IV (1291-1357) Reign 1322-...