Portugal was formed as part of the Reconquista from the Moors of the Iberian peninsula during the 9th – 15th centuries. The state of Portugal was founded on 28th June 1128, pronounced a kingdom in 1139, recognised by neighbouring Castile in 1143 and by the Pope in 1179.
By 1249, the remaining Moorish population had been driven out, or assimilated. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal with its orientation towards the Atlantic, was a leader in exploration, preferring to concentrate on developing its colonies abroad, rather than involvement in European struggles. Portuguese explorers, then traders and settlers, took territory in the South American continent, India and Asia.
The Kings of Portugal in the period 1385 – 1581 were from the House of Aviz, founded by Joao (John I), an illegitimate son of his predecessor. Joao I married Philippa of Lancaster, grand-daughter of Edward III of England, and the relevant treaty, that of Windsor, is still in force today.
There were frequent intermarriages with neighbouring Castile, and Aragon, and, in 1581 on the death of the last male of the Aviz family, there was a dispute between the illegitimate Antonio, Prince of Crato, and Philip II of Spain, son of Isabella of Portugal, for the throne.
Unsurprisingly, Spain won the contest, and for 60 years the countries were bound together.
|Monarch||Dates of Reign||Spouse(s)|
|John II (Joao)||28 August 1418 - 25 October 1495
||Leonor of Viseu|
|Manuel I||25 October 1495 - 13 December 1521||Isabella of Aragon
Maria of Aragon
Eleanor (Leonora) of Austria
|John III (Joao)||13 December 1521 - 11 June 1557||Catherine of Austria|
|Sebastian I||11 June 1557 - 4 August 1578|
|Henry I (Henrique)||4 August 1578 - 31 January 1580|
|24 July 1580 - 16 April 1581|
|Philip I (Filipe)
(Philip II of Spain)
|16 April 1581 - 13 September 1598||Maria Manuela of Portugal
Mary I, Queen of England
Elisabeth of Valois
Anne of Austria
(Philip III of Spain)
|13 September 1598 - 13 March 1621||Margaret of Austria|
(Philip IV of Spain)
|13 March 1621 - 1 December 1640||Elisabeth of France
Marianna of Austria