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European Kingdoms



Portugal (Iberia)

In the south-western corner of Europe, the early cultures of Iberia gave way at the start of the first millennium BC to the Iberian Iron Age and its associated Castro culture. The peninsula was greatly infused with Celtic elements of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, but large areas still remained dominated by pre-Celtic Urnfield groups, and pre-Urnfield Indo-European groups of the West Indo-European branch, not to mention pre-Indo-European groups such as the Aquitani.

By the middle of the first millennium BC, the emerging great power of Carthage was taking an interest in the peninsula. Its Phoenician founders already had small but important trading colonies there, such as Gadir. When Carthage lost the two Punic Wars in the third century BC, it was republican Rome's interest which quickly turned into a Roman Conquest. Rome controlled the peninsula for the next six hundred years or so.

The western province of Lusitania was named after the Lusitani people, and formed all of modern Portugal south of the Douro, as well as the westernmost parts of modern Spain. In the fifth century AD the peninsula was successively invaded by the Vandali, the Suevi (in the north), and then the Visigoths, who ruled for two centuries. Much of the peninsula fell to the Islamic empire's invasion from the south, which saw the collapse of the Visigoth kingdom, but which also signalled the start of the Reconquista - the fight by Christians to regain Iberia.

Portugal itself first emerged as a march (or border) county of the kingdom of Asturias in the ninth century, one of the few areas not to be fully conquered by the Umayyad Moors. The northern area was taken back from them in the mid-ninth century and a march county was established under Vimarano Perez. It gained a regional capital in the town called Portucale (modern Porto).

Portugal gained its name from the Callaici people of Iberia. Their area was known as Calle, and when the Romans arrived they built a port at the mouth of the Douro - the southern border - which they called Portus Calle. Portus became the aforementioned Porto (Oporto) and Portus Calle which, given the interchange between 'c' and 'g', became Portus Galle. This was later extended in its meaning to refer to that whole area of Iberia and was altered by language shift to 'Portucale'. Interestingly enough in medieval and early Tudor English, a Portuguese citizen was known as a Portingale.

(Additional information from Trish Wilson.)

(First) County of Oporto (House of Vimarano Perez)
AD 868 - 1071

The first county of Portugal was established in 868. Alfonso III of Asturias & Galicia commissioned Vimarano Perez to fight the Umayyad Moors in the west of Iberia, and he managed to push them south of the River Douro. Then Alfonso granted him the lands between that and the River Minho (which even today forms the western 80kms (50 miles) of Portugal's northern border) to govern in the king's name (Vimarano, or Vimara, came from the name Weimar or Guimar). In 871 Coimbra, to the south of Portugal, was freed from the Moors and created a county, and the two became closely aligned.

868 - 873

Vimarano Perez / Vimara Peres

First count of northern Portugal under Asturias & Galicia.

873 - ?

Lucidio Vimaranes


? - c.924

Onega Lucides

Dau. Countess.

Diogo Fernandes

Husband and co-ruler.


The kingdom of Asturias & Galicia expands into the kingdom of Leon. Galicia is divided, along with Portugal, which is attached to it, but which remains nominally independent. While overlordship of Portugal falls to Galicia, when that is drawn into Leon in 924, its kings claim overlordship.

c.924 - c.950

Mumadona Dias

Dau. Countess. Abdicated. Died 999.


One of the richest women in Iberia, Mumadona Dias had been married to Menendo I Gonçalves before she became countess of Portugal, but he now dies, leaving her to rule alone, under the overlordship of Ramiro II of Leon. It is Ramiro who is the first to claim the title king of Portugal.

c.924 - c.928

Menendo I Gonçalves

Husband. Also known as Hermenegildo Gonçalves Betote.


Mumadona Dias abdicates her title and divides her vast estates between her sons. Gonçalo Menendez inherits Portugal.

c.950 - 999

Gonçalo Menendez


957 - 962

Sancho I of Leon removes the ruling counts of Portugal from power and seeks support from the Omayyids to protect him from retaliation. In 962, Gonçalo Menendez rebels against Sancho and re-establishes his governance of the county.


The county of Coimbra is re-conquered by the Omayyids. Portugal again becomes the front line between Moor and Christian in western Iberia.


Count Gonçalo adopts the title grand duke of Portugal and goes to war against his overlord, Bermudo II of Leon. Bermudo defeats him. Gonçalo's death in 999 falls in the same year as the death of Mumadona Dias, and with the old order gone, a new count accedes to the title.

999 - 1008

Menendo II Gonçalves

Son? Killed by raiding Vikings in Galicia.


Toda Mumadona

Wife and countess. Governed the county temporarily.

1008 - 1015

Alvito Nunez

1017 - 1028

Ilduara Mendes

Dau of Toda. Countess.

1017 - 1028

Nuno I Alvitiz



Upon the death of Nuno I, the county passes to Menendo III.

1028 - 1050

Menendo III Nunez / Mendes Nunes

Killed in battle.

1029 - 1035

Overlordship of the county, which still occupies just the northernmost section of modern Portugal, falls to Navarre. With the death of Sancho III of Navarre in 1035, overlordship of Portugal passes to Castile.

1050 - 1071

Nuno II Menendez

Last count of Portugal. Defeated in battle.

1071 - 1093

Nuno II loses the Battle of Pedroso to Garcia II of Galicia, and Garcia claims the title king of Galicia and Portugal (only the second to do so). The county loses its autonomy under his short-lived rule. Almost immediately he is defeated by his own brother, Sancho II of Castile, and in 1072 Alfonso VI of Leon takes control of all three kingdoms, imprisoning Garcia for the rest of his life.

(Second) County of Portugal (Pre-House of Burgundy)
AD 1093 - 1139

The county of Portugal became autonomous again under Henry of Burgundy, the great-grandson of Robert II of France, removing it from the direct control of the kingdom of Leon. Henry had been born in Barcelona to a Catalan princess, and he married Theresa, countess of Portugal and favourite (but illegitimate) daughter of Alfonso VI of Leon, who had inherited the county as her feudal property. Therefore, Robert was merely the custodian of the county in his wife's name, but he intended to make it a more secure place than it had been under its previous regent, Raymond, count of Galicia. There was an almost constant state of hostility on the southern borders between the Christians and the Islamic Moors, and the county expanded rapidly in this period.

1093 - 1112

Henry of Burgundy

Count. Brother of Odo I of Burgundy.

1093 - 1128


Wife and regent of the county. Dau of Alfonso VI of Leon. d.1130.


While Henry and Theresa are vassals under the king of Leon, Henry attempts to gain more autonomy for the county and eventual independence, while Theresa styles herself queen of Portugal. Henry's other main task is to provide military assistance in the fight against the Islamic Moors.

1109 - 1112

With the death of Alfonso of Leon, Henry invades the kingdom, hoping to annexe it and form a kingdom. His early death in 1112 ends that plan, but his young widow takes on the job of governing the county. Theresa defends Coimbra and the other recently liberated territory to the south as far as the River Mondego (about one third of the way south into modern Portugal), and is hailed as queen of Portugal by Pope Paschal II.

1112 - 1139

Afonso I

Son. Established the kingdom.

1116 - 1121

In 1116 and 1120, Theresa and her half-sister, Queen Urraca of Leon, go to war as Theresa attempts to expand her domains. To that end she exiles her son who opposes her policies. She also marries the count of Trava, who continues to fight for her south of the Mondego, expanding Portugal ever further southwards. In 1121, she is besieged and captured by Urraca at Lanhoso, and a negotiated settlement sees her acknowledge Leon's overlordship of Portugal.

1128 - 1129

An energetic and resourceful count under his mother's guidance, Afonso pushes the Islamic Moors back in all directions, increasing Portugal's domains. But following his exile and along with Portugal's nobility, he has become increasingly frustrated with his mother's policies, and together they rebel and depose Theresa, sending her in exile into the kingdom of Galicia, near the Portuguese border (Theresa dies just two years later). Then, in contravention of his mother's settlement of 1121, he proclaims himself prince of Portugal in 1129, independent from Leon. Fighting in the south, on 26 July 1139 he wins the Battle of Ourique and is proclaimed king by his troops.

Kingdom of Portugal (House of Burgundy)
AD 1139 - 1385

Afonso was proclaimed king of Portugal on 26 July 1139 immediately following a resounding victory over the Islamic Moors at the Battle of Ourique. Wishing to gain recognition from his fellow monarchs, and from the Pope, he married Maud (or Mafalda) of Savoy, daughter of Count Amadeo III. Then he sent ambassadors to Rome, built many churches in Portugal, and declared himself the pope's servant, bypassing his direct overlord in Leon. Recognition came first not from the pope but from Leon, with the Treaty of Zamora in 1143 and the kingdom was confirmed. The final piece of Portugal to be taken was Faro, during the reign of Afonso III.

1139 - 1185

Afonso I

First king of Portugal and founder of the nation.

1143 - 1147

Afonso is recognised as king by Alfonso VII of Leon and Castile (it takes Pope Alexander III until 1179 to do the same). The king goes on to continue his attacks on the Islamic Moors, taking Lisbon and Santarem in 1147.

Alfonso I of Portugal
The issue of just how to recognise the de facto independence of Portugal was a tricky one for the papal office, as it could not be seen to be offending Spanish sensibilities

1169 - 1174

Fighting a minor engagement in Badajoz, Afonso falls from his horse and is disabled. Troops from Leon capture him and a ransom is demanded; virtually all the territory Afonso had conquered in Galicia during warfare between the Christian kingdoms prior to the signing of the Treaty of Zamora. In 1170, Afonso knights his son, making him his second-in-command and four years later the young Sancho marries Dulce Berenguer, the younger sister of Alfonso II of Aragon, thereby securing an alliance (and recognition) between the two kingdoms.


Marching across the Straits of Gibraltar with an army to besiege Santarem, Almohad Caliph Yusuf I abu Yaqub is wounded by a crossbow bolt fired by the forces of Afonso I. He dies soon afterwards, on 29 July 1184. The Christian victory is a major success, and a major blow for the presence of the Almohads in Iberia.

1185 - 1212

Sancho I the Populator


1185 - 1191

Sancho makes Coimbra his capital, and brings an end the pointless fighting against his fellow Christian monarchs to secure territory on the border with Galicia (which is now part of Castile). Instead he turns his full attention south towards the remaining Islamic states, and in 1191 captures Silves on the Algarve. This gives Portugal a southern coastline and cements the control much of the country's traditional territory so that Sancho can found several new settlements, populating them with Flemings and Burgundians especially (earning his nickname).

1191 - 1195

Fresh from failure in front of the walls of Tomar, stronghold of the Portuguese Templars, Yaqub al Mansur of the Almohads recaptures Paderne Castle and nearby territory around Albufeira, Portuguese holdings since 1182. This victory and other seizures allow him to return to North Africa in triumph but as soon as he leaves Iberia, the Christians resume the offensive. They take several Islamic cities, including Beja, Silves, and Vera, necessitating another campaign. This time Yaqub returns to inflict a further defeat on them, taking hostages to sell as slaves. Once he leaves Iberia again, the largest Christian army of the period is assembled. Determined to put a halt to this, Yaqub defeats the army which is commanded by Alfonso VIII of Castile, slaughtering thousands of his men.


Caliph Muhammad suffers a devastating defeat by the Christian Iberians of Aragon, Castile, Navarre, and Portugal at Los Navos de Tolosa. Humiliated, they are forced to give way, and their army never fully recovers from the disaster. In the east, the empire fades as local tribes begin to rebel against Almohad rule and control over more territory is gradually lost, along with domination of the western Mediterranean Sea.

Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa
Ongoing battles between the Almohads and the Iberian Christians would end up in North African defeat at the Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa in 1212

1212 - 1223

Afonso II



Afonso's rule marks a period of entrenchment and a focus on building up Portugal rather than waging war against the Islamic Moors or Castile. In fact one of his most important acts is to secure peace with Castile.

1223 - 1247

Sancho II

Son. Secured Portuguese rule of the Algarve.

1246 - 1247

Just like his father, Sancho had quarrelled continuously with the Pope over his redirection of church funds to improve the kingdom. The pope issues a Bull declaring that he should be replaced on the throne, and in 1246 the country's nobles invite Sancho's brother, Alfonso, consort count of Boulogne, to become king. He immediately marches into Portugal and Sancho is ejected in 1247 and exiled to Toledo, where he dies the following year.

1247 - 1279

Afonso III

Brother. Fair and progressive ruler.

1279 - 1325

Denis / Diniz

Son. 'The Farmer King'.

1325 - 1357

Afonso IV the Brave


Afonso Sanches

Illegitimate half-brother and favourite of Diniz.


Afonso IV and Afonso Sanches have been feuding from early in their lives, causing several civil wars during their father's reign. Upon his accession, Afonso IV strips his half-brother of all his lands and titles and exiles him to Castile. From there, Sanches organises several attempts to usurp the king until the dowager queen, Elizabeth of Aragon, arranges a peace treaty between them.


Sultan Abu al-Hasan ibn Uthman launches his grand invasion of Iberia from his capital at Fez. The Castilian fleet is instantly destroyed off the coast of Gibraltar. Tarifa is besieged but Hasan, believing that the Castilians are no longer a threat at sea, lays up much of his own fleet. Alfonso, though, has sought the help of his uncle, Alfonso IV of Portugal, and the king of Aragon. The fleet this produces cuts the Merinid chain of communications across the straits of Gibraltar. The Christian army then relieves Tarifa at the Battle of Río Salado (or the Battle of Tarifa) on 30 October 1340. The Merinids are thoroughly defeated and a North African ruler never again threatens Iberia. Granada now fights alone.

1357 - 1367

Peter I / Pedro I the Just


1367 - 1383

Ferdinand I


1369 - 1382

The death of Pedro of Castile triggers a fight for the throne. Ferdinand is among the competitors, as are the kings of Aragon and Navarre, and John of Gaunt, English duke of Lancaster. In the end it is Pedro's illegitimate brother who gains the throne, and all parties seek peace talks from Pope Gregory XI. An unsuccessful war follows in 1373, thanks to the intrigues of Lancaster. Again, in 1382, upon the death of Henry II in Castile, Lancaster and Ferdinand take to the field, but Ferdinand reaches a separate agreement by which his daughter will marry John I of Castile and unify the two crowns.

1383 - 1385


Dau. Claim denied by her uncle (and by some historians).

1383 - 1385

The 1383-1385 Crisis is triggered when Ferdinand dies without a male heir. The agreement for eleven year-old Beatrice and her husband, John I of Castile, is set aside by Ferdinand's illegitimate brother, John of Avis, who claims the throne for himself.

Kingdom of Portugal (House of Aviz)
AD 1385 - 1580

John I was the illegitimate son of Peter I and master of the military order of Avis. He triggered a crisis in 1383 by ignoring his niece's prior claim to the throne and claiming it for himself instead. Beatrice had supporters of her own, including King John I of Castile, so a two year war was triggered - a period known as the Portuguese Interregnum. Lisbon was besieged by John of Castile, but dwindling supplies and sickness on both sides saw the siege lifted, and John of Avis was in the ascendant afterwards, aided by English troops. John secured his throne and, following the conquest of the Algarve in southern Iberia during the reign of Sancho II, all future monarchs claimed the title 'king of Portugal and the Algarve', or a variant thereof.

(Additional information from The New Islamic Dynasties: A Chronological and Genealogical Manual, C E Bosworth (2004).)

1385 - 1433

John / João I of Avis

Son of Peter I. Died of plague.

1386 - 1387

As a result of England supplying 600 battle-hardened men to John to help him secure the throne, the two countries sign the Treaty of Windsor on 9 May, the oldest alliance in Europe still in force. The following year, on 11 February 1387, John cements the alliance by marrying Philippa of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt. All his descendants are therefore also direct descendants of Edward III of England.

Christians versus Moors
The Christian conquest of Iberia was a drawn-out process which covered several centuries of combat and slow advance, but in its later days it frequently spilled over into North African kingdoms which were supporting the 'Moors' in southern Iberia


John seizes Merinid Ceuta, opposite Gibraltar, marking the beginning of European expansion into Africa, although his initial intention is simply to control the North African coast. 'Lord of Cueta' is added to the monarch's titles.

1433 - 1438

Edward / Duarte

Son. Died of plague.

Prince Henry the Navigator

Brother. Important figure in early exploration by sea.

1437 - 1438

Edward, supported by his brothers, Henry and Fernando, attacks Merinid Tangiers with a view to improving his trade and exploration base in North Africa. The attack succeeds but at a cost; Fernando is captured and dies in prison. Edward himself dies of plague the following year, leaving his six year-old son to succeed him and the boy's mother to support him as regent.

1438 - 1481

Afonso V

Son. m Isabel of Coimbra. Abdicated in favour of his son.

1438 - 1440

Eleanor of Aragon

Mother and regent. Exiled.

1438 - 1440

The Aragonese Eleanor is unpopular with the nobility, and is inexperienced for her role as regent. Her brother-in-law, Pedro, is the popular choice of the masses and an agreement is negotiated over the course of several months which will enable a power-sharing deal. However, the Cortes (Portugal's council), appoints Pedro as sole regent and Eleanor is exiled to Castile in 1440, where she dies five years later.

1440 - 1448

Pedro, duke of Coimbra

Uncle and regent. Died in battle against Afonso in 1448.

1440 - 1445

The only supporter of Eleanor had been Afonso, count of Barcelos, the illegitimate half-brother of King Edward. He becomes the young king's favourite, and is made the first duke of Braganza in 1442, a powerful position that later yields the country's kings. He cements his position by marrying his young daughter to the king in 1445.

1458 - 1471

Afonso decides to expand Portuguese interests along the costal section of Morocco. His forces conquer Alcacer Ceguer in 1458, Tangiers is conquered and lost on multiple occasions within a four year period (1460-1464), while Arzila is taken in 1471.


The Treaty of Alcáçovas, also known as the Peace of Alcáçovas-Toledo, is signed between the joint kingdom of Castile and Aragon on one side and King Afonso V and Prince John II on the other. It ends the Castillian War of Succession by recognising Isabella as queen of Castile, renouncing Spanish claims to the Portuguese throne and, most importantly for Morocco, it divides the Atlantic and its coastal territories into zones of influence. The Portuguese are now unopposed in their attempts to dominate the kingdom of Fez.

1481 - 1495

John / João II

Son of Afonso V. King briefly in 1477. Died childless.


Explorer Diogo Cao visits the Kongo kingdom in Africa, impressing the manikongo with Portuguese culture.


John revives the work of his great-uncle, Henry the Navigator, and encourages the exploration of the western coast of Africa and beyond in an attempt to find a new source of riches outside the Mediterranean, which is controlled by Venice.

The Treaty of Tordesillas on 7 June divides the New World between the joint kingdom of Castile and Aragon, and Portugal, giving the latter the opportunity to exploit Brazil while the former expands its own Spanish Colonies.

However, a theory is that the secretive Portuguese court has contact with Brazil as early as 1480, before Castile's much-trumpeted discovery of the Bahamas, perhaps through the central Atlantic voyages of Captain Duarte Pacheco Pereira.

1495 - 1521

Manuel I

Cousin. Tried to halt the exploitation of Kongo kingdom.


The hand in marriage of the daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand, also named Isabella, is being sought by Manuel I. Manuel is required to purify Portugal of Sephardi Jews as a condition of marriage. The kingdom subsequently embarks upon a period of enslavement, forced conversion, pogroms, and Jewish Diaspora emigration whilst blocking the ports to prevent Jews from leaving the country.

1498 - 1500

Explorer Vasco da Gama discovers a maritime route to India via the Horn of Africa, the first European to reach the subcontinent this way. He makes two subsequent trips, dying on the last. Two years after the first voyage, Pedro Alvares Cabral officially discovers Brazil.

1503 - 1505

Portugal adds the island of Zanzibar to its empire at the same time as da Gama is returning from his second trip to India. In 1505, the first Portuguese viceroy of India is appointed. Portugal is becoming very rich due to all these distant discoveries.

1510 - 1517

Goa is made the capital of Portugal's empire in the east in 1510. A Portuguese embassy is established in the Thai kingdom of Ayuddhya in 1511, and further bases are created in Timor in 1515 and China in 1517. Later exploration is mostly dedicated to the west and Brazil, although Portugal possesses much of Africa's western and eastern coastline by the end of the reign of John III.

1521 - 1557

John / João III

Son. Succeeded aged 19. Died of apoplexy.

1543 - 1557

The Portuguese arrive in Japan in 1543, probably the first Europeans to do so, although Venice's Marco Polo had known of the country's existence from his travels. They also have rights to trade in Macau in China (gained in 1535), and a permanent settlement is established there in 1557.

Prince John

Son. A sickly child who died in 1554 aged 17.

1557 - 1578

Sebastian / Sebastiao

Son. 'The Desired'. Succeeded aged three.

1557 - 1568

Cardinal Henry

Great-uncle. Regent.

1576 - 1578

As part of the country's ongoing colonial successes, the Kongo kingdom becomes a Portuguese colony. However, just two years later the young king dies at the Battle of Alcacer-Quibir in Morocco, and it is questionable whether his body is ever discovered (although Philip II of Spain later claims to find and bury it). Childless, Sebastian's death sparks a succession crisis, with several claimants for the throne putting themselves forward. In the meantime, Cardinal Henry assumes control of the country until a successor can be selected, although he also attempts to persuade the Pope to release him from his vows so that he can take a bride and continue the Aviz dynasty, without success.

1578 - 1580

Cardinal Henry

Succeeded his nephew.


Cardinal Henry dies without having appointed a regency council to select his successor. Catherine, duchess of Braganza, has a better claim, but there are a number of other claimants to the throne. Anthony of Portugal, prior of Crato, gains power for twenty days (although some historians dispute his presence in any official list of kings), but his claim is considered weak as he is the illegitimate son of Prince Louis (son of Manuel I).


Anthony of Portugal

Claimant and briefly king (and in the Azores until 1583).

1580 - 1583

The War of the Portuguese Succession is fought between Anthony and Philip of Spain. Anthony is pushed out of the country in 1581 and ends up occupying the Azores. Defeated in naval battles, his attempt to secure the throne comes to an end in 1583. Philip gains the throne.

Kingdom of Portugal (House of Habsburg)
AD 1580 - 1640

After some political manoeuvring up to 1581, Portugal was secured and ruled by Spain under the Iberian Union. Philip II of Spain became Philip I for his Portuguese subjects, achieving the dominance that generations of Castilian kings before him had failed to secure.

During this period, Spanish attempts to prevent the Portuguese colonisation of Brazil in the New World were halted, allowing vast new territories there to be occupied by the Portuguese, many of them far from friendly towards the Spanish in particular and the Spanish Colonies in general. Ultimately, Spain's control of the country led to the decline of the Portuguese empire of overseas territories.

1580 - 1598

Philip I

King Philip II of Spain.

1598 - 1621

Philip II

King Philip III of Spain.


The arrival of a Dutch trading vessel in Japan, the Liefde, greatly unsettles the Portuguese and Spanish merchants there. The vessel's pilot, William Adams, is an Englishman of wit and charm. He is escorted to the powerful warlord, Tokugawa Ieyasu, where he reveals the lies peddled by Jesuits about religion in Europe.

Ieyasu is no less interested in the Liefde's canon, and it is possible that he uses them in battle later in the year. (William Adams serves as the inspiration for the character of John Blackthorne in James Clavell's novel, Shogun, with the role played by Richard Chamberlain in the remarkable tv mini-series of the same name.)

1621 - 1640

Philip III

King Philip IV of Spain.


The Portuguese aristocracy, frustrated by Habsburg rule from Spain, offers the crown to John of Braganza and the country reasserts its independence.

Battle of Monte Claros, 1665
The Battle of Monte Claros on 17 June 1665 took place in the third stage of the war between Portugal and Spain, when the Spanish king attempted a sledgehammer approach to cracking the Portuguese nut, although Monte Claros delivered Spain a very bloody nose which effectively terminated the prospect of any further major engamements

Kingdom of Portugal (House of Braganza)
AD 1640 - 1910

Catherine, duchess of Braganza (a cadet branch of the House of Aviz which was created in 1442), had claimed the Portuguese crown in 1580, only to be disappointed by Philip II of Spain taking the throne instead. That event sparked a struggle for the Portuguese throne in 1580-1583, but the Braganzas remained strangely uninterested in taking part. Nevertheless, their claim was seen by many as a stronger one, and in 1640 the Portuguese aristocracy expressed their frustration with Habsburg rule by offering the crown to Catherine's grandson.

The monarch continued to claim the title 'king of Portugal and the Algarves', except for the period of exile between 1807-1821, when the title was change to 'King of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves'.

1640 - 1656

John / João IV the Restorer

Grandson of Catherine, duchess of Braganza.

1640 - 1668

The protracted Portuguese Restoration War (or Acclamation War) is triggered by John's accession to the throne. It only ends when Portuguese independence is fully recognised. John still has allies across Europe, however, and marries his daughter, Catherine of Braganza to England's Charles II (in 1662). From this point onwards, the heir to the throne is given the title of prince of Brazil.

1641 - 1665

Perhaps taking advantage of the situation in Portugal, King Garcia II of Kongo allies himself to the Dutch in an attempt to control Portuguese slave traders, but in 1665 a Portuguese force decisively defeats the army of Kongo at the Battle of Mbwila. The manikongo becomes little more than a Portuguese vassal. The kingdom disintegrates into a number of small states, all controlled to varying degrees by the Portuguese.

Portuguese meet with Queen Nzinga in 1657
Portuguese relations with the Kongo kingdom were usually dictatorial, and even more so after Portuguese victory at the Battle of Mbwila in 1665


Son. Prince of Brazil and heir apparent. Died 1653.

1656 - 1683

Afonso VI the Victorious

Son. Semi-paralysed and mentally unstable. Exiled 1667-1682.

1656 - 1662

Luisa of Medina-Sidonia

Mother and regent.

1662 - 1667

Although his mother has made a very successful regent, the king is influenced at court by the count of Castelo Melhor, and in 1662 he dismisses her, sending her to a convent. Alfonso takes control of affairs himself, choosing a bride in Marie Françoise of Nemours in 1666. Unfortunately, she files for an annulment the following year, and when this is granted she marries Alfonso's brother, Peter. In the same year Peter manages to gain enough support in court to force the king into exile (initially in the Azores for seven years) and nominate himself as prince regent.

1667 - 1683

Peter II / Pedro II

Son and regent.

1683 - 1706

Peter II / Pedro II

Gained the throne upon his brother's death.


Portugal is expelled from the island of Zanzibar, losing its slave trade to the Sultans of Oman.

1702 - 1715

Peter initially supports France during the War of Spanish Succession. Britain alters the situation with the signing of the Methuen Treaty with Portugal on 16 May 1703, which grants mutually beneficial commercial rights for wine and textiles from the two countries. In December 1703 a military alliance between Austria, Britain, and Portugal sees them invade SpainLorraine is occupied during the war, forcing the ducal court to flee. The allied forces capture Madrid in 1706, although the campaign ends in a defeat at the Battle of Almansa.

1706 - 1750

John / João V the Magnanimous

Son. m Mary Anne of Austria.


The conclusion of the War of the Spanish Succession sees Spain giving up Milan, Naples, Sardinia, and the Spanish Netherlands (modern Belgium) to Austria, and Sicily to the duchy of Savoy. The Papal States are forced to hand over the territories of Parma and Piacenza to Austria, a definite blow to the papacy's prestige. Philip, duke of Anjou, is recognised as the Bourbon King Philip V of Spain, but only on the condition that the Bourbon crowns of Spain and France can never be united under a single ruler.


The Treaty of Madrid between Portugal and Spain legitimises the established borders of the colonial territories in Peru and Brazil. The crown benefits greatly from the profits earned from gold and diamond mines in Brazil.

1750 - 1777

Joseph Emanuel


1777 - 1816

Maria I

Dau. Ruled United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, & Algarves (1815).

1777 - 1786

Peter III / Pedro III

Uncle & husband. Co-ruler.


Queen Maria, otherwise known as Maria the Mad, suffers from a mental illness which induces religious mania and melancholy in her. As a result she is unable to conduct state affairs after 1799, so her son, John, becomes regent.

1799 - 1816

John / João VI

Son. Regent for his incapacitated mother.

1807 - 1811

Portugal is occupied by Napoleonic France. Led by the regent, John VI, the royal family goes into exile on 13 November to evade capture, sailing for Brazil, the largest of its overseas colonies. By 1811 Portugal has effectively been freed by an Anglo-Portuguese army under General Wellesley.

1816 - 1826

John / João VI

Ruled United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, & Algarves (1816).

1820 - 1825

The Liberal Revolution is ignited in Portugal following the chaos of the French invasions and a military insurrection in the northern city of Oporto. It quickly spreads throughout the country, with liberalists calling for a constitution and the royal family, which has lived in Brazil for thirteen years, to return home. As a result, the king returns to Portugal in 1821 leaving his son, Peter, behind as regent, and in 1822 a constitution is introduced. Unfortunately, it calls for Brazil to be returned to the status of a colony, so the regent of Brazil declares it to be independent of Portugal. Busy putting down rebellions by his son Miguel in 1822 and 1823, it takes the king until 1825 to recognise the country's independence.

1822 - 1823

Michael / Miguel

Son. Tried to rebel. Banished in 1824.


John VI had restored Peter to the succession in the belief that Brazil and Portugal would be reunited after his death. In the event, although he is indeed succeeded by his son, it is a brief reign. Peter is forced to abdicate on 28 May in favour of his daughter.


Peter IV / Pedro IV

Brother. Peter I Emperor of Brazil. Abdicated Portuguese throne.

1826 - 1828

Maria II

Dau. Seven years old upon accession.

1826 - 1828

Isabel Maria

Sister of Peter IV. Regent.


Michael declares himself regent in place of his sister, Isabel Maria, on 26 February, and proceeds to take the throne himself on 23 June, deposing his niece and marrying her.

1828 - 1834

Michael / Miguel


1831 - 1834

Following his abdication of the throne of Brazil, Peter IV returns to Portugal and initiates naval action against Michael. A civil war follows, known as the Portuguese Liberal War, and it only ends when Michael is forced to abdicate on 26 May 1834. He is sent into exile for a second time. (His descendants later inherit the claim to the throne in modern Portugal.)

1834 - 1853

Maria II



Maria is restored to the throne, and she immediately negates the marriage to her uncle. Still only fifteen years of age, she settles on twenty-three year-old Charles Auguste Eugène Napoleon de Beauharnais, grandson of Empress Josephine of France. Unfortunately, August falls ill and dies just two months after the confirmation of the marriage on 26 January 1835. Maria remarries to Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1836, making him king on a par with her, although he cannot use the title until an heir is born (according to Portuguese law).

1836 - 1855

Ferdinand II

Husband and co-ruler. Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

1853 - 1861

Peter V / Pedro V

Son. Under his father's regency for two years.


A cholera outbreak kills the young king, along with his brother Fernando and other members of the royal family. The loss of such a beloved and progressive king leaves a grieving nation and sparks minor revolts in parts of the country. Unfortunately, under the surviving son of Maria II, the country stagnates, falling behind its European neighbours in terms of industrial progression and affluence.

1861 - 1889

Louis / Luis

Younger brother.


The king of Kongo signs the Treaty of Vassallage with Portugal which sees much of the African country incorporated into Angola and partly into the 'Independent State of Congo'.

1889 - 1908

Charles / Carlos

Son. Murdered in public.

Louis / Luis

Son and crown prince. Murdered alongside his father.

1908 - 1910

Manuel II

Brother. Exiled in 1910. Hereditary monarch (1910-1932).

1908 - 1910

Following the assassination of King Charles and the crown prince, the young and unprepared Manuel accedes the throne.

Assassination of King Carlos of Portugal
King Carlos and his son, Crown Prince Luis, were riding through the streets of Lisbon on 1 February 1908 when they were assassinated by revolutionaries

In an attempt to save the monarchy's faltering position he immediately dismisses prime minister and dictator Joao Franco and his entire cabinet. The following two years are politically turbulent, and free elections see the republicans and socialists secure an overwhelming victory. When a prominent republican is murdered in 1910, a pre-planned revolution is ignited on 4 October. Elements of the military stage a coup which forces the king to flee to British Gibraltar. Now in exile, he continues to claim his Hereditary title. A republic is declared in Portugal.

Modern Portugal
AD 1910 - Present Day

Modern Portugal has maintained its borders virtually unchanged since the twelfth century, and is the only one of three states within ancient Iberia (the third being Andorra). It is neighboured to the north and east by Spain, to the south by Algeria, and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean.

The kings of Portugal and the Algarves were of the House of Braganza. During the revolt of 1910, King Manuel II was forced to flee to Gibraltar, from where he was taken to Britain by the Royal Navy. While there he agreed the 1912 Pact of Dover with the rival claimant who descended from the usurping King Michael of 1828, and then the Pact of Paris in 1922 in an attempt to unite the monarchist movement and provide it with a secure succession. The Royalist movement in Portugal has so far failed to restore the Braganzas to the throne, but all claimants are shown here with a shaded background. Pretenders and rival claimants are shown in green text.


The First Republic is declared. On 3 October 1911 a minor incursion by royalists armed with mismatched weapons, some of which have been supplied by Alfonso XIII of Spain, briefly occupies the town of Vinhais before withdrawing to Spain. A much better organised attack is launched from Galicia on 8 July 1912. Led by the head of the royalists, Henrique Paiva Couceiro, the northern town of Chaves manages to repulse the royalist attempt, and the force withdraws in defeat. Paiva Couceiro abandons the struggle.

Portugal's 1910 revolution
The revolution forced the royal family to flee to Britain for their safety, and a republican government was quickly installed

1910 - 1932

Manuel II

Exiled king. Died mysteriously on 2 July.

1914 - 1916

In 1914, the kings of Kongo (Angola) are abolished following a revolt. In 1916, Portugal's neutrality in the First World War is ended when German vessels which are interned in Portuguese ports are confiscated by the government in line with requests from Great Britain. The country's participation in the war on the Western Front deepens divisions and makes it possible for the first dictatorship to emerge, albeit a short-lived one.


Pimenta de Castro

Dictator. Jan-May only. Resigned after military intervention.

1917 - 1918

Sidonio Pais seizes power in December 1917, and initiates a form of benevolent dictatorship, repairing some of the problems caused since the declaration of the republic. His attempt at charismatic rule comes to an end with his assassination on 14 December 1918.

1917 - 1918

Sidonio Pais

Dictator, the 'President-king'. Assassinated.

1918 - 1919

The assassination of Pais leads to a short civil war. The monarchy is declared to have been restored in northern Portugal on 19 January 1919, with an insurrection breaking out in support in Lisbon just four days later. Both events are dealt with by the republic's military and a return to the pre-1915 status quo is achieved.


On 10 July, a liberal government wins the elections for president. On 19 October a military coup leads to the assassination of the prime minister and various other conservative figures. Fresh elections the following year return a new government and a period of stability, although not stable government, as they rise and fall with bewildering regularity.

1926 - 1932

A coup is launched on 28 May 1926 by the army and is supported by most politicians who are not involved in the ruling government. A military dictatorship is instigated which is known as the National Dictatorship. It elects and deposes figurehead presidents as it sees fit.

1932 - 1970

Antonio Salazar is appointed prime minister in 1932, marking the start of thirty-six years of his fascist dictatorship in the country. From 1933, he attempts to prevent the rise of National Socialism in the country, but also introduces a new constitution which widens his powers considerably. During the Second World War against Germany, Portugal grants Great Britain the use of naval bases in the Azores, and similar access is later given to the USA, although officially the country remains neutral.

1932 - 1968

Antonio de Oliveira Salazar

Dictator. Suffered a stroke and died two years later.

1932 - 1976

Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza

Cousin & successor of Manuel II. Born 23 Sep 1907. D. 24 Dec.


Duarte Nuno is the grandson of King Michael, the wayward son of John VI who had seized power in 1828. As Manuel II has no offspring, he recognises the claim of this branch of the family shortly before his death.

1939 - 1945

At the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942, Dutch and Australian forces occupy the Portuguese colony of East Timor. They are driven out by the Japanese, who occupy East Timor from 1942 to 1945.

1957 - 1983

Maria Pia de Saxe-Coburg-Braganza

Claimed to be daughter of King Charles but evidence insufficient.


After fourteen years of demonstrations and strikes in favour of independence from Portugal in India, the colony in Goa is invaded by the Indian army and taken by force. Revolutionary forces are also becoming active in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea, as the country resists following the other European colonial powers by handing its colonies independence. Instead Portugal fights successfully to put down most of the revolts and is ostracised by much of the world.

1970 - 1974

Following two years of caretaker rule while Salazar is incapacitated, his former aide, Marcelo Caetano takes over, initiating the Caetano New State fascist dictatorship. His power is more limited than his predecessor's, as the president is now able to wield more influence instead of simply being a puppet.

1970 - 1974

Marcelo Caetano

Dictator. Died 1980 of a heart attack.


There is a military coup on 25 April, known as the Carnation Revolution thanks to these flowers being in full bloom at the time. Triggered by the spiralling cost of fighting in Africa for Portugal's colonial possessions, the coup is led by junior officers. The Estado Novo dictatorship is overthrown and Caetano is exiled to Brazil. The Second Republic is declared and Portugal's overseas empire collapses. The following year Angola gains independence.

Carnation Revolution 1974
The Carnation Revolution overthrew the Estado Novo dictatorship and laid the grounds for the second republic to be established

1976 - Present

Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza

Son of Duarte Nuno. Born 15 May 1945.


The Portuguese colony of Macau is handed back to China on 20 December. The enclave is guaranteed a high degree of continued autonomy until 2049 at the earliest, maintaining everything except defence and foreign affairs for itself.

Afonso, Prince of Beira

Son of Duarte Pio and heir. Born 25 March 1996.

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