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Alphonso I of Portugal

Alphonso I of Portugal (Afonso Henriques), the Conqueror (o Conquistador) (1094 - 1185) was the first king of independent Portugal.

Born at Guimaraes[?], son of Count Henry of Burgundy[?], count of Portugal, and Teresa of Leon[?]. He succeeded his father in 1112, and was placed under the tutelage of his mother. When he came of age, he was obliged to wrest from her by force that power which her vices and incapacity had rendered disastrous to the state.

Being proclaimed sole ruler of Portugal in 1123, he defeated his mother's troops near Guimaraes[?], making her at the same time his prisoner. He also vanquished Alphonso Raymond of Castile[?], his mother's ally, and thus freed Portugal from dependence on the crown of Leon and Castille.

Next turning his arms against the Moors, he obtained, on July 26, 1139, the famous victory of Ourique[?], and immediately after was proclaimed king by his soldiers. He assembled the Cortes of the kingdom at Lamego[?], where he received the crown from the archbishop of Braganza[?]; the assembly also declaring that Portugal was no longer a dependency of Leon.

Alphonso continued to distinguish himself by his exploits against the Moors, from whom he wrested Santarem[?] in 1146 and Lisbon in 1147. Some years later he became involved in a war that had broken out among the kings of Spain; and in 1167, being disabled during an engagement near Badajoz by a fall from his horse, he was made prisoner by the soldiers of the king of Leon, and was obliged to surrender as his ransom almost all the conquests he had made in Galicia.

In 1184, in spite of his great age, he had still sufficient energy to relieve his son Sancho, who was besieged in Santarem[?] by the Moors. He died shortly after, in 1185.

Alphonso was a man of gigantic stature, being 7 ft. high according to some authors (7ft = 2,13 meters). He is revered as a hero by the Portuguese, both on account of his personal character and as the founder of their kingdom.

Preceded by:
List of Portuguese monarchs Succeeded by:
Sancho I

Initial text from 1911 encyclopedia -- Please update as needed

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