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Afonso VI
Afonso VI de Portugal.JPG
D. Afonso VI; Domenico Duprà
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Reign 6 November 1656 –
12 September 1683
Coronation 15 November 1657
Predecessor John IV
Successor Peter II
Regents Luisa de Guzmán (1656–1662)
Infante Peter (1667–1683)
Consort Maria Francisca of Savoy
House House of Braganza
Father John IV
Mother Luisa of Medina-Sidonia
Born 21 August 1643
Ribeira Palace, Portugal
Died 12 September 1683 (aged 40)
Palace of Sintra, Portugal
Burial Pantheon of the Braganzas
Religion Roman Catholicism

Afonso VI (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]; English: Alphonzo or Alphonse, Old Portuguese: Affonso; 21 August 1643 – 12 September 1683) was King of Portugal and the Algarves, the second of the House of Braganza, known as "the Victorious" (o Vitorioso).

Early life

At the age of three, Afonso suffered an illness that left him paralyzed on the left side of his body, as well as leaving him mentally unstable. His father created him 10th Duke of Braganza.

After the 1653 death of his eldest brother Teodósio, Prince of Brazil, Afonso became the heir-apparent to the throne of the kingdom. He received also the crown-princely title 2nd Prince of Brazil.

Succession

Portrait of Infante Afonso; José de Avelar Rebelo, 1653.

He succeeded his father (João IV) in 1656 at the age of thirteen. His mother, Luisa of Medina-Sidonia, was named regent in his father's will. His mental instability and paralysis, plus his lack of interest in government, left his mother as regent for six years, until 1662. Afonso oversaw decisive military victories over the Spanish at Elvas (14 January 1659), Ameixial (8 June 1663) and Montes Claros (17 June 1665), culminating in the final Spanish recognition of sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza, on 13 February 1668 in the Treaty of Lisbon.

Colonial Affairs

Colonial affairs saw the Dutch conquest of Jaffnapatam, Portugal's last colony in Portuguese Ceylon (1658) and the cession of Bombay and Tangier to England (23 June 1661) as dowry for Afonso's sister, Catherine of Braganza, who had married King Charles II of England. English mediation in 1661 saw the Netherlands acknowledge Portuguese rule of Brazil in return for uncontested control of Ceylon.

In 1662, the Count of Castelo Melhor saw an opportunity to gain power at court by befriending the king. He managed to convince the king that his mother was out to steal his throne and exile him from Portugal. As a result, Afonso took control of the throne and his mother was sent to a convent.

Marriage

He was married to Marie Françoise of Nemours, the daughter of the Duke of Savoy, in 1666, but the marriage did not last long. Marie Françoise, or Maria Francisca in Portuguese, filed for an annulment in 1667 based on the impotence of the king. The Church granted her the annulment, and she married Afonso's brother, Pedro, Duke of Beja (the future Peter II).

Deposition

That same year, Pedro managed to gain enough support to force the king to relinquish control of the government and he became Prince Regent in 1668. Afonso was exiled to the island of Terceira in the Azores for seven years, returning to mainland Portugal shortly before he died at Sintra in 1683.

His trial is the basis of João Mário Grilo's 1990 film, The King's Trial (O Processo do Rei).

Ancestry

References

External links

Afonso VI of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 21 August 1643 Died: 12 September 1683
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John IV
King of Portugal and the Algarves
1656–1683
Succeeded by
Peter II

4 Annotations

Jeannine  •  Link

Alfonso VI was the brother of Catherine of Braganza (who married Charles II and became the Queen of England).

Pepys says on May 24, 1662

Jeannine  •  Link

Thanks to Pedro for supplying the following translation regarding Alfonso's illness as a child. His annotation read:

"Catherine

Pedro  •  Link

The King of Portugal, Afonso

Sam's entry on the 19th November 1662 mentions the King of Portugal sending the fleet and landmen back to England, but in reality this should read the Conde de Castello Melhor who is virtually running the country. Perhaps drawing together some points together may be of interest.

On the death of Catherine's father D.Joao, and her elder brother Teodosio in 1653, Afonso became heir to the throne at the age of 10 years. The Courts were divided as to whether to confirm this succession due to his health (discussed above) and his behaviour problems. Some hesitated but it was decided that, in those days of struggle against Spain, that a King must exist, and so Catherine's mother D. Luisa became Queen Regent. Although being of Spanish origin, she was well respected and considered one of the driving forces behind her husbands decision to lead the rebellion in 1640.

Luisa chose the Conde de Odemira to govern the King, but this was a thankless task, and by the time Odemira died in 1661 he had become ungovernable. The King spent most of his time riding, coursing bulls, and watching cock and dog fights, although it is said that he had a most prodigious memory. He had taken to roaming the streets with the "lower order" people in the Square, especially with a gang led by one Antonio Conti, of Italian origin. Conti was given many favours by the King and assumed the air of the Royal Favourite, even setting himself up with rooms in the Palace. Some factions in the Court sided with the King for their own interests.

Meanwhile Luisa was doing her best to cement alliances, for the benefit of Portugal, by the marriage of her daughter Catherine. She had tried to stand aside from the differences in the Court, but things had got so bad in 1659 that the balance of power that she maintained was being destroyed. She threatened to resign the Regency, in the hope that it would bring the factions together, and as she was urged not to do so by many, it seems to have worked.

After successfully agreeing the marriage treaty with England in 1662, she must have felt that her job had been completed, and she was tired of the enormous pressures that had been thrust upon her. In June she announced that she would resign in two months. In response the factions favouring Afonso's younger brother Pedro, agreed to remove Conti and ship him off to Brazil, and Luisa appealed to her son to prepare for government, and to refrain from unscrupulous company. He took no interest at all.

After the removal of Conti, the leader of another faction Conde de Castello Melhor saw his chance to move. He told Afonso that the same fate awaited him, and that he should go to Alcantara where a force was waiting for his defence. From there he advised Afonso to announce his takeover of the government, but in effect Castello Melhor alone had access to the King and issued orders and decrees in his name. Catherine's mother retired to a convent, and he purged the Court of his enemies and held power for 5 years.

Bill  •  Link

The King of Portugal was Alfonso VI., who ascended the throne in 1656, and was deposed in 1667.
---Wheatley, 1899.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1661

1662

1663

1664

1667