Portugal History – First Crisis of National Autonomy

Economic development of the nation. – In the early days of the Portuguese state, agriculture progressed slowly, especially due to the action of the military orders and the Cistercians (Alcobaça monastery). King Dionysius took important measures in favor of agriculture: he distributed the uncultivated lands to the residents, protected the rustic property with severe penalties against those who violated it, he had a large national pine forest planted next to Leiria, intended to supply timber for land constructions and naval. This last measure was aimed at favoring the development of the navy, to which Dionysius dedicated special care. A war and merchant navy had existed since the time of Alfonso Henriques, and commercial relations had been established with other countries of Europe, especially with Flanders. Dionigi called the Genoese Emanuele Pessagno to Portugal, to whom he conferred the title of admiral, with the task of reorganizing the navy. As his father Alfonso III had already done, he set up fairs and markets in various locations and made searches for gold, silver, copper and iron mines. At that time the most prosperous industries were those of fishing and linen fabrics.

Dionysius’ work was continued by his successor Alfonso IV. At the time of this Portuguese ships made frequent voyages in the Atlantic, including heading south, along the African coast. There is documentary evidence of an expedition to the Canaries sent by this king: having the Pope Clement VI granted the sovereignty of those islands to Prince Louis of Spain in November 1344, Alfonso IV wrote to the pontiff (February 12, 1345), making him observe that he, already before 1336, had sent ships and men to those islands, and who therefore proved to him that they should not be given to another prince, all the more being they closer to Portugal than to any other Christian state.

Ferdinand I (1367-1383) continued the economic work of Dionysius: he favored exports with customs exemptions, created an insurance company (bolsa) between ship builders and owners, allowed them to obtain free wood from the royal forests, promulgated (1375) a law in favor of agriculture, for which the owners were forced to cultivate their lands, under pain of losing them, and vagabonds, beggars and false religious were taken and forced to agricultural work.

First crisis of national autonomy. – Ferdinand I was the last monarch of the Burgundian house. How great was the increase he gave to the national economy, how unhappy was his foreign policy. He supported disastrous wars with Castile, caused by his claims to the throne of this following the death of Peter I the Cruel. In the long conflict (1369-1383) Ferdinand often changed politics, allying himself now with Granata and Aragon, now with the Duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III of England, and also a pretender to the throne of Castile. A treaty ended the fight, according to which Beatrice, Ferdinand’s only daughter and heir, was to marry John I of Castile. In the marriage contract Ferdinand had introduced clauses aimed at preventing the union of the two crowns, but, as soon as he was dead (1383), the king of Castile prepared to invade Portugal, where the regency had been assumed by Eleonora Teles, widow of the king, a dissolute woman whom the people hated, like her favorite Giovanni Andeiro count of Ourem. The bourgeois of Lisbon, together with some nobles, plotted a conspiracy, led by Giovanni, grand master of the military order of Aviz (name that the order of Calatrava bore in Portugal) and bastard of King Peter I. The Andeiro was killed in the royal palace by Giovanni and some nobles, and the bourgeois gathered in the square acclaimed the grand master of Aviz “defender and regent of the kingdom”. Popular enthusiasm, overcoming the reluctance of part of the nobility and the clergy in favor of the king of Castile, faced the invasion, which moved from two sides, from beyond the Beira and from the Alemtejo. In the latter region a young captain, Nuno Alvares Pereira, inflicted a serious defeat on the Castilians in the locality of the Atoleiros, above all through the use of a new tactic, that of footing the knights and arranging them in two lines, the first destined to support the assault of the enemy cavalry in closed order, the second to hit it with darts and artillery. The Castilian army besieged Lisbon, but an epidemic forced it to lift the siege and retreat to Spain; meanwhile Giovanni, having discovered that Eleonora Teles, reluctant to give up the regency, was conspiring against him, had her locked up in the monastery of Tordesillas. epidemic forced him to lift the siege and retire to Spain; meanwhile Giovanni, having discovered that Eleonora Teles, reluctant to give up the regency, was conspiring against him, had her locked up in the monastery of Tordesillas. For Portugal 2009, please check hyperrestaurant.com.

In April 1385 the Côrtes met in Coimbra. The candidacy of Giovanni grand master of Aviz, supported by the jurist Giovanni das Regras, triumphed and he was acclaimed king of Portugal, (John I), thus inaugurating a new dynasty, that of Aviz. In the same year the king of Castile invaded the Portuguese territory again, but was completely dispersed in Aljubarrota by King John and his contestable Nuno Alvares Pereira, and, having taken refuge in a disorderly flight to Lisbon, he embarked there for Seville. With the victory of Aljubarrota many lands that had recognized Castilian sovereignty returned to Portugal. The commercial and industrial bourgeoisie acquired great importance, and shortly thereafter contributed immensely to the success of overseas enterprises. In the clashes that had given victory to Portugal, the superiority of the Portuguese infantry over the famous Spanish cavalry had manifested itself: the same fact was repeated in the battle of Valverde, won by Nuno Alvares, who with a small army had invaded Castile for the border. by Badajoz. The peace, signed in 1411, was ratified in 1431, and ensured the independence of Portugal. With England, which had lent him some help, John I signed a treaty of peace and perpetual friendship, in which each side undertook to consider the enemies of the other as its enemies. With another agreement Portugal undertook to bring aid to England with ten equipped ships at its expense; the treaty was strengthened with the marriage of John with Filippa, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster. From this union came a generation of illustrious princes: Duarte I, the philosopher king, author of a treatise on morals and psychology; Pietro, moralist writer, notable statesman, rich in the experience acquired in numerous trips to Europe; Henry the Navigator, the infant who initiated maritime discoveries; Giovanni, a shrewd politician, highly esteemed by the bourgeoisie; Ferdinand, who for the martyrdom he suffered in Fez had the halo of holiness from the people. highly esteemed by the bourgeoisie; Ferdinand, who for the martyrdom he suffered in Fez had the halo of holiness from the people. highly esteemed by the bourgeoisie; Ferdinand, who for the martyrdom he suffered in Fez had the halo of holiness from the people.

In accordance with the concluded treaty, John I gave his help to the Duke of Lancaster, in his claims to the crown of Castile, and together with him invaded that region, but the campaign was short and fruitless. The duke concluded an agreement with the king of Castile, renouncing all rights.

Portugal History - First Crisis of National Autonomy