Afonso II of Portugal

"Afonso II" redirects here. For the ruler of the Kingdom of Kongo, see Afonso II of Kongo.
Afonso II

King Afonso in Compendio de crónicas de reyes del Antiguo Testamento, gentiles, cónsules y emperadores romanos, reyes godos y de los reinos de Castilla, Aragón, Navarra y Portugal (c.1312–1325)
King of Portugal
Reign 26 March 1212  25 March 1223
Predecessor Sancho I
Successor Sancho II
Born (1185-04-23)23 April 1185
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 25 March 1223(1223-03-25) (aged 37)
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Santa Cruz Monastery, Coimbra, District of Coimbra, Portugal
Consort Urraca of Castile
among others...
Sancho II
Afonso III
Leonor, Queen of Denmark
Fernando, Lord of Serpa
House Burgundy
Father Sancho I
Mother Dulce of Aragon
Religion Roman Catholicism

Afonso II (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]; English: Alphonzo), or Affonso (Archaic Portuguese), Alfonso or Alphonso (Portuguese-Galician) or Alphonsus (Latin version), nicknamed "the Fat" (Portuguese o Gordo), King of Portugal, was born in Coimbra on 23 April 1185 and died on 25 March 1223 in the same city. He was the second but eldest surviving son of Sancho I of Portugal by his wife, Dulce, Infanta of Aragon. Afonso succeeded his father in 1212.


A 17th century depiction of Afonso.

As a king, Afonso II set a different approach of government. Hitherto, his father Sancho I and his grandfather Afonso I were mostly concerned with military issues either against the neighbouring Kingdom of Castile or against the Moorish lands in the south. Afonso did not pursue territory enlargement policies and managed to insure peace with Castile during his reign. Despite this, some towns, like Alcácer do Sal in 1217, were conquered from the Moors by the private initiative of noblemen. This does not mean that he was a weak or somehow cowardly man. The first years of his reign were marked instead by internal disturbances between Afonso and his brothers and sisters. The king managed to keep security within Portuguese borders only by outlawing and exiling his kin.

Since military issues were not a government priority, Afonso established the state's administration and centralized power on himself. He designed the first set of Portuguese written laws. These were mainly concerned with private property, civil justice, and minting. Afonso also sent ambassadors to European kingdoms outside the Iberian Peninsula and began amicable commercial relations with most of them.

Other reforms included the always delicate matters with the pope. In order to get the independence of Portugal recognized by Rome, his grandfather, Afonso I, had to legislate an enormous number of privileges to the Church. These eventually created a state within the state. With Portugal's position as a country firmly established, Afonso II endeavoured to weaken the power of the clergy and to apply a portion of the enormous revenues of the Roman Catholic Church to purposes of national utility. These actions led to a serious diplomatic conflict between the pope and Portugal. After being excommunicated for his audacities by Pope Honorius III, Afonso II promised to make amends to the church, but he died in 1223 before making any serious attempts to do so.[1]


Marriage and descendants

In 1206, he married his fourth cousin Infanta Urraca of Castile, daughter of Alfonso VIII of Castile and Eleanor of England, both being descendants of King Alfonso VI of León.[2] The offspring of this marriage were:

Out of wedlock, he had two illegitimate sons:


  1.  Hannay, David (1911). "Alphonso s.v. Alphonso II.". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 733.
  2. Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, pp. 99 and 101.
  3. 1 2 Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, p. 102.
  4. 1 2 3 Sotto Mayor Pizarro 1997, p. 167.
  5. Sotto Mayor Pizarro 1997, p. 167-168.
  6. Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, pp. 102 and 210.
  7. Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, pp. 102 and 110.
  8. 1 2 Sotto Mayor Pizarro 1997, p. 168.


  • Rodrigues Oliveira, Ana (2010). Rainhas medievais de Portugal. Dezassete mulheres, duas dinastias, quatro séculos de História (in Portuguese). Lisbon: A esfera dos livros. ISBN 978-989-626-261-7. 
  • Sotto Mayor Pizarro, José Augusto (1997). Linhagens Medievais Portuguesas: Genealogias e Estratégias (1279-1325) (in Portuguese). Oporto: Doctorate thesis, author’s edition. 

External links

Afonso II of Portugal
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 23 April 1185 Died: 25 March 1223
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Sancho I
King of Portugal
Succeeded by
Sancho II
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