Marriage Treaty

The Marriage Treaty or the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty was a treaty of alliance agreed between the Kingdom of England and Portugal in 1661. It led to the marriage of Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza, the daughter of John IV of Portugal. The pact renewed the traditional Anglo-Portuguese Alliance between the countries. It was a marriage of state, common in the era.

Charles had recently been restored to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland and had been lobbied by both Portugal and the Spanish who pushed rival candidates as a potential wife. Although Charles had previously been allied to Spain through the Treaty of Brussels, his relations with Madrid had become increasingly strained. Spain demanded the return of possessions taken by the English Republic, notably Jamaica, which Charles was willing to agree to.

The Portuguese match received strong support from the influential English statesman Edward Hyde and his Irish ally Ormonde. As well as a cash payment Catherine's dowry also brought with it the settlements of Bombay and Tangier. Over time both of these came to be regarded as liabilities. Charles sold his rights over Bombay to the East India Company. Tangier was maintained until being evacuated by 1684, but was under constant pressure from surrounding Moorish forces. It also became a source of political controversy in England as Whigs suggested that the garrison, which had a large number of Irish Catholics, was designed to be brought over to Britain to impose royal absolutism.[1]

In accordance with the agreement a force of British and Irish troops under Frederick Schomberg were raised to serve in Portugal's ongoing war of independence against Spain. Portugal was able to successfully secure its independence in 1668.

Charles and Catherine were unable to conceive a child, meaning that in 1685 the throne passed to the King's brother James, Duke of York.


  1. Childs p.115-51


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