Afonso II of Portugal

Afonso II
D. Afonso II - Compendio de crónicas de reyes (Biblioteca Nacional de España).png
King Afonso in the Castilian manuscript Compendium of Chronicles of Kings (...) (c. 1312-1325)
King of Portugal
Reign 26 March 1211[1][2] – 25 March 1223
Predecessor Sancho I
Successor Sancho II
Born 23 April 1185
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 25 March 1223(1223-03-25) (aged 37)
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Spouse 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 Catholic

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[4] 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 on 27 March 1211.[2][1]


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 ensure 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 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 Coimbra on 25 March 1223[3] before making any serious attempts to do so.[5]

19th-century depiction of King Afonso II of Portugal, on the ceiling of the Kings' Room, Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra, Portugal.

King Afonso was buried originally at the Monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra where his body remained for nearly ten years. His remains were transferred subsequently to Alcobaça Monastery,[6] as he had stipulated in his will. He and his wife, Queen Urraca, were buried at its Royal Pantheon.[7]


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.[8] The offspring of this marriage were:

Out of wedlock, he had two illegitimate sons:

  • João Afonso (d. 9 October 1234), buried in the Alcobaça monastery;[14]
  • Pedro Afonso (d. after 1249). Accompanied his brother King Afonso in the conquest of Faro in 1249. He had an illegitimate daughter named Constança Peres. [14]


  1. ^ a b Carvalho Correia 2008, p. 187.
  2. ^ a b Caetano de Souza 1735, p. 132.
  3. ^ a b Caetano de Souza 1735, p. 134.
  4. ^ Caetano de Souza 1735, p. 131.
  5. ^ Hannay, David (1911). "Alphonso s.v. Alphonso II." . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 733.
  6. ^ Caetano de Souza 1735, pp. 134–135.
  7. ^ "D. Afonso II". Mosteiro de Alcobaça. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  8. ^ Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, pp. 99 and 101.
  9. ^ a b Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, p. 102.
  10. ^ a b c Sotto Mayor Pizarro 1997, p. 167.
  11. ^ Sotto Mayor Pizarro 1997, p. 167-168.
  12. ^ Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, pp. 102 and 210.
  13. ^ Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, pp. 102 and 110.
  14. ^ a b Sotto Mayor Pizarro 1997, p. 168.


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