Portuguese Monarch. He reigned as King of Portugal from 1438 to 1481. He was born in Sintra as the oldest son of King Duarte I and his Queen Eleanor of Aragon. He succeeded his father in 1438, only six years old.During his minority he was placed under the regency of his mother, according to the late will of his father. Being a foreigner and a woman, the queen was not a popular choice for regent. Opposition rose, and the queen's only ally was Afonso, illegitimate half brother of Duarte I and count of Barcelos. The following year the Cortes decided to replace the queen for Pedro, duke of Coimbra, the young king's oldest uncle. His main policies were concerned with avoiding the development of great noble houses, kingdoms inside the kingdom, and concentration power in the person of the king. The country prospered under his rule but not in a peaceful environment, because his laws interfered with the ambition of powerful nobles. The count of Barcelos, a personal enemy of the duke of Coimbra (despite being half-brothers) became the young king's favourite uncle and began conspiring in a constant struggle for power. In 1442 the king created Afonse the 1st Duke of Braganza. With this title and it's alnds, he became the most powerful man in Portugal and one of the richest men in Europe. To secure his position as regent in 1445, Dom Pedro of Coimbra arranged the marriage between king Afonso V and his own daughter, Isabel of Coimbra, princess of Portugal (1432-1455).But in June 9, 1448, in the adulthood of the king, Dom Pedro had su surrender the power to Afonso V. The years of conspiracy by the duke of Braganza finally paid their price. In Seoptember 15 the same year, Afonso V nullified all laws and edicts approved during the regency. The situation became unstable and, in the following year, being led by what he afterwards discovered to be false representations, he declared Dom Pedro a rebel and defeated his army in the battle of Alfarrobeira, in which his uncle and father-in-law was killed. After this battle and the loss of one of Portugal's most remarkable princes, the duke of Braganza became the de facto ruler of the country.Afonso V then turned his attentions to the North of Africa. In his grandfather João I's reign Ceuta had been conquered from the king of Morocco, now the neew king wanted to expand this conquest. The king's army conquered Alcacer Ceguer (1458) Tangiers (won and lost several times between 1460 and 1464) and Arzila (1470). These achievements granted the king the nickname "the African". The king also supported the exploration of the Atalntic Ocean led by his uncle, prince Henriques the Navigator but, after the Henriques's death in 1460 the king did nothing to pursue this course of action. Administratively, Afonso V was an absent king, since he did not pursue development of laws or commerce, preferring to remain with the legacy of his father and grandfather.When the campaigns in Africa were over, Afonso V found new grounds for battle in the Iberian Peninsula. In the neighbouring country of Castile, a huge scandal with political and dynastic implications was rising. King Enrique IV of Castile was dying without leaving heirs. From his two marriages, only a daughter, Juana of Castile, had been born. But the paternity was questioned because rumour said the king was impotent and the queen, Joana of Portugal, was having a notorious affair with a nobleman called Beltrán de La Cueva. The birth of princess Juana (1462-1530), openly called "La Beltráneja", caused the divorce of her parents. Moreover, she was never considered as legitimate and now that the king was dying, no one took her as a serious pretender of the crown. It was her aunt, Isabella I "the Catholic" of Castile that was due to inherit the throne. But Afonso V was keen to interfere with the succession in Castile. In 1475 he married his niece, Juana "la Beltráneja", whom he consideredlegitimate heir to the crown. Since her adulterous mother was his own sister, Afonso Vhad not only ambition, but the family honour to protect and defend. He proclaimed himself king of Castile and Léon and prepared to defend his wifes rights But the following year he was defeated in the battle of Toro by king Fernando II of Aragon, the husband of Isabella I of Castile. He want to France to obtain the assistance of king Louis XI, but finding himself deceived by the French monarch, he returned to Portugal in 1477 with very low spirits. Disillusioned and depressed he fell into a deep melancholy and abdicated to his son João II. After this, he retired to an monastery in Sintra where he died in 1481. His death was mourned in the country by the prople who loved the king, and by the nobles who were starting to fear his successor.With his first wife, Isabel of Coimbra, Afonso V became the father of 3 children: João (1451), Saint Joana (1452-1490) and king João II (1455-1495).
Bio by: Benny Chordt Hansen