Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
- Relations: With the Marriage of Catherine of Braganza, Infanta of Portugal, to Charles II, this country has become an ally of England. At Catherine's death, this alliance is now in question.
- Enemy: Spain
- Current Ruler: Alfonso VI, brother to the now deceased Queen of England.
- Religion: Roman Catholicism
Once part of Spain, when Philip II died, he was succeeded by Philip III (and IV of Spain) who had a different approach on Portuguese issues. Taxes raised affected mainly the Portuguese merchants. Portuguese nobility began to lose its importance at the Spanish Cortes, and government posts in Portugal were occupied by Spaniards. Ultimately, Philip III tried to make Portugal a Spanish province and Portuguese nobles lost all of their power.
This situation culminated in a revolution by the nobility and high bourgeoisie on December 1, 1640, 60 years after the crowning of Philip I. The revolution was planned by Antão Vaz de Almada, Miguel de Almeida and João Pinto Ribeiro. They, together with several associates, killed Secretary of State Miguel de Vasconcelos and imprisoned the king's cousin, the Duchess of Mantua, who had governed Portugal in his name. The moment was well chosen, as Spain was at the time fighting the Thirty Years' War and also facing a revolution in Catalonia.
The support of the people apparent almost immediately and soon John, 8th Duke of Braganza, was acclaimed King of Portugal throughout the country as John IV. By December 2, 1640, John was already sending a letter as sovereign of the country to the Municipal Chamber of Évora.
War with Spain and recovery of the colonies
The subsequent war with Spain, named the Restoration War (Portuguese: Guerra da Restauração), consisted mainly of small skirmishes near the border. The most significant battles being the Battle of Montijo on May 26, 1644, the Battle of the Lines of Elvas (1659), the Battle of Ameixial (1663), the Battle of Castelo Rodrigo (1664), and the Battle of Montes Claros (1665); the Portuguese were victorious in all of these battles.
The victories were made possible because John IV made several decisions in order to strengthen the Portuguese forces. On December 11, 1640, the Council of War was created to organize all the operations. Next, the king created the Junta of the Frontiers, to take care of the fortresses near the border, the hypothetical defense of Lisbon, and the garrisons and sea ports. In December 1641, a tenancy was created to assure upgrades on all Portuguese fortresses that would be paid with regional taxes. John IV also organized the army establishing the Military Laws of King Sebastian and developed an intense diplomatic activity restoring good relations with England.
After gaining several decisive victories, John quickly tried to make peace with Spain. His demand that Spain recognize Portugal as an independent kingdom was not fulfilled until the reign of his son Afonso VI during the regency of Peter of Braganza (another son of John and future King Peter II of Portugal).
The Portuguese Royal House of Braganza began with John IV. The Dukes of the House of Braganza were a branch of the House of Aviz created by Afonso V for his half-uncle Afonso, Count of Barcelos, illegitimate son of John I, first monarch of the House of Aviz. The Braganzas soon became one of the most powerful families of the kingdom and for the next decades would inter-marry many Portuguese royal family members. In 1565, John, 6th Duke of Braganza married Princess Catherine, granddaughter of King Manuel I. This connection with the Royal Family proved determinant in the rise of the House of Braganza to a Royal House. Catherine was one of the strongest claimants of the throne during the dynastical crisis of 1580 but lost the struggle to her cousin Philip II of Spain. Eventually Catherine's grandson became John IV of Portugal as he was held to be the legitimate heir. Afonso VI, second King of the House of Braganza. Peter II succeeded his brother and became the third monarch of the House of Braganza.
John IV was a beloved monarch, a patron of fine art and music, and a proficient composer and writer on musical subjects. He collected one of the largest libraries in the world (Madeira & Aguiar, 2003). Among his writings is a defense of Palestrina and a Defense of Modern Music (Lisbon, 1649). Abroad, the Dutch took Malacca (January 1641) and the Sultan of Oman captured Muscat (1648). By 1654, however, most of Brazil was back in Portuguese hands and had effectively ceased to be a viable Dutch colony. John married his daughter Catherine of Braganza to Charles II of England, offering Tangiers and Bombay as a dowry. John IV died in 1656 and was succeeded by his son Alfonso VI.
Afonso VI became King of Portugal when he was thirteen years old. The young king suffered from an illness that paralyzed the left side of his body as well as leaving him mentally unstable. After a six year regency of Luisa de Guzman, the Queen Mother, Afonso assumed the control of the country. His reign would be short due to a conspiracy of his wife, Queen Marie Françoise of Savoy, who joined with Afonso's brother, Prince Peter, to secure an annulment of her marriage to the king in 1667 based on his impotence. Peter would later marry Marie Françoise. In the same year, Peter managed to gain enough support to force the king to relinquish control of the government and to name him Prince Regent.