João II of Portugal (1466–1495)

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João II of Portugal (1466–1495)

João II of Portugal, born on March 3, 1466, was the great-grandson of João I and fourth Portuguese king (1481–1495) of the Aviz (Avis) dynasty. Also known as John the Perfect, he succeeded to the throne after the death of his father, Afonso V, in 1481. João is credited with reasserting the power of the Crown over the nobility, reestablishing the Portuguese priority of overseas exploration as a means of economic expansion, and smoothing relations with Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile by successfully negotiating the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. The policy of economic growth through exploration led to the establishment of the fortress of São Jorge da Mina (Elmína, in present-day Ghana) in 1482 as a protective measure to encourage Portuguese trade with Guinea, Diogo Cão's discovery of the mouth of the Congo, the successful and lucrative colonization of the Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Azores, and, more important, Bartolomeu Dias's successful rounding of the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. João died on October 25, 1495.

See alsoFerdinand II of Aragon; Isabella I of Castile; João I of Portugal; João III of Portugal; Tordesillas, Treaty of (1494).


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Winius, George D. "The Enterprise Focused on India: The Work of D. João II." In Portugal, the Pathfinder: Journeys from the Medieval toward the Modern World, 1300–ca. 1600, edited by George D. Winius. Madison, WI: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1995.

                                     Lesley R. Luster

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João II of Portugal (1466–1495)

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