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Alfonso III

Alfonso III

The Portuguese king Alfonso III (1210-1279) reigned from 1248 to 1279. He completed the conquest of Portugal from the Moslems and presided over the country's first parliaments.

On May 5, 1210, Alfonso was born in Coimbra, the second son of Alfonso II and Urraca. In 1227 he went to France, where he fought as a vassal of Louis IX against Henry III of England and in 1238 married Matilda, Countess of Boulogne.

While Alfonso was in France, a struggle developed in Portugal between his older brother King Sancho II and the Church hierarchy. When Pope Innocent IV directed the Portuguese in 1245 to select a worthier king, the ambitious Alfonso was summoned, and he arrived in Lisbon in early 1246. Alfonso controlled only southern Portugal, and the civil war which broke out soon after his arrival was more hard-fought than his forces had anticipated. But the strong Castilian support desired by Sancho failed to materialize, and he abandoned hope of retaining his crown. Retiring to Toledo, Sancho died there in 1248.

To consolidate his rule over the divided kingdom, the usurper, who was declared king Alfonso III, launched a campaign to free southern Portugal from the Moslems. Faro fell in 1249, and the rest of the Algarve was secured for Portugal according to the terms of a 1253 pact with Alfonso X of Castile. Despite the fact that Alfonso III was already wed to Countess Matilda, he agreed to marry Beatrice, an illegitimate daughter of the Castilian monarch. Although this marriage brought Alfonso III into disfavor with the Church, Beatrice was received by the Portuguese with all the honors of a queen.

The hostility shown to him by supporters of his brother accentuated Alfonso's less noble characteristics—his overweening ambition, his lack of scruples, and his taste for vengeance. He confiscated the lands of Sancho's partisans and favored his own supporters with grants of land and money.

In 1254 Alfonso called the Cortes of Leiria, the first Portuguese parliament to include the third estate (commoners). The Cortes approved a number of fiscal reforms which the King had proposed. Throughout his reign Alfonso cultivated the support of the townsmen by protecting them against abuse of power by nobles and clergy.

Even though he owed his throne to the Pope, Alfonso was by no means a loyal servant of the Church. He opposed the Church's attempts to broaden the authority of the ecclesiastical courts, and he strove to preserve his traditional right to select bishops. Finally, in September 1275, the Pope ordered Alfonso to abide by the promise to obey Church authority that he had made in order to secure papal recognition of his status as Portuguese monarch. The King did not comply and was excommunicated; he maintained his political strength, however, until the end of his reign. After being reconciled on his deathbed to the Church, Alfonso III died in Lisbon on Feb. 16, 1279.

Further Reading

The life of Alfonso III is adequately covered in H.V. Livermore, A History of Portugal (1947). Also useful for general background is Bailey W. Diffie, Prelude to Empire: Portugal Overseas before Henry the Navigator (1960). □

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Alfonso III (king of Portugal)

Alfonso III, 1210–79, king of Portugal (1248–79), son of Alfonso II, brother and successor of Sancho II. By his marriage with Matilda, countess of Boulogne, he became count of Boulogne and thus was known as Alfonso o Bolonhez [Alfonso of Boulogne]. He seized power after the deposition (1245) of his brother by the pope, becoming king on Sancho's death. Alfonso completed the reconquest of Portugal from the Moors by taking (1249) the rest of the Algarve. This involved him in a long quarrel with Alfonso X of Castile, who had been receiving revenues from Algarve, but the two kings reached an agreement by which Alfonso III married the illegitimate daughter of Alfonso X, and Alfonso X was to relinquish all rights to the Algarve when the heir born of this union (the later King Diniz) should reach the age of seven. Alfonso's second marriage brought the Portuguese king into disfavor with the church because Matilda was still living, but her death ended the conflict. Despite promises he had made at the time of Sancho's deposition, Alfonso seized lands and revenues from the church. This caused another break with the church, which healed shortly before his death. Alfonso called the Cortes of Leiria (1254), the first Portuguese Cortes to include commoners. He also instituted administrative and financial reforms, encouraged commerce and the development of the towns, and commuted many feudal dues into money payments. French and Provençal culture was imported to the court, and the period was one of great intellectual activity. Alfonso was succeeded by Diniz.

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Alfonso III (king of Aragón and count of Barcelona)

Alfonso III, 1265–91, king of Aragón and count of Barcelona (1285–91), son and successor of Peter III. He was forced to grant wide privileges to the cortes of the Aragonese nobles. At first he supported the claim to Sicily of his brother James (later James II of Aragón) against Charles II of Naples. Later, however, he recognized papal suzerainty over Sicily and pressed James to abandon his claim. He also made war on Castile and on his uncle, James I of Majorca. James II succeeded him.

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Philip IV

Philip IV (1605–65) King of Spain, Naples and Sicily (1621–65), King of Portugal (as Philip III, 1621–40). Economic and social decline in Spain continued during Philip's reign. The Thirty Years' War ended disastrously for Spain. Portugal threw off Spanish rule (1640), and maintained indepedence in the ensuing war. Philip supported the arts, and Velázquez was his court painter.

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Philip IV

Philip IV

Philip IV (1268-1314), called Philip the Fair, ruled France from 1285 to 1314. His reign was one of the most momentous in medieval history because Philip successfully challenged the traditional power of the papacy in France, thereby strengthening the monarchy.

Son of King Philip III and Joan of Navarre, Philip IV was tall, handsome, and fair, but his character remains enigmatic. His power was great as a result of the Crown's acquisition of numerous fiefs in recent decades, but long and expensive wars with England caused a severe financial crisis. This crisis prompted the King to raise money through rigorous collection of incomes due, forced loans, high taxes, and debasement of the coinage. The Jews were expelled from France in 1306 and the "Lombards" (Italian bankers) in 1311. The property of each group was confiscated. Philip also seized the wealth of the Knights Templar after pressuring the weak Pope Clement V into suppressing them.

Philip introduced various governmental reforms, including the Chamber of Accounts to supervise finances. The Parlement of Paris, a judicial body, was made more specialized. A new institution, the States General, which included clergy, nobles, and commoners, was first called in 1302 in order to win support for royal policy against the papacy.

Continuing financial crises led to a conflict with Pope Boniface VIII over the right of the King to tax the French clergy without papal consent. The Pope finally conceded the point when threatened by the loss of his revenues from France.

In 1301 Philip's conflict with the papacy was revived by the arrest of Bishop Bernard Saisset of Pamiers. The bishop's trial in the royal court led to Boniface's demand that he be released and his convocation of all French bishops to Rome in November 1302. In reply Philip called the first States General, which met at Notre Dame in Paris in April 1302. At this meeting he launched a vicious attack against the Pope and against papal right to intervene in French affairs. The papal council in Rome resulted in the papal bull Unam sanctam, which reaffirmed papal authority over temporal affairs and the papal right to correct a king's morally wrong public acts. Philip's reply was evasive. He had already sent Guillaume de Nogaret to seize the Pope preparatory to having him tried and deposed by a council. Boniface was seized and mistreated at Anagni in September 1303. Liberated by the townspeople, the aged pope died 3 weeks later of the effects of the ordeal.

Philip summoned the States General twice more—in 1308 and 1314—chiefly in order to gain support for his wars against the Flemish. He died on Nov. 29, 1314.

Further Reading

The conflict with the papacy that occurred during Philip's reign has been the subject of numerous studies, such as that of Philip Hughes, A History of the Church, vol. 3 (1949). Charles T. Wood, Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII (1967), gives excerpts from various works which show the state of the problem at the time. For an overall view of Philip's reign see "France: The Last Capetians" in The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 7 (1932).

Additional Sources

Strayer, Joseph Reese, The reign of Philip the Fair, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1980.

Wood, Charles T., comp., Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII: state vs. papacy, Huntington, N.Y.: R. E. Krieger Pub. Co., 1976, 1971. □

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Philip IV

Philip IV

Philip IV (1605-1665) was king of Spain from 1621 to 1665. During his reign Spain was engaged in foreign wars and torn by internal revolt.

Born on April 8, 1605, Philip IV succeeded his father, Philip III, in 1621. He was more intelligent than his father but like him allowed his government to be run by minister-favorites. Philip's principal minister, Gaspar de Guzmán, Count of Olivares, dominated his councils and was the effective ruler of Spain for more than 20 years. In 1627 the ruinous expenses of Spain's involvement in the Thirty Years War forced the government to declare itself bankrupt; the war effort continued, however, and the Mantuan campaign (1628-1631) led to an open conflict with France, which became intensified in 1635.

Spanish troops at first came close to Paris, but the situation rapidly deteriorated. Olivares's desperate attempts to raise funds for the prosecution of the war provoked dissent and rebellion, and in 1640 Catalonia went into open revolt, murdered the king's agent there, and welcomed French aid in its struggle against the government of Castile. Soon afterward, Portugal rebelled and declared itself independent from Spain. Olivares's counterpart in France, Cardinal Richelieu, supplied money to both Catalonia and Portugal as French troops occupied Catalonia.

In January 1643, after visiting the war front in Aragon, Philip dismissed Olivares and declared that he would rule without a favorite. However, he soon employed one in the person of Don Luis de Haro, a nephew of Olivares. On May 19, 1643, the Spanish infantry was vanquished by the French at Rocroi. Since the beginning of the 16th century, the Spanish infantry had been regarded as the best in Europe; its defeat symbolized the downfall of Spain as a military power.

A dreary succession of setbacks marked the second half of Philip's reign. Another bankruptcy was declared in 1647, and in the same year unsuccessful revolts against Spanish rule erupted in Sicily and Naples. These events convinced Richelieu and his successor, Cardinal Mazarin, that, by pursuing an all-out war against Spain, France could gain considerable land and power in the European theater. Thus the war between the two countries continued after the Peace of Westphalia (by which Spain officially recognized the independence of the United Provinces) had concluded the Thirty Years War in 1648. Although civil war in France (the Fronde) gave the Spanish some slight respite, it could not stave off the inevitable. For although Catalonia was won back in 1652, bankruptcy was again declared in 1653.

The union of Cromwell's England with France in the war against Spain proved to be the coup de grace. Spain lost both Dunkerque and Jamaica to the English. In the Peace of the Pyrenees, concluded with France in 1659, Spain gave up Artois and territories in the Spanish Netherlands, together with Rosellón and part of Cerdaña. As part of the "peace package, " a marriage was arranged between Philip IV's daughter, Maria Theresa, and the young Louis XIV. The waiver of the Infanta's inheritance rights to Spanish territory was contingent on the payment of a dowry of 500, 000 escudos, which the French as well as the Spanish knew could never be paid. After Philip's death this clause was used as a pretext for the seizure of still more Spanish territory in the Low Countries during the War of Devolution.

Philip IV died on Sept. 17, 1665, just before Portugal's independence was recognized. In the course of his reign he had married twice. His first wife, Elizabeth of Bourbon, died in 1644; their only child died 2 years later. His second wife, Maria Anna of Austria, gave birth to one son who survived, the hapless Charles II, who was destined to be the last Hapsburg monarch of Spain.

Further Reading

There is no suitable study of Philip IV in English. The best book on the earlier half of his reign is John H. Elliott, The Revolt of the Catalans: A Study in the Decline of Spain, 1598-1640 (1963), in which he brilliantly fulfills the promise of the subtitle. Elliott's other book, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716 (1963), is an excellent overview of the period with a choice bibliography. Recommended for general historical background are C. V. Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War (1938), and Carl J. Friedrich, The Age of the Baroque, 1610-1660 (1952). □

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Philip IV

Philip IV ( the Fair) (1268–1314) King of France (1285–1314). Partly to pay for wars against Flanders and England, he expelled the Jews (1306), confiscating their property. Claiming the right to tax the clergy involved him in a long and bitter quarrel with Pope Boniface VIII. He used assemblies, later called the States-General, to popularize his case. After the death of Boniface (1303), Philip secured the election of a French pope, Clement V, based at Avignon.

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