- Denis of Portugal
Dinis 17th century painting of King Denis King of Portugal and the Algarve Reign 6 February 1279—7 January 1325
( 45 years, 336 days)
Predecessor Afonso III Successor Afonso IV Spouse Saint Elizabeth of Aragon Issue Constança, Queen of Castile
House Capetian House of Burgundy Father Afonso III Mother Beatrice of Castile Born 9 October 1261
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 7 January 1325[aged 63]
Santarém, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial St. Denis Convent, Odivelas, Portugal Religion Roman Catholicism
Dinis (Portuguese: Dinis or Diniz, IPA: [diˈniʃ]; Lisbon, 9 October 1261 – 7 January 1325 in Santarém), called the Farmer King (Rei Lavrador), was the sixth King of Portugal and the Algarve. The eldest son of Afonso III of Portugal by his second wife, Beatrice of Castile and grandson of king Alfonso X of Castile (known as the Wise), Dinis succeeded his father in 1279.
As heir to the throne, Infante (Prince) Dinis was summoned by his father (Afonso III) to share governmental responsibilities. At the time of his accession to the throne, Portugal was again in diplomatic conflict with the Catholic church. Dinis signed a favouring agreement with the pope and swore to protect the Church's interests in Portugal. He granted asylum to Templar knights persecuted in France and created the Order of Christ, designed to be a continuation of the Order of the Temple.
With the Reconquista completed and the Portuguese territory freed from Moorish occupation, Dinis was essentially an administrative king, not a military one. However, a short war between Castile and Portugal broke out during his reign, for the possession of the towns of Serpa and Moura. After this, Dinis avoided war: he was a notably peace-loving monarch during a tempestuous time in European history. With Portugal finally recognized as an independent country by his neighbours, Dinis signed a border pact with Ferdinand IV of Castile (1297) which has endured to the present day.
Dinis' main priority of government was the organization of the country. He pursued his father's policies on legislation and centralization of power. Dinis promulgated the nucleus of a Portuguese civil and criminal law code, protecting the lower classes from abuse and extortion. As king, he travelled around the country, correcting unjust situations and resolving problems. He ordered the construction of numerous castles, created new towns, and granted privileges due cities to several others. He declared in 1290 that ‘the language of the people’ was to become the language of the state, and officially known as Portuguese. Diniz also made Portuguese the language of the law courts in his kingdom. With his wife, Infanta Isabella of Aragon, Dinis worked to improve the life of the poor and founded several social institutions.
Always concerned with the country's infrastructure, Dinis ordered the exploration of mines of copper, silver, tin and iron and organized the export of excess production to other European countries. The first Portuguese commercial agreement was signed with England in 1308. Dinis effectively founded the Portuguese navy under command of a Genoese admiral, Micer Manuel Pessanha (Portuguese form of the Italian "Pezagno"] and ordered the construction of several docks.
His main concern was the redevelopment and promotion of rural infrastructure, hence the nickname of "the Farmer". Dinis redistributed the land, promoted agriculture, organized communities of farmers and took personal interest in the development of exports. He instituted regular markets in a number of towns and regulated their activities. One of his main achievements was the protection of agricultural lands from advancing coastal sands, by ordering the planting of a pine forest near Leiria. This forest still exists as one of the most important of Portugal and is known as the Pinhal de Leiria (Leiria Pinewood).
Culture was another interest of King Dinis. He had a fondness for literature and wrote several books himself, with topics ranging from administration to hunting, science and poetry. In his day, Lisbon was one of Europe's centers of culture and knowledge. The University of Lisbon (today's University of Coimbra) was founded by his decree Magna Charta Priveligiorum. He was also a troubadour. All told, 137 of his songs (more than any other poet), in the three principal genres of Galician-Portuguese lyric, are preserved in the two early 16th century manuscripts, the Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional, the Cancioneiro da Vaticana. A spectacular find in 1990 by American scholar Harvey Sharrer brought to light the Pergaminho Sharrer, which contains, albeit in fragmentary form, seven cantigas d'amor by King Dinis with musical notation. The same poems are found in the same order in the two previously known codices.
The later part of his peaceful reign was nevertheless marked by internal conflicts. The contenders were his two sons: Afonso the legitimate heir, and Afonso Sanches his natural son, who quarrelled frequently among themselves for royal favour. At the time of Dinis' death in 1325 he had placed Portugal on an equal footing with the other Iberian Kingdoms.
Dinis is buried in the Monastery of Saint Denis of Odivelas, a Cistercian monastery founded by him in 1295.
Marriage and descendants
Dinis' only wife was Isabel or Elizabeth of Aragon, daughter of Pedro or Peter III of Aragon. They married in 1288 and he bore him a son and a daughter.
Name Birth Death Notes By Elizabeth of Aragon (1271–1336; married in 1282) Infanta Constança (Constance) 3 January 1290 18 November 1313 Queen of Castile by marriage to Ferdinand IV of Castile. Infante Afonso 8 February 1291 28 May 1357 Succeeded him as Afonso IV, 7th King of Portugal. By Maria Pires (?-?) João Afonso c. 1280 1325 Lord of Lousã By Marinha Gomes (c. 1260-?) Maria Afonso c. 1290 a. 1340 Maria Afonso (nun) ? 1320 Religious at the Monastery of Odivelas By Grácia Froes (c. 1265-?) Pedro Afonso 1287 1354 3rd Count of Barcelos By Aldonça Rodrigues Talha (c. 1260-?) Afonso Sanches b. 1289 1329 Lord of Albuquerque and rival of his half-brother Afonso IV Other natural offspring Fernão Sanches c. 1280 1329 Pedro Afonso c. 1280 ?
Ancestors of Denis of Portugal 16. Afonso I of Portugal 8. Sancho I of Portugal 17. Maud of Savoy 4. Afonso II of Portugal 18. Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona 9. Dulce of Aragon 19. Petronila of Aragon 2. Afonso III of Portugal 20. Sancho III of Castile 10. Alfonso VIII of Castile 21. Blanche of Navarre 5. Urraca of Castile 22. Henry II of England 11. Eleanor of England 23. Eleanor of Aquitaine 1. Denis of Portugal 24. Alfonso IX of León 12. Ferdinand III of Castile 25. Berenguela of Castile 6. Alfonso X of Castile 26. Philip of Swabia 13. Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen 27. Irene Angelina of Constantinople 3. Beatrice of Castile 28. Pedro Rodríguez de Guzmán 14. Guillén Pérez de Guzmán, Lord of Vecilla 29. Elvira González de Manzanedo 7. Mayor Guillen de Guzmán 30. Gonzalo Rodríguez Girón 15. María González Girón 31. Teresa Rodríguez of Toroño
See alsoDenis of PortugalCadet branch of the Capetian dynastyBorn: 9 October 1261 Died: 7 January 1325
Regnal titles Preceded by
King of Portugal and the Algarve
Monarchs of Portugal Afonsine Dynasty House of Aviz House of Aviz-Beja Philippine Dynasty House of Braganza House of Braganza-Coburg Infantes of Portugal 1st GenerationInfante Henrique • Sancho I • Infante João 2nd Generation 3rd Generation 4th GenerationInfante Roberto • Infante Fernando • Denis I • Infante Afonso, Lord of Portalegre • Infante Vicente 5th GenerationInfante Afonso, Lord of Leiria • Afonso IV 6th GenerationInfante Afonso • Infante Dinis • Peter I • Infante João 7th Generation 8th Generation 9th Generation 10th Generation 11th GenerationAfonso, Prince of Portugal • Infante João • Miguel da Paz, Prince of Portugal and Asturias^ • John III • Infante Luís, 5th Duke of Beja • Infante Fernando, Duke of Guarda and Trancoso • Cardinal-Infante Afonso • Henry, The Cardinal-King • Infante Duarte, 4th Duke of Guimarães • Infante António • Infante Carlos 12th GenerationAfonso, Prince of Portugal • Manuel, Prince of Portugal • Filipe, Prince of Portugal • Infante Dinis • John Manuel, Prince of Portugal • Infante António 13th Generation 14th Generation 15th GenerationBalthasar Charles, Prince of Portugal and Asturias* • Infante Francisco Fernando* • Teodósio, 1st Prince of Brazil • Afonso VI • Peter II 16th GenerationJoão, 3rd Prince of Brazil • John V • Infante Francisco, 7th Duke of Beja • Infante António • Infante Manuel, Count of Ourém • 17th Generation 18th Generationnone 19th Generation 20th Generation 21st Generation 22nd Generation 23rd Generation 24th Generation^also an infante of Castile and León, Aragon, Sicily and Naples, *also an infante of Spain, **claimant infante, ^^only prince or infante by marriage Henry, Count of PortugalSpouse(s)ChildrenAfonso Henriques · Urraca Henriques, Countess of Trastámara · Sancha Henriques, Lady of Braganza de Langroiva and Noman · Teresa Henriques · Henrique HenriquesGrandchildren Afonso I of PortugalSpouse(s)ChildrenGrandchildren Sancho I of PortugalSpouse(s)ChildrenGrandchildren Afonso II of PortugalSpouse(s)Urraca of CastileChildrenGrandchildren Sancho II of PortugalSpouse(s)NotesSancho had no children; he was desposed in 1247 and died the following year. Afonso III of PortugalSpouse(s)Matilda II of Boulogne · Beatrice of CastileChildrenGrandchildren Denis of PortugalSpouse(s)Saint Elizabeth of AragonChildrenGrandchildren Afonso IV of PortugalSpouse(s)Beatrice of CastileChildrenGrandchildren Peter I of PortugalSpouse(s)ChildrenIllegitimate
Beatrice, titular Queen of Portugal · Infante Pedro · Infante Afonso · Infante Fernando, Lord of Eça* · Infanta Maria Brites, Countess of Valencia de Campos* · Infanta Isabel Brites, Countess of Cigales and Buelna* · Infanta Joana, Lady of Buendía* · Infante Fernando, Lord of Cifuentes* · Infante Pedro, Lord of Colmenarejo* · Infanta Beatrice*
Ferdinand I of PortugalSpouse(s)ChildrenBeatrice, titular Queen of Portugal · Infante Pedro · Infante AfonsoGrandchildrenMiguel, Crown Prince of Portugal**Notes: *the descendants of King Peter I and Ines de Castro's children
were recognized as legitimate and were Infantes and Infantas
**also an Infante of Castile
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