History - OnThisDay - 31 January 1512 - Henry, King of Portugal

On 31 January 1512, a noble boy was born in Lisbon, Portugal.
He received the name: Henry.

Family

Henry was the fifth son of King Manuel I of Portugal and
Maria of Aragon.

He belonged to the noble house of Aviz.



A cardinal

As a younger son in the royal family, Henry was not expected to
succeed to the Portuguese throne. Already early in his life, Henry
took the Holy Orders to promote Portuguese interests in the
Catholic Church (then dominated by Spain).

Henry rose fast through the Church hierarchy, he became soon
Archbishop of Braga, Archbishop of Évora and Grand Inquisitor
before receiving a Cardinal's hat in 1545.

From 1564 till 1570 he was Archbishop of Lisbon.
Henry encouraged to bring the Jesuits to Portugal and to employ
them in the colonial empire.



A King

After 1562, Henry served as regent for his great-nephew King
Sebastian. After the terrible Battle of Alcácer Quibir in 1578,
King Sebastian died.

Henry attempted to renounce his ecclesiastical office and sought to
take a bride for the continuation of the Avis dynasty. However
Pope Gregory XIII didn't want to anger King Philip II of Spain.
So the pope didn't release him from his vows.



Death

The Cardinal-King died on 31 January! 1580 in Almeirim
without having appointed a successor.
He left the Kingdom in hands of a regent. One of the
closest dynastic claimants was King Philip II of Spain. In 1580
he sent the Duke of Alba to claim Portugal by force.

Lisbon soon fell and Philip was 'elected' King of Portugal at the
Portuguese Cortes of Tomar in 1581 on the condition that the
Kingdom and its overseas territories would not become Spanish
provinces.





Source pictures: Wikipedia
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