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Sancho I of Portugal

Sancho I
King Sancho in Compendio de crónicas de reyes (c. 1312-1325)
King of Portugal
Reign 6 December 1185 – 26 March 1212
Coronation 9 December 1185
Predecessor Afonso I
Successor Afonso II
King of Silves
Reign 1189–1191
Successor Afonso III of Portugal
as King of the Algarve
Born (1154-11-11)11 November 1154
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 26 March 1212 (aged 57)
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Santa Cruz Monastery, Coimbra, District of Coimbra, Portugal
Spouse Dulce of Aragon
among others...
Theresa, Queen of Léon
Infanta Sancha
Afonso II of Portugal
Peter I, Count of Urgell
Ferdinand, Count of Flanders
Infanta Branca, Lady of Guadalajara
Berengaria, Queen of Denmark
Mafalda, Queen of Castile
House House of Burgundy
Father Afonso I of Portugal
Mother Maud of Savoy
Religion Roman Catholicism

Sancho I (Portuguese pronunciation: ), nicknamed "the Populator" (Portuguese: "o Povoador"), King of Portugal (11 November 1154 – 26 March 1212) was the second but only surviving legitimate son and fourth child of Afonso I of Portugal by his wife, Maud of Savoy. Sancho succeeded his father in 1185. He used the title King of Silves from 1189 until he lost the territory to Almohad control in 1191.


  • Early life 1
  • Succession 2
  • Legacy 3
  • Ancestors 4
  • Marriage and descendants 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Portrait of D. Sancho as king of Portugal

Sancho was born in Coimbra. In 1170, he was knighted by his father, King Afonso I, and from then on he became his second in command, both administratively and militarily. At this time, the independence of Portugal (declared in 1139) was not firmly established. The kings of León and Castile were trying to re-annex the country and the Roman Catholic Church was late in giving its blessing and approval. Due to this situation Afonso I had to search for allies within the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal made an alliance with the Crown of Aragon and together they fought Castile and León. To secure the agreement, Infante Sancho of Portugal married, in 1174, Infanta Dulce of Aragon, younger sister of King Alfonso II of Aragon. Aragon was thus the first Iberian kingdom to recognize the independence of Portugal.


Sancho I

With the death of Afonso I in 1185, Sancho I became the second king of Portugal. Coimbra was the centre of his kingdom; Sancho terminated the exhausting and generally pointless wars against his neighbours for control of the Galician borderlands. Instead, he turned all his attentions to the south, towards the Moorish small kingdoms (called taifas) that still thrived. With Crusader help he took Silves in 1191. Silves was an important city of the South, an administrative and commercial town with population estimates around 20,000 people. Sancho ordered the fortification of the city and built a castle which is today an important monument of Portuguese heritage. However, military attention soon had to be turned again to the North, where León and Castile threatened again the Portuguese borders. Silves was again lost to the Moors.


Sancho I dedicated much of his reign to political and administrative organization of the new kingdom. He accumulated a national treasure, supported new industries and the middle class of merchants. Moreover, he created several new towns and villages (like Guarda in 1199[1]) and took great care in populating remote areas in the northern Christian regions of Portugal, notably with Flemings and Burgundians – hence the nickname "the Populator". The king was also known for his love of knowledge and literature. Sancho I wrote several books of poems and used the royal treasure to send Portuguese students to European universities. He died in Coimbra, aged 57.


Marriage and descendants

Sancho married Dulce of Aragon, daughter of Raymond Berengar IV, Count of Barcelona, and Petronilla, Queen of Aragon.

Name Birth Death Notes
By Dulce of Aragon (1152–1198; married in 1175)
Teresa (Theresa) 1181 1250 Queen consort of León and Galicia by marriage to King Alfonso IX of León.[2]
Raimundo (Raymond) c. 1180 1189  
Sancha a. 1182 13 March 1229 Abbess of Lorvão.[2]
Constança (Constance) c. 1182 3 August 1202  
Afonso 23 April 1185 25 March 1223 Succeeded him as Afonso II, 3rd King of Portugal.[2]
Pedro (Peter) 23 February 1187 2 June 1258 Consort Count of Urgell, and later titular Count of Urgell and Lord of the Balearic Islands. He lived in León and married Aurembiaix, Countess of Urgell.[2]
Fernando (Ferdinand) 24 March 1188 4 March 1233 Consort Count of Flanders. Lived in France and married Jeanne of Flanders.
Henrique (Henry) 1189 1189  
Branca (Blanche) c. 1192 1240 Lady of Guadalajara.
Berengária c. 1195 1221 Queen consort of Denmark by marriage to King Valdemar II of Denmark.[2]
Mafalda c. 1197 1256 Queen consort of Castile by marriage to King Henry I of Castile.[2]
By Maria Aires de Fornelos (c. 1180-?)
Martim Sanches bef. 1175 1229 Natural son and Count of Trastámara.[2]
Urraca Sanches bef. 1175 1256 Natural daughter.[2]
By Maria Pais Ribeira (Ribeirinha) (c. 1170-b. 1258)
Rodrigo Sanches c. 1200 1245 Natural son.
Gil Sanches c. 1200 1236 Natural son.
Nuno Sanches c. 1200 ? Natural son.
Teresa Sanches 1205 1230 Natural daughter, married, as his second wife, Alfonso Téllez de Meneses "el Viejo"
Constança Sanches 1210 1269 Natural daughter.
Maior Sanches ? ? Natural daughter.


  1. ^ Evans, David (2004). Portugal. New Holland Publishers. p. 195.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Carvalho Correia 2008, p. 187.


  • Carvalho Correia, Francisco (2008). O Mosteiro de Santo Tirso de 978 a 1588: a silhueta de uma entidade projectada no chao de uma história milenária (in Portuguese). Santiago de Compostela: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela: Servizo de Publicacións e Intercambio Científico.  
  • Sotto Mayor Pizarro, José Augusto (1987). Os Patronos do Mosteiro de Grijó (in Portuguese). Oporto.  

External links

Sancho I of Portugal
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 11 November 1154 Died: 26 March 1212
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Afonso I
King of Portugal
Succeeded by
Afonso II
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