King João IKING JOÃO I
10th Monarch of Portugal. Born in Lisbon, April 11, 1357, and died in the same city, August 14, 1433.
He was the illegitimate son of King Pedro I and the lady Teresa Lourenço.
In 1364 he was given the title Grand Master of the Order of Aviz.
His adolescent years were spent entirely in Aviz. At 19, he fell in love with Inês Pires, with whom he had 2 sons:
Afonso, in 1377 (first Duke of Bragança)
Brites, in 1386 (who died young)
At this time he was beginning to make a name for himself in the running of the country’s affairs but it was on December 6, 1383, with his role in the death of the Count Andeiro that he truly gained recognition amongst the people.
He was crowned King of Portugal at the Cortes of Coimbra (council of the kingdom) on April 6, 1385 with the backing of men of good standing such as Nuno Álvares Pereira and João das Regras.
On August 14, 1385 he faced the Castilian army in a battle which, despite being royal, would come to always be known as the Battle of Aljubarrota, where, with all the skill and military genius of the General of the Kingdom, Nuno Álvares Pereira, the enemy troops were defeated despite being in much greater number.
To commemorate this victory and to fulfil the promise made to the Virgin, the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória was ordered to be built, in Batalha, and given to the Order of Saint Dominic.
He married Queen Filipa de Lencastre (Philippa of Lancaster), the daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, on February 2, 1387 and they had 8 children:
Branca, in 1388 (who died young)
Afonso, in 1390 (who died young)
Duarte, in 1391 (his father’s successor)
Pedro, in 1392 (Duke of Coimbra, Of the Seven Departures)
Henrique, in 1394 (Duke of Viseu, Henry the Navigator)
Isabel, in 1397 (married Filipe III, Duke of Burgundy)
João, in 1400 (General of Portugal)
Fernando, 1402 (who died in captivity in Fez, The Saint Prince)
João I was an unusually cultured king for his time. Raised as a child to run one of the most important military-religious orders of the country, he thus received thorough instruction. This went from detailed knowledge of the Catholic liturgy and doctrine, to bases of canonic law and public administration, as well as the military training of the order.
He is the author of the ‘Livro da Montaria’/(the ‘Book of Hunting’)
He decided to build his own Pantheon in the Monastery of Batalha, where his mortal remains still rest beside his wife, who first had been buried in Odivelas and only in 1416 was brought to the Founder’s Chapel.
This pantheon houses the greater part of the ‘Illustrious Generation’, in other words João’s children Pedro, Henrique, João and Fernando. His grandson, Afonso V, his great-grandson, João II, and his great-great-grandson, Prince Afonso are also laid to rest here.
Due to the way he governed the country, his legacy was one of “Good Memories”, and he ultimately became associated with this name. The motto “Pour bien”/’For good’ was also his.