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Sancho II of Portugal

Sancho II
King Sancho in Compendio de crónicas de reyes (c. 1312-1325)
King of Portugal
Reign 26 March 1223 – 4 December 1247
Predecessor Afonso II
Successor Afonso III
Born 8 September 1209
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 4 January 1248 (aged 38)
Toledo, Kingdom of Castile
Burial Cathedral of Toledo, Toledo, Province of Toledo, Castile–La Mancha, Spain
Spouse Mécia Lopes de Haro
House House of Burgundy
Father Afonso II
Mother Urraca of Castile
Religion Roman Catholicism

Sancho II (Portuguese pronunciation: ), nicknamed "the Pious" (Portuguese: o Piedoso) and "the Caped" or "the Capuched" (Portuguese: o Capelo), King of Portugal (8 September 1209 – 4 January 1248) was King of Portugal from 1223 to 1247. He was succeeded by his brother, King Afonso III, in 1247.

Sancho was born in Coimbra, the eldest son of Afonso II of Portugal by his wife, Infanta Urraca of Castile.

Military career and reign

By the time of his accession to the throne, in 1223, Portugal was embroiled in a difficult diplomatic conflict with the Catholic Church. His father, Afonso II, had been excommunicated by Pope Honorius III, for his attempts at reducing the Church's power within the country. A treaty of 10 articles was signed between the Pope and Sancho II, but the king paid little attention to its fulfillment. His priority was the Reconquista, the reconquest of the southern Iberian Peninsula from the Moors. From 1236 onwards, Sancho II conquered several cities in the Algarve and Alentejo, securing the Portuguese position in the region.

Dispossession from throne

17th century depiction of Sancho.

Sancho II proved a capable commander but, with regard to equally important administrative issues, he was less competent. With his total attention focused on military campaigns, the ground was open for internal disputes. The nobility was displeased by the king's conduct and started to conspire against him. Moreover, the middle class of merchants quarrelled frequently with the clergy, without any intervention from the king. As a result, the Archbishop of Porto made a formal complaint to the Pope about this state of affairs. Since the Church was the superpower of the 13th century, Pope Innocent IV felt free to issue a bull ordering the Portuguese to choose a new king to replace the so-called heretic.

In 1246 recalcitrant nobles invited Sancho's brother Afonso, Count of Boulogne, to take the throne. Afonso immediately abdicated from his French possessions and marched into Portugal.

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