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  De Castro Story - Origins


  1. Where did we come from ?
  2. Spain and Portugal
  3. So what are we ?
  4. Early de Castros
  5. Back to England
  6. Some reading

From all the evidence that exists this branch of the de Castro family, was from the earliest times up to the 1800"s, of the Jewish Faith. This is stated simply because it has considerable bearing on what went on in the past.

In the family two fables exist. The first that the family came from Portugal is probably partially correct. The second that the family is related to Queen Inez de Castro of Portugal is probably incorrect. Now having raised a howl of protest from the romantics let us examine these two fables. Both require a look at English Spanish and Portuguese history. So let us explore the first fable.

  De Castro Story - Origins - Where did we come from

Where did we come from?

In July 1290 Edward the Confessor decided to have all of the Jews in England expelled from the land. They were shipped in the main to France.

From 1290 through to 1656 there were from time to time very small Jewish communities in England but generally those that clung to their faith were informed on by local merchants, priests or other people with an axe to grind and they were made to leave. In 1609 all Portuguese merchants in England were evicted when a quarrel split the group and one informed on the other.

In an odd way Henry the Eighth's matrimonial difficulties may have set the ground for the re-entry of the Jews. In his desire to annul his long-standing marriage to his deceased brother's wife he found Leviticus XViii.16 categorically forbade the alliance between a man and his brothers wife. While this gave him the ammunition he wanted for the annulment of the marriage it was pointed out that Deuteronomy XXV.5, said that such a union is expressly prescribed if a brother had died childless, in order that his name should be perpetuated. As Henry had married his deceased brothers childless wife both applied.

Being a man of the faith the problem of interpretation was highly perplexing. As a consequence the importance of Hebrew tradition for the correct comprehension of the Old Testament was realised. Since Jews were excluded from England Henry had to send overseas to find Jewish scholars that could guide him. As Henry wanted the views personally expressed he asked for the Jewish advisers to be brought to England. This was round 1530.

What ever the advice he was given is not known however by what occurred next it is said Henry followed the advice of the Hebrew scholars and used Leviticus and the Church, possibly because the Jews were involved said Deuteronomy was correct. As Henry was in conflict with the authority of Rome, Henry changed the rules and decided to follow his own advice. Because of this, and the fact that following Act of Uniformity in 1549 that allowed the use of Hebrew in private devotions, there was a great interest generated in England for matters Hebrew. Teachers of Hebrew were required and so a number of Jews were admitted to England.

Cromwell, when he came to power, realised the importance of the Jewish community that had been evicted and had fled from Spain and Portugal to Constantinople, Hamburg, Leghorn (Italy) and Amsterdam. They were, he realised, largely responsible for the growth in trade and the prosperity in those places. So he set out to encourage them to settle in London. There was a parallel to this action as when Sulliman captured Constantinople the bulk of the population had fled or were butchered or enslaved and as this city was very under populated he cast is eye round for a people who could re-populate the city and this coincided with the evictions of the Jewish population from the Iberian peninsular, (some say 300 - 600,000 families were involved in the evictions) he encouraged these people to come to Constantinople and the dramatic rise in the wealth, fortune, trade and power of the new Ottoman Empire is directly attributed to this act. At the same time the Iberian states fell on hard times without their traditional tax gatherers, doctors and the key elements of their merchant empire. The prosperity of Holland had boomed for the same reasons, thus Cromwell was correct in his thoughts.

Cromwell hoped these fugitives from Spain and Portugal would transfer their capital to London rather than elsewhere and would bring with them their strong trading connections. Thus their readmission was considered to be desirable because of their trading connections and also because at the time there was much Anglo-Dutch and Anglo-Spanish rivalry.

In November 1655, Cromwell brought a motion to a meeting of the Council of State that asked for the Jews to be admitted into the nation to trade and traffic and to dwell amongst them. Initially this was rejected but it was then found that the 1290 expulsion had been by Royal prerogative and applied only to the persons concerned at that time. As a result it was realised there was in fact no law banning Jews from England. The debate continued for months mainly forced by trading and religious interests who were trying to protect their position.

In the end the matter was resolved when England went to war with Spain and a Spanish Catholic was arrested with his ships in London and orders were immediately issued for the seizure and sequestration of all his property. This man Antionio Rodrigues Robles pleaded that he was not a Spanish Catholic but a Portuguese of the Hebrew nation, he told the usual story of the Inquisition and how he had been driven from place to place, how relations had been burnt and maimed and how he had come to England to seek a haven.

The result was that he was considered not to be a Spanish Catholic but as a refugee Jew, and on that account he was allowed to stay. Thus by a test case the law that Cromwell had tried to have passed was not necessary and a way was found by which people of the Jewish faith could come to England without enacting a law to say they could. Certainly there was no current law of the land that said they could not settle.

At the time this was going on, in 1656, records show there were 20 Jewish families living in London and these people in that year obtained permission to open a Synagogue and to acquire land at Mile End to be a burial ground.

One must remember that while in Spain and Portugal many of the Jews were forcibly converted to be Catholic. These "converted" Jews, when they arrived in England found that to be a Catholic was very much against the Law and many acts had been passed to force people who were Christian but not Anglicans into the open. Thus these laws tended to be enforced to include people who were not Christian as well. While on arrival many of the early Jewish families had a very Catholic Christian public face it was soon found in many ways it was better to be Jewish than Catholic. As things improved there was no reason for the sham and they arrived and were accepted as Jews.

From 1656 to 1853 the laws that were enacted against Catholic's and other non-Anglican religions were slowly removed. These included the holding of any public office, being in retail trade, being at University, owning land, etc. It was not until the Year that Charles Daniel de Castro came to New Zealand, 1853 that the last bar in place to people of the Jewish faith in England was lifted and this was the oath that said when a Member of Parliament took his seat, thus permitting members of the Jewish faith who had been elected to Parliament to take their seats in the house.

  De Castro Story - Origins - Spain and Portugal

Spain and Portugal

To continue it is necessary to find out a little about Spain and Portugal so we will cross over to there. Much of the information about the Spanish and Portuguese history contained in this narrative was extracted from "A HISTORY OF PORTUGAL " by H.V.Livermore (published by Cambridge University Press in 1947). This book traces in detail the history of Portugal from the very earliest of times to the 1940's. Another book, which gives detailed information on Spain, is A HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL SPAIN by Joseph F. O'Callaghan published by Cornell University Press. Obscure books such as THE KINGDOM OF LEON-CASTILLA UNDER QUEEN URRACA 1190 - 1126 by Bernard F Reilly published by Princeton University Press also give details which assist in obtaining a picture of the times. Naturally information from the Internet has also been used.

Most of us were taught history of some kind at school and most of us have not followed up these teachings in later life, other than possibly reading the occasional novel based in passed times. Countries as we know them and Government as we know it did not exist in the early days. The initial settlement of the Iberian peninsular in fact is a story of the invasion of the peninsular by the Roman, Swabian, Alans, Vandals, Visigoths and the Moslem peoples. Once the principal invasions had taken place then came a time when the then Christian peoples of the peninsular strove to drive out those believing in Islam. It was during this time of re-conquest that the country we know as Portugal started to be shaped and the identity of the Portuguese peoples as separate entity became established.

The principal Islamic invasion took place round 710 - 712. This was almost by accident and certainly was not planned. A scouting force that landed to plunder suddenly found they had in fact conquered most of the country, indeed they gained all of the Iberian peninsular except for a narrow band of land in the far North West of what is today Spain. The re-conquest started at the same time but gathered momentum round 1060 and finished round 1250. The peninsular consisted of a number of what could today be called Kingdoms. The principal ones early on being Galicia, Leon. Castile, Navarre and Aragon in the North and Muslim Iberia in the South. The King of Galicia immediately after the conquest re-established a royal Court based very much on the Visigothic model and while the Visigothic peoples are noted in history as pagans there were in fact followers of an early form of Germanic Christianity. The Galician king initially followed this form of Christianity but over a period of time the influence of Rome manifested its self and came to dominate. The kingdom of Galicia started the re-conquest process and by marriage etc. absorbed the Kingdom of Leon. Leon came to dominate and pushed South and so the Kingdom of Castile was formed with its capital based in Burgos. While these were separate Kingdoms and often at war with one another they merged in different groupings and then split apart again mainly due to the then habit of the Kings of the time splitting their kingdoms between their sons, and occasionally daughters. The most powerful son/daughter often had little sibling sympathy and after wars the kingdoms re-united. Round the start of the 11th century the dominant kingdoms were Castile/Leon, Navarre, Aragon and the emerging kingdom of Portugal. The Castilians dominated.

While one reads the early histories and about how there was a cycle of conquest and loss, it is not immediately obvious to the readers that the result of these battles resulted in the wholesale movements of populations. The conquered fled, were killed or were taken into slavery. The empty lands were re-populated by the victorious forces using whatever people they could entice or force to move. The refugee problems of the modern world are not new nor are the so-called ethnic cleansing. Having advanced south to the Duero the Leonese established a long line of castles in the area hence the name Castile. These castles were given to the stewardship of loyal and powerful friends, (and relations) of the current Royal house. In Castile for some hundreds of years starting from the 900's or earlier and lasting to well after the 1500's the two most powerful families in Castile were the Lara and de Castro families. They intermarried, married into the royal household and into every family of influence as were the custom of the times when love had no part to play but power, wealth and lands were more important. They came into conflict many times in their grab for power. Over this period they almost gained the Kingdom to them selves on a number of occasions. As the re-conquest moved south and Toledo was regained Castile was all-powerful. Aragon was also asserting its self; however by being locked out of conquest of Moorish lands they expanded overseas and took the Balaeric Islands then Sicily and finally a large part of the Italian mainland. This was done by conquest and marriage. Finally Ferdinand and Isabella married and the final union of the house of Castile/Leon and Aragon took place, the last Moorish kingdom of Granada was captured and Navarre was absorbed and modern Spain was formed. Portugal was a separate Kingdom.

The Jewish people have been recorded in the Iberian Peninsula since the Romans destroyed and cleared Palestine of the Jewish people round 60-70 AD. They probably came to the Iberian Peninsular with the Romans. Livermore records that:

In the reign of Sisebut (612-620), the pious author of a lost chronicle and a Life of St Deesiderius, the first persecutions of the Jews took place, through the impulsive action of the bishops was restrained to some extent by the influence of the civil power: Sisebut's law decreeing the baptism of all Jews was ascribed to unenlightened zeal by St Isidore of Seville. It was said to have led to 90,000 conversions, the majority of which were certainly only temporary.

This indicates that the Jewish population at this time was a large one and that the practice of the Christian Church of trying to deal with what they felt was a problem by (forcibly) converting the Jews to Christianity had very early roots. However it is reported that for the bulk of the time the Jewish peoples were left undisturbed. Again a quote from Livermore dealing with the time of the collapse of the Visigothic rule in face of the Islamic invasion. Here it is explained that many of the serfs of the Visigoths had adopted Mohammedanism and thus gained their liberty and that this wholesale abandonment by these serfs of the Visigothic cause explains its sudden collapse, and their conversion accounts for the rapidity with which the new religion (Moslem) carried across the Peninsula :

"The class of original inhabitants that gained most from the change was that of the Jews, who came to occupy distinguished positions in commerce, industry, medicine and various professions. They handled much of the financial machinery of the central government, and the Andalusian town of Lucena was practically all Jewish. From the collapse of the Visigoths until the movements of Islamic revival there were no persecutions of Jews."

Certainly in O'Callaghan's book it is explained that due to troubles between the Jewish people and the descendants of the other prior invading tribes with the Visigoth rulers of the time, that when the Arabs invaded these populations gave great support to the Arabs as they were assured of religious and personal freedom and it was probably because of this that the invading Arabs so easily and accidentally conquered the country. I say accidentally as the invasion certainly was not planned and the leader of the raiding party ended up being recalled and in the end by being put to death because of what he had done! While vast numbers of all religions converted to the new Muslim faith many did not and to a reasonable degree were not molested. The remaining population who kept their Christian faith (the bulk converted to Mecca) who remained suffered under the Muslims not because of their faith but because as a group of people they started to defy the Muslim leaders and decry their faith. It is some what interesting to note that the more they defied the Arabs the more they were persecuted till one can draw interesting parallels with their own later treatment of their own minorities once they had driven the Arabs out of Spain. I found it interesting to note that the authors in question reported that the Arabs in fact stopped non-Muslims from converting to their religion as to many were and the taxes gathered from the non-believers started to drop to such low levels some thing had to be done.

Immediately after the Invasion from the South by the Muslim Arabs there were a number of battles up and down the river Duero that cuts across Northern Spain. Indeed because this area was so heavenly fortified it became known as Castilla. During this time the region basically became depopulated. Indeed one of the great concerns of Queen Urraca and her father before her, and her son after was the need to re-populate the Castilian region after the Muslims were slowly driven back. In doing this people were settled from other parts of the lands held by the Christians, naturally reliable people were put in charge and granted huge estates. Villages were established and castles were built and those put in charge became very powerful because of the positions the held both as Lords of the land and the locations of their Castles.

Queen Urraca was from the area called Asturias in the far North West corner of Spain and who's Family gradually had moved out to take back and settle the area known as Leon. From this base they moved south and had the Duero River area settled which became Castilla Old Castile gradually extended down to Toledo.

In The book on Queen Urraca, Reilly comments on the organisation of the court and the powerful people who held sway over the Queen. In Castile you will find the names and deeds of the Lara, de Castro, Bravo, Cardoso families mentioned. In the early marriages of the de Castro family in England almost 700 years later you will find the same names.

Reilly on commentating on the people who held considerable influence in the Court of Queer Urraca refers in page 212 to one Guter Fernandez who in 1110 held the position equivalent to the Chief if the Royal Household. I quote...

"This powerful Castilian noble was senor of Castrojeriz and had been frequently in the court of Alfonso VI. Beginning in 1134, he appeared as major-domo of Alfonso VII. Son of Maria Ansurez, the sister of Count Pedro Asurez, he was an ally of the latter, sharing his fortunes. He was seldom at court in the latter years of Alfonso VI, when the influence of Raymond and Henry had procured his uncle's exile, and dropped out of the court of Urraca shortly before Count Pedro's death in 1117. Initially he probably supported the marriage to the Batallador (by Queen Urraca) but by the fall of 1110 he had rallied to the Queen. His self-interest as a Castilian noble, holding not only Castrojeriz but also allied by his marriage to Toda Diaz to the powerful Riojan family of the Ordonez, would have inclined him to oppose the pretensions of the Aragonese monarch. The same circumstances made him a not inconsiderable influence at court against the Castilian Lara's and on behalf of his own family, the also of Castilla. He and his family probably opposed the truce initiated in 1117 with Aragon because it left much of their lands in the hands of the Batallador. Guter himself, it will be remembered, was implicated in the coup directed against Count Pedro Gonzalez in 1119"
(The Batallador referred to above was the King of Aragon Alfonso I. )

The book "Nobiliaro de Familias de Portugal" by Manuel Jose da Costa Flgueiras Gayo states the founder of the family de Castro was a German nobleman who came to the peninsular in 884. He was Nuno Belchiedes and is reported to have come out to help in the re-conquest. As the Visigothic peoples were Germanic in origin there may have been a connection. I have a chart giving the pedigree of King Dinis of Portugal (1261 - 1325) and this states one of his greats (15 generations before) was Munio Belchiedes born about 750. I followed this line down and found his son was Munio Nunez de Branosera. (810) Then there was a daughter called Gotinha Munoz born about 850.

This is the first reference I have managed to find of a de Castro family. What this passage shows is that a fellow called Guter Fernandez was the head of the Castro family. Thus he did not necessarily carry the family name. The family came from Castrojeriz in Castile. The family controlled this town. The family was at this stage very powerful in Castile as can be seen by the marriage alliances. The first of the family to be called de Castro was Don Rodrigo Fernandez and it is explained in comes from two sources First a topographical meaning, that is the castle and the second from the Castilian word 'I castrate" which comes from the Latin "castrum" and that means 'fortified camping" I have noted that there are many references to the Fernandez de Castro family and in genealogical web sites one can find today people called by this name searching for their roots. Lucky them as it seems obvious to me that the fellow Guter Fernandez, head of the Castro family is a very early family source.

The Jewish Encyclopaedia states:

CASTROJERIZ: Town in southern Castile, 19 miles west of Burgos. Jews lived there as early as the period of Moorish rule. In the charter granted to the town in 974 by Gerci Fernandez, count of Castile, it is ordered that the murder of a Jew be punished in the same way as that of a Christian. When, after the death of King Sancho, forty Jews were killed at Mercatello, Ferdinand I., his son and successor, settled the remaining Jews of that place at Castrojeriz (1035). After the death of Alfonso VI of Castile, in 1106 the inhabitants of the neighbouring Castro fell upon the Jews of Castrojeriz, killing many, making prisoners of others, and plundering their houses. The new King Alfonso VII., and his wife Urraca, forbade any further injury to the Jews of Castrojeriz on pain of heavy penalties. In 1234 Fernando III confirmed the privileges, which had been granted to the Jews. In 1474 the Jewish community paid 1100 maravedis in taxes"

Again I indulge in idle speculation, I wonder why Gerci Fernandez, presumably father or grandfather to the earlier mentioned Guter, (and who was also presumably also head of the de Castro family) gave this special protection to the Jews in this town and why this special protection was carried on for some 400 years?? I speculate if one of the Fernandez clan had a special relationship with a Jewish lass in the town even married one and was thus protecting his relatives. Was this possibly where the Jewish branch started?? Who knows ??

O'Callaghan in page 235 when commenting on Urraca's son Alfonso VII and later on his son Sancho III states that Sancho III died in 1158 leaving the throne to an infant of 2 years whose mother had died in child birth he states

"The minority of Alfonso VIII was a period of great disorder in the kingdom of Castile, as the noble families of Lara and Castro struggled for power and control of the child-king. Fernando II did enter Castile in response to a plea from the Castro's, and for several years kept a garrison at Toledo. He was even recognised as his nephews tutor, but was never able to gain custody of his person. Fernando II eventually withdrew from Castilian affairs, leaving the Lara's in ascendancy

(He, Alfonso, had inherited Leon from his father Alfonso VII and Sancho III had inherited Castile...some thing the kings did was to split their kingdoms between their sons, which not surprisingly made for some interesting family feuds and killings)

In Livermore's book we find reference to the Castro family. Again I quote:

However, the death of Sancho three months later (August 1158) upset the projected conquest and turned the ambitions of Fernando II towards Castile, now ruled by a boy of four, Alfonso VIII. For the moment the pact of Shagun was forgotten, and Fernando sought to take advantage of the bitter conflicts for power between the two powerful Castilian families of Lara and Castro

So from this we can see the family Castro existed in Castile possibly from before the year 1000 What is perhaps more interesting is that the family Lara was also a Castilian family for much later it will be seen that the Jewish branches of the Lara and de Castro families came together in England.

I make absolutely no claim that the Lara or de Castro families that we follow from are in any way connected to the families noted above. We are dealing with a period where the Christian minority was striving to drive out the Moslem invader. It would totally surprise me if among the highest placed families of Castile were anything other than 100% true blue Christian...Yet how is it that in all the reading the names of the most prominent early Jewish families in Spain who were exiled to Portugal later Constantinople and Amsterdam and England not to mention the new world all had the same surnames as these the most prominent Spanish Catholics How this came about I just do not know but we must assume that as the Jewish people had been in the area for a 1000 years at this time that it would have been inevitable that in time the local and Jewish people would have married as indeed they did and that both branches would have flourished. Don't forget that it is recorded that when the peninsular was invaded from the south many (some say most) of the inhabitants changed to Islam. Presumably when the Christians came back, many reverted back to their original or another (convenient) religion either their original one or another. So things could be said to be "fluid" in this respect. The fact that the current rulers of a land set in place laws to give their own people privilege over those conquered certainly meant that the conquered peoples found it easier to live under the new rulers by converting and adopting their new masters customs. The fact that in the border lands the lands changed hand from time to time must have caused some flexibility in ones beliefs, thus it is entirely feasible that a family could have a number of branches following different faiths in differing regions. That faith was possibly based on the most convenient one to follow at that time. We must not assume that the Christian church always held sway in the area as already reported it became advisable at times to take the religion of the current invaders. I can but only speculate when the Jewish branches of these families came into being. That they did and that they survived cannot be disputed. It is very well recorded that the most active and vigorous members of the inquisition and the most vigorous denouncers of the minority religions in Spain were in fact people who had converted to the Christian faith. Today the ex alcoholic campaigns against drink and the leaders of the anti smoking lobby are ex smokers.

The whole history of these times in this place is one of the powerful families struggling to gain power. The principal method was one of alliances through marriage where very young children often of 4 or 5 years old were betrothed to marry. The marriages entailed the payment of huge dowries in land and towns and castles and the expectation that others would be inherited. These alliances were not just for wealth but also to form power blocks. If the marriage did not take place then the dowry was returned. The marriage itself generally took place as soon as the bride could bear children. It is very obvious from the vast numbers of illegitimate children who were recognised in one way or another that the taking of mistresses was commonly expected. Queen Urraca was to my knowledge married two times. She had children from both marriages - at least 5 but she also had another four or five from her lovers and indeed was said to have died giving birth to yet another illegitimate child. This was not so unusual when one realises that often the marriages being arranged were between males often twenty years or more older than the bride to be, thus it would seem that the males took mistresses to fill the time before the arranged marriage took place. The taking of mistresses did not stop once the marriage took place and there are numerous mentions of the bastard children being born after the legitimate off spring. One must not point the finger at the males, as again there are many cases of the wife bearing illegitimate children. As one can imagine when the time came that the current king or prince or noble passed away there was often a huge scramble between not only the children to inherit the estate and titles but also between the illegitimate children. Parents placed all their children into powerful relationships so not only the legitimate prospered but also the others. The case of Inez de Castro is a case in point. She had children as the Mistress of Pedro of Portugal. Pedro died without legitimate off spring so when it came to the succession the race was between the eldest two illegitimate offspring. Inez de Castro's son lost to another illegitimate child of Pedro as that child had been organised into a better marriage and did not have powerful Castilian relatives who were eyeing the throne which would have made Portugal a part Castile? This whole process of succession was also confused by daughters making claim and the mothers and fathers of the legitimate and illegitimate children as well as the in-laws all making a case for their most favoured connection to assume the rule or title or lands etc. Thus the history of Spain and Portugal (and most of Europe) at this time is of one vast intrigue with murder most fowl being done to further ones chances.

Fernando the First of Leon was the king of Leon and also of Galicia (which is the top North Western bit of Spain.) Due to marriage alliances etc. he ended up ruling the top part of Spain and was the ruler who started the march South to drive the Arabs out of Spain. As part of his initial inheritance and by conquest and marriage he also ruled what was the top part of Portugal down to approximately Coimbra. When he died he had three legitimate )sons, Sancho, Alfonso and Garcia . He divided his kingdom between these three with Sancho getting Castile, Garcis getting Galicia and Alfonso (VI) getting Leon. Alfonso made alliances with the Duke of Burgundy by marriage and by force and other means managed to get his hands back on Castile from his brother.. On his death he split his lands between his two children both daughters but from different marriages. Teresa who married Henrt of Burgundy got Portugal and Uracca who first married Raymond of Burgundy and who has entered this story before got Leon-Castile. Teresa's son was Alfonso Henriques who managed to split the Portuguese lands away from the influence of Castile-Leon and form the start of what is today Portugal. His son Sanch became the first independent King of Portugal. This was in 1185-1211 there followed Afonso III then Dinis then Afonso IV 1325-1357. He came to power on the death of his father Denis 1279-1325. Denis had for various reasons been at odds with the church, in the main because of its power in the land and the misuse of that power in taking land. The King had tried to limit the power of the various Bishops of the land and ran up against the Pope of the time who excommunicated him on a number of times. At the same time Denis was stirring up trouble with Castile and he also meddled in the affairs of Leon. Denis had two legitimate children by his wife Isabel of Aragon Constanca who had been betrothed to Fernando IV of Castile and her brother Afonso was to marry Beatriz Fernando's Sister, at the time the Brides were aged three and the bridegrooms were eleven. However he also had out of wedlock several other children, two of these, both older than the heir, held positions of prominence in the state, the first Afonso Sanches, held an important office while the second Don Pedro Afonso was made Count of Barcelos in 1314 the result apparently of a quarrel between the sons. The heir, envious of his fathers affection for his half-brothers, circulated the rumour that Denis (his father) had sought to exclude him from the succession by legitimating Afonso Sanches, a story which was easier to believe both because Denis him self had been born a bastard and had been legitimated and because the influence of Afonso Sanches had increased as the King approached his sixtieth year. The Heir after not gaining his fathers support departed to the north of the country and raised an army with which he took south and took his mothers Castle. When the King came with his army the Heir took off and the King believing his wife connived with his son also laid siege to his wife's Castle and captured it. The Prince then captured several important towns and in the end when the Queen stepped in peace of sorts was made between father and son. This peace lasted a year when it was upset because the bastard son Afonso came back from Spain was received in court by his father so the Heir again raised an army and attacked his fathers lands. The Queen again stepped in but the civil war only ended when the King died. The now King Afonso IV had as one would guess no time for his step brother who had fled Portugal and raised an army to attack the King. In the end he withdrew. However trouble now brewed up with Castile where the King Alfonso XI of Castile had contracted to marry for political reasons the younger daughter of Juan Manuel Constanza. However he freed himself from what he decided was a dangerous situation by adroit assassination and found himself strong enough to do without Juan Manuel's aid and sent proposals to Portugal for marriage with Afonso IV daughter Maria.

The match was made, but the King of Castile openly maltreated and scandalised the queen. Thus when Afonso IV of Portugal betrothed his heir Pedro, aged 15 in 1336 to the repudiated Constanza, the daughter of Juan Manuel, who had taken refuge in Aragon (he Juan Manuel was the grandson of Fernando!!), he (Alfonso XI) tried to oppose her crossing his territories to Portugal. As a result Afonso VI joined with his father-in-law and the King of Aragon in an alliance against Castile. The resulting war came to no conclusions and in the end Alfonso XI agreed to allow Donna Constanza to cross Castile to Portugal and to respect the person of his wife.

What has all this to do with the story? From the little given it can be seen just how interwoven the families were and how the various kingdoms were linked by so called marriage alliances, and how these in the end did not prevent son from attacking father how the mothers became involved and how the alliances quickly changed. Any thing that was done by one player to upset another could quickly result in war.


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