As the second son of Afonso II of Portugal, Afonso was not expected to heir throne, destined to his brother Sancho. He lived mostly in France, were he married the heiress Matilda in 1238, thus becoming count of Boulogne. In 1246, the conflicts between his brother the king and the church became unbearable. The pope Innocent IV then ordered Sancho II to be removed from the throne and be replaced by the count of Bolougne. Afonso II, of course, did not refuse the papal order and marched to Portugal. Since Sancho was not a popular king, the order was not hard to be enforced. Sancho was exiled in Castile and Afonso III became king in 1247. To accede the throne, he abdicated from the county of Boulogne and divorced Matilda. Decided not to commit the same mistakes as his brother, Afonso III paid special attention to what the middle class composed of merchants and small land owners had to say. In 1254, in the city of Leiria, Afonso III held the first session of the Cortes, the kingdom's general assembly, comprising the nobility, the middle class and representatives of all municipalities. He also legislated laws that restrained the upper classes to commit abuses on the least favoured population. Remembered as a notable administrator, Afonso III founded several towns, granted the title of city to many others and reorganized public administration.
Secured in the throne, Afonso III then proceeded to make war with the Muslim communities that still thrived in the south. In his reign Algarve became part of the kingdom following the capture of Faro - Portugal thus becoming the first Iberian Kingdom to complete his Reconquista. Following the successful war against the Moors, Afonso III had to deal with a political situation arising from the borders with Castile. The neighbouring kingdom considered that the newly acquired lands of Algarve should be Castilian, not Portuguese. This fact led to a series of wars between the countries. Finally, in 1267, a treaty was signed in Badajoz, determining that the southern border between Castile and Portugal should be the river Guadiana.
Afonso's marriages and descendants
See also: Kings of Portugal family tree
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