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Henry I of Portugal

Cardinal Dom Henriques, King of Portugal was the younger brother of King John III. A younger son, Henry was not expected to succeed to the Portuguese throne and early took Holy Orders to promote Portuguese interests within the Catholic Church, then dominated by Spain. He rose fast through the Church hierarchy, becoming in quick succession Archbishop of Braga, Archbishop of Evora and Grand Inquisitor before receiving a Cardinal's hat. Henry did more than anyone to bring the Jesuits to Portugal and employed them in the colonial empire. He served as regent for his grand-nephew, D. Sebastião, after 1557, and then succeeded him as king after the disastrous Battle of Alcazarquivir in 1578. Henry renounced his clerical offices and sought to take a bride for the continuation of the Aviz dynasty, but it was too late. The Cardinal-King died on his eightieth birthday in January 1580 having appointed a Council of Regency to choose a successor. The closest dynastic claimant was King Philip II of Spain who, in November 1580, sent the Duke of Alva to claim Portugal by force. Lisbon soon fell, and Philip was elected King of Portugal on condition that the kingdom and its overseas territories would not become Spanish provinces.

Preceded by:
D. Sebastião I
List of Portuguese monarchs Succeeded by:
D. Felipe I
(Philip II of Spain)