By the time of his accession to the throne, in 1233, Portugal was embroiled in a difficult diplomatic conflict with the Catholic church. Afonso II, his father, had been excommunicated by Pope Honorius III, for his attempts of reducing the Church 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 fulfilment. His priority was the Reconquista, the conquest of the southern Iberian Peninsula to the Moors. From 1236 onwards, Sancho II conquered several cities in Algarve and Alentejo, securing the Portuguese position in the region.
Sancho II proved a capable commander but in the 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. 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 the state of the affairs. Since the Church was the super power of the 13th century, the Pope felt free to issue a bule ordering the Portuguese to choose themselves a new king to replace the so-called heretic.
In 1246 recalcitrant nobles invited Sancho's brother Afonso, then living in France as Count of Boulogne, to take the throne. Afonso immediately abdicated from his French possessions and marched into Portugal. Sancho II was removed from the throne in 1247 and fled to exile in Toledo where he died in January 4 1248.
Sancho married Mecia Lopez de Haro, a Castilian lady, but had no legitimate sons.
See also: Kings of Portugal family tree
D. Afonso II
|List of Portuguese monarchs||
D. Afonso III