prerogative. He even sent ambassadors to Rome to protest against ecclesiastical corruption, as well as to checkmate the Venetian diplomatists who threatened Europe with Ottoman vengeance if the Portuguese commercial monopoly were not relaxed. The Oriental magnificence of these embassies, notably that of 1514, and the fact that a king of Portugal dared openly to criticize the morals of the Vatican, temporarily enhanced the prestige of the monarchy. But Emanuel I. was the last great king of the Aviz dynasty. He had pursued the traditional policy of intermarriage with the royal families of Castile and Aragon, hoping to weld together the Spanish and Portuguese dominions into a single world-wide empire ruled by the house of Aviz. His ambition narrowly missed fulfilment, for Prince Miguel, his eldest son, was recognized (1498) as heir to the Spanish thrones. But Miguel died in infancy, and his inheritance passed to the Habsburgs. Frequent intermarriage, often so far within the prohibited degress as to require a papal dispensation, may possibly explain the weakened vitality of the Portuguese royal family, which was now subject to epilepsy, insanity and premature decay. The decadence of the monarchy as a national institution was reflected in the decadence of the cortes, which was rarely summoned between 1521 and 1580. John III. (1521–1557) was a ruler of fair ability, who became in his later years wholly subservient to his ecclesiastical advisers. He was succeeded by his grandson Sebastian (1557–1578), aged three years. Until the king came of age (1568), his grandmother, Queen Catherine, a fanatical daughter of Isabella the Catholic, and his great-uncle, Prince Henry, cardinal and inquisitor-general, governed as joint regents. Both were dominated by their Jesuit confessors, and a Jesuit, D. Luiz Gonçalves da Camara, became the tutor and, after 1568, the principal adviser of Sebastian.
The king was a strong-willed and weak-minded ascetic, who entrusted his empire to the Jesuits, refused to marry, although the dynasty was threatened with extinction, and of spent years in preparing for a crusade against the Moors. The wisest act of John III. had been hisThe Disaster of Al Kasr. withdrawal of all the Portuguese garrisons in Morocco except those at Ceuta, Arzila and Tangier. Sebastian reversed this policy. His first expedition to Africa (1574) was a mere reconnaissance, but four years later a favourable opportunity for invasion arrived. A dethroned sultan of Morocco, named Mulai Ahmad (Mahommed XI.), offered to acknowledge Portuguese suzerainty if he were restored to the throne by Portuguese arms, and Sebastian eagerly accepted these terms. The flower of his army was in Asia and his treasury was empty; but he contrived to extort funds from the “New Christians,” and collected a force of some 18,000 men, chiefly untrained lads, wornout veterans, and foreign free-lances. At Arzila, where he landed, he was joined by Mulai Ahmad, who could only muster 800 soldiers. Thence Sebastian sought to proceed overland to the seaport of El Araish, despite the advice of his ally and of others who knew the country. After a long desert march under an August sun, he tookup an indefensible position in a valley near Al Kasr al Kebir (q.v.). On the morrow (Aug. 4, 1578) they were surrounded by the superior forces of Abd el Malek, the reigning sultan, and after a brave resistance Sebastian was killed and his army almost annihilated. So overwhelming was the disaster that the Portuguese people refused to believe the truth. It was rumoured that Sebastian still lived and would sooner or later return and restore the past greatness of his country.
“Sebastianism” became a religion; its votaries were numbered by thousands, and four impostors arose in succession, each claiming to be the rei encuberto, or “hidden king,” whose advent was so ardently desired (see Sebastian).
There was no surviving prince of the Aviz dynasty except the aged, feeble and almost insane Cardinal Prince Henry, who, as a younger son of Emanuel I., now became king. Henry died on the 31st of January 1580, and the throne was thus left vacant. There were five principal claimants-Philip II. of Spain; Philibert, duke of Savoy; Antonio, prior of Crato; Catherine, duchess of Braganza; and Ranuccio, duke of Parma—whose relationship to Emanuel I. is shown(in the following table:—
|b. 1502, d. 1557,||b. 1503, d. 1539,||b. 1504, d. 1538,||b. 1506, d. 1545,||b. 1507, d. 1534,||b. 1509, d. 1540,||b. 1512, d. 1580,||b. 1515, d. 1545,|
|m. Catherine of Austria.
||m. Charles V.
||m. Charles III.
|duke of Beia.
||duke of Guarda.
||cardinal and arch-
bishop of Lisbon.
|duke of Guimarāes,|
m. Isabel of Braganza.
|John,||Philip II. of||Philibert Emmanuel,||Antonio,||Catherine,||Maria,|
|b. 1537, d. 1554,
m. Joanna of Spain.
||duke of Savoy.
||prior of Crato.
|m. duke of Braganza.
||m. duke of Parma.|
b. 1554, d. 1578.
duke of Parma.
Tentative and hardly serious claims were also put forward by Pope Gregory XIII., as ex officio heir-general to a cardinal, and by Catherine de’ Medici, as a descendant of Alphonso III. and Matilda of Boulogne.
5. The “Sixty Years’ Captivity”: 1581–1640.—The university of Coimbra declared in favour of Catherine, duchess of Braganza, but the prior of Crato was the only rival who offered any serious resistance to Philip II. D. Antonio proclaimed himself king and occupied Lisbon. The advocates of union with Spain, however, were numerous, influential, and ably led by their spokesmen in the cortes, Christovao de Moura and Antonio Pinheiro, bishop. of Leiria. The duke of Braganza was won over to their side, chiefly by the promise that he should be king of Brazil if Philip II. became king of Portugal—a promise never fulfilled. Above all, the Church, including the Society of Jesus, naturally favoured the Habsburg claimant, who represented its two foremost champions, Spain and Austria. In 1581 a Spanish army, led by the duke of Alva, entered Portugal and easily defeated the levies of D. Antonio at Alcantara. The prior escaped to Paris and appealed to France and England for assistance. In 1582 a French fleet attempted to seize the Azores in his interest, but was defeated. In 1589 an English fleet was sent to aid the prior in a projected invasion of Portugal, but owing to a quarrel between its commanders, Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Norris, the expedition was abandoned. D. Antonio returned to Paris, where he died in 1594.
Meanwhile the victory of Alcantara left Philip II. supreme in Portugal, where he was soon afterwards crowned king. His constitutional position was defined at the Cortes of Thomar (1581). Portugal was not to be regarded as a conquered or annexed province, but as a separate kingdom, joined to Spain solely by a personal union similar to the union between Castile and Aragon under Ferdinand and Isabella. At Thomar Philip II. promised to maintain the rights and liberties conceded by his predecessors on the Portuguese throne, to summon the Cortes at frequent intervals, and to create a Portuguese privy council which should accompany the king everywhere and be consulted on all matters affecting Portuguese interests. Brazil and the settlements in Africa and Asia were still to belong to Portugal, not to Spain, and neither in Portugal nor in its colonies was any alien to be given lands, public office, or jurisdiction. On these terms the political union of the Iberian Peninsula was accomplished. It was the final stage in a process of accretion dating back to the beginnings of the Christian reconquest in the 8th century. Asturias had been united with Leon, Leon with Castile, Castile with Aragon. All these precedents seemed to indicate that Spain and Portugal would ultimately form one state; and despite the strong nationalism which their separate language and