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King Afonso Henriques (c.1109 - 1185)

D. Afonso Henriques, son of D. Henrique of Burgundy and infanta D. Teresa of Leon was born in Coimbra in 1109. D. Teresa becomes the regent of the Portucale county after the premature death of D. Henrique.

As a teenager, Afonso Henriques is averse to his mother´s governing policy - which favoured the Galician Travas. He lives outside his mother´s court and is appointed a Zamora knight in 1122. Confrontations with his mother culminate in 1128 with the battle of S. Mamede - near Guimarães - where his followers defeat the army loyal to D. Teresa and the Galician count. He then is self-appointed as King, and therefore stating his Independence from the Leon kingdom. Portucale, or Portugal, will be recognized as a kingdom in 1143 by Afonso VII of Leon.

King Afonso Henriques confirms the donations previously given to the Knights Templar by D. Teresa and considerably increases them. Of these new donations, the Ceras Land (Termo das Ceras) - a vast territory situated in between Santarém and Coimbra - where the Knights Templar founded the Tomar castle and village - the main benefice of the Temple in Portugal.

The Holy See will recognize Afonso Henriques as King in 1179, six years prior to his passing in Coimbra, his birthplace.

Afonso Henriques is seen to this day as the founding King of our nationality and a mythical figure of the History of Portugal.