Denis of Portugal
Dinis called the Farmer King (Rei Lavrador), was the sixth King of Portugal and the Algarve. The eldest son of Afonso III of Portugal
Afonso III of Portugal
Afonso III , or Affonso , Alfonso or Alphonso or Alphonsus , the Bolognian , the fifth King of Portugal and the first to use the title King of Portugal and the Algarve, from 1249...

 by his second wife, Beatrice of Castile
Beatrice of Castile (1242-1303)
Beatrice Alfonso of Castile-León was the second Queen consort of Afonso III of Portugal. She was an illegitimate daughter of Alfonso X of Castile and his mistress Mayor Guillén de Guzmán.She was married to Afonso III in 1253...

 and grandson of king Alfonso X of Castile
Alfonso X of Castile
Alfonso X was a Castilian monarch who ruled as the King of Castile, León and Galicia from 1252 until his death...

 (known as the Wise), Dinis succeeded his father in 1279.


As heir to the throne, Infante (Prince) Dinis was summoned by his father (Afonso III) to share governmental responsibilities. At the time of his accession to the throne, Portugal was again in diplomatic conflict with the Catholic church. Dinis signed a favouring agreement with the pope and swore to protect the Church's interests in Portugal. He granted asylum to Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 knights persecuted in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and created the Order of Christ
Order of Christ
Order of Christ may refer to:* Order of Christ – former Knights Templar Order awarded initially by the kings of Portugal, now by the Portuguese state...

, designed to be a continuation of the Order of the Temple.

With the Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 completed and the Portuguese territory freed from Moorish
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 occupation, Dinis was essentially an administrative king, not a military one. However, a short war between Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 and Portugal broke out during his reign, for the possession of the towns of Serpa and Moura. After this, Dinis avoided war: he was a notably peace-loving monarch during a tempestuous time in European history. With Portugal finally recognized as an independent country by his neighbours, Dinis signed a border pact with Ferdinand IV of Castile
Ferdinand IV of Castile
Ferdinand IV, El Emplazado or "the Summoned," was a king of Castile and León and Galicia...

 (1297) which has endured to the present day.

Dinis' main priority of government was the organization of the country. He pursued his father's policies on legislation and centralization of power. Dinis promulgated the nucleus of a Portuguese civil and criminal law code, protecting the lower classes from abuse and extortion. As king, he travelled around the country, correcting unjust situations and resolving problems. He ordered the construction of numerous castles, created new towns, and granted privileges due cities to several others. He declared in 1290 that ‘the language of the people’ was to become the language of the state, and officially known as Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

. Diniz also made Portuguese the language of the law courts in his kingdom. With his wife, Infanta Isabella of Aragon
Elizabeth of Aragon
Elizabeth of Aragon, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, T.O.S.F. , was queen consort of Portugal, a tertiary of the Franciscan Order and is venerated as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.-Biography:Elizabeth was a descendant of one of the most powerful families in Europe:...

, Dinis worked to improve the life of the poor and founded several social institutions.

Always concerned with the country's infrastructure, Dinis ordered the exploration of mines of copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 and iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 and organized the export of excess production to other European countries. The first Portuguese commercial agreement was signed with England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in 1308. Dinis effectively founded the Portuguese navy under command of a Genoese admiral, Micer Manuel Pessanha
Manuel Pessanha
Manuel Pessanha was a Genoese merchant sailor who served in Portugal in the 14th century as the first admiral of Portugal at the time of King Denis of Portugal....

 (Portuguese form of the Italian "Pezagno"] and ordered the construction of several docks.

His main concern was the redevelopment and promotion of rural infrastructure, hence the nickname of "the Farmer". Dinis redistributed the land, promoted agriculture, organized communities of farmers and took personal interest in the development of exports. He instituted regular markets in a number of towns and regulated their activities. One of his main achievements was the protection of agricultural lands from advancing coastal sands, by ordering the planting of a pine forest near Leiria
Leiria is a city in Leiria Municipality in the Centro Region, Portugal. It is the capital of Leiria District. The city proper has 50,200 inhabitants and the entire municipality has nearly 120,000...

. This forest still exists as one of the most important of Portugal and is known as the Pinhal de Leiria (Leiria Pinewood).

Culture was another interest of King Dinis. He had a fondness for literature and wrote several books himself, with topics ranging from administration to hunting, science and poetry. In his day, Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 was one of Europe's centers of culture and knowledge. The University of Lisbon (today's University of Coimbra) was founded by his decree Magna Charta Priveligiorum. He was also a troubadour. All told, 137 of his songs (more than any other poet), in the three principal genres of Galician-Portuguese lyric
Galician-Portuguese lyric
In the Middle Ages, the Galician-Portuguese lyric, sometimes called trovadorismo in Portugal and trobadorismo in Galicia, was a lyric poetic school or movement. All told, there are around 1680 texts in the so-called "secular lyric" or lírica profana...

, are preserved in the two early 16th century manuscripts, the Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional
Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional
The Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional , commonly called Colocci-Brancuti, is a compilation of Galician-Portuguese lyrics by both troubadours and jograes...

, the Cancioneiro da Vaticana
Cancioneiro da Vaticana
The Cancioneiro da Vaticana is a compilation of troubadour lyrics in Galician-Portuguese. It was discovered c. 1840 in the holdings of the Vatican Library and was first transcribed by Ernesto Monaci in 1875....

. A spectacular find in 1990 by American scholar Harvey Sharrer brought to light the Pergaminho Sharrer
Pergaminho Sharrer
The Pergaminho Sharrer is the name given to a mediaeval parchment fragment containing seven songs by King Dinis I of Portugal, with lyrics in the Galician-Portuguese language and musical notation....

, which contains, albeit in fragmentary form, seven cantigas d'amor by King Dinis with musical notation
Musical notation
Music notation or musical notation is any system that represents aurally perceived music, through the use of written symbols.-History:...

. The same poems are found in the same order in the two previously known codices.
The later part of his peaceful reign was nevertheless marked by internal conflicts. The contenders were his two sons: Afonso
Afonso IV of Portugal
Afonso IV , called the Brave , was the seventh king of Portugal and the Algarve from 1325 until his death. He was the only legitimate son of King Denis of Portugal by his wife Elizabeth of Aragon.-Biography:...

 the legitimate heir, and Afonso Sanches his natural son, who quarrelled frequently among themselves for royal favour. At the time of Dinis' death in 1325 he had placed Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 on an equal footing with the other Iberian Kingdoms.

Dinis is buried in the Monastery of Saint Denis of Odivelas
Monastery of Saint Denis of Odivelas
The Monastery of Saint Denis is located in the city of Odivelas, near Lisbon, in Portugal. The feminine Cistercian convent was founded by King Dinis I and was built during the 14th century in Gothic style. It is the burial place of the king.-History:...

, a Cistercian monastery founded by him in 1295.

Marriage and descendants

Dinis' only wife was Isabel or Elizabeth of Aragon, daughter of Pedro or Peter III of Aragon
Peter III of Aragon
Peter the Great was the King of Aragon of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona from 1276 to his death. He conquered Sicily and became its king in 1282. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.-Youth and succession:Peter was the eldest son of James I of Aragon and his second wife...

. They married in 1288 and he bore him a son and a daughter.
By Elizabeth of Aragon (1271–1336; married in 1282)
Infanta Constança
Constance of Portugal
Infanta Constança of Portugal was a Portuguese infanta , daughter of King Denis of Portugal and his wife Saint Elizabeth of Aragon...

3 January 1290 18 November 1313 Queen of Castile by marriage to Ferdinand IV of Castile
Ferdinand IV of Castile
Ferdinand IV, El Emplazado or "the Summoned," was a king of Castile and León and Galicia...

Infante Afonso
Afonso IV of Portugal
Afonso IV , called the Brave , was the seventh king of Portugal and the Algarve from 1325 until his death. He was the only legitimate son of King Denis of Portugal by his wife Elizabeth of Aragon.-Biography:...

8 February 1291 28 May 1357 Succeeded him as Afonso IV, 7th King of Portugal.
By Maria Pires (?-?)
João Afonso c. 1280 1325 Lord of Lousã
By Marinha Gomes (c. 1260-?)
Maria Afonso c. 1290 a. 1340  
Maria Afonso (nun) ? 1320 Religious at the Monastery of Odivelas
Odivelas is a civil parish in Odivelas Municipality in Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Portugal.. The city has a population of 50,846. The municipality is composed of 7 parishes, and is located in the District of Lisbon....

By Grácia Froes (c. 1265-?)
Pedro Afonso
Pedro Afonso, Count of Barcelos
Pedro Afonso , was a son of King Denis of Portugal and Grácia Frois. He was made the 3rd Count of Barcelos on May 1, 1314.He was granted properties in Lisboa, Estremoz, Évora and other regions of Portugal by his father....

1287 1354 3rd Count of Barcelos
Count of Barcelos
Count of Barcelos is a title of nobility, the first to be granted in Portugal. It was created in 1298 by king Denis I and initially it was a non hereditary title, although most of the holders belonged to the Teles de Menezes family...

By Aldonça Rodrigues Talha (c. 1260-?)
Afonso Sanches b. 1289 1329 Lord of Albuquerque and rival of his half-brother Afonso IV
Other natural offspring
Fernão Sanches c. 1280 1329  
Pedro Afonso
Pedro Afonso
Pedro Afonso is a town and municipality in the state of Tocantins in the Northern region of Brazil.-References:...

c. 1280 ?  


See also

  • Cantiga de amigo
    Cantiga de amigo
    The Cantiga de amigo or Cantiga d'amigo , literally a "song about a boyfriend", is a genre of medieval erotic lyric poetry, apparently rooted in a song tradition native to the northwest quadrant of the Iberian Peninsula. What mainly distinguishes the cantiga de amigo is its focus on a world of...

  • Galician-Portuguese
    Galician-Portuguese or Old Portuguese was a West Iberian Romance language spoken in the Middle Ages, in the northwest area of the Iberian Peninsula. It was first spoken in the area bounded in the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean and the Douro River in the south but it was later extended south...

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