Beyond the Border
The Aristocratic mobility between the kingdoms of Portugal and León (1157-1230)

Inés Calderón Medina1 & João Paulo Martins Ferreira2


During the reigns of Fernando II and Alfonso IX, the kingdom of León became home to several Portuguese aristocrats. Their relations with the Galician and Leonese nobility helped them create many cross-border ties and a powerful network of family-based relationships, which heavily influenced the course of the main political conflicts of this period. In this article, the authors try to situate these migrations in their context, analyzing their cycles, causes and favorable conditions, describing each of these exiles and assessing their influence on both Portuguese and Leonese politics.


Migrations, cross-border, exile, León, Portugal, Galicia, kinship


Durante os reinados de Fernando II e Afonso IX, o reino de Leão transformou-se num lar para vários aristocratas portugueses. As suas relações com a nobreza galega e leonesa ajudaram a criar vários laços transfronteiriços e uma forte rede de relações familiares, que tiveram uma grande influência no curso dos principais conflitos políticos deste período. Neste artigo, os autores tentam colocar estas migrações no seu contexto, analisar os seus ciclos, causas e condições favoráveis, descrever cada um destes exílios e avaliar a sua influência sobre a política portuguesa e leonesa.


Migrações, transfronteiriço, exílio, Leão, Portugal, Galiza, laços familiares

1. Introduction

1. 1. The "state of the art"

The study of aristocratic mobility between the kingdoms of Portugal, León and Castile started with the now classic article by José Mattoso about Knights-Errant – Cavaleiros Andantes (2001) – in which he analyzesthe migrations of several nobles during the 12th and 13th centuries. This subject subsequently evolved into an integral part of some of his later works, such as A Nobreza Medieval Portuguesa: A Família e o Poder (2001), A Nobreza Medieval Galaico-Portuguesa: A Identidade e a Diferença (2002) and A Nobreza Medieval Portuguesa no Contexto Peninsular (2000). A few years later, Henrique David produced two articles about the Portuguese noblemen who participated in the reconquest of Andalusia and who received estates both through its repartimientos (David, 1986) and in the campaigns of Murcia and Valencia (David, 1989). Together with Sottomayor-Pizarro, David also analyzed the Portuguese who settled in León and Castile before and after the civil war that opposed Sancho II to his brother Afonso III of Portugal, as well as the network of kinships and family-based solidarities that they created in the court of Alfonso X (David and Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1987). Sottomayor-Pizarro recently returned to this subject with the publication of his magnificent synthesis De e para Portugal (2010), in which he contextualizes the migratory flows of the Portuguese nobility to León and Castile between the 12th and 15th centuries.

Medieval literary and cultural history has also benefited from several important works that studied the first generations of Galician-Portuguese troubadours, among which we can include those by Miranda (2004), Resende de Oliveira (1994), and Souto Cabo (2012).

Over the last few years, the authors of this article have worked simultaneously, but from different perspectives, on aristocratic mobility between Portugal and Léon during the period from 1157 to 1230. João Ferreira studied the different migration cycles of the Portuguese nobles who settled in León, as well as the causes, constraints and factors that determined their movements (Ferreira, 2009). At the same time, Inés Calderón sought to identify several aristocrats who joined the Leonese court during the crucial moments of this period, in which they were able to achieve important positions and forge bonds with some of the most important Leonese and Galician families, including the royal family (Calderón Medina, 2011). Their work proved to be fruitful, so that the authors of this article decided to continue exploring this theme, seeking to gather their conclusions together and present them in this synthesis of aristocratic mobility during the reigns of Fernando II and Alfonso IX of León.

1. 2. The political and territorial context of the kingdoms

Alfonso VII died in August 1157, leaving the kingdoms of his empire to his two sons: Sancho received Castile, and Fernando was crowned king of León. Although several nobles had estates on both sides of the border, the division of the two kingdoms, which until then had been united under one single rule, led to some conflicts among the aristocracy.

Part of the Galician nobility, led by Count Fernão Peres de Trava (the former tutor of the Infante Dom Fernando), became the main supporters of the new king, who was now faced with the power of Sancho III of Castile and the impetus of the new-born kingdom of Portugal. In May 1158, the two brothers signed a pact in Sahagún by means of which they partitioned the lands seized in the south, giving Portugal no chance of expansion in this region. Months later, Sancho of Castile died and left the throne to his three-year-old son, Alfonso VIII. Fernando II became the tutor of the king of Castile (1161) and, later on, of the king of Aragón, Alfonso II (1162), turning him into the most powerful Christian king in the Peninsula. Afonso Henriques, who, during this decade, had fought the king of León for control of the border territory of Toroño and Limia, understood that the survival of his kingdom depended on the reconquest of Muslim territories. In 1165, at Lérez, they signed a pact that regulated the ownership of these lands and resulted in the marriage of Fernando II to the Portuguese Infanta Urraca Afonso. After several victories during the 1160s, the Portuguese monarch decided to attack the stronghold of Badajoz in 1169, but he was unsuccessful due to the intervention of Fernando II. The Leonese sovereign had allied himself with the Muslims, in order to stop the Portuguese reconquest and to keep this part of the south for himself. During the battle, Afonso Henriques was badly wounded and was captured by his son-in-law, who kept him prisoner for four months. The campaign of Badajoz had serious consequences for Afonso Henriques and his nobility.

During the 1180s, the power enjoyed by Fernando II of León grew weaker because of the direct intervention of the Haros in his political sphere. They began to replace the traditional Galician and Leonese aristocracy who surrounded the king. In 1185, Afonso Henriques died and left his throne to his son, Sancho. Fernando II then died in 1188, leaving behind a situation of open conflict between his firstborn, the Infante Alfonso, and the Haros. This Castilian family wanted to place the Infante Sancho Fernández, their nephew, on the throne. The king of León had married Urraca López de Haro in 1183, and the Infantes Sancho and Fernando were born from this union. The almost simultaneous successions in both kingdoms initiated an important cycle of aristocratic mobility and strengthened the power of the king of Castile.

During the 1190s, relations between León and Portugal were very unstable, oscillating between the alliance created by the pact of 1191, subsequently sealed by the marriage of Alfonso IX of León to the Portuguese Infanta Teresa Sanches, and the rupture caused by the annulment of this same union in 1194 or the open war caused by the Portuguese occupation of Tui in 1196. However, the situation became calmer until the death of Sancho I of Portugal in 1211, when a new conflict broke out between the new king, Afonso II, and his sisters, led by Teresa Sanches, the former wife of the Leonese monarch (who also became involved in this war).

This war led to the emigration of an important section of Teresa’s supporters. In León, they became actively involved in the crisis caused by the death of the Infante Fernando (1214), the son of Teresa and Alfonso IX, and in the claim to the throne of his sisters Sancha and Dulce, in detriment to their half-brother, the new king of Castile. This was one of the reasons why a great number of Portuguese aristocrats, who had already supported their mother, stayed in León until the death of Alfonso IX in 1230.

2. Cycles, causes and favorable conditions

2.1. Cycles

During this period, the Portuguese elites established contacts with their neighbors through two main cycles of emigration to the kingdom of León. These cycles were the natural consequence of the wave of Galician-Leonese immigration that occurred between the last years of the 11th century and the first decades of the 13th.

The newly-gained economic and social power of the portucalense families, the existence of a society that was open to cross-border contacts, the interesting nature of the Portuguese political project, and the chance to acquire new estates on the Muslim border, led several foreign families to become members of the Portuguese court. In the upper echelons of this immigrant aristocracy, we can find the families of Trava-Trastâmara, Celanova-Pombeiro, Soverosa, Cabreira e Ribeira, Valadares, Lima, Nóvoa, and many others. This group successfully established relations with several Portuguese families, as well as with others who, like them, divided their life between the two kingdoms. Their Portuguese branches inherited significant cross-border social relations that gave them the opportunity to create new feudo-vassalic bonds in both kingdoms based on their Galician-Leonese estates and their ties with the respective ecclesiastic institutions. The growing presence of Galician-Portuguese elements on both sides of the border generated the ideal social conditions for this nobility to enjoy long stays in León and Galicia, which were designed to suit their individual and collective needs.

In this context, we can identify two main cycles of emigration among the Portuguese nobility: the first one began in the last years of the reign of Alfonso VII and ended in 1211, with the death of Sancho I and the Portuguese-Leonese war that it started; the second one lasted until the final years of the reign of Alfonso X. This one can be divided into smaller cycles related with the Andalusian conquests of Fernando III, the overthrow of Sancho II, and the critical years of Alfonso’s reign. The structure of these migration cycles of the Portuguese aristocracy were recently reanalyzed by Sottomayor-Pizarro (2010) and, before this, by this author together with David (David and Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1987). These two great periods can be distinguished by a series of different causes and by the different destinies that they chose. While the first period was characterized by a flow of emigration to Galicia resulting in the presence of several aristocrats at the Leonese court, the second period was mainly directed exclusively towards the Leonese and Castilian courts.
In the first cycle, the migrations were the result of individual feudo-vassalic conflicts between the Portuguese monarchs and some of their main vassals, who were deprived of their personal trust and were thus obliged to denaturalize themselves temporarily. The Portuguese process of royal centralization led to a growth in these sorts of personal and political clashes, which developed into the widespread hostility of a large group of aristocrats towards the Portuguese monarchy. This collective reaction of the conservative nobility resulted in the conflicts that took place after the death of Sancho I and in the exiles that occurred immediately before and after this Leonese invasion. The transitory personal disagreements of the first phase gave way to a collective migration that was ideologically shaped by the growing opposition to the process of royal centralization.

2.2. Causes

The most visible causes were related to the personal and feudo-vassalic clashes between the kings and their nobility. In this context, we can see that the bonds of vassalage between sovereigns and their aristocrats with curial positions were more than a merely institutional relationship, because they were based on each side’s personal trust in the other’s capabilities and loyalty. Both kings and vassals constantly evaluated the quality of the service they received and its respective rewards, so that they could unilaterally or mutually dissolve their ties if they felt that the other party was not correctly fulfilling its obligations. Just like other individual subjects, the aristocratic social group had the right to denaturalize themselves from their king and kingdom if they felt that the royal conduct would strip them of their natural rights and privileges. In the case of the 1211-12 war, most of the aristocracy understood that Afonso II’s determination to preserve the integrity of his territories would cause him to unlawfully disrespect the legacy that his father had left to his sisters, and that, by behaving in this way, he would also corrupt the traditional cognatic system of inheritance. At this moment, they understood how far the Portuguese monarchy was willing to go in order to subvert the rules governing the social organization of the nobility, so that it could strengthen its own influence.

Marriages (which involved negotiators and matrimonial processions), great treaties and diplomatic missions (which created the opportunity for the Peninsular grandees to meet), the escape from the law and the avoidance of personal feuds, the search for opportunities for social promotion, the management of cross-border privileges or properties, the way of life in the border lands, pilgrimages and spiritual devotions, and the war campaigns that were of strategic common interest or that promised a distribution of estates, through repartimientos, were all causes of a cross-border mobility based on the customary procedures existing for the reception of foreign noblemen.

2.3. Favorable conditions and factors

Migrations were an essential part of the social strategy of the different lineages and powerful aristocratic groups. Their frequency in the west of the Peninsula was due to a combination of several factors.

First of all, we should mention that the physical geography of this region was, in itself, a fundamentally favorable factor. In the configuration of Portugal and León, there was no unsurpassable barrier dividing the two kingdoms: the Portuguese central mountain ranges were more obstructive to internal mobility than to communication with the exterior. On the other hand, the original Roman road system still linked the main cities of old Gallaecia, serving to reinforce the natural continuity between Galicia and Entre-Douro-e-Minho and between Trás-os-Montes and the Leonese plateau (this phenomenon was emphasized by Mattoso in a text about the Braganções – Mattoso 1995: I, 185).

During these centuries, the social organization of the two territories did not develop particularly different formulas. The social hierarchy, feudo-vassalic relations, social customs and consuetudinary law, the behavioral matrix, the models of work organization and the methods used to exploit the land, among other elements, had yet to follow divergent paths. Even the language brought the Portuguese close to large sections of the population of the kingdom of León who spoke medieval Galician or hybrid dialects (still very common today in isolated regions of the western part of León and the Asturias). The feeling of belonging and the identity of the people from the Galician-Portuguese region had been molded by many centuries of political and administrative unity. The Portuguese of the 12th and 13th centuries also felt that they were part of a Galician and Hispanic cultural commonwealth, and not just members of their small community.

This long period of unity and the Portuguese projects for the occupation of the southern part of Galicia had resulted in the survival, until relatively late on, of several cross-border seigniorial and jurisdictional entities. After the independence of Portugal, the evident political inadequacy of the seigniorial and jurisdictional cross-border profile of dioceses like Braga, Compostela and Tui, for example, testified to the survival of this reality (the influence of the diocese of Tui in Portugal was analyzed by Iglesias Almeida, 2008). Cenobia, just like Oia, Melón, Tomiño, and Fiães, among others, and many border families (such as the Velho, Silva, Cerveira, Valadares, Lima, Nóvoa, and Churrichão families, for example), or those with a Galician-Portuguese heritage (such as the Trava-Palmeira-Pereira-Tougues, Soverosa, Celanova-Pombeiro-Barbosa and other families), used this freedom of circulation and the climate of social osmosis to create their own cross-border estates.

We can also consider the existence of common social practices to have been a factor that favored the creation of aristocratic contacts; among these, we can include the amádigo (a practice clearly defined by Mattoso, 1995: II, 77), which was frequent in the southern part of Galicia and in Entre-Minho-e-Lima, or the hospitality that was provided by kinsmen and kings to foreign noblemen seeking refuge in their realm for personal or political reasons. As Luís Krus emphasized, this hospitality was part of a group of peaceful Iberian habits that included the civilized negotiation of Peninsular disputes and the reception at court of exiles from the neighboring kingdoms, or of noblemen seeking feudal advice or marriage (Krus, 1994: 196-197). The promise of social promotion, whether through military or courtly service, also served as a stimulant for the creation of cross-border ties.

The depopulation of some areas of the Portuguese-Leonese border region, coupled with their strategic importance, gave several families from both kingdoms the opportunity to take on the role of reorganizers of vast portions of land; they tried to maintain an equilibrium between their dual loyalty and the problematic climate of rivalry between the two crowns, both of which practiced a deliberate policy of attracting aristocratic groups (Mattoso, 1995: I, 139-140).

Another common factor was the existence of family or personal/institutional ties with the foreign monarch, as well as a devotion to his political causes. The Portuguese “seigniorial party” established in the court of Alfonso IX, which, in the last years of his reign, maintained a fruitful symbiotic relationship with Leonese interests and was used as an external support group for those opposed to the Portuguese process of royal centralization, was a product of this reality.

To summarize our ideas, we can say that the system that supported this network of contacts was mostly based on the following factors: a strong cross-border family tapestry, born out of the social osmosis that occurred during the phases of political unity of the western realms, and the previous migratory flows; the existence of cross-border patrimonial/seigniorial nuclei and privileges that were inherited, acquired, or donated by their new sovereigns; the relations that several families enjoyed with ecclesiastic entities from the neighboring kingdom; and the family relations that these aristocrats had in the Galician-Leonese region or maintained with other noblemen who had emigrated to this kingdom.

3. Migrations

3.1. From 1157 to 1211

The first of these emigrants, Mem Fernandes de Bragança II, was one of the exiles who met all the conditions needed to have a successful cross-border career. The Braganças, the undisputed lords of the border region of Trás-os-Montes, knew how to conveniently explore the bipolar nature of their domains and their reputation as indomitable warriors. Mem Fernandes was a descendant of a lineage that included, most notably, the marriage of Fernão Mendes de Bragança I to a probable daughter of Alfonso VI, and that of his father, Fernão Mendes de Bragança II, to the Infanta Sancha Henriques (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: III, Genealogia 4.3.). These prestigious marriages raised the Braganças to the upper echelons of the aristocracy of western Iberia and afforded them easy access to the kings of both Portugal and León.

It seems that Mem Fernandes was born from the first marriage of Fernão Mendes de Bragança II to Teresa Soares da Maia, but his father also married a second time to the Infanta Sancha Henriques. Despite the homonymy with his paternal grandfather (Mem Fernandes de Bragança I), we consider that he was the alferes of Portugal between 1146 and 1147 (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 241-242). We believe that the conflicts created by the different interests of the forces involved in the conquest of Lisbon caused a certain distance between the Braganção and Afonso Henriques. His bipolar career may have started in the early 1150s, as demonstrated by a document issued by Alfonso VII on August 3, 1153 (Alfonso Antón, 1986: 298-299). He was alferes of León between November 20, 1156 and March 24, 1159 (Salazar y Acha, 2000: 418). According to documents from San Martín de Castañeda, he was also tenente of Sanábria (Rodríguez González, 1973: docs. 34 and 40). His last appearance in León dated from 1161 (Recuero Astray, Romero Portilla and Rodríguez Prieto, 2000: doc. 32), the year when he may have died or fallen ill. It is possible that Mem formed part of his family’s bicephalous leadership, since Pero Fernandes’ Portuguese orientation and his preference for the mordomia (1169-1175 – Ventura, 1992: II, 988) coincided with his brother’s leanings toward the Leonese sphere and the alferesia (1146-1147 in Portugal, and 1156-1159 in León). It is also probable that he was involved in the pacification of the insurrection of “La Trucha”, in 1157 or 1158 (this rebellion at Zamora was analyzed by Fernández-Xesta y Vázquez, 1991: 155 and ff.).

During this same period, the Portuguese patriarch of the Galician lineage of the Churrichão family, Pedro Arteiro, appeared in the documents of Fernando II. He confirmed a royal privilege granted to the neighbors and church of Ourense on November 24, 1157 (Recuero Astray, Romero Portilla and Rodríguez Prieto, 2000: doc. 5). The narrative that explains his settlement in the region of Ourense is to be found in the chapter that Count Dom Pedro of Barcelos dedicated to the Churrichão family in his nobiliário or peerage book (LL74A1). This nobleman from the Sousa valley was recruited by the bishop and chapter of Ourense to defend part of their estates against the attempted usurpations of two local knights. The good services that he rendered to the ecclesiastic authorities convinced them to give him a stipend and part of the properties that remained under contention. In addition to this, they arranged his marriage to a lady from the region, resulting in the birth of Fernão Pires Churrichão.

On February 6, 1162, there appeared an enigmatic Count Vasco of Portugal among the nobles who confirmed the donation of the town of Cória to Compostela by Fernando II (Recuero Astray, Romero Portilla and Rodríguez Prieto, 2000: doc. 38). This same count then reappeared with the same name and title in a Castilian royal document dated March 24, 1173 (González, 1960: II, doc. 176). We believe that this man was Count Vasco Sanches de Barbosa (or Celanova), the grandson of Count Nuno Vasques de Celanova and Sancha Gomes de Sousa, and the son of Sancho Nunes de Celanova and the Infanta Sancha Henriques, a sister of Afonso Henriques. His visits to León and Castile may have been linked to the management of personal issues or to diplomatic tasks, such as the ones that had involved him in the treaty signed in 1160 with Ramón Berenguer IV (Mattoso, 1995: I, 155). In the mid-1160s, during the last Portuguese attacks on the lands of Toroño and Limia, Vasco Sanches seized the castles of Santa Cruz and Monte Leboreiro (Fernández Rodríguez, 2004: 108). The fact that he is mentioned in a document issued by Afonso Henriques about the construction of the monastery of Melón (April 29, 1165) seems to confirm that he was still interested in the region that his ancestors came from (Fernández Rodríguez, 2004: 108). To round off this subject, we should also mention that he was a cousin of Châmoa Gomes de Pombeiro and, because of this, a blood relative of three of the most important Portuguese emigrants of this generation: Soeiro Mendes de Tougues, Pero Pais da Maia and Fernando Afonso.

Soeiro Mendes de Tougues served at the Leonese court between 1165 and 1166 (Salazar y Acha, 2000: 419). He was born from the (illegitimate or legitimate) union of Châmoa Gomes de Pombeiro (a daughter of Count Gomes Nunes de Pombeiro and Elvira Peres de Trava) to Mem Rodrigues de Tougues (a son of Rodrigo Froilaz de Trastâmara I and Gontinha Gonçalves da Maia). This family context gave him the opportunity to amass a number of estates along the banks of the River Ave, and in Galicia as well. Known by the name of Mãos de Águia in the peerage book, he was frequently to be found at the Afonsine court (between 1156-57 and 1176), where he served as tenente of Seia in 1169. In 1176, he made a large donation to the monastery of Santo Tirso, the place where he would later be buried (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: II, 290). In 1159, as the patron of the monastery of Aranga (Galicia), he gave this building and its land to Sobrado, an institution that would later receive a generous donation of several of his Galician estates in 1165 (Mattoso, 1995: I, 161-162). Due to his marriage to the countess Elvira Gonçalves de Sousa, he acquired an important network of properties under the sphere of influence of the Sousas.

Soeiro Mendes appeared at the Leonese court for the first time on March 27, 1165 (González, 1943: 385), and on October 19 of that same year achieved the alferesia, a position that he maintained until March of the following year; after leaving León, he returned to the court of Fernando II in 1175, making just one brief appearance without any mention of his position or political rank (González, 1943: 256-257, 285-286, 385-387, 389, 390 and 392). The coincidence between the confirmations of 1165 and the donation of 1166 to the monastery of Sobrado leads us to believe that, during this first phase, he was merely searching for opportunities to enhance his social status and consolidate his assets and properties in Galicia and León. On the other hand, his presence at the court in 1175 may have been part of his preparation for retirement from public life: on this trip, he may have sorted out his Leonese affairs for the last time.

In 1169 or 1170, due to his defeat at Badajoz, his half-brother Pero Pais da Maia, the Alferes, abandoned Portugal. His appointment as alferes in 1147 had marked the return of the lords of the Maia family to the main royal positions, after roughly thirty years of absence. The marriage of Pero Pais to one of the daughters of the Aio, Elvira Viegas de Ribadouro, helped him to create new lines of communication with the crown, thereby leading to his social ascension (the career of the Maia family was summarized by Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 253-257). Between this year and 1169, Dom Pero diligently fulfilled all his obligations, not showing any signs of dissension or any desire to achieve the mordomia (Mattoso, 2006: 165-166).

On May 3 1169, the combined forces of Afonso Henriques and Geraldo Sem Pavor breached the walls of Badajoz and met with the fierce resistance of the besieged forces who had gathered together in the citadel. Due to his concern with preserving the integrity of the Leonese zone of expansion, Fernando II decided to invoke the terms of the mutual defense treaty signed with the Muslims in 1168 and attacked the Portuguese rearguard. A hasty retreat led to the now mythical leg injury of Afonso Henriques, resulting in his capture by the Leonese and the signing of a disadvantageous peace treaty that caused him to give up Badajoz and to return everything that he had conquered in the southern part of Galicia. Regardless of whether the Alferes’ participation in this defeat had been voluntary or involuntary, Pero Pais immediately became its main scapegoat. The hostile environment in court and the chance to relaunch his career in León (where his grandfather, Count Gomes Nunes de Pombeiro, had taken on a prestigious role) were the clear causes of his departure from Portugal. During his exile, he was afforded shelter in the land of Toroño by Ximena Pais da Maia and Gonçalo Pais de Toronho, his sister and brother-in-law.

As far as his career is concerned, we know that until 1169 he was tenente of Maia and that, from 1147 onwards, he was made alferes of Portugal (Ventura, 1992: II, 991 and 1002). His deep-seated quarrel with Afonso Henriques meant that he only returned to the kingdom in 1186, after the death of the monarch (Mattoso, 1995: I, 177). However, he had been in Portugal in the summer of 1184, when, as part of an army led by the future Alfonso IX, he sought to support his fellow countrymen against the Almohad siege of Santarém. During this campaign, he took part in a public act that was celebrated by the Leonese in Coimbra on July 31 that year (Mattoso, 2006: 269). He had first appeared in León in 1170 and his influence was still felt in 1188, a few years after his return to Portugal. This exile had been marked by two periods serving in the alferesia of León: the first one occurred between February 1, 1171, and March 11, 1171; the second one occurred between December and May 1, 1172 (Salazar y Acha, 2000: 220). He was tenente of Toroño, a land that had been governed long before by his maternal grandfather, Gomes Nunes, and where Pero Pais still had a number of estates, and he was also governor of Tui and Entienza (Fernández Rodríguez, 2004: 130-131). In May 1184, Fernando II gave him the towns of Guillarey and Sareia in Toroño (González, 1943: doc. 52). A document of San Esteban de Nogales from January 29, 1170, tells us that he had also been the owner of a group of estates in Santa María (near Villalpando), Pobladura, San Martín and in some other places (Cavero Domínguez, 2001: doc. 8). Nevertheless, we would like to draw attention to the convergence between the Celanova-Pombeiro family tradition of government in the region of Toroño, the marriage of his sister to a local lord (Gonçalo Pais), his position as its tenente, the royal donation of property in this region, and its geographical proximity to Portugal. These data suggest that, outside the court, Toroño was his real home, the place where he weaved a tight web of social relations. After returning to Portugal, Pero Pais confirmed his last document in León on July 16, 1188, in Astorga (Lucas Álvarez, 1997: doc. 142). It is possible that, at this time, he was paying his last respects to Fernando II and giving his allegiance to Alfonso IX, the new king.

The composition of Pero Pais’ entourage is completely unknown, but it is possible that João Soares de Paiva I was part of it (this troubadour was studied by Oliveira, 1994: 371-372). According to the Livro de Linhagens,he was married to Maria Anes de Riba de Vizela I and had several children. João Soares appears in 1169 in a sale made by his father and, in the following year, he donated his estate of Pedorido to the monastery of Paço de Sousa. He was also the owner of a leira in Sobrado that was given to the local church, and he bought a property in Lavariz that he left to Paço de Sousa, together with some other properties in Santiago de Vilela. Among his family estates, one of the most important was the quintã of Sobrado, in the judicial district of Paiva.

According to José Carlos Miranda (2004), João Soares must have left Portugal in the early 1170s with one of the grandees who sought refuge at the Leonese court and then embarked on a long journey that led him to the court of the lords of Cameros, where he became acquainted with a new type of lyric. The appearance of a Iohannes de Pavia in 1182 in the documents of Sobrado dos Monges (Miranda, 2004: 19-20) confirms that he was in Galicia in the following years. So, it is possible that João Soares left Portugal with Pero Pais da Maia and established himself in Toroño, where Mem Pais Bofinho, a cousin of his father, had already married Sancha Pais de Toronho, a daughter of Paio Curvo and the sister-in-law of the alferes. He may well have started his literary experiences in this region and it was here that he met his future lord and patron, Rodrigo Dias de los Cameros, a son of the Galician noblewoman Guiomar Fernandes de Trava. In the Riojan county of Cameros, he came into contact with the Occitanian lyric tradition and wrote the famous poem Ora Faz Ost’O Senhor de Navarra (1195 or 1196). These contacts led to the creation of an early center of production of Galician-Portuguese texts at the courts of Toroño and Limia, which can be confirmed by the Occitanian influences on the work written by Garcia Mendes de Eixo during his exile in the lands of his wife’s family (Elvira Gonçalves de Toronho).

Fernando Afonso, an illegitimate son of Afonso Henriques and Châmoa Gomes de Tougues, who, for a long time, was considered to be an entirely different person from another bastard named Afonso, was one of the most important grand masters of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and an important member of the crusade movement. This view is the result of a reinterpretation made by José Ariel de Castro (Castro, 1992: 819-858), which we will try to summarize here and further combine with some other information.

It seems that he was born in around 1140 and that he started his political career at the court in 1159, shortly after the death of queen Dona Mafalda. After Badajoz, he proved to be an essential element in the stabilization of political relations at the Portuguese court, by assuming the alferesia soon after the departure of his maternal half-brother Pero Pais. Although there are no signs of any hostility from the crown heir or the royal family, it is likely that his disappearance from the court in the autumn of 1173 was related with the greater sharing of powers between the king and Dom Sancho. Fernando may have been considered an obstacle to the government supervised by his brother, who may have seen him as a potential heir. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that, faced with this situation, his exile was a completely voluntary affair. After a brief passage through León, he professed as a Templar, and shortly afterwards transferred to the Hospitallers. In 1198, he became the leader of this order in Hispania and, in this same year, he was entrusted by his brother with the task of handing to the Pope the census that the kingdom owed him. Maybe due to the influence of his half-sister, Countess Teresa Afonso of Flanders, he was made grand master of the Hospitallers in 1202. During his participation in the fourth crusade, he took part in the attack on Constantinople. Fernando Afonso was also responsible for the creation of new statutes for his order. In July 1204, he was in Acre and, in the following year, he received a donation from the Byzantine emperor. In 1206, he decided to renounce his position and return to Portugal. According to references in the books of lineages and his own epitaph, he was poisoned in Évora by the warrior monks of Santiago during March 1207 and buried in the church of São João de Alporão (Santarém).

In October 1186, Vasco Fernandes de Soverosa left the Portuguese court and became a vassal of Fernando II. This rico-homem was the son of Fernão Peres Cativo, a trusted grandee of Afonso Henriques from the late 1120s onwards. His relationship with an unknown lady resulted in the birth of two sons: Nuno Fernandes, an aristocrat who served the Infante Dom Sancho as his alferes for a brief period in 1169 (Mattoso, 1995: I, 174), and Vasco Fernandes.

Vasco Fernandes had enormous power at the Portuguese court until 1186. During this time, he became Dom Sancho’s mordomo in May 1176 and the royal mordomo in May 1179. His marriage to Teresa Gonçalves Sousa, a daughter of Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa I, also afforded him government of the land of Basto between 1167 and 1186 (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: II, 208). This same union also allowed the Soverosas to establish themselves in territories that were traditionally associated with the Sousas. We can include among these the honor of Soverosa and several estates in the region of Aguiar de Sousa. To these properties we should also add the ones near Antuã and Rabaçal. The replacement of Vasco Fernandes by the Sousas in the mordomia and tenência of Basto was the cause of a violent clash of interests with Sancho I.

Vasco Fernandes remained absent from Portugal between 1186 and 1194. He was present at the courts of Fernando II and Alfonso IX, where he became tenente of Bierzo in 1188-89 (González, 1943: 509-514 and docs. 58-60; 1944: I, 350). During this period, he was tenente of Zamora, Beriz, Astorga, Limia and Bierzo. On February 25, 1187, in Astorga, Fernando II gave him a house in the city. On June 8 of that same year, in Benavente, the king also gave him the village of San Esteban de Valdeorras (Ourense) in reward for his good services and as compensation for the estates that he had lost in Portugal. It is also known that he inherited some lands in Sobrado (Galicia), which he gave to the monastery after some jurisdictional disputes (Mattoso, 1995: I, 175). Vasco Fernandes returned briefly to the Portuguese court in 1194 (Mattoso, 1995: I, 174) and may have died soon afterwards. His marriage to Teresa Gonçalves de Sousa resulted in the births of Martim Vasques de Soverosa I, Gil Vasques de Soverosa, Elvira Vasques de Soverosa I, Alda Vasques de Soverosa, and Urraca Vasques de Soverosa.

Soon after his disappearance from León, Alfonso IX entrusted his alferesia to Lourenço Soares de Valadares I. All the available information suggests that he was the son of Elvira Nunes Velho and Soeiro Aires de Valadares, who was himself the son of a couple of Galician aristocrats (Aires Nunes and Ximena Nunes).

The likely marriage of one of the Valadares to an illegitimate daughter of Alfonso IX (Maria Afonso de Leão, LL25E4) seems to completely justify the rapid rise of Lourenço Soares through the ranks of the Leonese aristocracy, where he was alferes between May 20, 1195, and February 12, 1196, and between 1203 and January 13, 1205 (González, 1944: I, 325 and II, docs. 94, 95, 97, 98, 99, 182-190, 193 and 194; Rodríguez González, 1973: docs. 100 and 176). Afterwards, he became mordomo, a position that he held between January 13 and December 17 of that same year and to which he returned between February 25 and April 28, 1219 (González, 1944: II, docs. 195-199 and 371-372). Lourenço Soares was also tenente of Babia in 1204, Extremadura in 1219, Bierzo in 1224, Valadares in 1219, 1221, 1222, and 1223, and Valdevez in 1222 (González, 1944: I, 348, 350 and 353, and II, docs. 194 and 445; Ferro Couselo, 1995: docs. 56, 82, 113, 120, 125, 148, 155, 168, 190, and 297). He was also involved in the negotiations of the 1218 treaty signed between Alfonso IX and his future heir (González, 1944: II, doc. 352). Although we were not able to clearly identify the exact causes of his exile, it is quite probable that these were linked to his needs for social promotion. The morphology of the territory of Valadares, which spread along the fringes of the mountain ranges of Peneda, Soajo and Laboreiro, must have forced them to precociously search for opportunities to expand their estates into the area on the other side of the border and thus increase their political and social prestige at the court of León.

The generation of Lourenço Soares succeeded in reinforcing their cross-border relations through unions with lineages that were close to the royal families. Paio Soares I married Elvira Vasques de Soverosa I, a daughter of Vasco Fernandes de Soverosa, a sister of Gil Vasques de Soverosa, and an aunt of Teresa Gil de Soverosa, one of the barregãs of Alfonso IX and the mother of Maria Afonso de Leão. It should also be added that a full brother of Teresa Gil, Martim Gil de Soverosa I, was the lord of João Soares de Valadares (the famous Somesso), a nobleman who also appeared in Galicia (in 1230) in a document from the priory of Vilar de Donas (Oliveira, 1994: 372).

Despite the great social status achieved by all the men of this generation, the sources reveal that the main beneficiary was Soeiro Pais de Valadares, the son of Paio Soares and Elvira Vasques. He was knighted by Gonçalo Anes da Nóvoa I, a brother of Pero Anes da Nóvoa I (LL13C3), and raised in the parish of Fontão (Ponte de Lima). Soeiro Pais was also adopted by Pero Lourenço, who farmed one of the royal properties. According to the Inquirições of 1258, he was the owner of a royal estate in Feitais (Souto Maior, in the municipality of Sabrosa), together with his siblings and nephews. Through his marriage, he also received some properties in Torres Vedras and its surrounding district and left a property to the order of Santiago (Ventura, 1992: II, 725). From the Baiões (through Estevaínha Ponço de Baião, his wife) he also took possession of the village and honor of Águas Belas, in the municipality of Sortelha; he also held the honor of Moita, during the reign of Afonso III (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: II, 196). Soeiro Pais was at the court of Afonso II in 1222, where he was tenente of Riba Minho (Ventura, 1992: II, 1006). In August of this same year, he disappeared from the Portuguese court and left for León. At his new home, he became part of the entourage of the Infante Dom Pedro, the second son of Sancho I, whom he replaced in the mordomia on April 9, 1225 (González, 1944: II, doc. 450). We also know that he returned to the court of Sancho II in 1226 and that, in January 1229, he reassumed the tenência of Riba Minho (Ventura, 1992: II, 726). It is possible that his second disappearance from the Portuguese court was caused by the departure of the Infante Dom Pedro to Aragón. Or he may just have left for Castile in order to participate in its reorganization after the merger with León. Soeiro Pais only reappeared in Portugal in 1248 with Afonso III and stayed at the court till 1250 (Ventura, 1992: I, 108-109 and II, 726), after which he completely disappeared from public life.

In the context of the Galician-Portuguese aristocracy of the border of the Minho, we must highlight the role of João Fernandes de Lima I. He was one of the grandsons of Aires Calvo da Galiza, a lord from the Ribadavia region who formed part of the court of Alfonso VII between 1125 and 1151, where he assumed the tenência of Limia in 1147 and Buval in 1151 (García Álvarez, 1966: 26-28). His firstborn, João Aires, was at the court of Fernando II between 1157 and 1187, where he was alferes, tenente of Castrelo de Veiga, “Boubou” or Búval (Ribadavia), Toroño, and it seems that he may also momentarily have governed all of Galicia. He received Pozuelo (in the district of Castroverde) from the king. He was the tutor of Alfonso IX and married Urraca Fernandes de Trava, a daughter of Fernão Peres de Trava and a sister of the second wife of Fernando II. João Aires died before March 29, 1191 (García Álvarez, 1966: 28-35).

His brother Fernão Aires d’Anho (or Batissela), the father of João Fernandes de Lima I, also had a prestigious career and marriage. He married Teresa Bermudes de Trava, a daughter of Bermudo Peres de Trava and a cousin of Teresa and Urraca Fernandes. This union created strong ties with the Portuguese royal family, because she was also a daughter of the Infanta Urraca Henriques. Therefore, she was a niece of Afonso Henriques and a cousin of Fernando II’s first wife, Urraca Afonso.

Fernão Aires confirmed documents in León between 1153 and 1204, a period during which he assumed several tenências. Between 1169 and 1190, he was lord of Castrelo da Veiga, a type of personal honor that was sanctioned by royal authority and only remained valid during his lifetime. Because of his good services, he received several donations from Fernando II: in 1181, he received the third part of Porqueira (in the region of Ourense); in 1176, a royal estate in Seaya (Bergantiños); and, in 1184, a group of properties in Sabacedo and Morrazo. He was also the owner of several properties in Gomaríz, Sanín, and in other places near Ribadavia and Ourense. Fernão Aires possibly died in around 1204. In 1218, his wife paid Santiago a rent on behalf of the souls of the couple and gave a donation to the monastery of Fiães for the same purpose (Ferro Couselo, 1995: doc. 266). Teresa Bermudes lived several years longer than her husband. In 1219, she donated to the monastery of Melón the casal of Figueiriñas, in Sanín, near Ribadavia (for more information about this couple, see García Álvarez, 1966: 36-41). Like his brother-in-law, Fernão Bermudes de Trava, who was a regular presence at the court of Afonso Henriques (his uncle), Fernão Aires was in Portugal between 1186 and 1193, where he became tenente of Trancoso in 1193 (Ventura, 1992: II, 1023; Mattoso, 2002: 137). Rui Fernandes de Lima I, alcaide of Lisbon during the reign of Sancho I (Mattoso, 1998: 129), was also present in Portugal at that time.

The good relationship that Fernão Aires enjoyed with Sancho I, as well as the family ties that his wife had with the king, helped João Fernandes de Lima I to easily become integrated into the Portuguese political universe. His homonymy with João Fernandes de Riba de Vizela does not permit us to clearly identify his presences in Portugal between 1186 and 1208. Both of them appear, side by side, in a document from 1197. According to Leontina Ventura (1992: II, 989), João Fernandes de Riba de Vizela was the royal alferes during these years and João Fernandes de Lima was the one who occupied the mordomia in 1225-1226.

Curiously enough, Martim Fernandes de Riba de Vizela, a brother of this João Fernandes and the royal mordomo of the Portuguese court in March 1191, may have been part of the entourage of the Infanta Teresa Sanches during her brief marriage to Alfonso IX. His presence is confirmed by a Leonese document from June 1191 (González, 1944: II, doc. 46). The purpose of this migration may have been to search for possible opportunities of social promotion linked to the evolution of Teresa’s marriage and social relations in León, due to the fact that he had no family ties with Galician or Leonese aristocrats. Martim Fernandes returned to Portugal a few months later and reappeared in the court in December 1192. The definitive nature of his return can be linked to the annulment of this marriage.

Meanwhile, João Fernandes de Lima I became alferes of León between May 4, 1188, and June 1191, and between February 13, 1219, and March 20, 1220. Between March 28, 1192, and October 23, 1193, between April 27 and October 4, 1194, and between February 1204 and August 2, 1204, he assumed the mordomia. João Fernandes was also tenente of Limia between 1189 and 1194, and in 1204 and 1215; Lemos between 1193 and 1194, and in 1204; Zamora in 1194; Trastámara between 1203 and 1204, and between 1211 and 1220; Monterrosso between 1202 and 1204, between 1211 and 1215, and between 1219 and 1220; Toroño and the strongholds of Sobroso, Tebra and Santa Elena in 1211, 1219 and 1220; Salamanca in 1219 and 1220; Allariz, Milmanda, and Rueda in 1215; and Monterrosso and Trastámara in March 1226 (González, 1944: II, docs. 275, 390, and 490; Salazar y Acha, 2000: 366-368, 423, and 425).

While his father, Fernão Aires, participated intensively in Portuguese political life between 1186 and 1193, he took over the leadership of the family in León, where he stayed at the court between 1188 and 1194. Nevertheless, João Fernandes may have spent some time in Portugal during his youth, probably between 1186 and 1188.

Between 1195 and 1201, when he did not appear at the Leonese court, João Fernandes de Lima may well have dedicated his time to strengthening his status in Portugal, where he appeared in 1197 as João Fernandes Galego (Ventura, 1992: II, 989). Between 1202 and 1204, perhaps for the same reasons that had led Fernão Fernandes de Bragança to seek refuge in León, João Fernandes returned to the service of Alfonso IX. It is possible that his absence from both courts between 1205 and 1210 was related with the death of his father in 1204. The crisis generated by the conflict of 1211 between Afonso II and his sisters gave him the chance to assert his position in León through a commitment to the doctrines and goals of the Portuguese seigniorial party. In this phase, he rapidly assumed control over the tenências of Salamanca, Limia, Trastámara, Monterrosso, Toroño, Allariz, Milmanda, Rueda, Sobroso, Tebra, and Santa Elena. This period was initiated in 1211 and ended in 1220, the year when Martim Sanches invaded Minho with his Galician forces. Despite his actions, João Fernandes never lost his prestige in Portugal, where he maintained the tenências of Neiva between 1211 and 1223 and Faria between 1219 and 1226 (Ventura, 1992: II, 1001 and 1004). He may also have been tenente of Valadares in 1198, 1205, 1217, and between 1222 and 1225, Pena da Rainha, in 1224 and 1225, and Riba Minho in 1225 (Ferro Couselo, 1995: docs. 59, 64, 69, 101, 139, 145, 157, 164, 187, 195, 244, 280, 281, 287, and 386). Due to the pacifying effects of the 1223 treaty between Sancho II and his aunts, he became alferes in Portugal in 1224, and mordomo between 1225 and 1226 (Ventura, 1992: II, 989 and 992).

The privileged relations that he enjoyed with Alfonso IX and the Portuguese seigniorial party were diametrically opposed to the loyalty that Pero Anes da Nóvoa I, his cousin, showed towards Afonso II and Sancho II, whom he served as mordomo, between December 1213 and June 1223, and between February 1228 and May 1229, and as tenente of Estremadura in 1235 (Ventura, 1992: II, 989, 990 and 1038). Pero Anes was a son of João Aires de Moeira or Nóvoa (the elder brother of Fernão Aires Batissela) and Urraca Fernandes de Trava, a daughter of Count Fernão Peres de Trava and Sancha Gonçalves. His brother Gonçalo Anes knighted Soeiro Pais de Valadares, an aristocrat who became mordomo of León. Pero Anes was married to Urraca Pires da Maia and together they had three children, João Pires da Nóvoa I, Rui Pires da Nóvoa, and Urraca Pires da Nóvoa.

João Fernandes de Lima I was served by Martim Esteves de Avelaal, a mordomo of his household, who was considered to be a good knight (LL44U5). The lord of Lima married Berengária Afonso de Baião and Maria Pais da Ribeira, an old concubine of Sancho I. Fernão Anes de Lima I was born from the first marriage, while Gonçalo Anes de Lima I, Teresa Anes de Lima, and Maria Anes de Lima, were all born from the second one. Despite the prestige of the first union, the second marriage reinforced his ties with the royal family because, besides being the grandnephew of Afonso Henriques (through Teresa Bermudes de Trava, a daughter of Urraca Henriques), he became the stepfather of Sancho I’s illegitimate children.

Maria Pais was a member of a Leonese lineage that had been established in Portugal for several generations. She was a descendant of Monio Osores de Cabreira e Ribeira, one of the sons of Count Osório, and Boa Nunes de Grijó, the daughter and sole heir of Nuno Soares de Grijó. This couple fathered Paio, Martim and Maria Moniz. Her father, Paio Moniz, appeared at the Portuguese court in around 1187. This rico-homem was alferes between 1199 and 1202, and tenente of Lanhoso between 1200 and 1202. In August 1188, he received two casais in Cadima (in the municipality of Cantanhede) from the king, and, in 1200, a casal in the village of Caniça, in the district of Penafiel da Ribeira de Soaz, in the municipality of Vieira do Minho (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: II, 227). We know that he was the father of Martim Pais da Ribeira, a grandee of Afonso II and Sancho II, of Maria Pais, who besides the two relations already mentioned was violently abducted after the funeral of Sancho I by Gomes Lourenço de Alvarenga and taken to León (LL36BN9), and of another anonymous daughter.

The clearly visible contacts between the lineages of the Galician-Portuguese border area, however, never overshadowed those to be found along the frontier between León and Trás-os-Montes. In this region, the undisputed ruler was Fernão Fernandes de Bragança, a rico-homem, who, due to his service at the Portuguese and Leonese courts, expanded his power throughout a vast cross-border territory. Like Mem Fernandes de Bragança II, he used the strategic importance of these domains, the solidarity between the secular and ecclesiastic structures on both sides of the border, and his kinship with the Portuguese and Leonese royal family (based on the marriage of a Bragança to an illegitimate daughter of Alfonso VI) to sustain his social position.

In Portugal, Fernão Fernandes held the tenências of Bragança (between 1191 and 1204, and between 1217 and 1232), Panóias (between 1197 and 1202, in 1218, and between 1226 and 1229), Penaguião (between 1197 and 1202), and Baião (in 1197); he was also alferes in 1225 (Rodríguez González, 1973: docs. 91 and 121; Ventura, 1992: II, 992, 998, 1010, and 1012-1014). In August 1192, Sancho I gave him the villages of Vimioso and Sesulfe, and perhaps the one of Mascarenhas, which he passed on to his vassal Estêvão Rodrigues de Mascarenhas (Ventura, 1992: I, 339; Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 235-236). His change of loyalty took place in around 1204 and his presence in León lasted until 1222. Therefore, it is probable that the Fernão Fernandes who was the Leonese tenente of Extremadura, between 1193 and 1194, Zamora, in 1193 and 1194, Transierra, in 1194, Limia, in 1194, and Benavente, in 1195, was in fact Fernando Fernandes de Cabrera and not the Bragança one (González, 1944: II, docs. 62, 63, 68, 73, 81, 89, and 90; Rodríguez González, 1973: doc. 174; Domínguez Sánchez, 2000: doc. 73).

In León, Fernão Fernandes was tenente of Villafranca (1204), Villa Fáfila (1204 and 1205), Zamora (1204, 1205, and 1222), Castro Nuevo (1204), Alcañices (1204), Extremadura (between 1206 and 1211), Transierra (1206, 1208, and 1209), Limia (between 1211 and 1215), Alba de Aliste (between 1213 and 1215), Castrotorafe (1214 and 1215), Benavente (between 1219 and 1222), Sanábria (1214, 1215, and between 1219 and 1222), Cabrera (between 1219 and 1221), and Astorga (1221); he was also alferes, in 1211 and 1212, and royal mordomo, between 1219 and 1222 (González, 1944: II, docs. 186, 190, 193, 194, 196, 198, 199, 211, 212, 223, 227, 231, 234, 247, 248, 250, 253, 254, 266, 268, 270, 271, 275, 277, 280-282, 292, 293, 299, 300, 305, 311-314, 316, 319, 325, 326, 329, 369, 372, 375, 376, 381, 382, 384, 390, 392-394, 396, 397, 403, 406, 411-415, 417, 420, and 421). Despite his loyal service to Alfonso IX, Fernão Fernandes was absent from the Leonese court between 1216 and 1218 in order to solve some of his Portuguese affairs and personal matters. This situation may have favored the Leonese attack on the castle of Chaves in 1218. His departure from Portugal may well have been linked to the incompatibilities of the Braganções with the royal political conduct that had placed the Sousas at the top of the court aristocracy (for more information about the rivalry between the Sousas and the Braganças, see Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 230-231).

The complex network of the Bragança family relations made exile a natural choice: Mem Fernandes II and Fernão Mendes I had already been present at the Leonese court; the marriage of Fernão Mendes I to an illegitimate daughter of Alfonso VI had caused them to be related to the royal family; Fruilhe Sanches de Barbosa, his grandmother, linked him to the Celanovas; Garcia Pires de Ledra, his uncle, had married Gontinha Soares de Tougues, a daughter of Soeiro Mendes Facha; Teresa Pires I, his aunt, was a concubine of the Infante Afonso de Molina; Fernão Fernandes was the son of a lady from the Asturias; Elvira Garcia, his cousin, married Ordonho Álvares das Astúrias, a son of Count Álvaro das Astúrias; Nuno Vasques, his cousin, married Urraca Pires da Nóvoa, a daughter of Pero Anes da Nóvoa I; Elvira Vasques, his cousin, married Pero Soares de Tougues; and, in the next generation, Martim Pires Tavaia married Aldonça Pais Marinho. Nevertheless, his vast network of cross-border vassals and dependants also served as an important support for his strategic changes of loyalty. As an example of this class, we can point to the case of the Seabras (or Sanábrias), who, through Fernão Gonçalves de Seabra (see Oliveira, 1994: 341-342) or his father, had received from the Braganções a casal in Sentalha, near Vinhais.

His role as a Leonese war commander was extremely relevant. Fernão Fernandes participated in the campaigns of 1213 against the Muslims, and was rewarded by the king with Villanova de Frarias (González, 1944: II, doc. 300). Years later, he took part in the Leonese intervention in Castile after the death of Enrique I, in which he attacked the villages of Rasueros and Horcajo (in the municipality of Arévola), and Cantaracillo, and reached the outskirts of Ávila (see González, 1944: I, 171-180). Besides ratifying all the main Leonese treaties, he was also present at the consecration of the cathedral of Santiago in 1211 (Beceiro Pita, 1998: 1089).

The influence of Fernão Fernandes in León grew as he accumulated the government of a number of strategic lands. In this region, which stretched from Sanábria to Extremadura, the Braganções and their vassals took on the role of organizing the social structures by bringing new synergies to the longstanding elements that already linked Trás-os-Montes to Zamora. This phenomenon is clearly visible in the documents of monasteries such as Castañeda and Moreruela. Regarding his umbilical relationship with Castro de Avelãs, we have just a copy of a document of barter between Fernão Fernandes and the monastery from 1202. The knight Pedro Peres Tio, who donated a property in Palaçoulo (Miranda do Douro) on behalf of his and Fernão Fernandes’ souls (Alfonso Antón, 1986: doc. 78), was certainly one of these vassals.

Our rico-homem and his lineage may have encouraged the penetration of Leonese families into Trás-os-Montes, in order to remedy its lack of population. As an example, we can mention the relationship established between Fernão Fernandes and the troubadour Fernão Gonçalves Seabra, and the way in which his family had sanctioned the settlement of this lineage in the lands of Rabanal and Vilarinho (Beceiro Pita, 1998: 1093). On the other hand, the donations of Sancho I (1211) and Fernão Fernandes (1204) to the monastery of Moreruela (Alfonso Antón, 1986: docs. 48 and 60), as well as the ones that were made by other local families, also shaped the access of the Leonese monasteries to this territory.
In effect, it seems that Fernão Fernandes was the owner of various estates in Trás-os-Montes, Zamora and Sanábria. However, it is known only that, on January 9, 1214, he received the village of Villanueva de Frarias (or Ferrarias) from Alfonso IX, and that he was the lord of the villages of Vimioso and Ifanes, which were repopulated by him. On May 15, 1221, he gave this estate of Villanueva de Frarias (Rodríguez González, 1973: doc. 183) to the monastery of Castañeda. This document proves that he had a relationship with this entity and with the local nobility, who were represented in it by several of his vassals. The death of Afonso II gave him the opportunity to return to the Portuguese court, where he occupied the alferesia (1225) and stayed till 1232, the year when he disappeared from public life.

3.2. From 1211 to 1230

It seems that the Infante Dom Pedro Sanches, the second son of Sancho I and Dulce of Aragón, was born in around 1187. In a process that was clearly diametrically opposed to the development of the bold and audacious spirits of Pedro, Fernando and Martim Sanches, the personality of the young crown heir (Afonso II) was molded, due to his illness, by a climate of protection that gave him fewer social skills and a tendency to impose his royal rule through the power of law. The proximity of ages between Pedro and Afonso, their profoundly different and clashing personalities, and the fact that the latter did not have the normal profile of a warrior king, may have predisposed certain sections of the aristocracy to rebel against his radical government and to consider the former a genuine alternative to the rightful king.

At the Leonese court, Dom Pedro was able to depend on the support of Alfonso IX, his cousin and former brother-in-law, and to share his projects with the group of exiled Portuguese noblemen who were committed to the cause of his sisters. The war that was generated by the will of Sancho I started in the winter of 1211, when Afonso II declined to confirm their lordship over the estates that his father had left them and began to replace the alcaides of the territories governed by its executors. This outrage quickly escalated into a diplomatic conflict and resulted in a civil war sponsored by the Leonese. During the early phases of the war, the forces of Alfonso IX and his son Fernando Afonso, which included the Infante Dom Pedro and Pedro Fernandes de Castro, rapidly captured many castles and towns along the borders of Minho and Trás-os-Montes. Meanwhile, the armies of Afonso II laid siege to the main strongholds of the Infantas, Montemor-o-Velho and Alenquer. Faced with this imminent danger, Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II decided to leave Castrotorafe and join the men of Montemor. On the other side was Martim Fernandes de Riba de Vizela, a very loyal rico-homem who, in the end, suffered a huge defeat at the hands of the Leonese led by Gonçalo Mendes. The rapid expansion of the armies of León resulted in the loss of Coimbra and in the heavy defeat at Portela de Valdevez. The provinces of central and northern Portugal were violently sacked by the Leonese. Only the Castilian diplomatic pressure saved Afonso II from losing control over his kingdom, with the truces being signed in Coimbra on November 11, 1212. This first presence of Dom Pedro in León was a brief affair and took place entirely in a wartime period, during which he was able to make some gains, such as one of the Portuguese castles that were conquered by León (Vilar, 2005: 105).

Dom Pedro left for Morocco in 1213 and was followed by Pedro Fernandes de Castro. The presence of this Castilian in Muslim lands ended with his death in 1214. He was the father-in-law of Martim Sanches (a half-brother of Dom Pedro), due to his marriage to Eulália Pires de Castro.

The little information that we have from this period comes from the Tratado da Vida e Martírio dos Cinco Mártires de Marrocos. In it, the Infante Dom Pedro is described as a person who was strongly committed to preserving the well-being of the five martyrs, but without showing any sign of resigning his position as a vassal of the Almohad caliph. Despite his efforts, the Franciscans’ radical style of preaching led them to their deaths. The return of their remains to Santa Cruz de Coimbra by his vassal Afonso Pires de Arganil endowed him with a great symbolic aura, in the sense that he provided Christians with an example of faith that reminded them of the sacrifices needed to defeat Islam and served as a new element of divine protection (Krus, 1994: 133).
The return of Dom Pedro to León at the beginning of 1220 (Brásio, 1959: 172) coincided with the peak of influence of his half-brother Martim Sanches, a seasoned grandee who had proved his alignment with the Leonese and anti-centralist cause through his retaliation against Minho, after the attack on the couto of Ervededo (a property of the archbishop of Braga).

Besides being royal mordomo between 1223 and 1230, Dom Pedro was also tenente of Salamanca, Astorga, León, Asturias, Extremadura, Transierra, Toro, Zamora, Limia, and Alba (de Tornes or de Aliste). In 1228, he was also referred to as Assistens Regis (Ventura, 1992: II, 563-565; Salazar y Acha, 2000: 371-372; the references to Alba and Salamanca come from Martín Martín et al., 1977: docs. 149, 151, 152, 154, 155, 156, 160-176, 180, 181, and 183). The absence of donations from Alfonso IX and a document dated December 6, 1224 (González, 1944: II, doc. 446), which ended a dispute between the church of Zamora and Dom Pedro over a tax that was meant to be divided between the crown, the tenente and the cathedral, reveal that a substantial part of the Infante’s revenue came from the tenências,and that he was ready to explore these to the fullest, even if he had to defy other local agents of government. This situation led to the creation of a network of vassals who, at first glance, appear to have had close ties with the Portuguese. For example, in June 1229, the judge of the city of León, Isidro Fernández, gave two properties to the monastery of Santa María de Carbajal in exchange for two anniversary masses celebrated for the souls of his family, María Sánchez and his lord, the Infante Dom Pedro (Domínguez Sánchez, 2000: doc. 120). Furthermore, in relation to this subject, we should highlight the choice of João Aires de Robreda, a probable brother of Fernando Aires de Robreda, alcaide of Salamanca in 1226, as one of his substitutes in the mordomia (González, 1944: II, docs. 435 and 436; Salazar y Acha, 2000: 172).

Among Dom Pedro’s vassals, we can find: Afonso Pires de Arganil, the brothers Fernando and João Aires de Robreda, Fernão Moniz, Soeiro Pais de Valadares, Rui Gomes de Briteiros, Álvaro Rodrigues, and the brothers Gonçalo and Pero Garcia de Sousa, two sons of Garcia Mendes de Eixo. João Aires, Fernão Moniz, Soeiro Pais de Valadares, and Rui Gomes de Briteiros became his replacements in the Leonese mordomia,and Álvaro Rodrigues in the tenência of Transierra (González, 1944: II, docs. 436, 443, 446, 447, 448, 450, and 473). Despite his father’s return to Portugal, the brothers Gonçalo and Pero Garcia de Sousa followed Dom Pedro to Aragón (David and Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1987: 138).

The continuation of Dom Pedro in León after the death of Alfonso IX would have been unsustainable, in the sense that the disappearance of Martim Sanches (in around 1228), the return of the Portuguese exiles, and the fusion with Castile had left him isolated in relation to his new rivals. Therefore, after having declined the papal request to participate in the war against the Lombards – presented on June 4, 1229 (Brásio, 1959: 173 and doc. I) – and having been present at the final moments of Alfonso IX, he decided to accept a marriage proposal from Aurembiax of Urgell. Through this alliance and his subsequent exchange with Jaime I of Urgell for the lordship of Mallorca, on September 29, 1231 (Brásio, 1959: doc. II; Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: I, doc. 159), they were able to end a territorial dispute that had begun after the death of Armengol VIII. The good relationship between Jaime I (El Conquistador) and his Portuguese relative led him to pledge the islands of Ibiza and Formentera to Dom Pedro and Nuno Sanches (a son of the Count of Provence and a lady from the Lara family) if they succeeded in conquering them within a period of two years.

After being urged several times to defend the islands, in the Easter 1231 Jaime I requested Dom Pedro’s participation in a campaign against Muslim pirates who were attacking them. Before the departure of the royal fleet, and after they had waited for Dom Pedro until dusk, the Portuguese prince finally arrived in the company of Nuno Sanches and requested a meeting with the monarch. Having noticed that the Infante had arrived with only a handful of knights and squires, Jaime I advised him to wait until he had assembled a larger group. Nevertheless, Dom Pedro answered that he would not leave with more men and embarked. In the end, it was just a false alarm, and the trip resulted in several celebrations (Brásio, 1959: 175-176).

The question of the conquest of Ibiza and Formentera was put on hold until December 1234, when, after several requests, Jaime I decided to pledge the islands to Guillem de Montgrí. However, the protests of Dom Pedro and Nuno Sanches (both of them future participants in the conquest of 1235) led him to promise to divide the islands into three parts that would be proportional to the armies of the three lords. Through this agreement, Dom Pedro and Nuno Sanches became subordinates of Guillem. In the end, the islands were divided into five partidas that were then distributed among the king and his three vassals. The part belonging to the Portuguese then passed to the crown through its sale to the Infante Dom Jaime, the future king of Mallorca (Villacañas, 2003: 175).

Dom Pedro was present in the courts of Tarragona in 1235 (Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: I, doc. 217). On May 20, 1236, he received instructions from the Conquistador to pay homage to the queen Dona Violante in the name of the islands (Brásio, 1959: doc. XI; Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: I, doc. 235). From a royal document that was issued in Monzón on October 13, 1236, we know that the Infante was one of the first benefactors of the diocese of Mallorca (Brásio, 1959: doc. 12; Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: I, doc. 237).

Despite the distance, Dom Pedro kept in contact with his family, which can be confirmed by a letter sent by the Infanta Dona Mafalda on April 15, 1232 (Brásio, 1959: doc. V).

During his time in Mallorca, he engaged in several acts of public government: on November 11, 1232, Dom Pedro gave some estates to a Pedro Gonçalves; in 1233, he signed a pact about the minting of coins on the island; he asked Gregory IX to promote a crusade against the enemies of the kingdom of Mallorca; he signed an agreement with Jaime I and the Bishop of Mallorca about the tithes of the diocese; on May 25, 1237, he confirmed the election of the officers of the municipality of Mallorca; on July 28, 1239, together with Nuno Sanches, he promulgated an ordinance about the distribution of water in Ibiza; and, on August 22, 1241, he signed a pact about the properties and rights of the vicar of the island (Brásio, 1959: docs. VII, VIII, IX, XIII, XV, XVI, and XVII; Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: II, doc. 284). In the royal will of January 1, 1242, Jaime I promised to leave to the Infante Dom Pedro of Aragón the kingdom of Mallorca and all that the Infante Dom Pedro gave him in Ibiza (Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: II, doc. 340). In the following month, on February 3, 1242, in Villa Franca del Panadés, he confirmed with the king the dowry of the wife of Guillem de Entenza and, during the siege of Játiva (1244), he also confirmed the division of the districts of Morella and Cervera (Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: II, docs. 347 and 391).

On August 18, 1244, in Valencia, Dom Pedro exchanged his rights in the county of Urgell and Balears for the castles and lands of Morella, Sagunto, Almenara, Castellón and Segorbe. On the following day, Dom Pedro promised to leave his estates to the king of Aragón if he died without any heirs. In a document wrongfully dated June 3, 1244, Dom Pedro freed the inhabitants of Mallorca from their feudal duties towards him (Brásio, 1959: docs. XVIII, XIX and XX; Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: II, docs. 394 and 395).

On March 6, 1246, in Valencia, Dom Pedro witnessed the royal concession of Torremanzanas to García Martín. As we can see from the date of this document, the Infante had stayed away from the tumultuous Portuguese political context of these years. However, we know that in 1245 Innocent IV asked him to support Afonso III, but his presence in Portugal was only to be noted in 1248 in the documents of the monastery of Arouca (Ventura, 1992: II, 564). This presence in the western part of the Peninsula can be related with his involvement in the conquest of Seville, from which he received a part of its repartimiento (David, 1986: 18).

The Infante’s Castilian leanings are confirmed by his positioning in the fratricidal conflict that was set in motion by the will of Jaime I in 1248. According to this document, the king had planned to divide the kingdom between his children: Alfonso, the firstborn, would receive the kingdom of Aragón, Pedro the kingdom of Mallorca, Jaime the kingdom of Valencia, and Fernando would become Count of Barcelona and Lord of Catalonia. Alfonso, who questioned the real objectives of this project, traveled to Seville to ask for the support of Fernando III, a relative on his mother’s side. Despite the negative response of the Castilian king, many Castilian and Aragonese nobles joined the Infante’s side. The close relationship that Dom Pedro had with the Castilians, which he had nurtured during his exile in León, the conquest of Seville and the colonization of the new kingdom of Valencia, led him to support Alfonso through his Valencian castles. With the help of an impartial referee, the different sides reached an agreement at the royal court on May 18, 1250 (Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: II, doc. 535).

Dom Pedro of Portugal ended up becoming the scapegoat in this process, which led to the loss of his castles in Valencia. However, the king granted the release of his nephew (Rodrigo Martins), who had been imprisoned during one of the battles. It is possible that this nobleman was an unknown son of Martim Sanches and Eulália Pires de Castro.

The relationship between Jaime I and the Portuguese prince slowly returned to normal. On June 30, 1254, the Conquistador gave the Portuguese a sum of 39,000 soldos, which came from the taxes of Mallorca, in exchange for his Valencian castles, and bestowed upon him the lifetime government and lordship of the island kingdom of Mallorca (Brásio, 1959: doc. X13; Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: III, doc. 655). The Infante’s old age guaranteed the sovereign that his natural privileges would once again revert to the crown. On October 14, 1254, Dom Pedro confirmed all the privileges that he had given to the people of Mallorca (Brásio, 1959: doc. XXIV).

It is quite probable that on May 31, 1255, the date when Jaime I gave 20,000 soldos to the executors of the Infante’s will (Huici Miranda and Cabanes Pecourt, 1976-1988: III, doc. 677), Dom Pedro was already ill. Dated October 9, 1255 (Brásio, 1959: doc. XXV), his will gives us a rather imprecise overall picture of Dom Pedro’s social relations. Dom Pedro wished to be buried in the Cathedral of Mallorca, right next to the Palace of Almudaina, where he had lived his last years and may quite possibly have died. His death may have occurred between the date of this document and July 21, 1256, when Berenguer de Tornamira took over the government of Mallorca. The Infante left a donation to the cathedral of Mallorca, so that they could construct a chapel in honor of Saint Vincent that would serve as his resting place. Nevertheless, the work was never completed and his body was never laid to rest there, because his mortal remains were placed temporarily in the Convent of Saint Francis of Palma and were later consumed in an accidental fire (Brásio, 1959: 191-192). It is likely that the few remains that survived were placed in a simple funerary chest.

Included among this group of exiles led by the Infante Dom Pedro were the brothers Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II and Garcia Mendes de Eixo. Their exile was one of the effects of the permanent contacts that the Sousas enjoyed with other families from the Galician-Leonese sphere: their paternal grandfather, Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa I, was married three times, the first time to Urraca Sanches de Barbosa and the third time to Sancha Álvares das Astúrias; Mem Gonçalves de Sousa I married Maria Rodrigues Veloso; Garcia Mendes de Eixo married Elvira Gonçalves de Toronho; Urraca Mendes de Sousa II married Nuno Pires de Gusmão; Mem Gonçalves de Sousa II, a son of Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II, married Teresa Afonso de Meneses; and Mem Garcia de Sousa, a son of Garcia Mendes, married Teresa Anes de Lima.

Around this time, the leadership of the Sousa family may have been in the hands of Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II, because, like his father, he assumed the mordomia, between 1192 and 1211, and the tenências of Basto, between 1195 and 1211, and Celorico da Beira in 1196 (Ventura, 1992: II, 988, 1000 and 1036). In the months following the death of Sancho I, Afonso II introduced profound changes to the structure of the Portuguese court, which empowered his main supporters and demoted his detractors. The resentment caused by this sociological reversal was reason enough for the Sousões to join the side of the Infantas. Having confirmed only one of the documents of Alfonso IX, as tenente of Extremadura and Transierra, Gonçalo decided to leave Castrotorafe with 25 knights and some foot soldiers and help the besieged Dona Teresa in Montemor. Under the cloak of night, the Sousão passed through the lines of the royal mordomo Martim Anes de Riba de Vizela and joined the Infanta. After three days of rest, Gonçalo Mendes attacked the royal forces, obtaining a tremendous victory that ended in their retreat (this episode is described in LL26A3).

From the end of this conflict onwards, the presence of the Sousas in León was very discreet; they sought to maintain an equidistance that would guarantee their peaceful return to the Portuguese court. In the case of Gonçalo Mendes, his name is mentioned in a document of September 1211, and, as a royal vassal, in another one of January 6 1217, where he confirmed the dowry of the Infantas Sancha and Dulce, the daughters of Alfonso IX and the Infanta Teresa of Portugal (González, 1944: II, doc. 342). It is possible that he is also the same Gonçalo Mendes, tenente of Caura and Alcântara, that appeared in a royal document of May 9, 1215 (González Balasch, 2004: doc. 149). Afterwards, he appeared in the Leonese documents as one of the participants in the Luso-Leonese treaty of Boronal (1219), although he was now included in the Portuguese group (González, 1944: II, doc. 373).

Apparently, the return of Gonçalo to the Portuguese court did not present any problem, but it happened at a time when relations between the two kingdoms were still tense (because of the attacks made by Alfonso IX in 1218). The need for an agreement gave Rodrigo Mendes de Sousa, his brother, enough leeway to sponsor his reintegration in February 1219, a fact that can be confirmed through his presence at the signing of the Boronal treaty and his appearance as tenente of Trancoso (1219-1225) and Valadares (1219). In the following years, he was able to completely regain his political prestige by becoming mordomo in 1224 and tenente of Lamego in 1221-1222 and 1234-1236, Pinhel in 1223, Viseu in 1235, and Riba Minho and Valadares in 1226 (Ferro Couselo, 1995: docs. 135, 160, 166, and 284; Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 213-14). Gonçalo Mendes died on April 25, 1243, and was buried at Alcobaça (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 214). It seems that he was also the lord of Gonçalo Gomes de Briteiros, a nobleman who had been knighted by him (LD6AU7), of his brother Rui Gomes de Briteiros (due to family ties that linked his wife, Elvira Anes da Maia, to the House of Sousa), of Lourenço Viegas de Portocarreiro (his companion-in-arms during the war of the Infantas), of Gomes Viegas de Alvarenga, of Hermígio Pires de Moreira and, quite possibly, of all his family.

The social ascension of the Briteiros is inseparable from the political situation and from their relationship with the Sousas. Besides the ties linking Gonçalo Gomes to Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II, Rui Gomes de Briteiros ascended to the rico-homia through his family alignment with the Sousas. The activities of this nobleman from São Salvador de Briteiros are documented from 1220 onwards (Oliveira, 1994: 431), since he was the lord of a vast number of properties: the honors of Briteiros, Novelas, Longos, Onda, Esperança, and Oliveira; the estate of Reboreda (Vila Verde); the casais of Ribeira, Lamas, Devesa (Guimarães), two casais in Ervedeiro, one in Sandim, and another one in Lapela (Cabeceiras de Basto); he was also the co-owner of the honored villa of Calvilhe (Maia); he received part of the estate of his sister Marinha Gomes; he also had a quintã in São Nicolau de Cabeceiras (Cabeceiras de Basto); and gave a casal to the monastery of São Pedro de Calvelo (Ventura, 1992: I, 335 and II, 620-621; Oliveira, 1994: 431; Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: II, 160-161). In either 1225 or 1226, perhaps with the help of Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II, he was made part of the entourage of the Infante Dom Pedro, whom he replaced in the Leonese mordomia on February 27, 1226 (González, 1944: II, doc. 473). Rui Gomes de Briteiros was also made famous by his hypergamous marriage to Elvira Anes da Maia, a daughter of João Pires da Maia (one of the sons of Pero Pais da Maia) and Guiomar Mendes de Sousa (a sister of Gonçalo and Garcia). This union was the result of a kidnap that had defied the rigid separation between the different strata of the nobility. This episode is described in the voice of the Briteiros in the poem Pois nom hei de Dona Elvira. By 1230, he was already in Portugal, the year when he confirmed a document issued by the Infanta Mafalda (Ventura, 1992: II, 621). In 1238, he had a dispute with the abbot of São Gens de Montelongo that was solved by an inquiry, in which he was represented by Pero Martins Ervilhão and Rui Pais de Vides (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: II, 160). Rui Gomes only reappeared on April 27, 1245, in a document issued by Sancho II. It is quite probable that, on an unknown date at some time between this moment and the civil war, Rui Gomes became a vassal of the Count of Boulogne. He was present at the oath of Paris and fought in the war in the forces of Afonso III. During this conflict, he forced Mem Cravo, the alcaide of the Castle of Lanhoso in the name of Gonçalo Viegas, to hand over his stronghold (Ventura, 1992: II, 621-622). After the war, he became mordomo at the Court of Afonso III in 1248 (Ventura, 1992: II, 619). Rui Gomes may have died in the conquest of the Algarve, because the document through which his family shared his estate dated from 1258 (Ventura, 1992: II, 622; Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: II, 161).

Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II married Teresa Soares de Ribadouro and had the following children with her: Mem Gonçalves de Sousa II, Mor Gonçalves, Maria Gonçalves, and Sancha Gonçalves. Garcia Mendes was married to Elvira Gonçalves de Toronho, a daughter of Gonçalo Pais de Toronho and Ximena Pais da Maia, which made her the niece of Pero Pais da Maia and the granddaughter of Paio Curvo de Toronho.

Garcia Mendes de Eixo (see Oliveira, 1994: 348-349; Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 216-217) appeared in court between 1188 and 1197 and confirmed a number of documents until 1210. According to the inquirições of 1220, Maria Garcia, his daughter, was raised in Gilmonde, in the judicial district of Faria. This lady had a relationship with Gil Sanches, a son of Sancho I and Maria Pais da Ribeira.

Demonstrating great solidarity with the political sympathies of his brother, Garcia Mendes left for León in 1211. He was followed by his two sons, Gonçalo and Pero Garcia, who became part of the entourage of the Infante Dom Pedro and shared his fate in Aragón (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 216-217). Garcia Mendes returned to Portugal in 1217 and confirmed several royal documents until 1224. He was tenente of Castelo Branco (1223) and Gouveia (1223-1224). Together with his brothers, Henrique and Gonçalo, he confirmed the peace treaty between the Archbishop of Braga and Sancho II. The brothers Rodrigo, Henrique, Vasco, Garcia and Gonçalo Mendes appear in the treaty between Sancho II and his aunts. This situation shows us that the Sousa family was reconciled with the new king.

The growing weakness of the royal authority may have led him to leave the court. During the 1230s, he only appears with his wife in the documents of the monastery of Salzedas, to which he donated a number of properties. Although he had several properties all over Entre-Douro-e-Minho and Beira, Garcia Mendes’ main estates were located around the honor of Eixo (which he may have inherited from his parents) and in Óis and Aveiro. Garcia Mendes passed away on February 27, 1239, and was buried with his wife in Alcobaça. Her death took place on January 16, 1245. Their union had resulted in the birth of Mem, João, Gonçalo, Fernão, Pero, Sancha, and Maria Garcia de Sousa.

The poem Alá u nazq la Torona gives us an idea of Garcia Mendes’ social context during his exile. Recently, José Carlos Miranda studied his position as an intermediate agent between the first generations of troubadours and their link to Rodrigo Dias de los Cameros and João Soares de Paiva (see Miranda, 2004) in some detail. In the poem, the qualities of the land of Sousa, which he desires to return to, are compared with those of the Toroño region that afforded him shelter. Despite his comfortable presence in Galicia, where he enjoyed the goodness of nature and the kindness of the lords of Toroño (his wife’s family), Garcia’s homeland is portrayed in a genuinely panegyric style that speaks to the soul and body. This image reflects the idea that, in the land of  Sousa, Garcia Mendes would not have the direct competition of such powerful lords as the Galician and Leonese aristocracy and, because of this, he would be able to pursue more ambitious projects. In comparing the virtues of the lands of Toroño and the Sousas, which respectively embodied León and Portugal, the author sought to advertise the usefulness of preserving a balance between political and patrimonial positions in both kingdoms. This text was dedicated to Rodrigo Dias de los Cameros, the most probable lord of João Soares de Paiva I and a member of the first generation of Galician-Portuguese troubadours to be born in Toroño and Cameros.

The power of the royal bastard Martim Sanches during his exile in León is closely linked to the influence that he enjoyed in this Galician-Portuguese cross-border region. This Portuguese grandee from the court of Alfonso IX (his relative) was born from a relationship between Sancho I and Maria Aires de Fornelos, which may have happened during the last years of his marriage or in the period immediately afterwards. We believe that this lady was part of the family of the lords of the Tower of Fornelos (Crecente, Pontevedra). Martim Sanches’ wet nurse was a peasant from Gémeos (Guimarães) by the name of Maria Soares. For her troubles, she received some properties from the king. According to the royal inquirições, he was raised in a situation of amádigo in the parish of Cardielos (in the judicial district of Ponte de Lima). Martim Sanches held some casais in the parish of São Romão de Aguiar (in the judicial districtof Aguiar) and, together with his sister, Urraca Sanches, he was the owner of the parish and church of Santa Maria de Vila Nova das Infantas and the parish of Santa Olaia de Golães, near Guimarães (Ventura, 1992: I, 242-243; PMH, Inq. 1220: 12-13, Inq. 1258: 572-573, 700 and 729-730).

The fact that Martim Sanches was raised in the heart of Alto Minho cannot be dissociated from his maternal origins and from the cross-border career that he was later to follow, because he grew up surrounded by lineages that nurtured this kind of interaction. This type of behavior was stimulated by strategies designed to attract personal loyalties that were practiced by both monarchies and their main grandees. On the other hand, the presence of the family of Maria Aires de Fornelos in both courts is also an important precedent. To illustrate this, we have the appearance of Pedro Aires de Fornelos, a brother of Maria Aires, in a document issued by Alfonso IX (dated April 15, 1201) as governor of the castle of San Martín de Ribadavia (González, 1944: II, doc. 148).

Since it is possible that the relationship between Maria Aires and Sancho I may have happened at around the time of the death of Dona Dulce, we can assume that Martim Sanches may have been born in around 1198 and that, because of this, he was around 20 years old when he first appeared in the Leonese documentation in 1218. The political climate that existed after 1211 and his marriage to Eulália Pires de Castro, a daughter of Pedro Fernandes de Castro (one of the old comrades-in-arms of his brother, the Infante Dom Pedro), may also have led him to choose a life in exile.

Martim Sanches was alferes of León between 1218 and 1227, tenente of Limia (and probably of Nóvoa) between 1218 and 1228, Bierzo and Buyeza in 1218, Sarria between 1219 and 1227, Toroño between 1222 and 1227, Montenegro between 1220 and 1222, Monterrosso between 1223 and 1225, Ledesma between 1219 and 1220, Cervantes in 1220, as well as the castles of San Martín de Ribadavia in 1223, Santa Cruz in 1224 and 1228, and Baroncelle and the region of Valadares between 1225 and 1226 (González, 1944: II, doc. 429; Ferro Couselo, 1995: docs. 196, 232, 272, 278, 388 and 404; Martínez, 1997: I, doc. 289; Salazar y Acha, 2000: 429). In several documents, he is described as a vassal of the king and in the book of lineages as an adiantado of León (LL25G3). His stay in the Leonese court occurred between 1218 and 1228, the year when he began to disappear from public life. During this period, Martim Sanches was assisted and substituted by Pedro Fernandes de Tiedra, Fernando Sanches, and a certain Dom Morán (González, 1944: II, docs. 420, 443, 445-447 and 450; Salazar y Acha, 2000: 429).

If we carefully analyze the career of Martim Sanches at the court of Alfonso IX it can be seen that his main tenências were located in Galicia, the region from where his mother’s family originated and which he may have visited frequently from an early age. The importance of these local government positions is closely intertwined with the fact that this region was organized through a network of castles. This type of configuration was of particular importance in the border regions because of the great permeability of its social fabric. If seen in these terms, the role of Martim Sanches as tenente takes on a profound military dimension, visible in the way in which he directly governed some of the Galician strongholds and underlined by his identification in the book of lineages as adiantado of León. It was precisely the exercise of this military government of the border that had helped to advance his mother’s modest family. Besides Fornelos, they had also governed the strategic castle of San Martín de Ribadavia. On the other hand, if we relate this information with his long service as alferes, it becomes clear that his cursus honorum obeyed a particular process of specialization centered on military tasks. Martim Sanches arrived in León at a young age and, because of this, was directed towards the highest military office in the kingdom, in which he could harness the power of his youth and all his natural abilities. At the same time, this would also be used as a preparation for the mordomia. However, the return of the Infante Dom Pedro to León gave rise to a special balance between the two brothers: the legitimate prince, with his age and experience, assumed the mordomia and the illegitimate one, with his youth and military skills, took over the alferesia.

The arrival of Martim Sanches happened at an extremely delicate time in the international relations of León. In 1218, he participated in the treaty between Alfonso IX and Fernando III, as one of the ten Leonese knights that were offered as guarantors of the treaty (González, 1944: II, doc. 352). On June 13, 1219, the kings of Portugal and León signed the fragile treaty of Boronal, in which Martim Sanches also appeared (González, 1944: I, 192).
In this same month, Martim Sanches convinced Alfonso IX to give the village of Ervededo to the Archbishop of Braga. In defiance of all the legal rights of Afonso II, men from the municipality of Guimarães entered into this couto and took some of its goods and property. The violent reaction on the part of the royal bastard has been recorded in the Livro de Linhagens do Conde Dom Pedro (LL25G3). For this campaign, he may have used the men from Toroño and Limia, the valley of Baroncelle and all the rest of his Galician tenências, the forces that were entrusted to him as alferes and adiantado of León, the soldiers that manned the border castles that he governed, and some of the northern Portuguese lineages that were opposed to the Portuguese royal policies. Firstly, Martim Sanches went to Ponte de Lima, and then defeated the supporters of Afonso II in Barcelos (near the monastery of Várzea), Braga and Guimarães. The way in which he urged Gil Vasques de Soverosa, his stepfather, to desist from combat, when the battle was already lost, emphasizes all of his moral virtues. This narrative attempts to represent the Portuguese royal bastard as the sole defender of Galicia (by highlighting his authority over the region), stressing (through the defeat of the Portuguese) the victory of the seigniorial party over the centralist movement and revealing its moral superiority by describing the way in which Martim Sanches refused to fight Afonso II, his brother and natural lord, directly. According to this source, after having taken several prisoners and sacked Minho, he decided to free his captives and to retreat to Galicia with a great bounty.

Martim Sanches was also one of the Leonese aristocrats that were presented as a guarantor of the treaty signed between Sancho II and his aunts (1223). With him was Fernão Pires Tinhoso (see Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 391), a knight who also pledged his services in support of the Infantas. The few documents that we have about his life do not permit us to trace his career during the first quarter of the 13th century with any great precision, but it is quite plausible that he may have left the kingdom with Martim Sanches, his most probable lord. It may have been this same type of loyalty that also involved Afonso Pires Gato, his brother, in this treaty.

In the summer of 1225, Martim Sanches devoted his time to military tasks, during which he led the Leonese troops in the Battle of Tejada and in several initiatives on the outskirts of Seville (González, 1944: I, 193-194, 198, 227 and 328). In 1226, he took part in the Leonese siege of Badajoz and in the simultaneous Portuguese campaign in Elvas, where he had the opportunity to witness the first military failure of Sancho II (Fernandes, 2006: 147-151).

The reasons why he completely disappeared from the Leonese court in 1227 are completely unknown. Nevertheless, we consider that Martim Sanches may have entered into a process of physical decline that ultimately led to his death. Although there are random references to him in 1228, we believe that he may have died during this year or on the next one. He was buried in Cerecinos, on the land of Campos (Krus, 1994: 249). However, some authors (such as Fernández Rodríguez, 2004: 166) support that Martim Sanches died in around 1234. This assumption is based on a passage in a book of lineages that links him to a moment in Mécia Lopes de Haro’s life, because it may have happened during Fernando III’s siege of Álvaro Peres de Castro, the first husband of the future queen of Portugal, in Paredes de Nava. We believe that this passage is fictional or a mere mistake on the part of the author of the book of lineages.

Contrary to what the books of lineages say, Martim Sanches had a son with Eulália Pires de Castro. We are referring to Rodrigo Martins, the nephew of the Infante Dom Pedro, who is mentioned in the treaty that ended the rebellion of Jaime I’s firstborn son.
In 1235, Urraca Sanches, his sister, made a donation on behalf of their souls to the monastery of Fiães. At this same monastery there was an aforamento of a property in Palácios, in Cerzedo, which he held together with Soeiro Dias, Pedro Soares, Maior Garcia, and her husband Fernando Mendes (Ferro Couselo, 1995: docs. 83 and 290).

The success of Martim Sanches in León gave his half-brothers, born from his mother’s marriage to Gil Vasques de Soverosa, the chance to strengthen their social position in this kingdom. Therefore, it is not strange that Teresa Gil de Soverosa became one of the mistresses of Alfonso IX, and Martim Gil de Soverosa I one of his grandees. Martim Gil (a nobleman analyzed by Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: II, 211-212) appeared for the first time as tenente of Toroño in 1225, perhaps as a replacement for Martim Sanches. After the disappearance of the royal bastard, he appears once again, on February 3, 1229, as lord of the castle and land of San Martín de Ladrones and, on April 5, as tenente of Bayona. In October, he is just mentioned as the lord of Toroño. In February 1232, he is mentioned once again as tenente of Toroño, and in 1233 as tenente of La Guardia. The following year he is mentioned in several documents as tenente of Toroño. In 1235 and 1236, he appears only as tenente of Ribadavia and Toroño (the main details relating to the presence of Martim Gil in Toroño can be seen in Fernández Rodríguez, 2004: 173-175).

His early dominion over Galician lands seems to have coincided with his government of the tenência of Riba Minho between 1230 and 1247. Besides being a fervent supporter of Sancho II, Martim Gil was also the tenente of Sousa between 1240 and 1247. This rico-homem was one of the major players in the civil war, in which he participated in the battle of Gaia and in the episodes of Moreira and Trancoso. Due to the defeat of Sancho II, Martim Gil was exiled in Castile. It is highly plausible that he was the same Martim Gil who confirmed Castilian royal documents between 1252 and 1259, and that he may have died soon afterwards. This Soverosa was married to Inês Fernandes de Castro, a daughter of Fernando Guterres de Castro (who was also one of the tenentes of Toroño) and Mília Íñiguez de Mendoza, and together they had offspring.

His main rival was Abril Pires de Lumiares (see Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 463-464), one of the unconditional supporters of Afonso III. He was mordomo of the king (1226), tenente of Guarda (1229-1241), Lamego (1222-1232 and 1239-1244), Marialva (1229), Pinhel (1233-1243), Riba de Paiva (1241), Tarouca (1229), Trancoso (1226 and 1229-1245) and Viseu (1222-1229 and 1238-1243). Abril Pires died in the Battle of Gaia (1245) confronting Martim Gil de Soverosa. To the couto of Lumiares, the lordship of Moimenta da Beira and a third of Aveiro, he added several properties in the lands of Neiva, Tarouca, Viseu and Coimbra. Many others were acquired through violent actions perpetrated during his government in the judicial districts of Viseu, Penedono, Penela da Beira and Numão. Due to his marriage, Abril Pires’ domains expanded into the judicial districtof Penafiel de Sousa, where he possessed part of the honors of Oldrões, Galegos and Barbosa. The possibility that he was the homonymous troubadour was recurrently based on his poetic tensions with Bernal de Bonaval and on his relationship with the House of Sousa. Abril Pires may have been the Dom Abril who confirmed two documents issued by Alfonso IX in early 1219, but this fact is still to be confirmed.

The Cerveiras, one of the families from the Galician-Portuguese border, were also present at the Leonese court. We will only analyze João Nunes de Cerveira and his sons Gonçalo, Pedro and Soeiro, because the first three confirmed documents of Alfonso IX, while the last one was married in Toledo.

This family had its origins in the second marriage of Nuno Soares Velho II to Gontrode Fernandes de Montor. Gontrode Fernandes was the daughter of Fernão Anes de Montor, a tenente of Toronho, and Urraca Gomes de Pombeiro, a daughter of Gomes Nunes de Pombeiro, the famous Galician supporter of Afonso Henriques and grandee of Alfonso VII, who was also tenente of this region. Gontrode Fernandes was also the sister of Paio Curvo de Toronho, the powerful patriarch of a house that had harbored some Portuguese exiles, such as Pero Pais da Maia or Garcia Mendes de Eixo.

The antiquity and prestige of the Velho family, regular actors at the Portuguese court since the early decades of the century, helped João Nunes de Cerveira to become part of the aristocratic circles of Coimbra. In 1188, he received a préstamo in Cerveira from Sancho I and acquired properties in Coimbra, Ourém, Besteiros and Viseu (Mattoso, 1995: I, 139; Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 413). Although he maintained contact with the court between 1183 and 1192 (Mattoso, 1995: I, 139), it is possible that this préstamo made him shift his attention towards the Alto Minho. His descendants would later expand their family estates throughout the judicial districts of Cerveira, Caminha and Pena da Rainha (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 413). The fact that they received the Castle of Cerveira may have implied a simultaneous offer of the government of the tenência of Riba Minho, which would be mentioned in the inquirições of 1258. We also know that João Nunes bought part of the church of São Paio de Moledo (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 414).

João Nunes married Sancha Anes de Moeiro, a daughter of João Soares and granddaughter of Soeiro Anes da Nóvoa, one of the brothers of Pero Anes da Nóvoa I, the famous Galician mordomo of Afonso II. They had the following children: Pero, Gonçalo, Lourenço, Soeiro, and Sancha Anes de Cerveira.

João Nunes appears in Castelo Rodrigo in the document which granted the dowry of the Infantas Sancha and Dulce of León on January 6, 1217 (González, 1944: II, doc. 342). We do not know the reasons that led him to the Leonese court; however, he may have followed Gonçalo Mendes or another member of the Portuguese seigniorial party.

In May 1229, in Galisteo, the brothers Gonçalo and Pero Anes de Cerveira appeared in a document in which Alfonso IX signed a pact with the Order of Santiago about Cáceres (González, 1944: II, doc. 597). We consider that they may have followed the same type of cross-border career as their father, but it is difficult to establish whether this presence was part of a permanent or temporary migration.

The marriage of Pero Anes de Cerveira to Dórdia Raimundes de Riba de Vizela indicates that, despite the facts that have already been mentioned, the Cerveiras still enjoyed huge prestige in the aristocratic circles of the Portuguese court. At the same time, their offspring tried to consolidate the family position in the border regions: Gil Pires de Cerveira became Bishop of Tui, Afonso Pires married Teresa Pires Sarraça, a noblewoman from a secondary line of the Valadares, and Gonçalo Pires de Cerveira married the Galician Teresa Anes de Meira. Their decisions prove that the Cerveiras had decided to pursue a cross-border career, based on their natural domains, instead of establishing a continuous presence at the Portuguese court.

Gonçalo Anes de Cerveira was raised under a system of amádigo in the parish of São Pedro de Mengoeiro and had, from an unknown woman, a daughter known as Urraca Gonçalves de Cerveira, who became the wife of Lourenço Anes de Portocarreiro (LL43S5; Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 416). As far as Lourenço Anes de Cerveira is concerned, we know only the names of his wife and children and the fact that a daughter of his was raised on a casal of a Galician monastery in the Alto Minho (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 417). According to the Livro do Deão, Soeiro Anes de Cerveira married Dona Inês in Toledo, but may have returned to Portugal, because his children were raised in this kingdom (Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1999: I, 416). His sister Sancha married Gil Martins de Jolda, a modest knight from the judicial district of Arcos de Valdevez.

This tendency for a cross-border career was constantly repeated in the following generations and can be confirmed by the documents of the great monastic houses of southern Galicia, such as Santa María de Oia. The influence of this lineage in the Galician seigniorial space has inspired a passage in the Livro do Deão about Álvaro Rodrigues de Cerveira: “e que emmentes el morou em Tebia (Tebra) e em Pessegueiros, nom cantou i outro galo senom o que el mandou” (LD14Z8) – “while he lived in Tebra and in Pessegueiros, no other rooster sang than the one that he ordered to do so.”

4. The Portuguese in Leonese-Portuguese politics: the problem of the succession

In certain periods during the second half of the 12th century, the participation of Portuguese noblemen in Leonese politics was highly crucial. Among these, we highlight the cases of Pedro Pais de Maia and Vasco Fernandes de Soverosa. Nevertheless, they only reached the peak of their influence after the beginning of the Portuguese war of 1211. After this, more Portuguese grandees were to be found at the court of León, where their presence was increasingly important because they achieved the highest levels of power by directly occupying its main palatine positions. We can say that, at certain moments in the reign of Alfonso IX, the nobles of Portuguese origin monopolized all the main royal offices and usurped the power of many traditional Leonese and Galician families. Despite this, there were no major tensions between the nobles of the kingdom and the foreigners, due to the fact that, in some cases, they were relatives and shared the same goals: a peaceful succession and thus the independence of León.

The role of Portuguese grandees during the Leonese crisis of succession was highly relevant and was also one of the reasons why they stayed in León. The question of Alfonso IX’s succession remained in a state of deadlock between 1194 and his death in 1230. The problem was that the monarch had two sons from his first two annulled marriages. The Infante Dom Fernando had been born from his union with Teresa of Portugal and the second Infante Fernando (the future Fernando III) came from his second marriage to Berenguela of Castile. When the firstborn son of Alfonso IX was born, the king thought that the succession was guaranteed. However, the annulment of his marriage to Dona Teresa began to complicate the situation. In 1194, the marriage was annulled and the couple’s children were declared illegitimate. Queen Teresa was forced to abandon León and return to the court of Sancho I with her children. Several members of her entourage (such as Lourenço Soares de Valadares I) also returned with her, because the king’s marriage to the Infanta Berenguela of Castile had left them somewhat removed from the aristocratic circles of the Leonese court. Soon, a son would be born from this new royal marriage: a second and younger Infante Fernando (Fernando III).

At this point, the main line of succession became that of the newborn, whose claims were supported by the nobles that had become established in the border region between León and Castile. Meanwhile, the son of Dona Teresa was left without any supporters in the kingdom of León. In 1202, the older Infante Fernando was still at the court of his maternal grandfather (Azevedo, Costa and Pereira, 1979: doc. 144). When the Pope annulled the union between Alfonso IX and Berenguela of Castile in 1204, declaring their children illegitimate, Dom Fernando, Teresa’s son, began to claim that he was the king’s firstborn son and therefore his true heir. It is possible that he saw this situation as the ideal opportunity to promote his claim to the throne, which he expected to ascend on the death of his father. During this period, several of his main mentors returned to the Leonese court: Lourenço Soares de Valadares I, who regained the royal alferesia – which he had previously held between 1194 and 1195 (Calderón Medina, 2011: 456) – and Fernão Fernandes de Bragança, who was given the tenências of Extremadura and Transierra by Alfonso IX in 1206. Both tenências were of great strategic value because of their frontier with the Almohads, and were an important source of revenue for their tenentes. While the Portuguese nobles tried to promote the claims of the son of Teresa of Portugal, relations between León and Castile began to deteriorate.

Nevertheless, in 1206, León and Castile reached a peace agreement in Cabreros, through which they made the Infante Fernando (Fernando III) the heir and, in the event of his death, his brother Alfonso. He would thus become the king of León on the death of his father. This treaty was signed by all the main Galician grandees and by those who had estates on the border with Castile. It is possible that they thought that Berenguela’s son would be the best option for ending all the conflicts in the region. The signing of this treaty put an end to the ambitions of the son of Teresa of Portugal, as well as those of the Portuguese nobles in the service of Alfonso IX, who did not take long to react: Lourenço Soares de Valadares I returned to Portugal and joined the court of Sancho I, while Fernão Fernandes de Bragança remained with the government of Extremadura, although his nonalignment was expressed through his absence from the list of aristocrats who ratified the treaty of Cabreros. It can be said that the group of Portuguese nobles who had supported Teresa’s son in León had been dismembered. Meanwhile, Dom Fernando had been staying at the court of his grandfather, the king of Portugal (Azevedo, Costa and Pereira, 1979: doc. 171).

The treaty of Cabreros posed several problems: after the annulment of the marriage of his parents – Alfonso IX and Berenguela – the Infante Fernando was delegitimized and therefore could not become a genuine claimant to the throne until he was legitimized by Rome. In spite of this, the kings of León and Castile met once again in 1209 in Valladolid to confirm the treaty that had been signed in Cabreros three years earlier. Despite all the efforts of the Leonese and Castilian clergy to revoke the papal sentence and to achieve the recognition of the Infante Fernando, the succession was still shrouded in uncertainty.

An unexpected transformation occurred in 1211. The death of Sancho I of Portugal and his controversial will threatened not only the Portuguese stability, but also the Leonese line of succession that had been established by the treaty of Cabreros in 1206. Conflicts immediately arose between the new Portuguese monarch, Afonso II, and his sisters Teresa, the former queen of León, Mafalda, and Sancha. The Portuguese nobility was divided and the Infanta Teresa, under siege in Montemor-o-Velho, asked for the help of her former husband, Alfonso IX. At this critical moment, the name of the older Infante Fernando began to reappear alongside that of his father in Leonese royal documents from April 1211 onwards. This may well have been an attempt on the part of the chancellery to place him on the Leonese throne, and perhaps the Portuguese one too, if they could overthrow Afonso II (Calderón Medina, 2011: 461). The Leonese troops that entered Portugal were led by the Infante, who was accompanied by Pedro Fernández de Castro and his uncle, the Infante Pedro of Portugal. Portuguese historiography has defended the idea that the Infante Dom Pedro was the main promoter of this intervention, but we should also consider the hypothesis that Alfonso IX was thinking of placing him on the Portuguese throne and his firstborn, the Infante Fernando, on the Leonese throne. Both of them stayed in Portugal until the end of the military part of the conflict.

During this Portuguese war, many of the grandees that supported Dona Teresa left for León. Among them were Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II and his brother, who had established themselves in Toroño, while others, such as Fernão Fernandes de Bragança and the Infante Pedro of Portugal, began to form a solid faction at the court of Alfonso IX. The war was ended by a truce signed in Coimbra in November 1212, but the diplomatic conflict continued until the first years of the reign of Sancho II. From April 1213 onwards, the documents of the Leonese royal chancellery stress the firstborn condition of the Infante Dom Fernando. This seems to be a clear indication that the king, nobles and clergy of León defended the claims to the throne of the son of Teresa of Portugal. However, everything changed in 1214, when the Infante Fernando died unexpectedly.

On the death of the Infante, the problem of the succession re-emerged once more and they were faced with two alternative claims: the Portuguese claim, which was based on the Infantas Sancha and Dulce, the daughters of Teresa of Portugal, and the Castilian claim, which was represented by the Infante Fernando, the son of Berenguela of Castile. The climate of war with Portugal was still ongoing and the faction formed by the Portuguese noblemen who were established in León became the main defenders of the Infantas’ aspirations to the throne.

Meanwhile, Alfonso VIII of Castile died and left his throne to Enrique I, a three-year-old child. His tutor, Álvaro Nunes de Lara, sought to arrange a marriage with the Infanta Mafalda of Portugal, but the union did not come about. Afterwards, Alfonso IX and Dom Álvaro tried to marry Enrique of Castile to one of the Leonese Infantas, but the young Castilian king died from an accident in 1217. His sister Berenguela inherited the rights of succession and gave them to her son, who became the new king of Castile.

The possibility of Fernando III also being crowned king of León aroused, among the Leonese and Portuguese noblemen in the service of Alfonso IX, the fear that they would lose their power and privileges, because the new royal policies would favor Castilian interests. So, they became the main supporters of the daughters of Teresa of Portugal. In 1217, Alfonso IX gave his daughters many estates that had been part of the arras of their mother, Teresa, and reformulated some of the terms of the treaty that had dissolved them in 1194. Taking part in the signing of this deed were Gonçalo Mendes de Sousa II, one of its executors, and master Martim of Lisbon, as well as Pedro of Coimbra.

At this point, the main aims of the king of León were to arrange marriages for his daughters and to continue the war being fought for the right to inherit the throne of Castile. Alfonso IX advocated that the treaty of Sahagún in 1158 had established that, if one of the kings of León or Castile died without any legitimate offspring, the king of the other kingdom would inherit his throne. These circumstances occurred when Enrique I of Castile died without any offspring and, because of this, Alfonso IX was the most legitimate claimant to the Castilian throne. Nevertheless, after attacking Castile, he signed the peace treaty of Toro in 1218, which was ratified by Lourenço Soares de Valadares I and Fernão Fernandes de Bragança. In this period, Martim Sanches, the son of Sancho I and Maria Aires de Fornelos, joined the side of the Infantas Sancha and Dulce and attacked the north of Portugal. During this era, the Leonese aristocracy and the Portuguese nobles who had arrived in their court started to weave a close network of family relations, which was linked to the defense of the rights of succession of the daughters of Teresa of Portugal. So, Alfonso IX used the children that he had with Aldonça Martins da Silva to establish ties with the main Leonese families and to consolidate the influential group that defended the independence of León. The son of the king, Rodrigo Afonso, married Inês Rodrigues, a daughter of Rodrigo Fernandes de Valduerna. His sister Aldonça Afonso became the wife of Pedro Ponce de Cabrera, while Teresa Afonso married Nuno Gonçalves de Lara.

The king also gave his main palace offices to Portuguese nobles: Lourenço Soares de Valadares I was named mordomo and Martim Sanches received the main tenências of the kingdom. Meanwhile, he had continued his conflict with the king of Portugal until the signing of the treaty of Boronal in 1219, which was ratified by several Portuguese grandees (Calderón Medina, 2011: 459-477).

In 1223, Afonso II died and left his young son Sancho II on the throne. Around the same time, the Infante Pedro of Portugal returned to León, where he became the most powerful grandee of the realm. Side by side with his half-brother, the two of them led the Leonese campaigns against the Portuguese king and the Muslims. Until 1227 (the year when Martim Sanches disappeared from court), the sons of Sancho I of Portugal took over the Leonese mordomia and alferesia and the main tenências of the kingdom. They were, without doubt, the main advisors of their brother-in-law Alfonso IX and the most powerful grandees of the realm.

When Alfonso IX died in 1230, the question of the Leonese succession was not yet solved, and the Infantas Sancha and Dulce were still single. The daughters of Teresa of Portugal traveled around León, searching for support in the cities of Zamora, Benavente, Villalobos and many others. Nevertheless, some of these places did not welcome them. Furthermore, some of their main supporters had already left León, such as the Infante Pedro of Portugal, who went to Urgell. In the company of their mother, the Infantas decided to make a deal with their half-brother Fernando III, fearing that they might become involved in a civil war. The situation which León passed through in 1230 bore many similarities to the one that had been experienced in Portugal in 1211. Their mother had confronted Afonso II for a long period of time without achieving her goal. Teresa of Portugal knew that starting a war with the king of Castile posed a great danger, because she could not rely on external support, due to the fact that her nephew Sancho II was still a young man. Besides this, the Portuguese aristocracy did not have the capacity to help her, and the Leonese noblemen were in conflict with each other. Because of all of this, the Infantas decided to renounce their claims to the Leonese throne in exchange for protection and an annual stipend of 30 000 maravedis. As a result of this pact, Fernando III became the king of Castile and León.

1230 was a year that was marked by several of the Portuguese grandees leaving the kingdom. Besides the disappearance from the court of Fernando Afonso, a bastard son of Alfonso IX, Pedro of Portugal also left for Urgell. Others returned to Portugal, probably with the aim of increasing their power at the Portuguese court where the royal authority was growing ever weaker. Meanwhile, some of the Leonese and Galician grandees who had supported the Infantas, such as the Leonese Flaínez and Rodrigo Gomes de Trava, resisted the rule of the new king. But, little by little, they pledged their allegiance to him.

5. Conclusions

The migrations between the two kingdoms were a natural consequence of the previous political unity, which had motivated the establishment in Portugal of several Galician and Leonese families, who, despite their support of the Portuguese cause, had helped to consolidate a cross-border social fabric. Therefore, the cycle of immigration to Portugal was followed by two phases of emigration to León, which were marked by the political conflicts of this era. Due to the need for the greater internal consolidation of León, the break-up of Alfonso VII’s empire created the conditions that would turn this kingdom into a safe harbor for Portuguese and Castilian pariahs. The arrival of these human resources gave Fernando II, and mainly Alfonso IX, the chance to pursue a strategy of interfering in Portuguese internal politics. This situation exacerbated the instability of its internal crisis, increasing the chances of gaining possession of lands and creating a shift in the line of succession. The crisis of 1211 was a point of convergence between the goals of the Portuguese anti-centralist aristocratic movement and Leonese interests. This migratory flow from Portugal to León was shaped by the common political ideology of its members.

On the other hand, the presence of Portuguese exiles in the upper echelons of Alfonso IX’s court gave strength and unity to a Leonese faction that favored a succession through the daughters of Teresa of Portugal. For them, the maintenance of the independence of León, which was more and more compromised during the 1220s, was essential for the survival of their cause. The slow deterioration of the Portuguese faction in León, which saw in the manipulation of the young Sancho II a new opportunity to achieve their objectives in Portugal, coincided with the decline of the movement that favored the independence of the kingdom.

The Portuguese emigrants in León, before and after 1211, shared several key characteristics that guaranteed their success: most of them were descendants of Galician and Leonese families; many of them were related with one another through blood, or by marriage with Galician and Leonese families; they were the lords of cross-border estates and enjoyed privileges that they had either inherited or acquired, or which had been given to them by their new sovereigns; some of them were linked to the ecclesiastic institutions of their new kingdom as their benefactors, patrons or owners; and, in some cases, they had kin who were already established in the new kingdom. All of these factors, aligned with their individual and collective needs and with a political climate that favored the attraction of foreign noblemen, further strengthened the ties that had been created during the previous phases of political unity.




LV and LD (Livros Velhos de Linhagens - Livro Velho de Linhagens and Livro de Linhagens do Deão) – Portugaliae Monumenta Historica. Nova Série. Volume I: Livros Velhos de Linhagens (critical edition by Joseph Piel and José Mattoso). Lisbon: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, 1980.

LL (Livro de Linhagens do Conde D. Pedro)– Portugaliae Monumenta Historica. Nova Série. Volume II/1-2: Livro de Linhagens do Conde D. Pedro (critical edition by José Mattoso). Lisbon: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, 1980.

PMH, Inq. (Inquirições Gerais de 1220 e 1258) – Portugaliae Monumenta Historica: Inquisitiones (1220 e 1258), 9 fasc. Lisbon: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, 1888-1977.




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1 Universitat de les Illes Balears/CEPESE-Universidade do Porto, 4169-004, Porto, Portugal. E-Mail- [email protected]
2 CEPESE-Universidade do Porto, 4169-004, Porto, Portugal. FCT Research Fellow. E-Mail- [email protected]



Received for publication: 28 August 2013
Accepted in revised form: 26 March 2014
Recebido para publicação:  28 de Agosto de 2013
Aceite após revisão: 26 de Março de 2014

Copyright 2014, ISSN 1645-6432
e-JPH, Vol. 12, number 1, June 2014




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