|Afonso ('the African') was the son of Duarte and nephew to Prince Henry the
Navigator. He was only six years old when his father died, and trouble at once
arose over the regency. Duarte had bequeathed the regency to his wife, D.
Leonor, rather than to his brother D. Pedro. Nevertheless Pedro had the popular
support, and was made regent by the Cortes.
As regent, D. Pedro was chiefly occupied by reformulating the law, following on from the work conducted by his father Joao, and his brother Duarte.
When Afonso V came of age at 14, in January 1446, the Duke of Bragança, who had supported D. Leonor against D. Pedro, began to undermine D. Pedro's position. At first Afonso asked Pedro to continue as Regent until he felt more sure of himself, but soon the party of the Duke of Bragança had turned him against Pedro. D Pedro was then manoeuvred into a position of fighting against Afonso and the Bragança party, and he was killed in May 1449.
About Prince Henry
|Afonso was not a very capable King, and he undid a lot of the progress made
by his father and grandfather. He led a successful expedition against Alcácer-Sequer,
but this was followed by an unsuccessful series of raids on Tangiers. Later,
Afonso took advantage of civil war in Morocco to take Arzila, and then finally
Afonso supported the explorations of Prince Henry, which soon became a valuable source of trade to Portugal. After the death of Prince Henry, Afonso did not continue the same level of support for merchants and explorers as they had been accustomed to from Henry. Although he was not particularly interested in overseas exploration, more than 2000 miles of unknown coastline were mapped during the middle years of his reign. On the death of Henry, he confirmed his brother Fernão, Henry's chief heir, in jurisdiction over Madeira, Porto Santo and the Azores. In 1462 he granted him the Cape Verde Islands.
|PQI p. 117-122|
|Afonso's father, Duarte|
|Afonso's son, João II|