Henry, Count of Portugal

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Conde D. Henrique - Compendio de crónicas de reyes (Biblioteca Nacional de España).png
Henry in Compendio de crónicas de reyes
(c. 1312-1325)
Count of Portugal
Reign 1093–1112
Successor Afonso I
Born c. 1066
Dijon, Duchy of Burgundy
Died 12 May 1112
Astorga, Kingdom of León
Burial Braga Cathedral, Braga, County of Portugal
Spouse Theresa of León
Afonso I of Portugal
House House of Burgundy
Father Henry of Burgundy

Henry (Portuguese: Henrique, French: Henri; 1066–1112), the father of the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, was the first member of the House of Burgundy to rule the County of Portugal.

Biographical sketch

Family relations

Born in 1066 in Dijon, Duchy of Burgundy, Count Henry was the youngest son of Henry, the second son of Robert I, Duke of Burgundy.[1][2] His two older brothers, Hugh I and Odo, inherited the duchy.[2] Even though his mother Sibylla is often mentioned in traditional genealogies as the daughter of Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Barcelona, and his wife Guisla de Lluçà, this filiation is not recorded in any medieval charter. Sibylla may have been the daughter of Reginald I, which would make her the maternal aunt of Raymond of Burgundy who would be, if these filiations are correct, Henry’s first cousin.[3][lower-alpha 1]

One of his paternal aunts was Constance of Burgundy, the wife of Alfonso VI of León, and one of his grand-uncles was Hugh, Abbot of Cluny, one of the most influential and venerated personalities of his time.[1] Count Henry’s family was very powerful and governed many cities in France such as Chalon, Auxerre, Autun, Nevers, Dijon, Mâcon y Semur.[1]


After the defeat of the Christian troops in the Battle of Sagrajas in October 1086, in the early months of the following year, King Alfonso VI appealed for aid from Christians at the other side of the Pyrenees. Many French nobles and soldiers heeded the call, including Raymond of Burgundy, Henry's brother, Duke Odo, and Raymond of St. Gilles,[4] Not all of them arrived at the same time in the Iberian Peninsula and it is most likely that Raymond of Burgundy came in 1091.[5][lower-alpha 2] Although some authors claim that Count Henry came with the expedition which arrived in 1087, even though "documentary evidence here is much more slight",[7] his presence is confirmed only as of 1096 when he appears confirming the fueros of Guimarães and Constantim de Panoias.

Three of these French nobles married daughters of King Alfonso VI: Raymond of Burgundy married infanta Urraca, later Queen Urraca of León; Raymond of St. Gilles married Elvira; and Henry of Burgundy married Teresa of León, an illegitimate daughter of the king and his mistress Jimena Muñoz.[8]

Alfonso VI of León and Castile appoints Henry to the County of Portugal, in 1096.

Pact with his cousin Raymond of Burgundy

Between the first quarter of 1096 and the end of 1097, count Raymond, seeing that his influence in the Curia Regis was diminishing, reached an agreement with his cousin Henry of Burgundy, who had not yet been appointed governor of Portugal. The birth of King Alfonso's only son, Sancho Alfónsez, was also perceived as a threat by the two cousins. They agreed to share power, the royal treasury, and to support each other.[9] Under this agreement, which counted with the blessings of their relative, the Abbot of Cluny,[lower-alpha 3] Raymond "promised his cousin under oath to hand him over the Kingdom of Toledo and one–third of the royal treasury upon the death of King Alfonso VI". If he could not deliver Toledo, he would give him Galicia. Henry, in turn, promised to help Raymond "obtain all the dominions of King Alfonso and two–thirds of the royal treasury".[11][12] It seems that news of this pact reached the king who, in order to counter the initiative of his two sons-in-law, appointed Henry governor of the region extending a flumine mineo usque in tagum (from the Minho River to the banks of the Tagus).[13] Until then, this region had been governed by count Raymond who saw his power limited to just Galicia.[14][lower-alpha 4]

Accordingly, both cousins instead of being allies, became rivals with conflicting interests; the succession pact went up in smoke and, henceforth, each would try to garner the favor of King Alfonso.[16]

Independence of the County of Portugal

View of the South side of Braga Cathedral where Henry, Count of Portugal was buried

Upon the death of Count Raymond of Burgundy, his widow, Queen Urraca, Teresa's half-sister, Count Henry's wife, married Alfonso the Battler for political and strategic reasons. Henry took advantage of the family conflicts and political unrest and declared the independence of the County of Portugal.

Caught under siege in Astorga by Alfonso I of Aragon, Henry held the city with the help of Alfonso's wife, Urraca. Henry died on 12 May 1112,[17] from wounds received during the siege.[18] His remains were transferred, following his previous orders, to Braga where he was buried in a chapel at Braga Cathedral the building of which he had promoted.[19] After his death, his widow Teresa governed the county since their son Afonso was only three years old at that time.[20]


Count Henry was the leader of a group of gentlemen, monks, and clerics of French origin who exerted great influence in the Iberian Peninsula, promoted many reforms and introduced several institutions from the other side of the Pyrenees, such as the customs of Cluny and the Roman Rite. They occupied relevant ecclesiastical and political positions which provoked a strong backlash during the last years of the reign of King Alfonso VI.[21]

Marriage and issue

He married Teresa of León around 1095.[22] From Teresa, Henry had three sons and three daughters of whom four survived to adulthood:

  • Sancha Henriques (c. 1097[23]–1163), married the nobleman Sancho Nunes de Celanova. On 15 July 1129, the abbess of the Monastery of San Salvador de Ferreira de Pantón purchased from Mendo Núñez, his brother Sancho, and the wife of the latter, Sancha Henriques, some properties in Estriz.[25] One of their daughters, María, was the abbess at the Monastery of San Salvador de Sobrado de Trives. They were also the parents of count Velasco, Gil, Fernando, and Teresa Sánchez.[26] After becoming a widow, she married Fernando Méndez de Braganza, with no issue from this second marriage.[27]
  • Afonso Henriques (1109[28]–1185). He was named after his maternal grandfather, King Alfonso VI perhaps "as a way of remembering that the blood of the Emperor of all Hispania also ran through his veins". [29] Henry became Count of Portugal in 1112 and King of Portugal in 1139.[30]
  • Pedro, abbot at the Monastery of Alcobaça where he was buried.[31]



  1. There were other women in the family with this name, such as Raymond of Burgundy's sister, Sibylla.
  2. Reilly mentions that they were already married by 1087, the year of Raymond's arrival in Spain, although the marriage did not take place until 1095.[6]
  3. "The undated text, which has come down to us through Cluny, consists of a short note sent to Abbot Hugo by means of a messenger named Dalmacio Geret, which includes a copy of the oaths that the two cousins had made at the behest of the aforementioned abbot".[10]
  4. The pact between counts Raymond and Henry is reproduced in the work cited in the bibliography.[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mattoso 2014, p. 28.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Martínez Diez 2003, p. 225.
  3. Martínez Diez 2003, pp. 105 and 225.
  4. Martínez Diez 2003, p. 105.
  5. Martínez Diez 2003, p. 223.
  6. Reilly 1982, p. 14, chapter I.
  7. Reilly 1982, p. 14, note 15, chapter I.
  8. Martínez Diez 2003, p. 162.
  9. Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, pp. 28-29.
  10. Martínez Diez 2003, p. 226.
  11. Martínez Diez 2003, p. 170.
  12. Reilly 1982, p. 27, note 55, chapter I.
  13. Reilly 1982, p. 29, note 59, chapter I.
  14. Martínez Diez 2003, pp. 170-171.
  15. David 1948, pp. 275–276.
  16. Martínez Diez 2003, p. 171.
  17. Mattoso 2014, p. 34.
  18. Reilly 1995, pp. 133−134.
  19. Caetano de Souza 1735, p. 37.
  20. Mattoso 2014, pp. 34-43.
  21. Mattoso 2014, p. 29.
  22. Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, p. 25.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, p. 28.
  24. López Sangil 2002, p. 89.
  25. López Morán 2005, p. 89.
  26. López Moran 2005, p. 89.
  27. Sotto Mayor Pizarro 2007, pp. 855 and 857-858.
  28. Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, p. 31.
  29. Rodrigues Oliveira 2010, p. 33.
  30. Reilly 1995, p. 203.
  31. Manrique 1649, p. 413.


  • Caetano de Souza, Antonio (1735). Historia Genealógica de la Real Casa Portuguesa (PDF) (in português). I, Books I and II. Lisbon: Lisbon Occidental, na oficina de Joseph Antonio da Sylva. ISBN 978-84-8109-908-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • David, Pierre (1948). "La pacte succesoral entre Raymond de Galice et Henri de Portugal". Bulletin Hispanique (in français). 50 (3). pp. 275–290. doi:10.3406/hispa.1948.3146.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • López Morán, Enriqueta (2005). "El monacato femenino gallego en la Alta Edad Media (Lugo y Orense) (Siglos XIII al XV)" (PDF). Nalgures (in español) (II). A Coruña: Asociación Cultura de Estudios Históricos de Galicia. pp. 49–142. ISSN 1885-6349.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • López Sangil, José Luis (2002). La nobleza altomedieval gallega, la familia Froílaz-Traba (in español). La Coruña: Toxosoutos, S.L. ISBN 84-95622-68-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Manrique, Ángel (1649). Anales cistercienses (in Latin). 2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Martínez Díez, Gonzalo (2003). Alfonso VI: Señor del Cid, conquistador de Toledo (in español). Madrid: Temas de Hoy, S.A. ISBN 8484602516.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Mattoso, José (2014). D. Afonso Henriques (in português) (2nd ed.). Lisbon: Temas e Debates. ISBN 978-972-759-911-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reilly, Bernard F. (1995). The Contest of Christian and Muslim Spain, 1031-1157. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell. ISBN 9780631169130.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reilly, Bernard F. (1998). The Kingdom of León-Castilla Under King Alfonso VII, 1126-1157. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812234527.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reilly, Bernard F. (1982). The Kingdom of León-Castilla Under Queen Urraca, 1109-1126. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780812234527.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Rodrigues Oliveira, Ana (2010). Rainhas medievais de Portugal. Dezassete mulheres, duas dinastias, quatro séculos de História (in português). Lisbon: A esfera dos livros. ISBN 978-989-626-261-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sotto Mayor Pizarro, José Augusto (2007). "O regime senhorial na frontera do nordeste português. Alto Douro e Riba Côa (Séculos XI-XIII)". Hispania. Revista Española de Historia (in português). LXVII (227). Madrid: Instituto de Historia "Jerónimo Zurita; Centro de Estudios Históricos. pp. 849–880. ISSN 0018-2141.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Henry, Count of Portugal
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 1066 Died: 1112
Portuguese nobility
Title last held by
Nuno Mendes
Count of Portugal
with Theresa (1096–1112)
Succeeded by
Theresa with Afonso