John, Duke of Valencia de Campos

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Infante John
Duke of Valencia de Campos
Lord of Porto de Moz Cea and Montelonso
Lord of Alba de Tormes
D. João de Portugal, Duque de Valência de Campos (1352-1387) - Genealogia de D. Manuel Pereira, 3.º conde da Feira (1534).png
Infante John, in a 1534 miniature in the Genealogy of D. Manuel Pereira, 3rd count of Feira
Born c. 1349
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died c. 1397
Salamanca, Crown of Castile
Burial Salamanca, Spain
Spouse Maria Tellez de Meneses
Constance of Castile, Lady of Alba de Tormes
among others...
Infante Fernando, Lord of Eça
House House of Burgundy
Father Peter I
Mother Inês de Castro
Religion Roman Catholicism

John of Portugal (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈɐ̃w̃]; Portuguese: João) (1349–1397) was the son of the Portuguese King Peter I and a Galician noblewoman named Inês de Castro who had arrived in Portugal as a maid of Infanta Constance of Castile, recently married to Pedro I (royal heir at the time).


The status of John I as Infante of Portugal is a debatable subject. Some historians consider him a natural son of Peter I, and so assert that the title 'Infante of Portugal' could not be attributed to him. Others refer to the circumstances of the death of Inês de Castro, ordered by Peter's father, King Afonso IV of Portugal: after inheriting the throne, the Prince admitted he had married Inês secretly, therefore she was a lawful Queen of Portugal and he was legitimized as Infante of Portugal.


The Duke Infante lived at the Court of Ferdinand I, and was esteemed as a good knight, a dexterous rider and able hunter, valiant in shooting. He had a steady friendship with the Master of Avis, his half-brother, who was valiant and daring as he, but very different in character. Infante John was a dissembler, ambitious and bold, and would not hesitate to act or speak in pursuit of his ambition.

He fell in love with María Teles de Meneses (born circa 1338 in Coimbra, died 1378 or 1379), a redheaded beauty about eleven years older than he, who was lady-in-waiting to the Infanta Beatrice and sister of Queen Dona Leonor Teles. María was the widow (circa 1360) of Álvaro Dias de Sousa (circa 1330–1365), 2nd Lord of Mafra and Ericeira, by whom she had conceived Lopo Dias de Sousa (1350–1435 Pombal), who inherited his father's titles and later became Master of the Order of Christ. Infante John, having gone to her house to fetch her, found an altar and a priest waiting; María had made the preparations for their wedding. Thus the marriage was performed secretly in 1376, and when it became public knowledge, it provoked the wrath of Leonor Teles. Upon the death of Ferdinand I with no male heir, the people might demand the crowning of the beloved Infante John as king, which would raise his wife to the throne, with grave consequences to herself (Leonora), hated as she was by the Portuguese people.

Leonor persuaded her brother John Afonso Telo de Meneses, 6th Count of Barcelos and Alcaide-Mór (noble magistrate) of Lisbon, to insinuate the idea in the mind of the Infante that his marriage to her daughter, the heiress presumptive Beatrice (who was promised to John I of Castile), would find favour with the people and clear his way to the throne. With the false imputation that his present wife María had been unfaithful to him, transmitted by Leonora through John Alfonso, Infanta John became so enraged that he stabbed her in Coimbra. In one single coup, Leonor Teles got disentangled of her sister and brought such opprobrium upon the name of her brother-in-law, that his hopes of succeeding to the throne were much diminished.

Having committed this crime of passion, John fled to Beira. Ferdinand I intended, or pretended he would, to punish the culprit, but he was soon forgiven and returned to his place in the royal court. When he spoke, however, of marrying his half-niece, the Infanta Beatrice, the Queen herself disillusioned him. Infante John, realizing he had been ensnared by the machinations of Leonora, retired to the Douro and then to Castile, avoiding the persecution that was encouraged by the cunning Leonor.

Henry II called Infante John to his court and gave him in marriage his illegitimate daughter Constance of Castile, first Lady of Alba de Tormes, in Valencia de Campos in about 1378. There he became the first Lord Duke of Valencia de Campos, consequently renamed Valencia de Don Juan. When the Castilian army invaded Portugal, John joined its ranks and laid siege to Elvas, which held firm. Upon the death of Ferdinand I, John I of Castile had him arrested, considering him a threat as the most direct successor to the Portuguese throne. Meanwhile, his connections with Castile eventually cost him the throne, thanks to the argumentation of Master João das Regras at the Cortes of Coimbra in 1385. During the Battle of Aljubarrota he was already out of the country like his brother Denis, both of them having left Portugal for Castile, although during the 1383-1385 Crisis he was one of the claimants to the throne, along with Beatrice of Portugal (his half-niece), John, Master of Aviz (his half-brother) and Denís (his brother). He eventually died in prison (1397) at Salamanca, and was buried there.


John married in 1376 Maria Teles de Meneses (was killed by her husband in November 1379), widow of Alvaro Dias de Sousa. She was the daughter of Martim Afonso Telo de Meneses and his wife Aldonça Anes de Vasconcelos. From his first marriage he had one son:

In about 1378, John married Constanza Enríquez de Castilla, illegitimate daughter of Henry II of Castile. From his second marriage he had three daughters:

  • Maria Brites of Portugal, 2nd Lady of Valencia de Campos (born 1381), married as his second wife to Martim Vasques da Cunha or Martín Vásquez de Acuña, 1st Count of Valencia de Campos (c. 1360–1417), and had issue
  • Isabel Brites or Beatriz of Portugal (born 1382), who married Pedro Niño, 1st Count of Cigales and 1st Count of Buelna (1378–1454), and had female issue
  • Joana of Portugal (born 1384), married to Lopo Vaz da Cunha or Lope Vaz de Acuña, 1st Lord of Buendía, without issue

Out of wedlock he had:

  • Afonso, 2nd Lord Consort of Cascais and 2nd Lord Consort of Lourinhã (born c. 1370, died Zamora, 1442), married firstly in 1388 to Branca da Cunha das Regras, 2nd Lady of Cascais and 2nd Lady of Lourinhã, and had female issue, and married secondly to Maria de Vasconcelos, ?th Lady of Soalhães (born c. 1375, died 1438), and had issue, now extinct in the male line
  • Pedro da Guerra (born between 1368-1376, died ?), married c. 1410 to Teresa Anes Andeiro (born c. 1380), and had issue, now extinct in the male line, and had issue by Maria Anes (born c. 1380), now extinct in the male line
  • Fernando de Portugal, 1st Lord of Bragança (c.1385– after 30 December 1410), married c. 1410 to Leonor Vasques Coutinho (born c. 1380), and had one son, Duarte de Portugal, 2nd Lord of Bragança, who died in Évora in 1442 unmarried and without issue
  • Beatriz Afonso (born c. 1370), married to ... de Castro?, and had issue