Vasco Fernandes Coutinho, 1st Count of Marialva
Vasco Fernandes Coutinho was the son of Gonçalo Vasques Coutinho, Lord of Couto de Leomil, the 2nd Marshal of the Kingdom. His brother was the famous Álvaro Gonçalves Coutinho, nicknamed Magriço, the semi-legendary knight of the Twelve of England.
Vasco Fernandes Coutinho inherited his father's titles and position as Marshal in 1413. He participated in the Portuguese capture of Ceuta in 1415.
Vasco Fernandes Coutinho was one of the leaders of the Portuguese expedition to capture Tangier in 1437, serving directly under Prince Henry the Navigator. Although it proved a disaster, Coutinho served with distinction and was said to be the last man to leave the beach, personally covering the retreat and embarkation of the last Portuguese troops.
After the death of King Edward of Portugal in 1438, Vasco Fernandes Coutinho was one of the ringleaders of the noble party, and conspired with Afonso of Barcelos to keep the dowager-queen Eleanor of Aragon as regent for the young King Afonso V of Portugal, and sideline the popular candidate, the prince Peter of Coimbra. But Peter's brother, Henry the Navigator, eventually managed to detach Coutinho from Barcelos's side.
In 1441 (or 1440), hoping to win the powerful nobleman's allegiance, regent Peter of Coimbra invested Vasco Fernandes Coutinho as the first Count of Marialva. However, relations between the two remained tense. At the Battle of Alfarrobeira in May 1449, Vasco Fernandes Coutinho took the field on behalf of Afonso V against Peter of Coimbra. He died a year later.
Marriage and Children
In 1412, Vasco Fernandes Coutinho married D. Maria de Sousa (d. 1472), the legitimized natural daughter of Lopo Dias de Sousa, master of the Order of Christ. Their eldest son D. Gonçalo Coutinho succeeded as the 2nd Count of Marialva, the younger son D. Fernando Coutinho as the 4th Marshal of Portugal.
- Quintella, 1839: p.97
- Moreno, 1980: p.792-95
- Moreno, H.B. (1980) A Batalha de Alfarrobeira: antecedentes e significado histórico, 2 vols., Coimbra University. p.792-95
- Quintella, Ignaco da Costa (1839–40) Annaes da Marinha Portugueza, 2 vols, Lisbon: Academia Real das Sciencias