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John IV of Portugal

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John IV
Portrait by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1628
King of Portugal
Reign1 December 1640 – 6 November 1656
Coronation15 December 1640
PredecessorPhilip III
SuccessorAfonso VI
Born(1604-03-19)19 March 1604
Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa, Vila Viçosa, Portugal
Died6 November 1656(1656-11-06) (aged 52)
Ribeira Palace, Lisbon, Portugal
SpouseLuisa de Guzmán (m. 1633)
Teodósio, Prince of Brazil
Joana, Princess of Beira
Catherine, Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland
Afonso VI, King of Portugal
Peter II, King of Portugal
FatherTeodósio II, Duke of Braganza
MotherAna de Velasco y Girón
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureJohn IV's signature

Dom John IV (Portuguese: João,[2] pronounced [ʒuˈɐ̃w]; 19 March 1604 – 6 November 1656), nicknamed John the Restorer (Portuguese: João, o Restaurador), was the King of Portugal whose reign, lasting from 1640 until his death, began the Portuguese restoration of independence from Habsburg Spanish rule.[1] His accession established the House of Braganza on the Portuguese throne, and marked the end of the 60-year-old Iberian Union by which Portugal and Spain shared the same monarch.

Before becoming king, he was John II, the 8th Duke of Braganza. He was the grandson of Catherine, Duchess of Braganza,[3] a claimant to the crown during the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580. On the eve of his death in 1656, the Portuguese Empire was at its territorial zenith, spanning the globe.[4]

Early life[edit]

Portrait of D. John IV as an Infant; Pedro Américo, 1879.

John IV was born at Vila Viçosa and succeeded his father Teodósio II as Duke of Braganza[5] when the latter died insane in 1630. He married Luisa de Guzmán (1613–66), the eldest daughter of Juan Manuel Pérez de Guzmán, 8th Duke of Medina Sidonia, in 1633. John was described as having blonde hair and an average height.[6]



Acclamation of John IV as King of Portugal (1908), painting by Veloso Salgado in the Military Museum, Lisbon.
Panel of glazed tiles by Jorge Colaço (1940), representing the acclamation of King John IV of Portugal, in 1640. Ponte de Lima, Portugal.

When Philip II of Portugal (III of Spain) died, he was succeeded by his son Philip III (IV of Spain), who had a different approach to Portuguese issues. Taxes on the Portuguese merchants were raised, the Portuguese nobility began to lose its influence, and government posts in Portugal were increasingly occupied by Spaniards. Ultimately, Philip III tried to make Portugal a Spanish province, meaning Portuguese nobles stood to lose all of their power.

This situation culminated in a revolution organized by the nobility and the bourgeoisie,[1] executed on 1 December 1640, sixty years after the accession of Philip II of Spain to the throne of Portugal. A plot was planned by several associates, known as the Forty Conspirators, who killed the Secretary of State, Miguel de Vasconcelos, and imprisoned the king's cousin, Margaret of Savoy, the Vicereine of Portugal, governing the country in the King's name. Philip's troops were at the time fighting the Thirty Years' War and also dealing with a revolution in Catalonia, which severely hampered Spain's ability to quash the rebellion.

Within a matter of hours and with popular support, John, then the 8th Duke of Braganza, was acclaimed as King John IV of Portugal[1] (as legend goes, with the persuasion of his wife), claiming legitimate succession through his grandmother Catherine, Duchess of Braganza.[7] The ensuing conflict with Spain brought Portugal into the Thirty Years' War as, at least, a peripheral player. From 1641 to 1668, the period during which the two nations were at war, Spain sought to isolate Portugal militarily and diplomatically, and Portugal tried to find the resources to maintain its independence through political alliances and maintenance of its colonial income.

Restoration War[edit]

His accession led to a protracted war with neighbouring Spain, a conflict known as the Portuguese Restoration War, which ended with the recognition of Portuguese independence in a subsequent reign (1668).[8] Portugal signed lengthy alliances with France (1 June 1641) and Sweden (August 1641) but by necessity its only contributions in the Thirty Years' War were in the field against Spain and against Dutch encroachments on the Portuguese colonies.

The period from 1640 to 1668 was marked by periodic skirmishes between Portugal and Spain, as well as short episodes of more serious warfare, much of it occasioned by Spanish and Portuguese entanglements with non-Iberian powers. Spain was involved in the Thirty Years' War until 1648 and the Franco-Spanish War until 1659, while Portugal was involved in the Dutch–Portuguese War until 1663. In Spain, a Portuguese invasion force defeated the Spanish at Montijo, near Badajoz, in 1644.

Imperial Recovery[edit]

Abroad, the Dutch took Portuguese Malacca (January 1641), and the Imam of Oman captured Muscat (1650). Nevertheless, the Portuguese, despite having to divide their forces among Europe, Brazil, and Africa, managed to retake Luanda, in Portuguese Angola, from the Dutch in 1648 and, by 1654, had recovered northern Brazil, which effectively ceased to be a Dutch colony. This was countered by the loss of Portuguese Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) to the Dutch, who took Colombo in 1656.

Death and legacy[edit]

King John IV died in 1656 and was succeeded by his son Afonso VI. His daughter, Catherine of Braganza, married King Charles II of England.[3] Bombay in India was given as dowry to the English.

John was a patron of music and the arts, and a considerably sophisticated writer on music; in addition to this, he was a composer. During his reign he collected one of the largest libraries in the world, but it was destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Among his writings are a defense of Palestrina, and a Defense of Modern Music (Lisbon, 1649).[9] One famous composition attributed to him is a setting of the Crux fidelis, a work that remains highly popular during Holy Week amongst church choirs. However, no known manuscript of the work exists, and it was first published only in 1869, in France. On stylistic grounds, it is generally recognized that the work was written in the 19th century.[10]

In 1646, John IV proclaimed Mary, in her conception as the Immaculate Conception (the 'Immaculata'), the Patroness of Portugal by royal decree of the House of Braganza. The doctrine had appeared in the Middle Ages and had been fiercely debated in the 15th and 16th centuries, but a bull issued in 1616 by Pope Paul V finally "[forbade] anyone to teach or preach a contrary opinion."[11] Three years later, in 1649, the iconography of the Immaculata was established by Francisco Pacheco (1564–1654), a Spanish artistic advisor to the Inquisition, based on Revelation XII:1.[12]

Marriages and descendants[edit]

John married Luisa de Guzmán,[13] daughter of Juan Manuel Pérez de Guzmán, 8th Duke of Medina-Sidonia. From that marriage several children were born. Because some of John's children were born and died before their father became king they are not considered infantes or infantas (heirs to the throne) of Portugal.

Name Birth Death Notes
By Luisa de Guzmán (13 October 1613 – 27 February 1666; married on 12 January 1633)
Infante Teodósio 8 February 1634 13 May 1653 Prince of Brazil and 9th Duke of Braganza. Died young.
Ana de Bragança 21 January 1635 21 January 1635  
Infanta Joana (Joan) 18 September 1635 17 November 1653  
Infanta Catherine (Catarina) 25 November 1638 31 December 1705 Commonly known as Catherine of Braganza. Queen consort through marriage to Charles II of England.
Manuel de Bragança 6 September 1640 6 September 1640  
Infante Afonso 21 August 1643 12 September 1683 Prince of Brazil and 10th Duke of Braganza. Succeeded him as Afonso VI, King of Portugal.
Infante Peter (Pedro) 26 April 1648 9 December 1706 Duke of Beja, Constable of the Kingdom, Lord of the Casa do Infantado and Regent of the Kingdom before succeeding his brother Afonso as Peter II, King of Portugal.
Illegitimate offspring
Maria de Bragança 30 April 1644 7 February 1693 Natural daughter.



  1. ^ a b c d Torgal, Luís Reis (1981). "A Restauração – Sua Dinâmica Sócio-política". Ideologia Política e Teoria do Estado na Restauração (in Portuguese). Vol. I. Coimbra: Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra. pp. 69–85. hdl:10316/665. ISBN 9789726160823.
  2. ^ Also rendered as Joam in Archaic Portuguese
  3. ^ a b Jayne, Kingsley Garland (1911). "Portugal § History" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 148.
  4. ^ D.A. Brading (1993). The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots and the Liberal State 1492–1866. Cambridge University Press. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-521-44796-6.
  5. ^ Dyer, Thomas Henry (1877). 1593–1721. p. 340.
  6. ^ Sousa 1741, Vol VII, p. 238.
  7. ^ Davenport, Frances Gardiner (2004). European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies to 1648. The Lawbook Exchange. p. 324. ISBN 978-1584774228.
  8. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "John IV.". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 444.
  9. ^ John IV, King of Portugal (1965) [1649]. Ribeiro, Mário de Sampayo (ed.). Defensa de la musica moderna contra la errada opinion del Obispo Cyrilo Franco [Defense of modern music against the mistaken opinion of Bishop Cyrilo Franco]. Acta Universitatis Conimbrigensis (in Spanish) (reprint ed.). Portugal: University of Coimbra. ISBN 9789726160564. OCLC 258290532. 'View digitized copy of originai 1649 book'
  10. ^ Grove Dictionary of Music: Doubtful: Crux fidelis, 4vv, D-Dlb; ed. G. Schmitt, Anthologie universelle de musique sacrée (Paris, 1869); ed. J. Santos, A polifonia clássica portuguesa (Lisbon, 1937)
  11. ^ Bartomomé Estebán Murillo and Nancy Coe Wixom, "The Immaculate Conception", The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Vol. 47, No. 7 (Sept, 1960), p. 163.
  12. ^ Anna Jameson, Legends of the Madonna, Boston & New York, 1895, p. 14.
  13. ^ Bourn, Thomas (1815). A Concise Gazetteer of the Most Remarkable Places in the World; with brief notices of the principal historical events ... connected with them, etc. p. 413.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Stephens, Henry Morse (1903). The story of Portugal. G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 125, 279, 303. ISBN 9780722224731. Retrieved 11 July 2018.


  • Sousa, António Caetano de. História genealógica da Casa Real portuguesa (in Portuguese). Vol. VII. Lisbon: Silviana.[ISBN missing]

External links[edit]

John IV of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 19 March 1604 Died: 6 November 1656
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Portugal and the Algarves
Succeeded by