Treaty of Zamora

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Establishment of the Portuguese Nationality (Treaty of Zamora). Tiles on the Jardim 1.º de Dezembro, Portimão, Portugal.

The Treaty of Zamora (October 5, 1143) recognized Portuguese independence from the Kingdom of León. Based on the terms of the accord, King Alfonso VII of León recognized the Kingdom of Portugal in the presence of his cousin King Afonso I of Portugal, witnessed by the papal representative, Cardinal Guido de Vico, at the Cathedral of Zamora. Both kings promised durable peace between their kingdoms.[1] By this treaty Portugal also recognized the suzerainty of the pope.

This treaty came as of a result of the Battle of Valdevez.

This date is considered to be the date of the independence of Portugal and the beginning of the Afonsina Dinasty. This day is a national holiday that has been temporarily suspended due to the crisis in 2008, but meanwhile restored in 2013.[2] However, before its suspension, the implantation of the republic was officially celebrated in Portugal, in 1910. On this day, sympathizers of the monarchic cause use to celebrate the birth of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1143 on their own.

A Portuguese saying goes:

"1143 (mil cento e quarenta e três), quem não souber esta data, não é bom português." - English: 1143, who doesn't know this date isn't a good Portuguese.

The previous Treaty of Tui from 1137 was revoked in Zamora.


Victorious in the Battle of Ourique, in 1139, Afonso Henriques benefited from the developed action by the archbishop of Braga, D. João Peculiar, in favor of the constitution of the new Kingdom of Portugal. To reconcile Afonso Henriques and his cousin Alfonso VII of León, the archbishop made arrangements for them to meet in Zamora in 4 and 5 of October of 1143 in the presence of the cardinal Guido de Vico.


By the terms of the treaty, Afonso VII agreed that the County of Portugal became kingdom, having D. Afonso Henriques as its rex (king). Although recognizing the independence, D. Afonso Henriques remained a vassal, because more than being the king of Leon and Castille, Afonso VII considered himself to be the emperor of all Hispania.

The Portuguese sovereignty, recognized by Afonso VII in Zamora, was only confirmed by the Pope Alexander III in 1179, but the title of rex, which D. Afonso Henriques used since 1140, was confirmed in Zamora, when the Portuguese monarch committed, before the cardinal, to considering himself a vassal of the Holy See, being then obliged, by himself and his descendants, to pay an annual census.

From 1143, D. Afonso Henriques would send repentance letters to the Pope declaring himself his lord vassal and committing himself to sending a determined amount of gold every year. The negotiations would last several years, from 1143 to 1179.

...the peninsular uses should be very flexible as to the designation of a member of the royal family as "king". The Roman curia, however, had different conceptions regarding this matter. The pontifical chancellery attributed increasingly greater importance to precise and rigorous juridic notions. Despite of Afonso VII not finding inconvenient calling his cousin "king", it seemed, however, to the apologists of the Roman curia that his true independence wasn't proved.

In 1179, Pope Alexander III would send D. Afonso Henriques the "Bula Manifestis probatum", in which the Pope accepted that D. Afonso Henriques would pay him direct vassalage, acknowledging definitely the independence of the Kingdom of Portugal without vassalage to Afonso VII (because a vassal couldn't have two direct lords) and D. Afonso Henriques as first king of Portugal, Afonso I of Portugal.

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