João I, king

(1385-1433)
   An illegitimate son of King Pedro I (r. 1357-1367), João I was the founder of the Aviz dynasty of Portuguese kings and master of the Order of Aviz. João's reign was essential in furthering the cause of Portugal's independence from a threatening Castile (Spain), and Joao's armies, with the assistance of England, defeated the Castilian pretenders in 1385 at the great battle of Aljubarrota. To show gratitude to God, João ordered the beginning of the construction of the great abbey at Batalha. João's marriage to the English princess, Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, was another vital element in the strengthening of the monarchy and a prelude to overseas empire. Philippa gave João six children, among them the scholarly prince Dom Pedro and his brother, the Infante Dom Henrique or Henry of Aviz, known to history outside Portugal as "Prince Henry the Navigator."

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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