João IV, king

(1604-1656)
   The duke of Braganza who headed the revolution of 1640 to restore Portugal's independence from Spain. He became King João IV, the first of the Braganza dynasty to rule. Under the so-called "Babylonian Captivity," Portugal was ruled by the Phil-lipine dynasty of Spain during 1580-1640. The rebellion of Catalonia against Spain in mid-1640 and restiveness in Portugal provided the occasion for the small country to organize a revolution and overthrow Spanish rule. João, duke of Braganza, was an heir of the Aviz dynasty and Portugal's most formidable noble and largest landowner. His power base was in the Alentejo province, his palace at Vila Viçosa. The revolution of the First of December 1640, a day that remains a national holiday in Portugal, was successful. Portugal recovered its independence, and João was proclaimed João IV of Portugal.
   With slim national resources to repel reassertions of Spanish control, King João IV built an effective administration and fought a series of wars with Spain. He was aided in the effort by Portugal's oldest ally, England, and was able to repel subsequent Spanish invasions. An important Anglo-Portuguese treaty that renewed the alliance was signed in 1654, but the king died only two years later and did not live to see the signing of the decisive 1668 Luso-Spanish treaty that formally ended Spain's efforts to take back Portugal. In Portuguese history, João retains the title of "The Restorer," and is a central figure in the Restoration era.

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

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