The building of a Kingdom: between Castille and the Sea

Academic year
Subject Area
Middle Ages History
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

General knowledge of Portuguese medieval history (12th-15th centuries). Command of foreign languages ​​(especially Spanish and English).

Teaching Methods

Classes are in the seminar format, using the analysis of sources (narratives, handwritten or published documentation) and the confrontation of divergent bibliographic interpretations, always with the active participation of students and, if possible, experts (internal or external).

Learning Outcomes

Deepen students' understanding of some particularly important events in the construction of the kingdom of Portugal between the middle of the 12th century to the end of the 15th century. Understand the dilemma of Portugal's claim as an independent kingdom, having on one side the Spanish colossus and another, the challenge of the vast ocean. Developing skills for the selection and interpretation of medieval sources, and capabilities of organization and implementation of a scientific specialty work.

Work Placement(s)



1.The place of war in Portugal's first half-century: D. Afonso Henriques, the Battle of Ourique(1139) to the Triana moat(1178), through the conquests of Santarém and Lisbon(1147)

2. The Crisis of 1245-1248 as an example of political tensions in Portugal's first dynasty during the time of the assertion of royal power: an inside view of the building the kingdom

3.The conquest of the Algarve and the end of construction of the territory (1249-50). The role of the military orders and new challenges

4.The Crisis of 1383-1385 and the change of dynasty: the remote origins, the war with Castile and the Seventh World Age

5.The overseas expansion or the sea as an exit: the adventure of Ceuta(1415) to the imperial project of King John II (1481-95).The conquests in Africa, the Portuguese navigation networks, the Atlantic colonization and trade interactions. The imperial idea in "Hispania" and the medieval invention and genesis and the Portuguese empire:cultural representations and powers

Head Lecturer(s)

Saúl António Gomes Coelho da Silva

Assessment Methods

Other: 20.0%
Research work: 40.0%
Synthesis work: 40.0%


*BARATA, M. Th. / TEIXEIRA, N. S, dir.,"Nova História Militar de Portugal". Vol. I (coord.  J. Mattoso), Lisboa, C. Leitores, 2003.

* BETHENCOURT, F. / CHAUDHURI, K. (dir.), "História da Expansão Portuguesa". Lisboa, C. Leitores, 1998.

* COELHO, Maria Helena C., "D. João I". Lisboa Círculo de Leitores, 2005.

*COSTA, J. P. Oliveira e, "Henrique, o Infante". Lisboa, Esfera dos Livros, 2009.

* GOMES, Saul António, "D. Afonso V". Lisboa, Temas e Debates, 2009.

*MARTINS, Miguel G., "De Ourique a Aljubarrota. A Guerra na Idade Média". Lisboa, Esfera dos Livros, 2011.

*MATTOSO, J., "D.Afonso Henriques". Lisboa, Círculo de Leitores, 2006.

* PAGDEN, A., "Lords of all the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France, c. 1500-1800". Yale University Press, 1995.

*THOMAZ, L. F. R., "De Ceuta a Timor". Lisboa, Difel, 1994.

* VENTURA, Leontina, "D. Afonso III". Lisboa, Círculo de Leitores, 2006.