Beyond the Border. The aristocratic mobility between the kingdoms of Portugal and León (1157- 1230)

Alfonso IX of León
Alfonso IX of León
Alfonso IX of León

Beyond the Border. The aristocratic mobility between the kingdoms of Portugal and León (1157- 1230)

Inés Calderón Medina & João Paulo Martins Ferreira

E-journal of Portuguese History: Vol.12:1 (2014)


During the reigns of Fernando II and Alfonso IX, the kingdom of León became home to several Portuguese aristocrats. Their relations with the Galician and Leonese nobility helped them create many cross-border ties and a powerful network of family-based relationships, which heavily influenced the course of the main political conflicts of this period. In this article, the authors try to situate these migrations in their context, analyzing their cycles, causes and favorable conditions, describing each of these exiles and assessing their influence on both Portuguese and Leonese politics.

Remo (Abstract in Portuguese)

Durante os reinados de Fernando II e Afonso IX, o reino de Leão transformou-se num lar para vários aristocratas portugueses. As suas relações com a nobreza galega e leonesa ajudaram a criar vários laços transfronteiriços e uma forte rede de relações familiares, que tiveram uma grande influência no curso dos principais conflitos políticos deste período. Neste artigo, os autores tentam colocar estas migrações no seu contexto, analisar os seus ciclos, causas e condições favoráveis, descrever cada um destes exílios e avaliar a sua influência sobre a política portuguesa e leonesa.

The “state of the art”

The study of aristocratic mobility between the kingdoms of Portugal, León and Castile started with the now classic article by José Mattoso about Knights-Errant – Cavaleiros Andantes (2001) – in which he analyzes the migrations of several nobles during the 12th and 13th centuries. This subject subsequently evolved into an integral part of some of his later works, such as A Nobreza Medieval Portuguesa: A Família e o Poder (2001), A Nobreza Medieval Galaico-Portuguesa: A Identidade e a Diferença (2002) and A Nobreza Medieval Portuguesa no Contexto Peninsular (2000). A few years later, Henrique David produced two articles about the Portuguese noblemen who participated in the reconquest of Andalusia and who received estates both through its repartimientos (David, 1986) and in the campaigns of Murcia and Valencia (David, 1989). Together with Sottomayor-Pizarro, David also analyzed the Portuguese who settled in León and Castile before and after the civil war that opposed Sancho II to his brother Afonso III of Portugal, as well as the network of kinships and family-based solidarities that they created in the court of Alfonso X (David and Sottomayor-Pizarro, 1987). Sottomayor-Pizarro recently returned to this subject with the publication of his magnificent synthesis De e para Portugal (2010), in which he contextualizes the migratory flows of the Portuguese nobility to León and Castile between the 12th and 15th centuries.

Click here to read this article from the E-journal of Portuguese History

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