AFONSO, D. (Vila Viçosa?, 1432 ? Sevilha 1483)
1st Count of Faro and 2nd Count of Odemira.
He was the third son of Dom Fernando, 3rd Count of Arraiolos and future 2nd Duke of Braganza and of Dona Joana de Castro, born in Vila Viçosa, circa 1432. He was also the grandson of Dom Afonso, 1st Duke of Braganza, and the great-grandson of Dom João I and of Dom Nuno Alvares Pereira, from his paternal side. Dom Afonso had his first military experience in 1463-64, when he participated, along with his father and his older brothers Dom Fernando (future 3rd Duke of Braganza) and Dom João (future Marquis of Montemor) in the incursion into Morocco, led by King Afonso V. The fleet did not follow the king?s advice to postpone the departure date because the end of the autumn was a dangerous time to sail along the Moroccan coast, and left from Silves in November 1463. The journey was complicated. There was a risk of loosing some carrack ships, and Dom Afonso?s was indeed lost, although he was rescued. He also participated in the cavalcade and the capture of Benacofu [in Morocco].
In 1465, with the consent of his older brother, Dom Fernando, at the time Count of Guimarães, his parents gave him the lands of Eixo, Paos and Vilarinho and he became the Chief Alcaide of Estremoz.
On June the 10th that same year, his marriage to Dona Maria de Noronha was arranged, with the approval of the Royal House. Dona Maria de Noronha was heir presumptive of Dom Sacho de Noronha and of Dona Mécia de Sousa, 1st Counts of Odemira and the wedding contract was very advantageous to Dom Afonso. It entailed the immediate donation of all the possessions of Dom Sancho de Noronha and Dona Mécia de Sousa, 1st Counts of Odemira, although they had the right of usufruct of their property during their life. Their possessions were to be transferred one year after the agreement, in January.
On May the 22nd 1469, King Afonso V granted him the title of 1st Count of Faro and in 1475, after his father-in-law?s death, he became a justice dignitary [the head of the bailiffs] in the kingdom of the Algarve and was granted the title of Count of Odemira.
The Count of Faro also participated in the Battle of Toro. He was the captain of one of the groups of the Royal troops. On April the 22nd 1476, as a reward for his participation in Toro, the King gave him the post of frontier-commander of all his lands.
He was one of the men King Afonso V trusted the most during the last years of his life, and he integrated the retinue which accompanied the king in his journey to France.
In 1483, after his older brother, Dom Fernando, 3rd Duke of Braganza, was arrested, the count of Faro, as well as Dom João, Marquis of Montemor, retired to Castile. Dom Afonso died in Seville that same year. He is buried in the Monastery of Carmo, in Seville.
The title ?Count of Odemira? (and the possessions it comprehended) was reinstated during the reign of King Manuel I. It was granted by him to the first born son of Dom Afonso, Dom Sancho de Noronha.
CUNHA, Mafalda Soares da, Linhagem, Parentesco e Poder. A Casa de Bragança (1384-1433), Lisboa, Fundação da Casa de Bragança, 1990.
SOUSA, António Caetano de, História Genealógica da Casa Real Portuguesa, tomo IX, nova edição revista por M. Lopes de Almeida e César Pegado, Coimbra, Atlântida Livraria Editora, 1948.
Author: Maria Dávila
Translated by: Dominique Faria