Portugal History – The Inquisition and the Jesuits
Portugal and Spain. New attempts at joining the two crowns. – John II, still being a prince, had urged his father to marry Joan of Castile, meditating on the union of the two crowns. As a king, he was dominated by the same idea; and, having passed several years from the dispute between Alfonso V and Ferdinando and Isabella, the diplomatic difficulties between the two countries having resolved, he negotiated the marriage of his son and successor Alfonso with the heir of the Castilian throne. The princess came to live in Portugal; but Alfonso, a few months later (1491), died following a fall from his horse, and his widow returned to Spain. A few years later, however, she reappeared in Portugal as the wife of the new King Emmanuel I, formerly Duke of Beja and the king’s closest relative, being the brother of the queen and that duke of Viseu whom the king had stabbed. John II would have liked to have recognized his natural son, Giorgio di Lencastre, as heir, but the opposition of the queen and the question of legitimacy ensured the throne to Emmanuel, who, for this reason and for the splendor of his kingdom, was nicknamed ” the Fortunate “. He managed to go to Castile with his wife, to be both recognized as heirs of the two Catholic kings; but the following year (1498), his wife, Queen Isabella, died in childbirth, and two years later her son, Prince Michele della Pace, heir to the two crowns, also died in Granata. In that same year (1500) Emanuele married another daughter of the Catholic kings, Maria, who became the mother of two Portuguese kings, John III and Henry the cardinal. However the inheritance of the Castilian crown did not belong to Maria, but to her elder sister Giovanna la Pazza. Meanwhile, the marriages between princes of the two countries continued: Emanuele himself in 1518 married Eleonora, daughter of Giovanna la Pazza and sister of Charles V.
The Inquisition and the Jesuits. – According to Collegesanduniversitiesinusa, John III, extremely devout, obtained from Paul III the authorization to establish in Portugal, as in Spain, the Inquisition (1547). He had also introduced, a few years after its foundation, the Society of Jesus. The first Jesuits, who came to Portugal (1540), were Francesco Saverio, who was sent as a missionary to the East Indies, and Simone Rodrigues, who was entrusted with the direction of the College of Arts, a medium-sized teaching school, founded at the time in Coimbra (1542). The Jesuits dominated middle education, founded their own university in Évora, and exercised strict surveillance over intellectual activity. Great missionary activity carried out in Brazil, where they greatly benefited colonization and commercial exploration. John III, in 1537, reformed the Portuguese university,
Second crisis of national autonomy. – Giovanni III was succeeded by his nephew Sebastiano, just three years old, son of Prince Giovanni who, weak and sickly, had died two years after his marriage to his cousin Giovanna, daughter of Charles V (1554). Sebastiano (1557-1578) bore constitutional flaws: mystic and megalomaniac, he dreamed of being a knight king like Alfonso V and of creating a great empire in Africa. Misogynist, he placed all sorts of obstacles to the various marriage plans formed both in the Portuguese court and in that of his uncle Philip II. His grandmother Catherine of Austria, widow of John III and regent of the kingdom, disgusted by his grandson’s stubbornness, left the regency to his brother-in-law, the caidinal Enrico, and retired to Madrid (1562). When he came of age (1568), the king put his uncle aside and surrounded himself with a group of young people of the nobility, who flattered him. Fixed in the idea of conquering Morocco, in spite of the contrary advice, he assembled an imposing army, hired foreign mercenaries and left with a fleet for Morocco, where his imprudent and foolish conduct made the leaders of the army conceive the plan of imprison him; but he knew how to keep them in obedience. On August 4, 1578, the Portuguese army was encircled in Alcázarquebir and completely defeated. The king disappeared in the flight, most of his captains perished. Successor to the throne was an old man, Cardinal Enrico, Emanuele’s only surviving son. In his reign, which lasted just two years (1578-1580), his overriding concern was the choice of a successor, and he even went so far as to ask the pope for permission to take a wife. There were many claimants to the succession: Philip II of Spain; the infant Antonio, prior of the military order of Crato, the natural son of a brother of John III; Catherine, Duchess of Braganza; Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, all grandsons of Emanuele I; in addition, a great-grandson of him, Ranuccio Farnese, Duke of Parma. The Côrtes met in 1580, and in them the representatives of the people vigorously protested against the eventual designation of Philip II. Meanwhile, Henry died before having designated a successor. Philip II invaded Portugal with an army under the command of the Duke of Alba. Antonio, prior of Crato, was acclaimed king in Santarem and soon after in Lisbon; but, having a large part of the nobility joined the Spanish cause, his attempt to defend himself with the few forces he had at his disposal was shattered at Alcantara near Lisbon. Fled to the north,
The Spanish rule. – Philip II, acclaimed king of Portugal in the Côrtes de Tomar (1581), promised to maintain the autonomy of the Portuguese kingdom: the governors and all the officials should have been Portuguese, no law would have been promulgated without the approval of the Côrtes. Instead, the Spanish garrisons continued to occupy the country, public affairs were mostly handled in Madrid, trade was decaying, colonization and traffic in Brazil were neglected, ports were closed to the two European nations with the greatest commercial development. ‘England and Holland. Misery spread across the country.
The situation worsened under Philip III and Philip IV; not enjoying effective political autonomy, the Portuguese could not remedy the damage of Dutch and English competition in the East and in America. The Dutch, having been closed to their traffic in the port of Lisbon, obtained the spices directly from the East. The East India Company arose in Amsterdam, taking over Portuguese Moluccan farms, various fortresses and finally Malacca, India’s second Portuguese city. In Africa, the Dutch took the fortress of S. Jorge da Mina, thus dominating the Gulf of Guinea. The invasion of Brazil began in 1624, and, although it met strong resistance from the colonists there, at the end of the Spanish domination, Brazil was almost entirely in possession of the Company.