Afonso II of Portugal, known
as the Fat (Port. o Gordo), third king of Portugal, was
born in Coimbra in April 23, 1185 and died in March 25,
1223 in the same city. He was the son of Sancho I of
Portugal by his wife, Dulce of Barcelona, princess of
Aragon. Afonso succeeded his father in 1212.
As a king, Afonso II did not
pursue territory enlargement policies and managed to
insure peace with Castile during his reign. Despite this,
some towns, like Alcácer do Sal in 1217, were conquered
from the Moors by the particular initiative of noblemen.
This does not mean that he was a weak or somehow cowardly
man. The first years of his reign were marked by internal
disturbances between the Afonso II and his brothers and
sisters. The king managed to keep security within
Portuguese borders only by outlawing and exiling his kin.
Since military issues were
not a government priority, Afonso II established the
state's administration and centralized power on himself.
He designed the first set of Portuguese written laws.
These were mainly concerned with private property, civil
justice and minting. Afonso II also sent ambassadors to
European kingdoms outside the Iberian Peninsula and began
amiable commercial relations with most of them.