King Denis of Portugal

07 Jan 2021  Thu

Denis, also known as the Farmer King and the Poet King was King of Portugal from 1279 to 1325. He strengthened the kingdom by improving the economy and reducing the power of the nobility and the church.

The eldest son of Afonso III of Portugal by his second wife, Beatrice of Castile, and grandson of Alfonso X of Castile (known as the Wise), Denis succeeded his father in 1279. His marriage to Elizabeth of Aragon, who was later canonised as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, was arranged in 1281 when she was 10 years old.

Denis ruled Portugal for over 46 years. He worked to reorganize his country's economy and gave an impetus to Portuguese agriculture. He ordered the planting of a large pine forest (that still exists today) near Leiria to prevent the soil degradation that threatened the region and as a source of raw materials for the construction of the royal ships. He was also known for his poetry, which constitutes an important contribution to the development of Portuguese as a literary language.

Depicted here is silver Dinheiro issued under his reign. The obverse of a coin depicts D REX PORTVGAL while the reverse of a coin inscribed AL GA RB II.

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