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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Antonio of Crato was son of another of King Manuel's sons


times been attempted, though

without success. The death of King Sebasti?n in 1578 without issue left the Portuguese throne to Cardinal Henry, who was already very old, and whom in any event the pope refused to release from his religious vows. This caused various claimants to the succession to announce themselves, among whom were the Duchess of Braganza, Antonio (the prior of Crato), and Philip. The first-named had the best hereditary claim, since she was descended from a son (the youngest) of King Manuel, a predecessor of Sebasti?n. Antonio of Crato was son of another of King Manuel's sons, but was of illegitimate birth; nevertheless, he was the favorite of the regular clergy, the popular classes, some nobles, and the pope, and was the only serious rival Philip had to consider. Philip's mother was the eldest daughter of the same King Manuel. With this foundation for his claim he pushed his candidacy with great ability, aided by the skilful diplomacy of his special ambassador, Crist?bal de Moura. One of the master strokes was the public announcement of Philip's proposed governmental policy in Portugal, promising among other things to respect the autonomy of the kingdom, recognizing it as a separate political entity from Spain. A Portuguese _Cortes_ of 1580 voted for the succession of Philip, for the noble and ecclesiastical branches supported him, against the opposition of the third estate. A few days later King Henry died, and Philip prepared to take possession. The partisans of Antonio resisted, but Philip,
who had long been in readiness for the emergency, sent an army into Portugal under the Duke of Alba, and he easily routed the forces of Antonio. In keeping with his desire to avoid giving offence to the Portuguese, Philip gave Alba the strictest orders to punish any infractions of discipline or improper acts of the soldiery against the inhabitants, and these commands were carefully complied with,--in striking contrast with the policy which had been followed while Alba was governor in the Low Countries. Thus it was that a Portuguese _Cortes_ of 1581 solemnly recognized Philip as king of Portugal. Philip took oath not to appoint any Spaniards to Portuguese offices, and he kept his word to the end of his reign. Portugal had now come into the peninsula union in much the same fashion that Aragon had joined with Castile. With her came the vast area and great wealth of the Portuguese colonies of Asia, Africa, and more particularly Brazil. If only the Spanish kings might hold the country long enough, it appeared inevitable that a real amalgamation of such kindred peoples would one day take place. Furthermore, if only the kings would have, or could have, confined themselves to a Pan-Hispanic policy, embracing Spain and Portugal and their colonies, the opportunity for the continued greatness of the peninsula seemed striking. The case was a different one from that of the union of Castile and Aragon, however, for a strong feeling of Portuguese nationality had already developed, based largely on a hatred of Spaniards. This spirit had something to feed upon from the outset in the defeat of the popular Antonio of Crato and in the discontent of many nobles, who did not profit as much by Philip's accession as they had been led to expect. It was necessary to put strong garrisons in Portuguese cities and to fortify strategic points. Nevertheless, Philip experienced no serious trouble and was able to leave Portugal to his immediate successor.

[Sidenote: Causes of the war with England.]


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