Maria of Aragon, Queen of Portugal

Maria of Aragon
Portrait of Maria of Aragon, Belem Collection.JPG
Queen consort of Portugal and the Algarves
Reign30 October 1500 – 7 March 1517
Born29 June 1482
Córdoba, Kingdom of Castile
Died7 March 1517(1517-03-07) (aged 34)
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
SpouseManuel I of Portugal
IssueJohn III of Portugal
Isabel, Holy Roman Empress
Beatriz, Duchess of Savoy
Luís, Duke of Beja
Ferdinand, Duke of Guarda
Infante Afonso
Henry I of Portugal
Infanta Maria
Duarte, Duke of Guimarães
Infante Antonio
FatherFerdinand II of Aragon
MotherIsabella I of Castile
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Maria of Aragon (29 June 1482 – 7 March 1517) was a Spanish infanta, and queen consort of Portugal as the second spouse of Portuguese King Manuel I.


Early life

Maria was born at Córdoba on 29 June 1482 as the third surviving daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon (the Catholic monarchs). She was the fourth of their five surviving children, and had a stillborn twin sister named Anna (though some other sources claim that the queen was pregnant with fraternal twins, and the stillborn baby was a boy). [1] Like her sisters, she was given a thorough education, not only in household tasks but also in Latin, several other languages, history, philosophy and the classics.


As an infanta of Spain, her hand in marriage was important in European politics. Before her marriage to Manuel I of Portugal, her parents entertained the idea of marrying her to King James IV of Scotland.[2] This was at a time when her younger sister Catherine's marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales, was being planned. Ferdinand and Isabella thought if Maria was Queen of Scotland, the two sisters could keep the peace between their husbands. These plans, however, came to nothing. Her eldest sister Isabella, Princess of Asturias, was the first wife of Manuel I, but her death in 1498 created a necessity for Manuel to remarry; Maria became the next bride of the Portuguese king, reaffirming dynastic links with Spanish royal houses.

Manuel and Maria were married in Alcácer do Sal on 30 October 1500,[3] and was granted Viseu and Torres Vedras as her dower. She had 10 children, eight of whom reached adulthood, including King John III of Portugal, Holy Roman Empress Isabella, and Beatrice, Duchess of Savoy.


Queen Maria was described as pale and thin to her exterior, with a retiring chin, and as a very serious character to her personality. Despite the fact that she was queen during famous time period in Portuguese history, when the Portuguese court was one of the richest in Europe, she did not play any significant part as an individual. Serious and pious, she devoted her time to sewing, pious devotion and supervising the education of her children in accordance with the principles of her parents. She maintained a close correspondence with her parents, got along well with her sister-in-law Isabel and the queen dowager Beatrice, and hosted a large court with both Spanish and Portuguese ladies-in-waiting. King Manuel appreciated her pious nature, treated her with respect and awarded her with expensive clothes and jewelry during her pregnancies.

Queen Maria was not described as politically active, though chronicles praised her for occasionally persuading her husband to an actor for mercy. She was however somewhat involved in religious politics. She supported King Manuel's religious-imperial project, including the plan to conquer the Mamluk's realm, destroy Mecca and Medina and reconquer Christian holy places such as Jerusalem. She co-founded the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon.[4]

During her life in Portugal, Maria was almost continually pregnant. Normally, she had but a few months pause between a delivery and her next pregnancy. This state of affairs resulted in an continual deterioration of her health and after the delivery of 1516, she was reportedly exhausted to a point that she was also temporarily mentally confused before she recouperated. She died in Lisbon on 7 March 1517, and was buried at the Jerónimos Monastery of Belém. She died as a result of her last pregnancy.

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Araqonlu Mariya
беларуская: Марыя Арагонская
français: Marie d'Aragon
română: Maria de Aragon
українська: Марія Арагонська