Political manipulation in the 1385 change of dynasties in Portugal: an Iberian detail named Blanca

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This article focuses on the role of Blanca (1319–79?) – the granddaughter of monarchs Sancho IV of Castile and Jaume II of Aragon —in the context of the legal process supporting the election of João I of Portugal in the 1385 Coimbra parliament. The topic prompts an inquiry into the different viewpoints on a little-known character in the Iberian royal families. First, the methodology employed contrasts the information known about Blanca and the description that Portuguese documents dating from 1385 make of her. These are an inquest and the official election act of João, the first king of the second Portuguese dynasty. After this section, the article seeks to shed light on the impact which the events described in the latter document had on Blanca’s historical context between the end of the 1320s and the 1340s. The article ends with a fresh look at chroniclers’ portrait of Blanca. In short, this article assesses and contrasts several portrayals of reality over several periods in time: the short term in the 1385 parliamentary meeting, Blanca’s lifespan, and finally a long period during which she almost vanished from historiography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-87
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Medieval Iberian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • Blanca of Castile
  • Diplomacy
  • Legitimation
  • Iberian royal families
  • Royal marriages


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