D. Dinis is one of the greatest figures in Portuguese history. He was, at his time, one of the most respected Kings in the world. Known as the “King Poet” (because he wrote 173 poems in Galician-Portuguese) or the “Farmer King”, D. Dinis was the 6th monarch of Portugal and reigned for 46 years. He is described as cultured, just, sometimes cruel, pious, determined and intelligent. Son of D. Afonso III and Beatriz de Castela, he was born on the day of S. Dinis, on October 9, 1261, in Lisbon. In 1279, at the age of 17, D. Dinis came to the throne of a country that was living in unstable times. Between 1280-1287, in order to establish peace in Portugal, he negotiated with the Holy See. The relationship with the church was deteriorated for many years, reaching the point, for example, that King Afonso III was excommunicated. Early in his reign, in 1280, D. Dinis thought of marriage and possibly political issues. He found his ideal wife in Isabel de Aragon, popularly known today as the “Holy Queen”. The marriage would be made 2 years later, in Barcelona, by proxy. Queen Isabel was … 10 years old! Upon arriving in Portugal, the ceremony was held in Trancoso. And then they settled in Coimbra. From this marriage they had two children: D. Constança and D. Afonso, future D. Afonso IV. However, D. Dinis had several extramarital relationships, of which he had children, who were educated by the Holy Queen! D. Dinis took several measures, such as: he created a system of laws, he created fairs, he bet on fishing and other maritime activities, he gave land to cultivate to those who had no means.
In Entre Douro e Minho he divided the land into couples, each couple later coming to give rise to a settlement. In Trás-os-Montes the king adopted a collectivist regime: the lands were handed over to a group that shared the charges, certain services and buildings were communal, such as the bread oven, the mill and the guard of the flock. In 1290, he founded the first university in the country, which was located in Lisbon and later moved to Coimbra.
He established Portuguese as an official language in the drafting of documents and made an alliance with Aragon. Between 1319 and 1324 he was at war with his son D. Afonso. They ended up making peace. However, the chronicles say that, because of this conflict, the relations with his wife, the Holy Queen, was never healthy again. In 1290, after the Portuguese reconquest was over, King Dinis I of Portugal decreed that the “vulgar language” (Galician-Portuguese spoken) be used instead of Latin at court, and named “Portuguese”. The troubadour king had adopted his own language for the kingdom, just as his grandfather had done with Castilian. In 1296 Portuguese was adapted by the royal chancellery and started to be used not only in poetry, but also in the drafting of laws and by notaries. 7th January 1325, with 63 years (really old for the time) D Dinis passed away in Santarém. He was buried in the Odivelas Monastery, a building that he created. Analyses made to his tomb indicate that the “King Poet” was very healthy (he incredibly died with all his teeth), allowing to conclude that he measured 1.65 meters and had red hair and beard.