King João III (1502 - 1557)
Born in Lisbon on 6 June 1502, João, son of Manuel I, was the fifteenth King of Portugal. He was crowned at the young age of nineteen. He married Catherine of Austria in 1525.
João's education was closely monitored by his father, Manuel, who employed notable figures of the period to teach his son in matters of governance.
The vast empire João inherited extended across three continents. But his reign saw the first assaults on Portuguese hegemony, leading to the loss of the strongholds of Asilah, Azemmour, Safim and Ksar es Seghir. He intensified expansionist efforts in Brazil, promoting settlement of the region, at first with simple captaincies. These were later replaced by a General Governor.
João was also active in the field of diplomacy, despite difficulties with France due to attacks from pirates.
His diplomacy was particularly important for relations with the Holy See. Through the ambassador Baltazar de Faria, who is buried at the Convent of Christ, he succeeded in establishing the Holy Inquisition in Portugal and ensuring adherence of the Portuguese bishops to the Counter-Reform.
Under João III absolutism reached its zenith. The state administration was structured with countless regiments, permits and charters. His reign experienced several economic and social crises but, nonetheless, cultured men such as Garcia de Resende, Damião de Góis and Gil Vicente resided at the court. There are historical records of a staging of Farsa de Inês Pereira, a play by the latter, at the Convent of Christ in 1523.
Further important figures of this period are Sá de Miranda, Bernadim Ribeiro, André Resende, Diogo de Teive, Pedro Nunes, Luís de Camões, João de Castro and João de Ruão.
João III died in Lisbon on 11 June 1557. He was laid to rest in the Monastery of Jerónimos.