Count of Vila Real (in Portuguese Conde de Vila Real) was a Portuguese title of nobility created by a royal decree, in 1424, by King John I of Portugal, and granted to Dom Pedro de Menezes, also known as Peter I of Menezes, 1st Count of Viana (do Alentejo).
The Menezes, a high nobility family quite close to the first Dynasty Kings in Portugal, was seriously affected when the new Aviz Kings took the power, after the 1383-1385 crisis, but Pedro de Menezes supported the new king John of Aviz and was later reworded.
He was involved in the north African conquests, and became the first Governor of Ceuta after the Portuguese conquest (1415).
He married four times from which he had three daughters. The eldest was Beatrice of Menezes, married to Fernando of Noronha (grandson of King Fernando I of Portugal through his mother, Infanta Isabel of Portugal). Their issue used Menezes as family name and they originated the powerful House of Vila Real (extinct in 1641).
Later, in the 19th Century, King John VI of Portugal, granted this title again, by a royal decree dated from July 3, 1823 (second creation), to José Luis de Sousa Botelho Mourão e Vasconcelos (1785-1855), a remarkable military and politician who fought during the Napoleonic invasions and the Liberal wars.
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