Elvas Castle - History - Kingdom


The year before (1229) Sancho II had issued a foral (charter) for Elvas, which was later reaffirmed by King Afonso III in 1263. As a method of attracting further Iberian investments the concession of a fair, in 1262, helped to attract settlement to the region. This, along with further investments from the Crown resulted in the reconstruction of the castle and walled village between the 13th and 14th century, with the cerca Fernandina (walls of King Ferdinand), still under the reign of Afonso IV, that included 22 towers and 11 dates (including the important Gate of Olivença or Royal Gate).

Elvas was under siege from 1325 to 1327 from the forces of Alfonso XI of Castile, due to the continuing war during the reign of Afonso IV. This would continue for several years, first with a two-day siege in 1334; in 1337; and then in 1381, by Infante John of Portugal (son of King Peter I of Portugal and Inês de Castro) supported by Castillian forces, during the third protracted wars with Castile, during the reign of King Ferdinand (1381-1383). It was also besieged in 1385, by John II of Castille, during the Restoration Wars (1384-1387).

Following these battles, between 1488 and 1490, the castle underwent reconstruction, with alterations complete to the hexagonal tower, as well as the construction of a keep tower that was much taller and able to support artillery emplacements. Sometime during this period the alcalde's quarters were also renovated, while repairs to the walls and three towers were carried out in intervening years, following acts by Afonso Mendes de Oliveira. In this period, the town had four internal and four external gates, all without doors.

On 3 March 1507 King Manuel I confirmed the foral, already established by Afonso III. Four years later he ordered the construct of several towers along the walls and the repair of two that had already suffered damage. These acts preceded the elevation of Elvas to the status of city (Portuguese: cidade), which he did on 21 April 1513 with the promulgation of a new foral.

The settlement was also elevated to the status of bishopric in 1570.

In 1580, Elvas was occupied, without combat, by D. Sancho de Ávila.

Between 1601 and 1602, under the direction of Luís Serrão Pimentel, the walls were repaired, owing to several years of neglect.

Read more about this topic:  Elvas Castle, History

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