Monument Battle of Valdevez - Author Master José Rodrigues

Arcos de Valdevez
During the spring of 1141, the armies of King “Afonso Henriques” and “Alfonso VII” of Castela and Leão, his cousin, are found somewhere in the “Vale do Vez”, as one of the most remarkable moments in Portugal’s History: the Battle of Valdevez.

It was thought that the battle was right, but the timing turned out to be reduced to a "nonsense", a kind of medieval tournament representative of the involved riders’ dexterity; the outcome of the feud usually being the acceptance of both parties, therefore avoiding an unnecessary bloodshed.

Several riders of “Afonso VII” were captured by the enemy; after that, the Portuguese themselves convinced their Chief to make peace, then reaching to the king's grace, in order to be able to turn against the Muslims who were violently oppressing the South of the Territory.

It happened at Valdevez: The two cousins agree upon a peaceful coexistence, through an intelligent diplomacy process filled with common sense, representing the fundamental bases allowing to start the consolidation of the future Portugal’s kingdom and, especially, the creation of an unite front against the fast Arab progression in the south.

Upon consulting the past reports we may come to the conclusion that there wasn’t, after all, any radical incompatibility between the two adversaries. The battle was averted thanks to the cunning and wisdom of the Portuguese, as well as the non-aggressiveness of Alfonso VII, willing now, as he was before, to make concessions, counting on his cousin’s acknowledgement of the imperial authority.

The Castles which they took from each other were therefore returned to their rightful owner, and the King of Leão sought to remove the source of discord, banishing the two counts that, after all, had raised the question, Rodrigues Peres Veloso, Count of Límia and Gomes Nunes, Count of Toronho. The first was forgiven. The second, humiliated, was exiled beyond the Pyrenees and there made a “Cluniacense” monk. It seems, therefore, that the bone of contention was not so much related to the independence claim by Afonso Henriques, but rather in its claim to dominate territory that belonging traditionally to “Galicia” that Alfonso VII was not willing to lose.

Location: Arcos de Valdevez
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