The History of Portugal is that of an ancient European nation, whose present origins go back to the Early Middle Ages, that ascended to a great world power in the Age of Discoveries with its vast Empire. Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status first through the loss of its military and naval power due to the military disaster of Alcacer-Kibir, and shortly thereafter its fleet, which had been incorporated into the Spanish Armada so the country was unable to defend its interests overseas. It was further weakened later with the destruction of much of the capital, Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence in 1822 of its largest colony Brazil.
The origin of Portugal, as a separate state, lay in the Christian reconquest of the Iberian peninsula. Towards the close of the 11th century crusading knights came from every part of Europe to aid the kings of LeÃ³n, Castile and Aragon in combatting the Moors. Among these adventurers was Henry of Burgundy, an ambitious warrior whose mother was Catalan and who, in 1095, married Theresa, natural daughter of Alfonso VI, king of LeÃ³n.
The Consolidation of the Monarchy in Portugal (1279-1415)