His parents were Alfonso V of Portugal, the African, and Isabel of Coimbra, princess of Portugal. He received an important civil and military training. In 1481, he comes to the throne. During his reign, portuguese discoveries were at the height.
He was a man with a tolerant spirit who took in the jews who were expelled from Spain in Spain. He married Eleanor de Lancaster.
In 1494, he signed the Treaty of Tordesillas with Castile, by which the foundations of brasilian colonization were layed.