Chapter 5: "End of Afonso's infancy and Second Moroccan War" (1446-1451)
In 1446 Afonso V is 16 years old and ready to take his righteous authority of King, as would suggest the issue of his Ordinances, which grant the explorers huge privileges over the trades with the colonies they are discovering year after year. But the attention of this pugnacious King would be immediately diverted to war: few days after Alfons V of Aragon attacks the ruined Kingdom of Naples (that would be soon and decisively annexed), the treacherous Sultan of Morocco sends on 25 July 1446 his envoy to Lisbon with his sudden declaration of war. Afonso V, extremely angry with those Infidels, raises war taxes and put out gold from his treasury to fund the maintenance of the war forces during the conflict.
The first skirmishes take place in Tassaret, where the trading post would be taken, burnt and rebuilt several times between 1446 and 1448, but the most outrageous fact would happen few months later, when Moroccan buccaneers unexpectedly land and sack the unprotected Canary archipelago. After the hasty assaults of Morocco, King Afonso V begins his counteroffensive, landing in Tangiers over 20 years after the seizure of the town by his uncle Enrique. Considering the scarce interest of Afonso V in exploration, the hostilities with Morocco almost totally halt the discoveries of the Atlantic Ocean: just the foundation of a colonial port in Fernando Po in 1446 shows some activity, in a troubled period when ships, men and gold are absorbed by the conflict and the loss of Canaries to Moroccan pirates threatens the free navigation of Portuguese ships to Southern Seas.
The war seems to change course in March 1447 when a Portuguese fleet finds and destroy a smaller enemy squad sent in Gulf of Cadiz to break Christian predominance in that sea zone. Soon after, Castilian and Aragonese crusaders start landing in huge numbers in Africa. When in spring 1447, within less than a month Afonso V seizes Tangiers and Castilian troops take Fez, where the Sultan Ali Ybn Yusuf lives, the Infidels understand that the conflict is over. Despite the buzzes coming from the court in Lisbon, where noblemen are plotting against Pedro Duke of Coimbra, who manages to escape the trickery and strengthens even more the monarchic authority against the magnates, Afonso V swiftly leaves Tangiers and in those vibrant months between late 1447 and early 1449 frees Canary Islands, takes Sahara and Toubkal, even finds time for the foundation of two trading posts in Nouadibuh and Nouakchott, establishing in the end an uninterrupted belt of Portuguese possessions from Tassaret to Dakar, altogether called "Portuguese West Africa".
Afonso's only concern is not being able to reduce into vassalage the Sultan of Morocco, held prisoner in his own palace by Castilian forces, and the King's unfortunate expedition in the unfriendly and harsh region of Antiatlas in July 1449 proves to be completely a waste of time and gold. Finally, on 20 January 1451 after more than four years of battles, King Afonso V has to give in his projects of full victory and arrange a compromise with Ali Ybn Yusuf: Tangiers, the Sunni town facing Gibraltar, becomes Portuguese and Morocco must grant military access to the Christian soldiers of Afonso V. A land foothold in Morocco has been established.
The town of Tangiers and, below, a map of Portugal in 1451