The area of Vila Viçosa has been inhabited since antiquity and was a small Roman settlement. It was part of the Visogoth Kingdom and came under Moorish control. In 1217, Moorish domination ended with reconquest by Christians. In the early 14th century, a castle was constructed in the village to protect it from potential Castilian incursions.
In 1461, Vila Viçosa came to the hands of the House of Braganza, one of the most important houses of nobility of Portugal. The Ducal Palace of Vila Vicosa began in 1502. When Duke John became King John IV in 1640, the House of Braganza moved to the capital Lisbon, and many of the riches of the Ducal Palace were transferred to the Ribeira Palace. Vila Viçosa became a vacation spot for the members of the Braganza family.
Thanks to Fodor’s Travel Guides, Trip Advisor, and Wikipedia for the great lessons that helped me to plan and summarize this trip.