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Portugal - HISTORY
ON APRIL 25, 1974, scores of junior Portuguese Army officers staged a coup d'état that in a manner of hours toppled the authoritarian regime that had ruled their country for nearly half a century. The virtually bloodless coup was followed by what became known to the world as the Revolution of 1974 as Portugal's archaic and repressive governing system was swept away in a period of political and social turbulence. The young officers, members of the secret Armed Forces Movement (Movimento das Forças Armadas--MFA), wished to end the wars their country had been fighting in its African colonies since the early 1960s. Their modest aim of changing Portugal's political leadership, however, let loose long pent-up social and political energies that soon turned into a veritable revolution and kept Portugal in the headlines of the world's newspapers for the next eighteen months. A nervous Western Europe looked on as Portugal's governing and financial elites fled the country or were exiled, as a variety of forces vied for dominance and the Stalinist Portuguese Communist Party (Partido Comunista Português--PCP) seemed close to seizing power, as leading banks and businesses were nationalized, and as large estates were collectivized by landless peasants.
The revolution eventually played itself out. Many of its feared consequences, such as a communist takeover or a civil war, did not occur. Moreover, many of the actions, for example, nationalizations and collectivizations that were implemented during the revolution, had been reversed to a great extent by early 1993, and the serious damage done to the overall economy was gradually being repaired. The economy grew rapidly in the second half of the 1980s and continued to show respectable growth rates in the early 1990s. As another indication of improving economic health, Portugal's currency, the escudo, was strong enough to be placed in the exchange rate mechanism of the European Monetary System (see Glossary) in April 1992.
The revolution's legacy also had a positive side, however, and nearly two decades after the sequence of events that began in April 1974, some remarkable achievements could be seen. After centuries of isolation and backwardness, Portugal had become an fully integral part of Western Europe through its membership in the European Community (EC). In the first half of 1992, Portugal assumed the presidency of the EC and fulfilled the obligations of this office in a professional manner. Even more significant, perhaps, were the establishment and consolidation of a system of parliamentary democracy. After a troubled start, this democracy, watched a had given the country a strong and competent government able to bring about peaceful change.
Portugal has a glorious past. It is the oldest European nation-state, having attained its present extent by about 1200, centuries before neighboring Spain or France became unified states. In the early decades of the fourteenth century, Portugal began a period of exploration that within a hundred years gave it an empire that literally spanned the globe.
The wealth the empire brought mainland Portugal had woeful long-term consequences, however. The country's leaders turned away from Europe and its political and technological advances. Portugal's economy battened on the colonies, rather than developing through competition with other European countries. Because Portugal was too small a country to defend its extensive possessions, much of the empire was soon lost. Even into the second half of the twentieth century, however, enough of the empire remained that Portugal continued to exist somewhat outside the world economy. The colonies provided the mainland with foodstuffs and raw materials and were a captive market for low- quality Portuguese manufactures.
A greater threat to the long-term well-being of the Portuguese people than the country's backward economy, however, was perhaps the state of its social and political institutions. Long ruled by a tiny oligarchy supported by the military and a rigid authoritarian church untouched by the Reformation, the mass of the Portuguese population was passive and ignorant. The nation's wealth was reserved for a few, most of whom lived in Lisbon. The small middle class was docile and without experience in government.
The European Enlightenment had a powerful exponent of its ideas in the Marquês de Pombal, who attempted a thorough-going reform of Portugal in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. His reforms were paternalistically enforced from above, however, and after his fall from power were soon reversed. The early nineteenth century saw the fashioning of a constitutional monarchy, but parliamentary politics was soon a cynical rotation of public office among members of a small elite in Lisbon. Most of the population labored neglected and illiterate in the countryside.
A more serious attempt at parliamentary democracy occurred in 1910 when a republic, the so-called First Republic, was proclaimed. Suffrage was restricted, however, and most Portuguese were without the right to vote. The small urban middle class that was active in the republic's affairs formed into numerous personalistic parties that soon showed themselves incapable of governing. The dozens of inefficient governments in the republic's brief life of sixteen years did not win many Portuguese to the cause of parliamentary democracy. Anticlerical laws also alienated many, as did frequent instances of corruption.
When a coup by junior military officers in 1926 put an end to the First Republic, few regretted the death of Portuguese parliamentary democracy. But no member of the military was able to effectively direct Portugal's affairs, and a young economist, António de Oliveira Salazar, gradually came to govern the country. First as minister of finance, then as prime minister beginning in 1932, he brought a new order and stability to the country. In 1933 an authoritarian, traditionalist, statist system, the New State (Estado Novo), was inaugurated to protect Portugal from both Western liberal democracy and communism.
Salazar directed this regime until he was incapacitated by an accident in 1968. He was succeeded by Marcello José das Neves Caetano, who governed until April 1974. The governing system they ruled attempted to shield Portugal from such modern problems as labor strife, rapacious wealth, and departure from traditional concepts of personal morality. Salazar outlawed labor unions, replacing them with organizations that were supposed to bring labor and capital together in such a way that class conflict was avoided. He banned all political parties except one official party, rigorously controlled the press, and carefully supervised the country's few schools. Mindful of the social changes a modernizing economy engenders, he even attempted to arrest commercial change and stop the expansion of the country's small industrial sector. An extensive system of informants and an efficient secret police easily countered the regime's few opponents.
Portugal's authoritarian regime lasted for nearly half a century. It loosened its strictures on the economy somewhat after 1959, and the Portuguese economy grew at a very rapid rate until 1974. It permitted a few elections in which dissenting voices were heard but to no lasting effect. The press was allowed a slightly greater degree of freedom in the early 1970s, but otherwise the regime remained firmly in control.
The sudden collapse of the regime in April 1974 surprised everyone. Also unexpected were the engineers of its collapse, young officers who served in the military, long the regime's chief support. These officers were brought to their extreme action by the regime's stubborn determination to retain Portugal's African colonies. Having served on the front lines and seen the human costs of the wars firsthand, the officers knew that defeating the strong rebel movements in these colonies was beyond Portugal's power. They staged the April coup to stop further futile bloodshed. Their simple coup became a revolution.
The sudden and unexpected collapse of the regime created a political vacuum. Decades of political repression had left the Portuguese people with no practical experience of governing themselves. The widespread hatred of the regime barred the government's major figures from any active role in politics. A few younger politicians active within the regime were seen as sufficiently untainted to continue to be involved in public affairs. Their experience allowed them to assume leadership positions in several parties located on the moderate right of the political spectrum. Francisco Sá Carneiro took control of the Popular Democratic Party (Partido Popular Democrático--PPD), and Diogo Freitas do Amaral, a law professor, came to head the Party of the Social Democratic Center (Partido do Centro Democrático Social--CDS). Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares, who had long opposed the regime and had endured imprisonment and exile because of his open resistance, returned to Portugal within days of the coup to lead the newly reestablished Socialist Party (Partido Socialista--PS). Communists had been active underground for decades under the leadership of the Stalinist Álvaro Cunhal, who directed the PCP from Eastern Europe. Like Soares, Cunhal also returned to Portugal immediately after the coup and plunged into the turbulent politics that filled the capital's streets and squares. Because the PCP alone among political parties had a sizeable organized infrastructure in place, it occupied a political space greater than its actual strength.
Political power was by no means limited to these parties, which in the first months of the revolution had marginal roles, but was held by a broad variety of groups. Numerous splinter groups to the left of the PCP were soon active and made themselves known through street demonstrations. The PCP- controlled labor union Intersindical emerged from its semi- underground position and worked alongside the often independent Workers' Committees, which quickly began taking control of numerous factories and businesses. The MFA, with its select military force, the Continental Operations Command (Comando Operacional do Continente--COPCON), wielded much power, as well. The most visible politician of the first months of the revolution was General António de Spínola, who became the president of the country's interim government.
Given this array of forces, there was no one center of power. Groups formed temporary alliances, giant street rallies attempted to influence the direction of politics, the PCP placed its people in many key positions in the country's public institutions, and political parties to the right of the PCP attempted to prevent a communist takeover. Given its nature as an organized and disciplined force, the military was the single most important element during the revolution, although most officers were not radicals.
A series of provisional governments was formed that with time became increasingly leftist and dominated by radical military officers. An attempted rightist coup by Spínola in March 1975 caused a leftist countermovement, a wave of nationalizations of banks and other businesses, and the seizure of many large farms in southern Portugal. Attempts to bring the revolution to the north backfired, and that region's smallholders offered the first successful resistance to the revolutionary left's program to turn Portugal into a socialist state.
Another indication that the country as a whole did not wish a revolutionary government was the April 1975 election of the Constituent Assembly, in which parties to the right of the PCP had an overwhelming majority. The assembly had no legislative powers but had as its sole purpose the drafting of a constitution for a democratic government. It began this work against the backdrop of an increasingly radical revolution.
During the summer of 1975, splits appeared within the MFA itself. Moderate elements favoring a political program akin to Scandinavian social democracy gained the upper hand in the organization, deposed the most radical of all the provisional governments in September, and put in place the last of these six governments, one destined to last until the first constitutional government came into existence in July 1976. An attempted coup in November 1975 by extremists was put down by a counterattack led by moderates. The arrest of several hundred radical officers and the dissolution of COPCON ended the radical stage of the Revolution of 1974.
The military remained active in politics, however. Although the African wars ended when the colonies were granted independence in 1975, elements of the military were determined to defend the accomplishments of the revolution. The MFA arranged with the drafters of the constitution that the military would retain guardian rights over the new democracy, ensuring that it remained true to "the spirit of the revolution." The constitution of 1976 provided for a strong president who, with the help of a military-dominated Council of the Revolution, could veto any legislation that reversed such revolutionary actions as the extensive nationalizations of 1975. General António dos Santos Ramalho Eanes, the hero of the November 1975 countercoup, was elected the new democracy's first president in 1976. An austere man of unquestioned integrity, Eanes could be trusted to preserve the revolution's gains.
The first regular parliamentary elections were held in April 1976. The winner was the PS with 35 percent of the vote, far ahead of its competitors, but not enough for an absolute majority in the new unicameral parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. With its leader Soares as prime minister, the PS formed a minority government that governed for eighteen months. When it fell because of a motion of censure, the PS formed a governing coalition with the Christian democrat CDS that lasted another year. Enormous social and economic problems, including the return of 600,000 Portuguese settlers and demobilized soldiers from Africa, combined with factionalism and personal rivalries, were the undoing of these first two constitutional governments. Eanes then appointed a series of nonpartisan caretaker governments composed of experts and technocrats in the hope that they could better deal with pressing issues and govern until the next parliamentary elections mandated by the constitution for 1980.
Each of the three caretaker governments failed, and Eanes was forced to call for early elections in December 1979, even though parliamentary elections would still have to be held the following year. The Democratic Alliance (Aliança Democrática--AD), a coalition of the PPD--now called the Social Democrat Party (Partido Social Democrata--PSD)--the CDS, and several smaller groups, won the election, but without a majority. the coalition formed a government with the forceful and charismatic PSD leader Sá Carneiro as prime minister. The AD won the October 1980 election, as well, and governed Portugal until 1983. New elections were called that year because the AD, without the leadership of Sá Carneiro, who had died in a December 1980 plane crash, had disintegrated, and no effective government could be formed.
During its time in power, however, the AD coalition had effected some far-reaching constitutional amendments that strengthened the system of parliamentary government. With the support of the PS, which gave the AD the required two-thirds majorities, constitutional amendments were passed in 1982 that weakened the power of the president and strengthened both the prime minister and the legislature. The presidency remained an essential governing institution, but the balance of political power had shifted to favor the cabinet and the legislature, as in most other Western democracies. A further amendment ended the military's guardianship over the new democracy. The amendment eliminated the Council of the Revolution, through which the military had frequently vetoed legislation, and replaced it with the Constitutional Court that functioned in the same manner as similar bodies in other parliamentary democracies. President Eanes, easily reelected in late 1980 for a second five-year term, signed the amendments into law, although he opposed them because they reduced the president's powers and returned the military to the barracks.
After the 1983 parliamentary elections, the PS formed a coalition government with the PSD. The huge losses stemming from the many firms nationalized during the revolution, the enormous expansion of the numbers of those employed by the state, the effects of the two oil-price hikes of the 1970s, and the flight of much entrepreneurial talent from Portugal had left the economy in a desperate state. Inflation was as high as 30 percent a year, and many workers had real earnings lower than those of the early 1970s. In addition, many companies were in such financial straits that wages were often months in arrears.
No government had been able to deal with these economic problems in a meaningful way. The AD and PS combination that had effected some vital constitutional changes was not able to amend the constitutional provisions that declared the revolution's nationalizations irreversible. In addition, the country's labor laws in essence guaranteed employees jobs for life and made rational deployment of labor nearly impossible. Given these circumstances, the PS-PSD government had to make some very difficult decisions and became unpopular as the economy worsened. The alliance, troubled also by personal rivalries, collapsed in early 1985.
The PSD began its political ascent in the 1985 parliamentary elections. As the senior partner in the coalition and with its leader Soares as prime minister, the PS was blamed by voters for the failures of the fallen government; it polled only 20.8 percent of the vote, compared with 36.3 percent in 1983. Despite its participation in the government, the PSD won more votes than ever before, 29.9 percent, and for the first time was the party with the most parliamentary seats. Much of the PSD's success was due to its new leader, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, who waged a clever campaign and presented his party in a new light. His personal qualities of austerity, probity, and competence appealed to many Portuguese, who saw in him, an economist and former minister of finance, someone who could deal with the country's serious problems.
Cavaco Silva formed a minority single-party government with himself as prime minister and managed to remain in power for nearly a year and a half. He was fortunate in that painful economic decisions made by the previous government began to bear fruit during his time in office. Portugal's accession to the EC at the beginning of 1986 also benefited the country; the first of the organization's extensive aid packages began to improve Portugal's backward infrastructure almost immediately. When a motion of censure brought down the PSD government in the spring of 1987, Soares, elected president in early 1986, decided to call new elections in July 1987 rather than form another weak single- party or coalition government.
The improving economy and the feeling on the part of many Portuguese that the PSD was taking their country in the right direction allowed the Party to win an absolute parliamentary majority in the national elections of 1987. The 50.2 percent of the vote gave the party a solid parliamentary majority, the first in the new democracy, and permitted the formation of a strong single-party government. Cavaco Silva's government also became the first to serve out the entire four-year legislative term. In 1991 Cavaco Silva led his party to a second victory in which it again won more than 50 percent of the vote and 135 seats in the 230-seat parliament.
For many observers, the PSD's electoral successes and the stability of the Cavaco Silva government indicated that Portugal's new democracy, the Second Republic as it is often called, had at last taken root. During the first decade of the new political system, there were numerous weak governments, and four national elections were called because no effective governing coalitions were available. This instability caused some observers to fear that Portugal's second attempt at parliamentary democracy might eventually prove as unsuccessful as was the First Republic.
The Second Republic was more fortunate than the First Republic in several regards, however. Despite its serious problems, Portugal had come to enjoy a much greater prosperity and a higher level of education than in the first decades of the century. As a result, the Portuguese were better able to understand public affairs than in the past. In addition, the new government possessed a greater legitimacy because it was based on universal suffrage and high rates of voter participation. Portugal was also lucky to have a number of capable politicians committed to establishing parliamentary democracy. Also vital was the willingness of the military to abide by the laws of the new republic. All of these factors contributed to the eventual success of the new political system.
However healthy Portuguese democracy was by the 1990s, it still exhibited some short comings. Factionalism, whether caused by ideology or personal ambition, was still noticeable. Strict party discipline ensured a degree of party unity, but party "barons" sometimes put personal welfare before that of their parties. Small parties centered around an individual were less common than in the past, but in the 1985 elections a big winner was a short-lived group pledged to President Eanes. The parties sometimes overshadowed the Assembly of the Republic as centers of political power, but internal reforms, increased support staff, and an evolving institutional ethos had increased that body's performance to the benefit of parliamentary democracy.
By the early 1990s, Portuguese democracy appeared to be moving to a two-party system consisting of the PSD and the PS. The two parties together won nearly 80 percent of the vote in the 1991 national elections and between them controlled 90 percent of the seats in parliament. As of early 1993, there was no reason to think this dominance would be upset in the near future.
The PSD, in power since early 1980 through coalitions with parties first to its right, then to its left, and then through both minority and majority single-party governments, gradually came to occupy a large place in the middle of the political spectrum. Generally, the PSD held views similar to those advocated by liberal Republicans in the United States. Aníbal Cavaco Silva, the party's leader since 1985, remained very popular with Portuguese voters, and the government he formed after the October 1991 elections was expected to remain in power for the entire legislative period scheduled to end in late 1995.
Portugal's other leading political party, the PS, had lost its early dominance but far outdistanced its nearest rivals, the PCP and the CDS. The PS had been troubled by leadership problems and inept campaigns Since Soares resigned as its head to campaign for the presidency in the mid-1980s. However it renamed dominant in many areas and won the 1989 local elections. The PS had gradually moved to the center of the political spectrum, having long abandoned the fierce advocacy of socialism it held in the mid-1970s. Indeed, by the early 1990s, its positions on main issues were often hard to distinguish from those of the PSD.
To the right of the PSD was the Christian democratic CDS. Long led by its founder Diogo Freitas do Amaral, who nearly won the presidency in 1986, the CDS had seen a steady erosion of support in national elections during the 1980s. The party was last part of a government in early 1983, and only a weakening of the PSD seemed likely to bring it back into power as a coalition partner.
The only major political party that was not regarded as a wholehearted supporter of liberal democracy was the PCP. Parties to its right never saw the PCP as a suitable coalition partner, however, and after the constitution of 1976 became effective, it was never part of any cabinet. The PCP had many supporters in some southern areas, both rural and industrial, but rival parties were making headway even in these traditional strongholds. The PCP remained resolutely Stalinist even into the 1990s, expelling members who sought to reform it. The PCP's share of votes declined during the 1980s, and by the 1991 election it had lost half its support. This decline and an aging membership suggested that the PCP was condemned to political marginality.
Just as the first decade of the Second Republic was marked by frequent political missteps and failures, it was also a very difficult one for Portugal's economy, and in some years there were real declines in both wages and production. This situation was a painful contrast to the accelerated rates of growth between 1960 and 1973 when the Salazar-Caetano regime had allowed partial economic liberalization and increased foreign investment. Growth ended, however, when the revolution's extensive nationalizations and the subsequent mismanagement of the government's large holdings were combined with the global recession caused by the oil price hikes of 1973 and 1979.
Austerity measures undertaken in the mid-1980s and large transfers of financial aid to Portugal by the EC led to a sustained period of growth in the latter half of the 1980s and early 1990s that was among the best among member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Growth was further strengthened by substantial direct foreign investment (US$15 billion in the 1989-92 period) and the government's sales of many companies nationalized during the revolution (nearly US$6 billion in the same period). However favorable these trends were, during the remainder of the 1990s the resourcefulness of Portugal's businesspeople and politicians would be seriously challenged by long-term structural problems in Portugal's economy and its complete opening by 1995 to competition from more efficient rivals in the EC.
Portugal's agricultural sector was only one-half to one- fourth as productive as those of most other EC member states, despite US$2 billion of EC funds that had been invested in modernization efforts between 1986 and the early 1990s. Although nearly one-fifth of the work force was engaged in agriculture in the early 1990s, as much as one-half of the food the country consumed had to be imported. The small fragmented farms of the north were probably too small for efficient farming. Progress had been made in introducing modern methods and equipment to the large estates in the south, many of which had been collective farms for a time, but the sector remained overstaffed and backward as a whole.
The industrial sector consisted of three components: modern foreign-owned plants that produced a large variety of sophisticated products; a large, generally unprofitable state- owned sector, which was often concentrated in heavy industry; and privately owned, often quite small and labor-intensive manufacturing firms that had managed to survive international competition because of protective tariffs and low wages. Modern high-technology companies were likely to continue to prosper in the 1990s. The nationalized sector was being privatized by the Cavaco Silva government, and those companies that appeared to have a promising future found buyers. Portugal's privately owned companies, active in textiles, shoe manufacturing, food processing, and similar activities, were likely to find the 1990s difficult. Often too small to purchase or use modern equipment and unable to learn the latest managerial methods, a good number of these firms might well not survive the decade.
Portugal's service sector was also in the throes of meeting the challenges of the European single market. Tourism remained vital to the country and was being upgraded. The financial sector was being transformed by many foreign firms that had set up companies in Portugal. The many banks the government had nationalized in 1975 were being sold off at a brisk rate in the early 1990s. Portuguese banking as a whole was overstaffed and underautomated, but foreign competition was forcing the sector to strive for greater efficiency.
The government also attempted to deal with legacies of both the Salazar regime and the revolutionary period when it proposed streamlining the state bureaucracy and reforming labor laws. Persistence was needed to deal with the deadening effects of a too large and unresponsive government bureaucracy, which during Salazar's rule had come to regulate much of everyday life and then was expanded in the revolutionary mid-1970s. The bureaucracy took much of the state's resources and through extensive regulation hindered ordinary citizens in their dealings with state authorities and firms in the conduct of their business. Labor laws passed during the revolution made dismissing employees very difficult. Attempts to reform employment methods had had only moderate success and foundered on union resistance. Companies circumvented some of these laws by resorting to fixed- term work contracts, but personnel management practices still had not been put on a wholly rational footing as of the early 1990s.
Portugal needed a well-trained work force in order to fare well in an increasingly competitive world economy. More Portuguese were being educated than ever before, even at the university level, which long had been reserved for a tiny elite. It was estimated, however, that in the early 1990s up to 20 percent of Portuguese over the age of fifteen were illiterate. This illiteracy rate represented a striking improvement over the 1930 rate of 68 percent but was still much higher than the European average. Even at the beginning of the 1990s, most Portuguese had had only five or six years of schooling, and the percentage of children attending school beyond the sixth grade was below the EC average by a wide margin. Morale in the teaching profession was also very low because teachers, like most state employees, were very poorly paid. EC financial transfers to Portugal to raise the standards of the country's education were significant, but much remained to be done before Portuguese schooling corresponded to that of other West European countries.
The severity of the education system's problems was matched by the serious problems found throughout Portugal's social welfare and health systems. A comprehensive social welfare system had been established by law in the second half of the 1970s but never fully realized, and benefit payments and pensions were set at a very low level. Significant progress had been made in reducing infant mortality and dealing with some other health problems, but public health care was not generally up to West European standards. The country's backwardness when measured against the rest of the EC, with the exception of Greece, was striking and could be seen as a legacy of Portugal's long isolation from Europe and the repression of the Salazar regime.
Given the advance made in the two decades after 1974, however, Portuguese had reasons to rejoice. Poverty remained, especially in rural areas, and housing was frequently inadequate, but the population as a whole lived better than ever before. The traditional necessity to emigrate to find employment that had forced millions of Portuguese to leave their country, especially in the 1960s when Paris became the second largest Portuguese city, had lessened greatly. Many Portuguese could now find employment at home, if not in rural regions where emigration was still the rule, then along the coasts where most Portuguese had come to live. The improved economy also gave young Portuguese a greater choice in occupations and a chance for social mobility.
A modernizing society also presented Portuguese with opportunities for a better life. Portuguese society was more varied than it had been during the Salazar period. The free media brought the outside world to the Portuguese and engendered a greater liberality in how people lived. Divorce was permitted in the old regime, but abortion not legalized until 1984, despite the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church, which had become less influential. More Portuguese women worked outside the home. If professional opportunities were not yet as great as those enjoyed by women in Northern Europe, Portuguese women were freer than their mothers. Until 1969, for example, Portuguese women who were not heads of households had to have the permission of their husbands or male relatives to obtain passports. In the new Portugal, in contrast, a government agency existed with the purpose of preventing discrimination against women.
The greatest achievement of the Portuguese people since 1974, however, and the one which had allowed and encouraged other positive developments and permitted confidence about the future, was the consolidation of a system of parliamentary democracy, the first successful such system in the country's history. It was hoped that a modern political system responsive to the people's needs would allow the Portuguese to prepare for the next century in a united Europe.
The Iberian Peninsula is a geographic unit that contains a number of distinct regions based on climate and geomorphology, such as Andalusia, Castile, Galicia, and Lusitania. Lusitania, which now encompasses the modern nation-state of Portugal, is generally set off from the other regions of the peninsula by areas of higher elevation that run parallel to the Atlantic coast, greater rainfall, and a more moderate climate. It was this regional distinctiveness, as well as the internal geography of Lusitania--largely open to the south but hemmed in by mountains on the east and the Atlantic Ocean on the west--that gave rise to a culturally and socially distinct people, the Portuguese, and later to an independent nation-state, Portugal.
Lusitania has been inhabited since the Paleolithic period. Implements made by humans have been found at widely scattered sites. The Ice Ages did not touch Lusitania, and it was only after the disappearance of the Paleolithic hunting cultures that a warmer climate gave rise to a river-centered culture. At the end of the Paleolithic period, about 7000 B.C., the valley of the Tagus River (Portuguese, Rio Tejo) was populated by hunting and fishing tribes, who lived at the mouths of the river's tributaries. These people left huge kitchen middens containing the remains of shellfish and crustaceans, as well as the bones of oxen, deer, sheep, horses, pigs, wild dogs, badgers, and cats. Later, perhaps about 3000 B.C., Neolithic peoples constructed crude dwellings and began to practice agriculture. They used polished stone tools, made ceramics, and practiced a cult of the dead, building many funerary monuments called dolmens. By the end of the Neolithic period, about 2000 B.C., regions of cultural differentiation began to appear among the Stone Age inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula, one of these being the western Megalithic culture. Present-day Portugal is thus rich in Megalithic neocropolises, the best known of which are at Palmela, Alcalar, Reguengos, and Monsaraz.
The Paleolithic and Neolithic periods were followed by the Bronze Age and the Iron Age (probably between 1500 and 1000 B.C.). During this time, the Iberian Peninsula was colonized by various peoples. One of the oldest were the Lígures, about whom little is known. Another were the Iberos, thought to have come from North Africa. The Iberos were a sedentary people who used a primitive plow, wheeled carts, had writing, and made offerings to the dead.
In the twelfth century B.C., Phoenicians arrived on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula in search of metals and founded trading posts at Cádiz, Málaga, and Seville. They traded with the peoples of the interior, taking out silver, copper, and tin and bringing in eastern trade goods. Between the eighth century and sixth century B.C., successive waves of Celtic peoples from central Europe invaded the western part of the peninsula, where the topography and climate were well suited to their herding-farming way of life. They settled there in large numbers and blended in with the indigenous Iberos, giving rise to a new people known as Celtiberians. Their settlements were hilltop forts called castros, of which there are many vestiges in northern Portugal.
Later, during the seventh century B.C., Greeks arrived and founded several colonies, including Sargunto on the Mediterranean coast and Alcácer do Sal on the Atlantic coast. During the fifth century B.C., the Carthaginians replaced the Phoenicians and closed the Straits of Gibraltar to the Greeks. The Carthaginians undertook the conquest of the peninsula but were only able to permanently occupy the territory in the south originally controlled by their Phoenician and Greek predecessors. The Carthaginian occupation lasted until the defeat of Carthage by the Romans in the third century B.C.
The Romans made the former Carthaginian territory into a new province of their expanding empire and conquered and occupied the entire peninsula. This invasion was resisted by the indigenous peoples, the stiffest resistance coming from the Lusitanians who lived in the western part of the peninsula. The Lusitanians were led by warrior chieftains, the most powerful of whom was Viriato. Viriato held up the Roman invasion for several decades until he was murdered in his bed by three of his own people who had been bribed by the Romans. His death brought the Lusitanian resistance to an end, and Rome relatively quickly conquered and occupied the entire peninsula. The Portuguese have claimed Viriato as the country's first great national hero.
After the conquest was completed, the Romans gathered the indigenous peoples into jurisdictions, each with a Roman center of administration and justice. Olissipo (present-day Lisbon-- Lisboa in Portuguese), served as the administrative center of Roman Portugal until the founding of Emerita (present-day Mérida, Spain) in A.D. 25. By the beginning of the first century A.D., Romanization was well underway in southern Portugal. A senate was established at Ebora (present-day Évora); schools of Greek and Latin were opened; industries such as brick making, tile making, and iron smelting were developed; military roads and bridges were built to connect administrative centers; and monuments, such as the Temple of Diana in Évora, were erected. Gradually, Roman civilization was extended to northern Portugal, as well. The Lusitanians were forced out of their hilltop fortifications and settled in bottom lands in Roman towns (citânias).
The citânias were one of the most important institutions imposed on Lusitania during the Roman occupation. It was in the citânias that the Lusitanians acquired Roman civilization: they learned Latin, the lingua franca of the peninsula and the basis of modern Portuguese; they were introduced to Roman administration and religion; and in the third century, when Rome converted to Christianity, so did the Lusitanians. All in all, the Roman occupation left a profound cultural, economic, and administrative imprint on the entire Iberian Peninsula that remains to the present day.
In 406 the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by Germanic peoples consisting of Vandals, Swabians, and Alans, a non-Germanic people of Iranian stock who had attached themselves to the Vandals. Within two years, the invaders had spread to the west coast. The Swabians were primarily herders and were drawn to Galicia because the climate was similar to what they had left behind. The Vandals settled to the north of Galicia but soon left with the remnants of the Alans for the east. After the departure of the Vandals, the Swabians moved southward and settled among the Luso-Romans, who put up no resistance and assimilated them easily. The urban life of the citânias gave way to the Swabian custom of dispersed houses and smallholdings, a pattern that is reflected today in the land tenure pattern of northern Portugal. Roman administration disappeared. The capital of Swabian hegemony was present-day Braga, but some Swabian kings lived in the Roman city of Cale (present-day Porto) at the mouth of the Douro River. The city was a customs post between Galicia and Lusitania. Gradually, the city came to be called Portucale, a compound of portus (port) and Cale. This name also referred to the vast territory to the immediate north and south of the banks of the river upstream from the city.
With large parts of the peninsula now outside their control, the Romans commissioned the Visigoths, the most highly Romanized of the Germanic peoples, to restore Rome's hegemony in 415. The Visigoths forced the Vandals to sail for North Africa and defeated the Swabians. The Swabian kings and their Visigothic overlords held commissions to govern in the name of the emperor; their kingdoms were thus part of the Roman Empire. Latin remained the language of government and commerce. The Visigoths, who had been converted to Christianity in the fifth century, decided to organize themselves into an independent kingdom with their capital at Toledo. The kingdom was based on the principle of absolute monarchy, each sovereign being elected by an assembly of nobles. Visigothic kings convoked great councils made up of bishops and nobles to assist in deciding ecclesiastical and civil matters. Visigoths gradually fused with the Swabians and Hispano-Romans into a single politico-religious entity that lasted until the eighth century, when the Iberian Peninsula fell under Muslim domination.
In 711 Iberia was invaded by a Muslim army commanded by Tariq ibn Ziyad. The last Visigothic king, Rodrigo, tried to repel this invasion but was defeated. The Muslims advanced to Córdoba and then to Toledo, the Visigothic capital. The last resistance of the Visigoths was made at Mérida, which fell in June 713 after a long siege. In the spring of 714, a Muslim army commanded by Musa ibn Nusair marched to Saragossa and then to León and Astorga. Évora, Santarém, and Coimbra fell by 716. Thus, within five years, the Muslims had conquered and occupied the entire peninsula. Only a wedge of wet, mountainous territory in the extreme northwest called Astúrias remained under Christian control.
In Lusitania land was divided among Muslim troops. However, bad crops and a dislike for the wet climate put an end to the short-lived Muslim colonization along the Douro River. Muslims preferred the dry country below the Tagus River because it was more familiar, especially the Algarve, an area of present-day Portugal where the Muslim imprint remains the strongest. The Muslim aristocracy settled in towns and revived urban life; others fanned out across the countryside as small farmers. The Visigothic peasants readily converted to Islam, having only been superficially Christianized. Some Visigothic nobles continued to practice Christianity, but most converted to Islam and were confirmed by the Muslims as local governors. Jews, who were always an important element in the urban population, continued to exercise a significant role in commerce and scholarship.
Al Andalus, as Islamic Iberia was known, flourished for 250 years, under the Caliphate of Córdoba. Nothing in Europe approached Córdoba's wealth, power, culture, or the brilliance of its court. The caliphs founded schools and libraries; they cultivated the sciences, especially mathematics; they introduced arabesque decoration into local architecture; they explored mines; they developed commerce and industry; and they built irrigation systems, which transformed many arid areas into orchards and gardens. Finally, the Muslim domination introduced more than 600 Arabic words into the Portuguese language.
The Golden Age of Muslim domination ended in the eleventh century when local nobles, who had become rich and powerful, began to carve up the caliphate into independent regional city-states (taifas), the most important being the emirates of Badajoz, Mérida, Lisbon, and Évora. These internecine struggles provided an opportunity for small groups of Visigothic Christians, who had taken refuge in the mountainous northwest of the peninsula, to go on the offensive against the Muslims, thus beginning the Christian reconquest of Iberia.
Although their empire had been defeated by the Muslim onslaught, individual Visigothic nobles resisted, taking refuge in the mountain stronghold of Astúrias. As early as 737, the Visigothic noble Pelayo took the offensive and defeated the Muslims at Covadonga, for which he was proclaimed king of Astúrias, later León. Subsequent kings of Astúrias-León, who claimed succession from Visigothic monarchs, were able to retake Braga, Porto, Viseu, and Guimarães in northern Portugal, where they settled Christians around strongholds. For 200 years, this region was a buffer zone across which the frontier between Christians and Muslims shifted back and forth with the ebb and flow of attack and counterattack.
The creation of Portugal as an independent monarchy is clearly associated with the organization of the military frontier against the Muslims in this area. This buffer zone between Christian and Muslim territory was constantly being reorganized under counts appointed by the kings of León. The territory known as Portucalense was made a province of León and placed under the control of counts, who governed with a substantial degree of autonomy because of the province's separation from León by rugged mountains.
In 1096 Alfonso VI, king of León, gave hereditary title to the province of Portucalense and Coimbra as dowry to the crusader-knight Henry, brother of the duke of Burgundy, upon his marriage to the king's illegitimate but favorite daughter, Teresa. Although Henry was to be sovereign in Portucalense, it was recognized by all parties that he held this province as a vassal of the Leonese king. Henry set up his court at Guimarães near Braga. He surrounded himself with local barons, appointed them to the chief provincial offices, and rewarded them with lands. Bound by the usual ties of vassal to suzerain, Henry was expected to be loyal to Alfonso and render him service whenever required. Until Alfonso's death in 1109, Henry dutifully carried out his feudal obligations by attending royal councils and providing military assistance in the king's campaigns against the Muslims. Alfonso's death plunged the kingdom of León into a civil war among Aragonese, Galician, and Castilian barons who desired the crown. Count Henry carefully stayed neutral during this struggle and gradually stopped fulfilling his feudal obligations. When he died in 1112, his wife, Teresa, inherited the county and initially followed her husband's policy of nonalignment.
The victor in the struggle for the Leonese crown was Alfonso VII, who, when he ascended the throne, decided to assert his suzerainity over Teresa, his aunt, and her consort, a Galician nobleman named Fernando Peres. Teresa refused to do homage and was forced into submission after a six-week war in 1127. Her barons, who saw their fortunes and independence declining, took this opportunity to align themselves with her son and the heir to the province, Afonso Henriques, who had armed himself as a knight. Supported by the barons and lower nobility, Afonso Henriques rebelled against his mother's rule. On July 24, 1128, he defeated Teresa's army at São Mamede near Guimarães and expelled her to Galicia, where she died in exile. Afonso Henriques thus gained control of the province of Portucalense, or Portugal, as it was known in the vernacular.
Afonso Henriques was a robust, visionary young man of about twenty years of age when he acquired control of the province of Portugal. He was anxious to free himself from León and establish his own kingdom. Consequently, he invaded Galicia and defeated Fernando Peres and the Galician barons at the Battle of Cerneja. This action brought a response from Alfonso VII, who had in the meantime proclaimed himself emperor. He ordered the Galician barons to make war on Afonso Henriques, who, threatened by Muslims from the south recently reinvigorated by the Almohads from Morocco, made peace with Alfonso VII in 1137 at Tuy.
After the peace of Tuy, Afonso Henriques temporarily turned his attention to the Muslim threat in the south. In 1139 he struck deep into the heart of Al Andalus and defeated a Muslim army at Ourique, a place in the Alentejo. After this battle, Afonso Henriques began to be referred to in documents as king. In 1140 he renewed his claim on southern Galicia, which he invaded. This again sparked a reaction by Alfonso VII who, in return, marched on Portugal. The two armies met at Arcos de Valdevez and engaged in a joust won by the Portuguese knights. Afonso Henriques's self-proclamation as king was finally recognized in 1143 at the Conference of Samora when Alfonso VII recognized him as such, although, because he was an emperor, Alfonso VII still considered Afonso Henriques his vassal.
Afonso Henriques was a brilliant military commander and during his reign reconquered more Muslim territory than any other of the Christian kings on the peninsula. He established his capital at Coimbra, and as early as 1135 he built a castle at Leiria. In 1147 he took advantage of a series of religious rebellions among the Muslims, and, with the help of a passing fleet of English, Flemish, and German crusaders bound for Palestine, captured Lisbon after a seventeen-week siege. Continued internecine fighting among the Muslims, Lisbon's strategic location, and additional help from passing fleets of crusaders eventually allowed Afonso Henriques to advance across the Tagus and capture and hold large sections of the Alentejo. As a result of this vigorous prosecution of the reconquest, the pope officially recognized Afonso Henriques as king of Portugal in 1179 and granted him all conquered lands over which neighboring kings could not prove rights. At his death in 1185, Afonso Henriques had carved out an officially recognized Christian kingdom that extended well into Muslim Iberia.
Sancho I (r.1185-1211), Afonso Henriques's son and heir, continued to enlarge the realm. In 1189 he captured the Muslim castle at Alvor, the city of Silves, and the castle at Albufeira. These territories however, were retaken by the Muslims and had to be reconquered by his son and heir, Afonso II (r.1211-23). With the help of his brother-in-law, Alfonso VIII of Castile, Afonso retook territory in the Alentejo, fighting major battles at Navas de Tolosa in 1212 and Alcácer do Sal in 1217. Sancho II (r.1223-48) conquered additional territory in the Alentejo and carried the reconquest into the Algarve, where Muslim armies were defeated at Tavira and Cacela in 1238. The reconquest was completed by Afonso III (r.1248-79) in 1249 when he attacked and defeated an isolated enclave of Muslims ensconced at Faro in the Algarve. This last battle, which extended Portuguese territory to the sea, established the approximate territorial limits Portugal has had ever since.
The rapid advance of Afonso Henriques from Coimbra to Lisbon created a vast, relatively uninhabited tract of land between north and south. The repopulation of this deserted territory with Christian settlers began immediately. Afonso Henriques invited many of the crusaders to remain after the siege of Lisbon and granted them lands, especially at Atouguia and Lourinhã, as payment for their help. In addition, Sancho I directed most of his time and energy to settling the new monarchy, for which he is known as The Populator (O Povoador). He sent agents abroad, especially to Burgundy, the land of his ancestors, to recruit colonists, who settled at various places, but especially at Vila dos Francos (present-day Azambuja). Such communities spread rapidly throughout the realm thanks to the protection of the king, who saw in them not only a way to populate the kingdom but also a way to diminish the power of the nobility.
The vacant territory between north and south was also filled by various monastic orders, including the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Benedictines. The Roman Catholic Church granted charters to the orders to build monasteries and cultivate the surrounding land. The most successful of these orders were the Benedictines, who built a monastery at Alcobaça and planted the surrounding land in orchards that remain to this day. This monastery grew to over 5,000 monks and occupied a huge territory stretching from Leiria in the north to Óbidos in the south, including the port-town of Pederneira (present-day Nazaré).
In the valley of the Tagus and to the south, settling communities of unarmed colonists was too dangerous; therefore, early Portuguese kings called upon religious-military orders to fortify, cultivate, and defend this territory. Founded in the early twelfth century to wage war against infidels and protect pilgrims, these religious orders of knights had become powerful in the Holy Land and in many areas of Europe. Several orders of knight-monks were given huge tracts of land in the Tagus Valley and the Alentejo as recompense for their military service to the king at a time when he had no standing army on which to rely. The most successful of these knight-monks was the Order of the Templars, which was granted territory on the Zêzere River (Rio Zêzere), a tributary of the Tagus, where they built a fortified monastery in Templar fashion at Tomar. The Templar domain gradually grew to encompass territory from Tomar in the north to Santarém in the south and as far west as the lands of the Benedictines at Alcobaça. As more territory in the Alentejo was reconquered, additional orders were granted tracts of land to defend and cultivate. The Order of the Hospitallers was given land surrounding Crato; the Order of the Calatravans (later Avis) was established at Évora; and the Order of the Knights of Saint James was given lands at Palmela.
Afonso Henriques and subsequent Portuguese kings ruled by divine right until a constitutional monarchy was established in the early nineteenth century. The early kings were assisted by a royal council composed of the king's closest advisers and friends from among the higher nobility and clergy. The royal council was staffed by a number of functionaries, such as the chancellor, who kept the royal seal and was the highest official in the land; the notary, who gave advice on legal matters; the scribe, who wrote the king's letters and documents (many early kings were illiterate); and the majordomo, who commanded the king's household guard.
When questions of exceptional importance arose, the king would convoke the cortes, an expanded royal council that brought together representatives of the three estates of the realm: nobility, clergy, and commoners. The first such cortes was called in 1211 at Coimbra in order to legitimate the succession of Afonso II, Afonso Henriques's grandson, to the throne, as well as to approve certain laws of the realm. After the Cortes of Leiria, which was convoked in 1254 by Afonso III, representatives of the self-governing settler communities began to attend. Cortes were convoked at the king's will and were limited to advising on issues raised by the king and presenting petitions and complaints. Resolutions passed by the cortes did not have the force of law unless they were countersigned by the king. Later, the cortes came to limit the power of the king somewhat, but gradually the monarchy became absolute. The cortes was convoked less and less frequently, and in 1697 it stopped being called altogether.
As to territorial administration, northern Portugal was subdivided into estates (terras), each a quasi-autonomous political and economic unit of feudal suzerainity governed by a nobleman (donatário) whose title to the land was confirmed by the king. Religious administration was carried out by the Roman Catholic Church, which divided the north into bishoprics and parishes. In the south, administration was the responsibility of the military orders: Templars, Hospitallers, Calatravans, and Knights of Saint James. In the center, administration fell to the monastic orders: Benedictines, Franciscans, and Dominicans. The towns and communities of settlers, as well as a certain amount of land around them, were owned by the king, who was responsible for regulating them.
The settler communities (concelhos) were each recognized by a royal franchise, which granted local privileges, set taxes, specified rights of self-government, and controlled the relationship among the crown, the concelho, and the donatário, if the community was located within a terra. Each concelho governed itself through an assembly chosen from among its resident "good men" (homens-bons); that is, freemen not subject to the jurisdiction of the church, the local donatário, or the special statutes governing Muslims and Jews. Each concelho was administered by a local magistrate, who was assisted by several assessors selected from among the homens-bons of the assembly. The tutelary power of the king was represented by an official (alcalde) appointed by the king, who was empowered to intervene in local matters on the king's behalf when necessary to ensure justice and good administration. The degree of self-government of these communities gradually declined as the monarchy became increasingly centralized.
During its formative stages, Portugal had three social classes: clergy, nobility, and commoners. By virtue of the religious fervor of the times, the clergy was the predominant class. It was the most learned, the wealthiest, and occupied the highest office in the realm: the chancellorship. The clergy comprised two categories; the bishops and parish priests of the regular church hierarchy and the abbots and monks of the religious and military orders. These two categories were divided into the higher clergy (bishops and abbots) and low clergy (priests and monks). The clergy enjoyed various privileges and rights, such as judgment in ecclesiastical courts according to canon law, exemption from taxes, and the right to asylum from civil authorities within their churches.
The next social class, the nobility, owed its privileged position above all to its collaboration with the king in the reconquest. The highest level among the nobility was made up of the "rich men" (homens-ricos) who owned the largest feudal estates, had private armies, and had jurisdiction over great expanses of territory. Below them were the lesser nobility, who held smaller estates and were entrusted with the defense of castles and towns but did not have private armies or administrative jurisdiction. Below the lesser nobility were the highest class of free commoners, the villein-knights, who maintained their own horses and weaponry, serving the king as required. These knights were often encouraged to settle in or near the colonial communities of the frontier where they were granted special privileges and organized raids against the Muslims for their own profit.
The commoners formed the bottom of the social strata. Among them the serfs were the lowest group. The most numerous group, they were bound by heredity to the estates of the crown, nobility, and clergy, where they were occupied in agriculture, stockraising, and village crafts. Serfs could become free by serving as colonists in the underpopulated territories in the south. The second lowest group consisted of the clients, that is, freemen who did not own property and received protection from an overlord in exchange for service. Above the clients were the villein-knights, who formed a stratum that merged the commoners with the nobility. Finally, outside the basic social structure were the slaves, usually Muslim captives, who tilled the lands of the military orders in the Alentejo.
Disputes over land ownership became an increasing source of conflict between the crown and the upper nobility and clergy. Land ownership was important because the crown's main source of revenue was taxes from the great estates and tithes from lands owned directly by the king. But in medieval Portugal, hereditary title to land did not exist in any developed legal form. As the original grants of land were obscured by passing years, many of the upper nobility and clergy of the church came to believe that they held their land by hereditary right. Thus, each time a new king ascended the throne, the crown had to review land grants and titles in order to assert its authority and reclaim land removed from the king's patrimony.
The first king to confront this problem was Afonso II, who discovered when he ascended the throne in 1211 that his father, Sancho I, had willed much of the royal patrimony to the church. In 1216, after a lengthy legal battle between the crown and the Holy See over various provisions of Sancho's will, the pope recognized Afonso II's right to maintain the royal patrimony intact. From 1216 until 1221, the Portuguese crown asserted this general right by requiring those who had received donations from previous kings to apply for letters of confirmation. The crown thus created the power to review grants to nobles and ecclesiastical bodies.
The process of confirmation was carried a step further when the king appointed royal commissions authorized to investigate land ownership, especially in the north where much of the feudal land tenure predated the creation of the monarchy. These inquiries, as they were called, gathered evidence from the oldest, most experienced residents in each locale without consulting local nobles or church officials. They revealed a large number of abuses and improper extensions of boundaries, as well as conspiracies to defraud the crown of income. The first inquiry found that the church was the biggest expropriator of royal property. The archbishop of Braga, angered by the activities of the commissions, excommunicated Afonso II in 1219. The king responded by seizing church property and forcing the archbishop to flee Portugal for Rome. In 1220 the pope confirmed the king's excommunication and relieved him of his oath of fealty to the Holy See. This dispute between church and crown ended temporarily when the excommunicated king died in 1223 and his chancellor arranged an ecclesiastical burial in exchange for the return of the seized church property and the promise that future inquiries would respect canon law.
The conflict between the church and crown concerning property was finally resolved during the reign of King Dinis (r.1279-1325). In 1284 Dinis launched a new round of inquiries and in the following year promulgated deamortization laws, which prohibited the church and religious orders from buying property and required that they sell all property purchased since the beginning of his reign. For this action against the church, Dinis, like his father and grandfather, was excommunicated. This time, however, the king refused to pledge obedience to the pope and established once and for all the power of the Portuguese crown to regulate and control the royal patrimony.
This power allowed Dinis to nationalize the most powerful and wealthy of the military-religious orders. The Calatravans, founded in Castile, had in effect become Portuguese when the town of Avis was bestowed upon them by Afonso and they became known as the Order of Avis. In 1288 the Knights of Saint James, also of Castilian origin, became Portuguese when the order elected its own master. In 1312, as the result of an investigation into the activities of the Templars, Pope Clement V suppressed this order and transferred their vast properties in Portugal to the Hospitallers. Dinis was able to prevail upon the pope to give this wealth to a newly founded Portuguese military-religious order called the Order of Christ, which was initially situated at Castro Marim but was later moved to Tomar. After nationalization, most of these orders became chivalric bodies of quasi-celibate landowners. The Order of Avis, however, remained on a war footing and contributed significantly to Portugal's independence from Castile. The Order of Christ also remained a military-religious order, and its wealth was later used by Prince Henry the Navigator to pay for the voyages of discovery.
Having established the boundaries of the national territory, asserted their authority over the church and nobility, and gained control over the resources of the military orders, Portuguese kings began to turn their attention to the economic, cultural, and political development of the realm. This was especially true of King Dinis, who is referred to by the Portuguese as The Farmer (O Lavrador) because of his policies designed to encourage agricultural development. He decreed that nobles would not lose their standing if they drained wetlands, settled colonists, and planted pine forests. The pine forests were to produce timber for the shipbuilding industry, which Dinis also encouraged, the crown having already at that time begun to look toward the sea for future fields of conquest.
Dinis chartered many settlements of colonists on lands conquered from the Muslims and authorized the holding of fairs and markets in each of these, thereby creating a national economy. He laid the basis for Portugal's naval tradition by bringing the Genoese, Emmanuele Pessagno (Manuel Peçanha in Portuguese) to Portugal in 1317 to be the hereditary admiral of the Portuguese navy. Maritime commerce was encouraged when Dinis negotiated an agreement with Edward II of England in 1303 that permitted Portuguese ships to enter English ports and guaranteed security and trading privileges for Portuguese merchants. Dinis provided the impetus for the development of Portuguese as a national language when he decreed that all official documents of the realm were to be written in the vernacular. Finally, Dinis stimulated learning when, in 1290, he founded an academic center similar to the "General Studies" centers that had been created in León and Aragon. In 1308 this center was moved to Coimbra where it remained, except for a brief time between from 1521 to 1537, and became the University of Coimbra, Portugal's premier institution of higher learning.
Afonso IV (r.1325-1357) continued his father's development policies. He also improved the administration of justice by dismissing corrupt local judges and replacing them with judges he appointed. When a large Muslim army landed on the peninsula in 1340, Afonso IV allied himself with the king of Castile, Alfonso XI, and the king of Aragon in order to do battle against this threat to the Christian kingdoms. Afonso sent a fleet commanded by Manuel Peçanha to Cádiz and marched overland himself to meet the Muslim army, which was destroyed at the Battle of Salado.
When Afonso's grandson and heir, Fernando I (r.1367-83), ascended the throne, the economic productivity of the country had been so greatly disrupted by the plague that ravaged the country in 1348 and 1349 that he found it necessary to take measures to stimulate food production. In 1375 he promulgated a decree, called the Law of the Sesmarias, which obliged all landowners to cultivate unused land or sell or rent it to someone who would. The law also obligated all who had no useful occupation to work the land. This decree had its intended effect and led to the rebuilding of the country's wealth. Fernando also stimulated the development of the Portuguese merchant fleet by allowing all shipbuilders who constructed ships of more than 100 tons to cut timber from the royal forests and by exempting the owners of these ships from the full tax on the exports and imports of their first voyage. He also established a maritime insurance company into which owners of merchant ships of more than fifty tons paid 2 percent of their profits and from which they received compensation for shipwrecks.
When Fernando died in 1383, he left no male heir to the throne. His only daughter, Beatriz, was married to Juan I, king of Castile. The marriage writ stipulated that their offspring would inherit the Portuguese crown if Fernando left no male heir and that, until any children were born, Portugal would be ruled by a regency of Fernando's widow, Leonor Teles. When Fernando died, Leonor assumed the regency in accordance with the marriage writ. The assumption of the regency by the queen was badly received in many Portuguese cities because Leonor was a Castilian and considered an interloper who intended to usurp the Portuguese crown for Castile and end Portugal's independence. Leonor's principal rival for control of the throne was João, the master of the Order of Avis and illegitimate son of Fernando's father, Pedro I (r.1357-67). On December 6, 1383, João broke into the royal palace and murdered Count Andeiro, a Galician who had been Fernando's chancellor. Leonor Teles fled to the town of Alenquer, the property of the queens of Portugal. She appealed to Juan I for help, and he invaded Portugal in January 1384. Leonor abdicated as regent. In Lisbon the people proclaimed João to be the governor and defender of the realm. João immediately began to prepare an army and sent a mission to England to recruit soldiers for his cause.
The bourgeoisie of <"http://worldfacts.us/Portugal-Lisbon.htm">Lisbon, enriched by commerce, decided to support João and donated substantial sums for war expenses. Money also arrived from the bourgeoisie in Porto, Coimbra, and Évora. The majority of the nobility, among whom national sentiment was not well developed and feudal customs based on oaths of vassalage were still obeyed, took the side of Juan of Castile, which gave him the support of fifty castles. A few nobles, however, including Álvaro Pais, João Afonso, and Nun'Álvares Pereira, were more attuned to national sentiment and sided with João.
In March 1384, Juan marched on Lisbon, which he besieged by land and sea. In April, in the Alentejo, Nun'Álvares Pereira defeated the Castilians at the Battle of Atoleiros, a victory that resulted from the new military tactic of forming defensive squares from dismounted cavalry because the Portuguese had far fewer troops than the enemy. The siege of Lisbon was broken after seven months by an outbreak of the plague in the Castilian camp, and Juan retreated to Seville to prepare another invasion the following year.
The retreat of the Castilians gave João an opportunity to legitimate his claim to the throne. In March 1385, a cortes was summoned to resolve the succession. João's case was argued by João das Regras, who attacked the claims of the various pretenders to the throne. On April 6, the opposition ended and João was proclaimed king as João I (r. 1385-1433). The new king named Nun'Álvares Pereira constable of Portugal. At the same time, a contingent of English longbowmen began to arrive. Nun'Álvares Pereira marched north in order to obtain the submission of Braga, Guimarães, and other places loyal to Juan, who responded by sending an army to attack Viseu. The Portuguese routed this Castilian force at Rancoso using the same new military tactic that brought them victory at Atoleiros. Juan, nonetheless, was still intent on besieging Lisbon and led his army southward. João I and Nun'Álvares Pereira decided to engage Juan's army before it arrived in the capital. The two armies met on the plain of Aljubarrota about sixty kilometers north of Lisbon on August 14, 1385. Using the same tactic of defensive squares of dismounted cavalry that had brought them success in previous battles, a force of 7,000 Portuguese annihilated and scattered a Castilian army of 32,000 in little more than thirty minutes of combat. Although additional battles were fought and final peace was not made with Castile until October 1411, the Battle of Aljubarrota secured the independence of Portugal for almost two centuries.
English aid to the House of Avis set the stage for the cooperation with England that would be the cornerstone of Portuguese foreign policy for more than 500 years. In May 1386, the Treaty of Windsor confirmed the alliance that was born at Aljubarrota with a pact of perpetual friendship between the two countries. The next year, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III, and father of Henry IV, landed in Galicia with an expeditionary force to press his claim to the Castilian throne with Portuguese aid. He failed to win the support of the Castilian nobility and returned to England with a cash compensation from the rival claimant.
John of Gaunt left behind his daughter, Philippa of Lancaster, to marry João I in order to seal the Anglo-Portuguese alliance. By this marriage, celebrated in 1387, João became the father of a generation of princes called by the poet, Luís de Camões, the "marvelous generation," who led Portugal into its golden age. Philippa brought to the court the Anglo-Norman tradition of an aristocratic education and gave her children good educations. Her personal qualities were of the highest, and she reformed the court and imposed rigid standards of moral behavior. Philippa provided royal patronage for English commercial interests that sought to meet the Portuguese desire for cod and cloth in return for wine, cork, salt, and oil shipped through the English warehouses at Porto. Her eldest son, Duarte, authored moral works and became king in 1433; Pedro, who traveled widely and had an interest in history, became regent when Duarte died of the plague in 1438; Fernando, who became a crusader, participated in the attack on Tangiers in 1437; and Henrique--Prince Henry the Navigator--became the master of the Order of Avis and the instigator and organizer of the early voyages of discovery.
The crisis of 1383-85 that brought João I to the throne was not only a dynastic revolution; it was a social one, as well. João I distrusted the old aristocracy that had opposed his rise to power and promoted the growth of a new generation of nobility by confiscating the titles and properties of the old and distributing them to the new, thus forming a new nobility based on service to the king.
João rewarded the urban bourgeoisie that had supported his cause by giving it positions and influence and by allowing it to send representatives to the king's royal council. Artisans grouped themselves according to professions into guilds and were permitted to send delegates to the governing chamber of Lisbon, where they were actively involved in the administration of the capital and other cities. The king also surrounded himself with skilled legalists who professionalized royal administration and extended royal jurisdiction at the expense of the old aristocracy. This new class of bureaucrats, having studied Roman law at the university, defended the Caesarist principle that the will of the king had the force of law. This belief encouraged the later development of absolutism in Portugal and pitted the king against the landed nobility, especially the old aristocracy that wished to regain its lost power and privilege.
The future of the House of Avis seemed assured by the presence of João's five legitimate sons, but the king also provided for his illegitimate children as he had been provided for by his father. João conferred on his bastard son Afonso the hereditary title of duke of Bragança and endowed him with lands and properties that amounted to the creation of a state within a state supported by a huge reserve of armed retainers. The House of Bragança accumulated wealth to rival that of the crown and eventually assumed the leadership of the old aristocracy in opposition to Avis.
When João I died in 1433, the crown was assumed by his eldest son, Duarte, who died five years later of the plague. Before his death, Duarte convoked a cortes in order to legitimate the compilation of Portuguese royal law, but the work was not completed until the reign of his son, Afonso, and is, therefore, named the Afonsine Ordinances. He also declared that the grants of land so lavishly awarded by his father to his supporters would have to be confirmed, as was the custom at the start of each reign.
Afonso was six years old when his father died and his mother, Queen Leonor of Aragon, assumed the regency. There was opposition to the assumption of all authority by a woman, and Leonor agreed that Duarte's brother, Pedro, should become regent. This was opposed by Afonso, duke of Bragança, the eldest illegitimate son of João I. Both men aspired to gain influence over the young king by marrying him to their daughters. The populace of Lisbon strongly favored Pedro and acknowledged him as regent. Pedro received confirmation for his regency by summoning the cortes at Évora and paved the way for his continuance in power by arranging the marriage of his daughter Isabel to the young king, who, when he reached his majority in 1446, agreed to the match and asked his uncle to continue the regency.
The duke of Bragança reasserted his ambitions and was able to influence the young king to dismiss Pedro by convincing him that his uncle was plotting to seize the throne. Pedro was banished to his estates. When rumors of a plot against him surfaced, he decided to resist and marched on Lisbon, where he had the support of the populace. Pedro was met by the troops of the king and the duke of Bragança at the Battle of Alfarrobeira on May 24, 1449, where he was killed and his army defeated. This battle resulted in the enlargement of the property and wealth of the illegitimate line of the House of Avis, which allowed it to enjoy enormous influence over the pliable Afonso V until his death in 1481.
When Afonso's son and heir, João II (r.1481-95), assumed the throne, the power of the Braganças and their supporters had reached its height. The new king, who was more resolute than his father, convoked a cortes at Évora, where he imposed a new written oath by which nobles swore upon their knees to give up to the king any castle or town they held from the crown. At Évora commoners complained about the abuses of the nobility and asked for the abolition of private justice and the correction of abuses in the collection of taxes. The king ordered that all nobles present their titles of privilege and that his constables be admitted to their estates in order to investigate complaints concerning administration.
These measures provoked a reaction by the nobility led by the powerful Fernando, duke of Bragança, who conspired against the king with the help of the king of Castile. Upon learning of the intrigues of Fernando, the king accused the duke of treason and tried him at a special court in Évora. He was sentenced to death and beheaded in the main square on June 29, 1484. The king confiscated his properties and those of his accomplices, some of whom were also killed, while others fled Portugal. A second conspiracy was hatched by the duke of Viseu, but it, too, was discovered, and the duke was killed, perhaps by the king himself, in Setúbal. These events established the supremacy of the crown over the nobility once and for all.
The maritime expansion of Portugal was the result of the threat to Mediterranean commerce that had developed very rapidly after the crusades, especially the trade in spices. Spices traveled by various overland routes from Asia to the Levant, where they were loaded aboard Genoese and Venetian ships and brought to Europe. Gradually, this trade became threatened by pirates and the Turks, who closed off most of the overland routes and subjected the spices to heavy taxes. Europeans sought alternative routes to Asia in order to circumvent these difficulties.
The Portuguese led the way in this quest for a number of reasons. First, Portugal's location on the southwesternmost edge of the European landmass placed the country at the maritime crossroads between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Second, Portugal was by the fifteenth century a compact, unified kingdom led by an energetic, military aristocracy, which, having no more territory on the peninsula to conquer, sought new fields of action overseas. Third, Portuguese kings were motivated by a deeply held belief that their role in history was as the standard-bearers of Christianity against the Muslims. Fourth, Portugal's kings had, since the founding of the monarchy, encouraged maritime activities. Dinis founded the Portuguese navy, and Fernando encouraged the construction of larger ships and founded a system of maritime insurance. Finally, Portugal led the world in nautical science, having perfected the astrolabe and quadrant and developed the lantine-rigged caravel, all of which made navigating and sailing the high seas possible.
Portugal's maritime expansion began in 1415 when João I seized Ceuta in Morocco, the western depot for the spice trade. The military campaign against Ceuta was launched for several reasons. First, war in Morocco was seen as a new crusade against the Muslims that would stand Portugal well with the church. Second, there was a need to suppress Moroccan pirates who were threatening Portuguese ships. Third, the Portuguese wanted the economic benefit that controlling Ceuta's vast market would bring to the crown. Finally, the campaign against Ceuta was seen as preparatory to an attack on Muslims still holding Granada. The possession of Ceuta allowed the Portuguese to dominate the Straits of Gibraltar.
After the conquest of Ceuta, Prince Henry the Navigator, who had participated in the campaign as an armed knight, settled at Sagres on the extreme end of Cape St. Vincent, where in 1418 he founded a naval school. He continued to direct Portugal's early maritime activity. As the master of the Order of Christ, Prince Henry was able to draw on the vast resources of this group to equip ships and pay the expenses of the early maritime expeditions. Prince Henry was motivated by scientific curiosity and religious fervor, seeing the voyages as a continuation of the crusades against the Muslims and the conversion of new peoples to Christianity, as well as by the desire to open a sea route to India.
Shortly after establishing his school, two of Prince Henry's captains discovered the island of Porto Santo, and the following year the Madeira Islands were discovered. In 1427 Diogo de Silves, sailing west, discovered the Azores archipelago, also uninhabited. Both Madeira and Porto Santo were colonized immediately and divided into captaincies. These were distributed to Prince Henry's captains, who in turn had the power to distribute land to settlers according to the Law of the Sesmarias.
Prince Henry's plan required the circumnavigation of Africa. His early voyages stayed close to the African coast. After repeated attempts, Gil Eanes finally rounded Cape Bojador on the west coast of Africa in present-day Western Sahara in 1434, a psychological, as well as physical, barrier that was thought to be the outer boundary of the knowable world. After passing Cape Bojador, the exploration of the coast southward proceeded very rapidly. In 1436 Gil Eanes and Afonso Baldaia arrived at the Senegal River, which they called the River of Gold when two Africans they had captured were ransomed with gold dust. In 1443 Nuno Tristão arrived at the Bay of Arguin off the coast of present-day Mauritania. These voyages returned African slaves to Portugal, which sparked an interest in the commercial value of the explorations, and a factory was established at Arguin as an entrepôt for human cargo. In 1444 Dinis Dias discovered the Cape Verde Islands, then heavily forested, and Nuno Tristão explored the mouth of the Senegal River. In 1445 Cape Verde was rounded, and in 1456 Portuguese arrived at the coast of present-day Guinea. The following year, they reached present-day Sierra Leone. Thus, when Prince Henry died in 1460, the Portuguese had explored the coast of Africa down to Sierra Leone and discovered the archipelagoes of Madeira, the Azores, and the Cape Verde Islands.
After the death of Prince Henry, the Portuguese continued to explore the coast of Africa, but without their earlier singleness of purpose. A dispute had arisen among the military aristocracy over whether Portugal could best achieve its strategic objectives by conquering Morocco or by seeking a sea route to India. Duarte had continued his father's Moroccan policy and undertook a military campaign against Tangiers but was unsuccessful. Afonso V ordered several expeditionary forces to Morocco. In 1458 he conquered Alcázarquivir; in 1471 he took Arzila, followed by Tangiers and Larache. Afonso's successors continued this policy of expansion in Morocco, especially Manuel I (r.1495-1521), who conquered Safim and Azamor. The Moroccan empire was expensive because it kept Portugal in a constant state of war; therefore, it was abandoned by João III (r.1521-57), except for Ceuta and Tangiers.
In 1469 Afonso V granted to Fernão Gomes a monopoly of trade with Guinea for five years if he agreed to explore 100 leagues (about 500 kilometers) of coast each year. A number of expeditions were carried out under this contract. In 1471 Portuguese sailors reached Mina de Ouro on the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana) and explored Cape St. Catherine, two degrees south of the equator. Mina de Ouro became the chief center for the gold trade and a major source of revenue for the crown. The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe were also discovered in 1471, and Fernão do Pó discovered the island that now bears his name in 1474.
During the reign of João II, the crown once again took an active role in the search for a sea route to India. In 1481 the king ordered a fort constructed at Mina de Ouro to protect this potential source of wealth. Diogo Cão sailed further down the African coast in the period 1482-84. In 1487 a new expedition led by Bartolomeu Dias sailed south beyond the tip of Africa and, after having lost sight of land for a month, turned north and made landfall on a northeast-running coastline, which was named Terra dos Vaqueiros after the native herders and cows that were seen on shore. Dias had rounded the Cape of Good Hope without seeing it and proved that the Atlantic connected to the Indian Ocean.
In the meantime, João sent Pêro da Covilhã and Afonso de Paiva, who were versed in warfare, diplomacy, and Arabic, on a mission in search of the mythical Christian kingdom of Prester John. Departing from Santarém, they traveled to Barcelona, Naples, and the island of Rhodes, and, disguised as merchants, entered Alexandria. Passing through Cairo, they made their way to Aden, where they separated and agreed to meet later in Cairo at a certain date. Afonso de Paiva went to Ethiopia, and Pêro da Covilhã headed for Calicut and Goa in India by way of Ormuz, returning to Cairo via Sofala in Mozambique on the east coast of Africa. In Cairo he learned from two emissaries sent by João II that Afonso de Paiva had died. One of the emissaries returned to Portugal with a letter containing the information Pêro da Covilhã had collected on his travels. Da Covilhã then left for Ethiopia where he was received by the emperor but not allowed to leave. He settled in Ethiopia, married, and raised a family. The information provided in his letter complemented the information from the expedition of Bartolomeu Dias and convinced João II that it was possible to reach India by sailing around the southern end of Africa. He died during preparations for this voyage in 1494.
Manuel I assumed the throne in 1495 and completed the preparations for the voyage to India. On July 8, 1497, a fleet of four ships commanded by Vasco da Gama set sail from Belém on the outskirts of Lisbon. The expedition was very carefully organized, each ship having the best captains and pilots, as well as handpicked crews. They carried the most up-to-date nautical charts and navigational instruments. Vasco da Gama's fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope on November 27, 1497, and made landfall at Natal in present-day South Africa on December 25. The fleet then proceeded along the east coast of Africa and landed at Quelimane in present-day Mozambique in January 1498, followed by Mombasa in present-day Kenya. An Arab pilot directed the fleet to India. After sailing for a month, the fleet reached Calicut on the Malabar coast in southwest India. In August, after sailing to Goa, the fleet left for Portugal, arriving in September 1499, two years and two days after the departure.
In 1500 Manuel organized a large fleet of thirteen ships for a second voyage to India. This fleet was commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral and included Bartolomeu Dias, various nobles, priests, and some 1,200 men. The fleet sailed southwest for a month, and on April 22 sighted land, the coast of present-day Brazil. Cabral sent a ship back to Lisbon to report to Manuel his discovery, which he called Vera Cruz. The fleet recrossed the Atlantic and sailed to India around Africa where it arrived on September 13, 1500. After four months in India, Cabral sailed for Lisbon in January 1501, having left a contingent of Portuguese to maintain a factory at Cochin on the Malabar coast.
Having discovered the sea route to India, Manuel organized successive fleets to that region in order to establish Portuguese commercial hegemony. In 1505 Francisco de Almeida left Lisbon with a fleet of 22 ships and 2,500 men, 1,500 of whom were soldiers. Invested with the title of viceroy of India, Almeida was instructed to conclude alliances with Indian rulers, set up factories, and build forts on the east coast of Africa, which he did at Mombasa and at Kilwa in present-day Tanzania before arriving in India. After his arrival, he fortified the island of Angediva and Cochin. He imposed a system of licenses on trading vessels that threatened to ruin the Muslim traders, who reacted by seeking spices in Malacca in present-day Malaysia and the Sunda Islands in the Malay Archipelago and sailing directly to the Persian Gulf, bypassing India.
Almeida sought to suppress this trade and secure Portuguese commercial hegemony. He was joined in this effort by two more fleets sent from Lisbon, one under the command of Tristão da Cunha and the other under Afonso de Albuquerque, who had been appointed Almeida's successor as viceroy. Cunha explored Madagascar and the coast of east Africa, occupied the island of Socotra (now part of Yemen), and built a fort at the mouth of the Red Sea, before sailing to India. Albuquerque ravaged the Oman coast and attacked Ormuz, the great entrepôt at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, where he began constructing a fort.
The activities of the Portuguese motivated the Muslims to take military action. The sultan of Egypt, allied with the Venetians and Turks, organized a large armada that crossed the Indian Ocean to Diu, where it was engaged by a Portuguese fleet. On February 2, 1509, a great sea battle was fought and the sultan's armada destroyed. This victory assured Portuguese commercial and military hegemony over India and allowed Portugal to extend its empire to the Far East.
Albuquerque established his capital at Goa, which he attacked and occupied in 1510. In 1511 he departed for the conquest of Malacca, the emporium for the spice trade and trade with China, which he accomplished in August of that year. After returning to Goa, Albuquerque made plans to occupy strategic positions in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. On his first expedition, he failed to take Aden and returned to Goa. His second expedition, which was to be his last, attempted to reduce Ormuz and Aden, as well as conquer Mecca. During this expedition, Albuquerque fell ill and returned to Goa, where he died in 1515.
When Manuel I died in 1521, his son and heir, João III, sent expeditions to the islands of Celebes, Borneo, Java, and Timor, all part of the Malay Archipelago. Relations were established with Japan after the visits of Francisco Xavier and Fernão Mendes Pinto in 1549. Portuguese captains founded factories in China and took possession of Macau in 1557.
The growth of Portuguese interests in the Americas was slow, the king being absorbed with establishing Portuguese hegemony in Asia. In addition, the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, arranged by Pope Alexander VI, divided the unexplored world between Spain and Portugal and forbade Portugal from exploring beyond a meridian drawn 1,600 kilometers miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. In 1502 Fernão Noronha was given a three-year commercial monopoly on dyewood in return for exploring 300 leagues (about 1,500 kilometers) of the Brazilian coast each year. During the last years of Manuel I's reign, the first colonists were sent to Brazil to establish a sugar industry. Additional colonists were sent during the reign of João III, and, in 1530, Martim Afonso de Sousa was named major captain of Brazil and invested with the power to distribute land among captains or donatários, much as had been done in Madeira when it was colonized a century before. These captaincies were large strips of land that extended from the coast into the interior. The captains settled colonists in their respective captaincies and were required to provide them protection and justice.
As the captaincies were independent of one another, they were unable to defend themselves from foreign pirates. Consequently, João III appointed a governor general with authority over the captaincies. The first governor general, Tomé de Sousa, was appointed in 1549 and established his capital at São Salvador da Baía. He defeated French pirates in a naval engagement in the bay of Rio de Janeiro. Intensified colonization under de Sousa began in the form of coastal settlements and spread to the interior. The colonists cultivated indigenous crops, especially manioc, and introduced new ones such as wheat, rice, grapes, oranges, and sugarcane from Madeira and São Tomé. Sugar soon became Brazil's most important export.
The eruption of the Protestant Reformation in the first decades of the sixteenth century brought forth a Roman Catholic response, the Counter-Reformation, a determined campaign to strengthen the Roman Catholic Church and restore religious unity to Europe. One of Rome's key instruments to purify doctrine and root out heresy was the Inquisition. The Counter-Reformation soon reached Portugal and Joao III was granted permission to establish the Court of Inquisition in 1536. The court did not began its work until 1539 when the first inquisitor general was replaced by a religious zealot, the archbishop of Évora, who stood for public confession and immediate execution. As elsewhere, the Inquisition in Portugal dealt with all forms of heresy, corruption, and disbelief, but its main victims were the so-called New Christians, Jews who had converted to Christianity after Manuel I had ordered in 1497 the expulsion from Portugal of all Jews who refused to accept the Christian faith. Many Portuguese believed that the New Christians secretly practiced Judaism at home and the Inquisition was used to stop such an "abomination." Courts of the Inquisition functioned in larger settlements around Portugal. The first auto-da-fé, or public burning of a heretic, took place in 1540 in Lisbon. In the next 150 years, an estimated 1,400 people perished in this manner in Portugal.
Another of Rome's strongest weapons in the CounterReformation was the Society of Jesus, a religious order founded by Ignatius de Loyola in 1539. The order was dedicated to furthering the cause of Catholicism and propagating its teachings in missions among nonbelievers. In 1540 three of Loyola's followers, Simão Rodrigues, who was Portuguese; Paulo Camerte, who was Italian; and Francisco Xavier, who was Spanish; arrived in Portugal. Simão Rodrigues became the tutor of the king's son and later founded Jesuit schools at Coimbra and Évora. By 1555 the Jesuits had control of all secondary education in the realm and by 1558 had established a university in Évora.
João III invited the Jesuits to carry out their apostolic mission in the lands of Portugal's overseas empire. Francisco Xavier left Portugal in 1541 for India as a result of the king's request. He arrived in Goa in 1542 and immediately began prosletyizing among the indigenous inhabitants, converting many thousands. From Goa he went to Cochin and Ceylon; in 1545 he traveled to Malacca, and in 1549, to Japan, where he stayed for two years. After returning to Goa, in 1552 he went to China, where he died.
Evangelization began in Brazil in 1549 with the arrival of six Jesuits led by Father Manuel de Nóbrega, who accompanied Tomé de Sousa, the first governor general. They built a church at São Salvador da Baía, as well as schools at Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. They evangelized northern and southern Brazil. In the south, Father José Anchieta opened a school for Indians and authored the first grammar in a native language, Tupí-Guaraní. The Jesuits built churches, schools, and seminaries. They settled the indigenous inhabitants in villages and defended them against attempts to enslave them.
Portugal's empire in Asia made its monarchy the richest in Europe and made Lisbon the commercial capital of the world. This prosperity was more apparent than real, however, because the newfound wealth did not transform the social structure, nor was it used to lay the basis for further economic development. The country's industry was weakened because the profits from Asian monopolies were used to import manufactured goods. As the empire in Asia was a state-run enterprise, no middle class or commercial sector independent of the crown of any consequence emerged as it had in other parts of Europe. Moreover, the persecution of the Jews, who possessed vital technical skills, robbed the country of an important force for modernity and reinforced feudal elements. Adding to the drain on the economy was the large amount of money spent on sumptuous palaces and churches.
Because the wealth from the discoveries did not produce a middle class of competent, trained individuals to whom the affairs of state gradually fell, leadership in Portugal remained in the hands of the king and the military aristocracy. Moreover, the imperial system had intensified the already centralized system of government, which meant that the quality of national policy was closely tied to the abilities of the top leadership, especially the king himself. Unfortunately, the House of Avis did not produce a king of great merit after João II, and Portugal entered a long period of imperial decline.
When João III died in 1557, the only surviving heir to the throne was his three-year-old son, Sebastião, who took over the government at the age of fourteen. Sickly and poorly educated, Sebastião proved to be mentally unstable, and as he grew to young manhood he developed a fanatical obsession with launching a great crusade against the Muslims in North Africa, thus reviving the Moroccan policy of Afonso V. In 1578, when he was twenty-four years old, Sebastião organized an army of 24,000 and assembled a large fleet that left Portugal on August 4 for Alcázarquivir. Sebastião's army, poorly equipped and incompetently led, was defeated, and the king, presumed killed in battle, was never seen again. A large number of the nobility were captured and held for ransom. This defeat, the most disastrous in Portuguese military history, swept away the flower of the aristocratic leadership and drained the coffers of the treasury in order to pay ransoms. Worse, it resulted in the death of a king who had no descendants, plunging Portugal into a period of confusion and intrigue over the succession.
With Sebastião's death, the crown fell to his uncle, Henrique, the last surviving son of Manuel I. This solved the succession crisis only temporarily because Henrique was an infirm and aged cardinal who was unable to obtain dispensation from the pope to marry. There were several pretenders to the throne, one of whom was Philip II of Spain, nephew of João III.
When Henrique died in 1580, a powerful Spanish army commanded by the duke of Alba invaded Portugal and marched on Lisbon. This force routed the army of rival contender, António, prior of Crato and the illegitimate son of João III's son Luís. Portugal was annexed by Spain, and Philip II was declared Filipe I of Portugal.
After Philip was declared king of Portugal, he decreed that his new realm would be governed by a six-member Portuguese council; that the Portuguese cortes would meet only in Portugal; that all civil, military, and ecclesiastical appointments would remain Portuguese; and that the language, judicial system, coinage, and military would remain autonomous. Philip supported the two institutions in Portugal that he believed might unite the two countries: the Jesuits and the Inquisition. One result was that New Christians were persecuted even more severely.
The incorporation of Portugal into the Iberian Union was accepted by the Portuguese nobility without much difficulty. The royal court had used the language and etiquette of Castile since the fifteenth century, and much serious work had been done in Castile by Portuguese writers, who were conscious of belonging to a common Iberian culture. In the countryside, however, there developed a current of resistance that took the form of a messianic cult of the "hidden prince," Sebastião. Members of this cult believed that Sebastião did not actually die at Alcázarquivir but would return to deliver Portugal from Spanish domination. This cult became deeply rooted, and over the years a number of impostors appeared and sparked rebellions, all of which were easily put down. To this day, Sebastianism (Sebastianismo), or the nostalgic longing for the unattainable, is a continuing feature of Portuguese life.
During the reign of Philip II, the terms of the proclamation of the union of the two crowns were generally upheld. With Philip's death in 1598 and the ascension to the Spanish throne of his son, Philip III, much less respect began to be paid to the provision that preserved Portugal's autonomy. Philip III did not visit Portugal until 1619, very near the end of his reign, and he began to appoint Spaniards to the six-member governing council as well as to lesser posts. His son and heir, Philip IV, had no interest in government and consequently turned over the administration of Portugal to the duke of Olivares. The duke alienated Portuguese of all classes, including the hispanophile elite. In order to prop up the waning power of the Spanish monarchy, he levied excessive taxes and troop requisitions on Portugal to support Spanish military activities, especially against France. Moreover, he sought to unify Portugal with Spain.
In 1637 a rebellion broke out in Évora when the Spanish attempted to collect these taxes by force. Portuguese nobles were summoned to Madrid and ordered to recruit soldiers for war against France. The Portuguese nobility, encouraged by Cardinal Richelieu of France, who promised to support a Portuguese pretender with soldiers and ships, began to conspire against the Spanish. During the 1637 rebellion, the populace acclaimed João, duke of Bragança, as king. The duke, who was the nearest noble to the House of Avis, was Portugal's leading aristocrat and largest landowner. The choice of the populace was supported by the nobility, which conspired to make João king. The duke, who was cautious, initially resisted accepting the Portuguese crown, but eventually began to equip a private army. In 1640 the Catalans rebelled against Philip IV, and, thus encouraged, João's supporters went into action on December 1. They entered the royal palace and arrested Portugal's Spanish governor, the duchess of Mantua, a cousin of the king of Spain. Five days later, the duke of Bragança arrived in Lisbon and was crowned as João IV (r. 1641-56), thus restoring the Portuguese monarchy and founding a new ruling dynasty, the House of Bragança.
Although Portugal's seaborne empire had begun to decline before the sixty years of incorporation in the Iberian Union, the "Spanish captivity," as this period is called by the Portuguese, hastened this process. The Portuguese, who were dragged into Spain's wars with England and Holland, began to see those two countries attack their holdings in Asia, as well as in Brazil. By the time independence was regained, Portugal's empire was greatly reduced, having lost its commercial monopoly in the Far East to the Dutch, and in India to the English. Only the resolute action of Portuguese settlers had saved Brazil from the Dutch, who had attacked Rio de Janeiro and Baía, and occupied Pernambuco.
João IV was proclaimed king by a cortes convoked in 164l. Faced with the general ruin of the realm and threats to his crown from Spain, his first act was to defend the kingdom. He immediately created a council of war, appointed military governors in the provinces, recruited soldiers, rebuilt forts, and constructed an arms foundry. At the same time, he vigorously sought diplomatic recognition of his monarchy and Portugal's independence from Spain. On June 1, 1641, João IV signed an alliance with Louis XIII of France and soon made peace with Holland and England. By the time of his death in 1656, João IV had consolidated and restored the monarchy by making peace with former enemies, recouped some lost colonial possessions, and defeated Spanish attempts to reincorporate Portugal into the Iberian Union.
When João died, his queen, Luísa de Gusmão, became regent because the royal couple's oldest son, Teodósio, had died three years before his father and their youngest son, Afonso, was only ten years old. Although a disease in infancy had left Afonso partially paralyzed and had impaired his intelligence, his mother succeeded in having him proclaimed king. Afonso VI (r.1662-67) grew into a degenerate who preferred riding, coursing bulls, and watching cockfights. His marriage to Marie-Françoise Isabelle of Savoy was annulled, and, in 1667, aware of the need for a successor, Afonso consented to his own abdication in favor of his brother, Pedro. During this period, the Portuguese managed to fight off the last attempt by Spain to reincorporate them into the Iberian Union by defeating the Spanish invaders at Ameixial near Estremós. In 1666, three years after this victory, Spain at last made peace and recognized Portugal's independence.
When Afonso abdicated, he was banished to Terceira Island in the Azores and his brother, who had married Marie-Françoise, assumed the regency of the throne until Afonso's death in 1683, after which he ruled in his own right as Pedro II until 1706. During his regency, Pedro had given the task of producing a coherent economic policy to Luís de Menenses, count of Ericeira, who was appointed head of the treasury. Known as the "Portuguese Colbert," Ericeira implemented mercantilist policies in Portugal similar to those of France. These policies sought to protect Portuguese industries against foreign competition. He published laws to enforce sobriety and criticized luxury. Ericeira organized the textile industry and imported looms from England. He stimulated the national production of wool and silk by decreeing that only Portuguese woolens and silks could be worn.
Having lost the empire in Asia, Portugal's policy makers turned their attention to Brazil, where they intensified the cultivation of sugar, cotton, and spices. This expansion of agriculture required a great deal of labor, which led to the importation of slaves from Angola and Guinea. Amerindians were saved from this fate by the Jesuits, who protected them from enslavement.
The southern part of Brazil was occupied first, and the north, later, owing to resistance put up by Amerindians allied with French pirates. In 1580 the Portuguese conquered Paraíba, and, later, Sergipe. In 1603 they penetrated to Ceará and, later, to Pará, where they founded the city of Belém. In 1637 Pedro Teixeira launched a daring expedition into the Amazon Basin, following the river to its headwaters near the Pacific coast. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, various expeditions were sent into the interior, especially at the end of the seventeenth century when gold was discovered.
These expeditions were made up of adventurers known as bandeirantes (after the Portuguese word for flag) because they traveled under the flag of their leader, who took with him kin, friends, slaves, and friendly Amerindians. These expeditions, which followed rivers into the interior, lasted years. The most notable bandeirantes were Pais Leme, who traveled for seven years throughout present-day Minas Gerais, and his son-in-law, Manuel Borba Gato, who discovered several sources of gold on the Rio das Velhas. In addition to gold, diamonds were also found in abundance. The discovery of gold and diamonds sparked a gold rush from all over the world to Brazil and from the central zones to the interior, which devastated Brazilian agriculture. The gold and diamonds enriched the Portuguese crown and allowed it to spend lavishly on imported goods and baroque palaces, thus destroying once again the initiatives previously taken for indigenous economic development.
Brazilian gold also encouraged England to update its commercial relations with Portugal. The Methuen Treaty of 1703 allowed the Portuguese a preferential duty on wine exported to England, in return for which Portugal removed restrictions on the importation of English-made goods. The Portuguese market was soon absorbing 10 percent of the English export trade, which represented an increase of 120 percent above the quantity of goods imported to Portugal before the treaty. Portuguese exports to England, mainly wine, rose by less than 40 percent. Gold from Brazil was used to pay for this trade imbalance.
Pedro II was succeeded by João V (r.1706-50), a youth of seventeen. He was an energetic king who introduced absolutist rule into Portugal, copying the style of the royal court of Louis XIV of France. Brazilian gold allowed João V to spend lavishly on major architectural works, the greatest being the royal palace at Mafra, begun in 1717, which sought to rival the Escorial in Spain. He also endowed the University of Coimbra with an elegantly decorated library, and built the Aqueduct of Free Waters (Aqueduto das Águas Livres) that brought water to Lisbon. João encouraged the development of decorative arts such as furniture design, clockmaking, and tapestry weaving. He pursued mercantilist policies to protect indigenous industries, including papermaking at Lousã, glassmaking at Marinha Grande, and textile weaving at Covilhã . He subsidized the publication of notable works such as Caetano de Sousa's História Geneológica da Casa Real. All in all, João V animated what has been called Portugal's second renaissance.
João V died in 1750 and was succeeded by his son José I (r.1750-77) who was indolent and placed the reins of government into the hands of Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, later the Marquês de Pombal. A petty noble who managed to surmount Portugal's rigid class system by a combination of energy, intelligence, good looks, and a shrewd marriage, Pombal became the veritable dictator of Portugal. Once Portugal's ambassador to Britain and Austria, Pombal had been influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment. Realizing how backward Portugal was, he sought through a ruthless despotism to reform it and create a middle class.
On the morning of November 1, 1755, a violent earthquake shook Lisbon and demolished most of the city. Thousands were killed in the subsequent fire and tidal wave. Pombal, who was at Belém at the time, energetically took appropriate measures. He improvised hospitals for the injured, controlled prices for various services, requisitioned food from the countryside, and organized public security. He decided to rebuild the city after a survey of the ruins. Under the direction of the architect Eugénio dos Santos and the engineer Manuel da Maia, a master plan for a new city was drawn up. The old city center was cleared of rubble and divided into squares of long avenues and cross streets. New buildings conforming to a standard architectural style were quickly erected using the latest construction techniques. Lisbon thus emerged from the earthquake as Europe's first planned city. Flanked by the Praça do Rossio at one end, and the Praça do Comêrcio at the other, this quarter of the city is known today as the Baixa Pombalina.
For his prompt and efficient action, Pombal was elevated to chief minister, which allowed him to consolidate his power. Desiring to destroy all forces within the society that could oppose his plans for modernizing Portugal, he began to systematically annihilate them, beginning with the nobility. An attempt on the life of the king on September 3, 1758 provided Pombal with a pretext to take action against the nobility. He accused many nobles of responsibility for the attempt and arrested about 1,000 individuals. Many confessed under brutal torture and were executed.
Pombal also attempted to rid Portugal of the Jesuits, whom he accused of taking part in the attempt on the king's life. He searched the houses belonging to the Jesuits, confiscated their belongings, closed their schools, and, in 1759, expelled them from the kingdom and its overseas possessions. In an effort to restrain the church, Pombal broke diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1760 and imprisoned the bishop of Coimbra.
Pombal's economic policies were inspired by the protectionist doctrines of Colbert, which gave royal companies monopolies in certain fields. Following the initiatives in this regard established by the count of Ericeira, Pombal prohibited the export of gold and silver. In order to increase cereal cultivation, he prohibited the growing of grape vines in certain areas of the country. He protected the winemaking industry by founding, in 1756, a company with a monopoly on exporting port wine. Pombal created other companies with exclusive rights to commercial activities in various regions of Brazil, as well as a fishing and processing company for sardines and tuna in Portuguese waters. He transformed the silk industry into a textile industry and turned over the operation of the glassmaking factory at Marinha Grande to a British manager, who introduced new manufacturing techniques.
Pombal also made notable changes in the area of education. After expelling the Jesuits and confiscating their schools, he took the first steps toward establishing a system of public instruction. He founded a commercial school and established schools, paid for with a special tax, in the major cities. In addition, Pombal instituted numerous reforms of the university, whose decline he blamed on the Jesuits. He created two new departments--mathematics and philosophy--and increased the number of professors in the already existing departments. He put forward new methods of instruction based on the writings of Luís António Verney and António Nunes that stressed observation and experience, and set up laboratories, a natural history museum, a botanical garden, and an observatory.
José I died in 1777 and was succeeded on the throne by his daughter Maria I (r.1777-92), who dismissed Pombal and banished him to the village of Pombal. She immediately freed hundreds of prisoners, restored the old nobility to it former status, reestablished relations with the Holy See, revoked laws against the clergy, abolished many of the state companies, and generally dismantled Pombal's dictatorship. The strong, secular society that Pombal hoped to create did not materialize, and the old social and economic order quickly restored itself.
The events of the French Revolution, especially the regicide of Louis XVI and the Terror, made the rest of Europe's monarchs fear for their lives. The Portuguese monarchy, like others, took measures to prevent the infiltration of revolutionary propaganda into the kingdom. Maria I, who suffered nightmares and fits of melancholy, imagined that she was damned. In 1792 she turned the reigns of government over to her second son, Joã o, who was prince of Brazil. As the situation in France deteriorated, Portugal signed treaties of mutual assistance with Britain and Spain in 1793. In the same year, the Spanish army, reinforced by 6,000 Portuguese troops, attacked France across the Basque frontier. In 1794 the French launched a major counterattack, which forced the combined Spanish-Portuguese army to retreat from French territory. The French army reached the Ebro River and threatened Madrid.
In 1795 Spain made peace at Basel with France without consulting the Portuguese. Despite having fought with the Portuguese against France, the Spanish now allied themselves with the French and signed a secret treaty at San Idelfonso in 1800. In 1801 France and Spain sent the Portuguese an ultimatum threatening to invade Portugal unless it abandoned its alliance with Britain, closed its ports to the British and opened them to French and Spanish ships, and handed over one-quarter of its territory as a guarantee for Spanish territories held by Britain. The Portuguese refused to comply, and the Spanish marched into the Alentejo in May. After two weeks of fighting, the "War of the Oranges," as it is known, was concluded in 1801 at Badajoz. According to the terms of the peace treaty, Portugal agreed to close its ports to British shipping, granted commercial concessions to the French, paid an indemnity, and ceded Olivença to Spain.
When Napoleon became emperor in 1804, he renewed his struggle with Britain. The British declared a naval blockade of France, and, in retaliation, Napoleon decreed that all nations of Europe should break relations with Britain. Portugal declared itself neutral in the struggle. Napoleon ordered the Portuguese to close their ports to the British, which they were prepared to do if they could without breaking relations with their old ally. In October 1807, Napoleon signed a treaty with Spain at Fontainebleau, according to which France and Spain agreed to invade Portugal and partition the country, one-third going to France, one-third to Spain, and one-third to Spain's chief minister, Manuel de Godoy.
On November 17, 1807, an army of French and Spanish soldiers under the command of the French general Andoche Junot entered Portugal and marched on Lisbon. The British were in no position to defend their ally; consequently, the prince regent and the royal family left for Brazil. On November 27, Junot's army took control of Lisbon.
French occupation eventually sparked rebellions among the populace, and provisional juntas were organized in several cities. The junta in Porto, to which other local juntas finally pledged obedience, organized an army and, with British help, was able to defeat a strong French force at Lourinhã on August 21, 1808. After this defeat, the French opened negotiations with the Portuguese and signed the Convention of Sintra, which provided for the evacuation of Junot's forces. The government was placed in the hands of the juntas. In January 1809, the prince regent designated a British officer, William Carr Beresford, to reorganize the Portuguese army, granting him the rank of marshall and commander in chief.
In March 1809, French troops under the command of General Nicholas Soult invaded Portugal once again. Entering the country from Galicia, they occupied Chaves and marched on Porto. A combined Portuguese-British army, commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley, pushed Soult back to Galicia and defeated another French army at Tavera in Spain, after which Wellesley was made the duke of Wellington.
The expulsion of Soult's forces gave the Anglo-Portuguese army time to prepare for Napoleon's third invasion, which was ordered in 1810. The third French army under the command of General André Masséna entered Portugal at Guarda and marched to Viseu. Because Wellington's forces held the main roads, Masséna took his army across the Buçaco Mountains and marched on Coimbra, which he sacked. Wellington withdrew his army southward, luring Masséna into positions he had prepared at Tôrres Vedras. Finding the positions impenetrable, Masséna, far from his source of supply and short of food, withdrew his forces. Wellington pursued Masséna and overtook him at Sabugal where his army was defeated. Masséna retreated from Portugal.
Although the ideology of liberalism was known in Portugal in the late 1700s by way of the American and French revolutions, it was not until after the Peninsular Wars that it became a force with which the monarchy had to contend. Freemasonry introduced by foreign merchants played an important role in spreading liberal doctrines in Portugal. In 1801 there were five Masonic temples in Lisbon, and the first Portuguese grand master was elected in 1804. The three French invasions encouraged the spread of liberal ideas. In 1812 Freemasons founded the Sinédrio, a secret society that propagated revolutionary ideas. Radical ideas were also discussed by Portuguese who lived in London or Paris where they had observed and been influenced by the functioning of the British and French systems. Newspapers and pamphlets, despite the vigilance of the crown's censors and police, were smuggled into Portugal and widely read by a small and increasingly important educated elite, called the afrancesados, who wanted to reconstruct Portugal on the French model. After the Peninsular Wars, the exiles themselves returned to Portugal and began to agitate for a constitutional monarchy. One of these was General Gomes Freire Andrade, the grand master of Portuguese Masons, who became the leader of liberals in Portugal. The liberals were eventually to be successful because of a crisis of royal leadership.
In 1816 Maria I, after twenty-four years of insanity, died and the prince regent was proclaimed João VI (r.1816-26). The new king, who had acquired a court and government in Brazil and a following among the Brazilians, did not immediately return to Portugal, and liberals continued to agitate against the monarchy. In May 1817, General Gomes Freire Andrade was arrested on treason charges and hanged, as were eleven alleged accomplices. Beresford, who was still commander in chief of the Portuguese army, was popularly blamed for the harshness of the sentences, which aggravated unrest in the country. The most active center of Portuguese liberalism was Porto, where the Sinédrio was situated and quickly gaining adherents. In March 1820, Beresford went to Brazil to persuade the king to return to the throne. His departure allowed the influence of the liberals to grow within the army, which had emerged from the Peninsular Wars as Portugal's strongest institution. On August 24, 1820, regiments in Porto revolted and established a provisional junta that assumed the government of Portugal until a cortes could be convoked to write a constitution. The regency was bypassed because it was unable to cope with Portugal's financial crisis, and Beresford was not allowed to enter the country when he returned from Brazil.
In December 1820, indirect elections were held for a constitutional cortes, which convened in January 1821. The deputies were mostly constitutional monarchists. They elected a regency to replace the provisional junta, abolished seigniorial rights and the Inquisition, and, on September 23, approved a constitution. At the same time, João VI decided to return to Portugal, leaving his son Pedro in Brazil. Upon his arrival in Lisbon, João swore an oath to uphold the new constitution. After his departure from Brazil, Brazilian liberals, inspired by the independence of the United States and the independence struggles in the neighboring Spanish colonies, began to agitate for freedom from Portugal. Brazilian independence was proclaimed on October 12, 1822, with Pedro as constitutional emperor.
The constitution of 1822 installed a constitutional monarchy in Portugal. It declared that sovereignty rested with the nation and established three branches of government in classical liberal fashion. Legislative power was exercised by a directly elected, unicameral Chamber of Deputies; executive power was vested in the king and his secretaries of state; and judicial power was in the hands of the courts. The king and his secretaries of state had no representation in the chamber and no power to dissolve it.
Two broad divisions emerged in Portuguese society over the issue of the constitution. On the one hand were the liberals who defended it, and on the other, the royalists who favored absolutism. The first reaction to the new liberal regime surfaced in February 1823 in Trás-os-Montes where the count of Amarante, a leading absolutist, led an insurrection. Later, in May, Amarante once again sounded the call to arms, and an infantry regiment rose at Vila Franca de Xira, just north of Lisbon. Some of the Lisbon garrison joined the absolutists, as did the king's younger brother, Miguel, who had refused to swear to uphold the constitution. After the Vilafrancada, as the uprising is known, Miguel was made generalíssimo of the army. In April 1824, Miguel led a new revolt--the Abrilada--which sought to restore absolutism. João, supported by Beresford, who had been allowed to return to Portugal, dismissed Miguel from his post as generalíssimo and exiled him to France. The constitution of 1822 was suspended, and Portugal was governed under João's moderate absolutism until he died in 1826.
João's death created a problem of royal succession. The rightful heir to the throne was his eldest son, Pedro, emperor of Brazil. Neither the Portuguese nor the Brazilians wanted a unified monarchy; consequently, Pedro abdicated the Portuguese crown in favor of his daughter, Maria da Glória, a child of seven, on the condition that when of age she marry his brother, Miguel. In April 1826, as part of the succession settlement, Pedro granted a new constitution to Portugal, known as the Constitutional Charter. Pedro returned to Brazil leaving the throne to Maria, with Miguel as regent.
The Constitutional Charter attempted to reconcile absolutists and liberals by allowing both factions a role in government. Unlike the constitution of 1822, this document established four branches of government. The legislature was divided into two chambers. The upper chamber, the Chamber of Peers, was composed of life and hereditary peers and clergy appointed by the king. The lower chamber, the Chamber of Deputies, was composed of 111 deputies elected to four-year terms by the indirect vote of local assemblies, which in turn were elected by persons meeting certain tax-paying and property-owning requirements. Judicial power was exercised by the courts; executive power by the ministers of the government; and moderative power by the king, who held an absolute veto over all legislation.
The absolutists, however, were not satisfied with this compromise, and they continued to regard Miguel as the legitimate successor to the throne because he was Portuguese whereas Pedro was Brazilian. In February 1828, Miguel returned to Portugal to take the oath of allegiance to the charter and assume the regency. He was immediately proclaimed king by his supporters. Although it initially appeared that Miguel would abide by the charter, pressure mounted for a return to absolutism. A month after his return, Miguel dissolved the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Peers and, in May, summoned the traditional cortes of the three estates of the realm to proclaim his accession to absolute power. The Cortes of 1828 assented to Miguel's wish, proclaiming him king as Miguel I and nullifying the Constitutional Charter.
This usurpation did not go unchallenged by the liberals. On May 18, the garrison in <"http://worldfacts.us/Portugal-Porto.htm"> Porto declared its loyalty to Pedro, Maria da Glória, and the Constitutional Charter. The rebellion against the absolutists spread to other cities. Miguel suppressed these rebellions, and many thousands of liberals were either arrested or fled to Spain and Britain. There followed five years of repression.
In Brazil, meanwhile, relations between Pedro and Brazil's political leaders had become strained. In 1831 Pedro abdicated in favor of his son, Pedro II, and sailed for Britain. He organized a military expedition there and then went to the Azores, which were in the hands of the liberals, to set up a government in exile in March 1831. In July 1832, Pedro occupied Porto, which was subsequently besieged by the absolutists. In June 1833, the liberals, still encircled at Porto, sent a force commanded by the duke of Terceira to the Algarve. At the same time, a liberal squadron defeated the absolutists' fleet near Cabo São Vincente. Terceira landed at Faro and marched north through the Alentejo to capture Lisbon on July 24. A stalemate of nine months ensued. The absolutists controlled the rural areas, where they were supported by the aristocracy and the peasantry. The liberals occupied Portugal's major cities, Lisbon and Porto, where they commanded a sizeable following among the middle classes. Finally, the Miguelists lifted their siege of Porto and marched on Lisbon, but they were defeated at Évora-Monte. Peace was declared in May 1834, and Miguel, guaranteed an annual pension, was banished from Portugal, never to return. Pedro restored the Constitutional Charter.
Pedro survived his victory by less than three months. After his death, fifteen-year-old Maria da Glória was proclaimed queen as Maria II (r.1834-53). Despite their victory over the absolutists, the liberals were themselves divided between moderates, who supported the principles of the charter, and radicals, who wanted a return to the constitution of 1822. Maria's first government was made up of moderates headed by the duke of Palmela, whose government collapsed in May 1835. He was succeeded by the duke of Saldanha, whose government fell in May 1836. In July 1836, radicals were elected from Porto by advocating a return to the constitution of 1822 as a way of resolving Portugal's economic crisis. When these deputies arrived in Lisbon, they were met by demonstrations supporting their cause. The following day, the moderate liberal government collapsed and, in September, the radicals, led by Manuel da Silva Passos, formed a new government. The radicals nullified the Constitutional Charter and reestablished the constitution of 1822 until it could be revised by a constituent cortes to make it more compatible with changed social and economic circumstances.
The actions of the radicals resulted in a violent reaction from the moderates, who saw their power threatened and considered the charter the symbol of the liberal victory in the War of Two Brothers. As a compromise, the Constituent Assembly, convoked in March 1838, attempted to reconcile the constitution of 1822 and the Constitutional Charter. In April 1838, Portugal's third constitution was approved. The document abolished the royal moderative power and returned to liberalism's classical tripartite division of government into legislative, executive, and judicial branches. It reaffirmed, as did the 1822 constitution, that sovereignty rested with the nation. It abolished the Chamber of Peers and substituted a Chamber of Senators, and it established direct election of the Chamber of Deputies, although only selected citizens were allowed to vote. The monarch's role was enhanced and the Chamber of Senators was restricted to leading citizens, or notables.
The radicals, now called Septemberists after the September 1836 revolution, held office until June 1841. On that date, they were replaced in a bloodless coup d'état by moderates, who abolished the 1838 constitution and restored the charter. António Bernardo da Costa Cabral, who organized and led the revolt, took various measures designed to reform Portugal's political, economic, and social systems. Some of these measures, especially new sanitary regulations that prohibited burials in churchyards, stirred the rural countryside, still Miguelist, into active resistance against the liberal government in Lisbon.
The women of the Minho region, who had traditionally played an important role in churchyard burials, began to demonstrate against the authorities. Supported by the rural nobility and clergy, the Maria da Fontes, as this movement was called, spread throughout the rural north. Unable to suppress it by force, the government of Costa Cabral fell on May 20, 1846. The new government, a confusing hodgepodge of radicals and moderates, rescinded the cemetery regulations. The government divided when the duke of Palmela, who was its prime minister, called for new elections in October, hoping to unite the moderates, themselves divided into two factions. This sparked a reaction by the Septemberists, who were particularly strong in Porto, where they rebelled and set up a provisional junta. The duke of Saldanha, Palmela's replacement, attempted without success to suppress the Septemberist rebellion, which by now had spread beyond Porto to other areas. With the country on the brink of a second civil war, Queen Maria sought help from the Quadruple Alliance, consisting of Britain and France, as well as Spanish and Portuguese liberal elements. After the alliance imposed a naval blockade and sent troops, the Septemberists capitulated, Saldanha resigned, and a peace agreement was signed on June 29, 1847. Costa Cabral returned to power.
In 1851 Saldanha staged a revolt and, supported by the garrison in Porto, gained control of the government and sent Costa Cabral into exile. Saldanha and his followers were called Regenerators because they recognized the need to modify the charter to make it more compatible with the social and political situation. These modifications appeared as amendments, the first of which was a new electoral law that made the franchise more acceptable to the Septemberists. Gradually, government became stabilized. The Septemberists began to be referred to as Historicals and, later, Progressives.
The Regenerators and Progressives were not political parties in today's sense of the term. The electorate comprised less than 1 percent of the population; therefore, the Regenerators and Progressives were essentially loose coalitions of notables, or leading citizens, based on personal loyalties and local interests. Elections were held after a change in governing factions to provide the new faction with a majority in the legislature. By tacit agreement, one faction would govern as long as it was able and then turn over power to the other. After 1856 this practice of alternating factions at regular intervals, called rotativismo, was all but institutionalized and produced relatively stable government until the end of the nineteenth century.
With the advent of rotativismo and subsequent political stability, the attention of Portugal turned toward its colonial possessions in Africa. In East Africa, the chief settlement was Mozambique Island, but there was little control over the estates of the mainland where Portuguese of mixed ancestry ruled as feudal potentates. In West Africa, the most important settlements were Luanda and Benguela on the Angolan coast, linked to Brazil by the slave trade conducted through the African island of São Tomé. It was during this period that the Portuguese began to send expeditions into the interior.
In 1852 António Francisco Silva Porto explored the interior of Angola. In 1877 a scientific expedition led by Hermenegildo Capelo and Roberto Ivens, two naval officers, and Alexandre Serpa Pinto, an army major, departed from Luanda and traveled to the Bié region in central Angola, where they separated. Serpa Pinto explored the headwaters of the Cuanza River in Angola and followed the course of the Zambezi River to Victoria Falls in present-day Zimbabwe. Exploring areas now part of South Africa, he crossed the Transvaal and arrived in Natal in 1879. In 1884 Capelo and Ivens departed from Moçamades on the coast of Angola and crossed the continent through entirely unexplored territory, arriving at Quelimane on the east coast of Mozambique in 1885. In the same year, Serpa Pinto and Augusto Cardoso explored the territory around Lake Nyassa. Various Portuguese, such as Paiva de Andrade and António Maria Cardoso, explored the interior of Mozambique.
Despite Portugal's historical claim to the Congo region, the colonial ambitions of the great powers of the day--Britain, France, and Germany--gave rise to disputes about its ownership. Portugal therefore proposed an international conference to resolve the disputed claim to the Congo. This conference, which met in Berlin in 1884-85, awarded the Congo to the king of Belgium and established the principle that in order for a claim to African territory to be valid, the claimant had to demonstrate "effective occupation," not historical rights. The Berlin Conference, as it is known, resulted in the partition of Africa among the European powers, and awarded Portugal Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea.
In 1886 Portugal signed two treaties that delimited the boundaries between Portuguese territories and those of France and Germany. France and Germany recognized Portugal's right to exercise sovereignty in the interior territory between Mozambique and Angola. This claim was represented on a map, annexed to the treaty with France, on which the claimed territory was colored red. In order to validate this claim, the Portuguese published the "rose-colored map" and organized successive expeditions into the interior between Mozambique and Angola. Meanwhile, the British were also exploring the territory from south to north under the auspices of Cecil Rhodes, who had designs on the territory for the construction of a railroad that would run from Cape Town through central Africa to Cairo.
Portugal protested against the activities of the British in what they considered to be their territory. The British, having signed a number of treaties with African chiefs, claimed that the territory was under their protection and refused to recognize the rose-colored map. Moreover, they said the territory was not Portuguese because Portugal had not effectively occupied it as required by the terms of the Berlin Conference. Portugal proposed that the conflicting claims be resolved through arbitration. Britain refused and sent the Portuguese an ultimatum, on January 11, 1890, demanding the withdrawal of all Portuguese forces from the disputed territory. Portugal, faced with the armed might of the British, complied.
The ultimatum of 1890 caused astonishment and indignation in Lisbon. As a result, the Progressive government fell and a non-party government came to power. The ultimatum was strongly denounced by Portugal's growing band of republicans, who had organized themselves into a formal party in 1878. The republicans based their appeals on crude nationalism and played on the fears of many that a continuation of the inept government of the liberals would make Portugal either a British colony or a province of Spain. Teachers, journalists, small-business persons, clerks, and artisans were drawn to republicanism, with its appeals to nationalism, universal suffrage, separation of church and state, and the abolition of the monarchy and nobility, which were seen as irrational institutions that sapped the strength of Portugal.
The appeal of republicanism was also enhanced by the collapse of rotativismo. After 1890 the system ceased to function smoothly. Conflicts between the Regenerators and Historicals, formerly settled in secret, were brought into the open in an effort to generate public support for the system. But open debate proved to be unsettling in Portugal's depoliticized society. By 1906 neither faction could attain a parliamentary majority. In that year, the republicans managed to elect from Lisbon four deputies who proceeded to create tumultuous scenes in parliament. In May 1907, the situation came to a standstill. The king, Carlos I (r.1889-1908), dissolved parliament and gave to João Franco, a conservative reformist who had bolted from the Regenerators to form his own party, the power to govern by decree. João Franco's dictatorship was condemned by all political parties, and the republicans attempted an unsuccessful coup d'état. A crackdown on the republican movement followed. On February 1, 1908, the king and the royal family were attacked by two disgruntled republicans as they crossed the Praça do Comêrcio by open landau. The king and his youngest son were killed, and his oldest son, Manuel, survived a bullet wound in the arm. Manuel, who was eighteen at the time, became king as Manuel II (r.1908-10).
In an effort to salvage the monarchy, João Franco stepped down as prime minister and went into exile. New elections were held, but factionalism among the Regenerators and Historicals prevented the formation of a stable government even after six attempts. On October 1, 1910, the appearance in Portugal of the president of the Brazilian republic after a visit to Germany provided a pretext for extensive republican demonstrations. On October 3, the army refused to put down a mutiny on Portuguese warships anchored in the estuary of the Tagus and took up positions around Lisbon. On October 4, when two of the warships began to shell the royal palace, Manuel II and the royal family fled to Britain. On October 5, a provisional republican government was organized with the writer Teófilo Braga as president.
In May 1911, the provisional government held elections for the Constituent Assembly, which undertook to write a new constitution. This document, which appeared on August 21, abolished the monarchy and inaugurated Portugal's first republican government. The constitution secularized the state by disestablishing the church, forbidding religious instruction in the public schools, and prohibiting the military from taking part in religious observances. It granted workers the right to strike and opened the civil service to merit appointments. The blue and white flag of the monarchy was replaced with one of red and green, embellished with an armillary sphere in gold.
The constitution vested legislative power in a bicameral Congress of the Republic. The upper house, called the Senate, was indirectly elected from local governments for six-year terms; the lower house, or Chamber of Deputies, was directly elected for three-year terms. Executive power was vested in a cabinet and prime minister responsible to the Congress, which also chose the president of the republic, the nominal head of state. The Constituent Assembly became the first Congress by electing one-third of its members to the Senate; the remaining two-thirds constituted the Chamber of Deputies.
The Portuguese Republican Party (Partido Repúblicano Português--PRP) was Portugal's first political party in the modern sense of the term. Although its base of support was primarily urban, the PRP had a nationwide organization that extended into the rural areas. It did not remain unified, however. In 1911 moderate and radical republican deputies divided over the election by the Constituent Assembly of the new president of the republic. The candidate of the radical republicans, led by Afonso Costa, was defeated by the candidate of the moderates, led by Manuel Brito Camacho and António José de Almeida, who opposed Costa's intransigent republicanism and feared that he would gain control of the new government. The split widened at the PRP Congress in October 1911 when the moderates where hooted down and left in disgust. The moderates then formed the Republican National Union (União Nacional Repúblicana--UNR), the directorate consisting of Camacho, Almeida, and Aresta Branco. The UNR was essentially a personal clique of several moderate leaders whose purpose was to get through parliament a program that would mitigate the impact of the more radical republican government. After this breakup, the PRP became known as the Democratic Party (Partido Democrático-- PD).
In February 1912, the UNR leadership itself split into two republican splinter parties. The immediate cause of the rift was disagreement over the UNR program and rivalry between Camacho and Almeida. The rump, led by Camacho, was renamed the Republican Union (União Repúblicana--UR), and its members became known as Unionists. The other group, led by Almeida, was called the Republican Evolutionist Party (Partido Repúblicano Evolucionista- -PRE), and its followers became known as Evolutionists. The program of the PRE was quite similar to that of the UR, but it urged a policy of moderation and conciliation and advocated proportional representation and revision of intolerant laws.
The splintering of the original PRP, personalism, and petty squabbles produced acute governmental instability during the First Republic. In its fifteen years and eight months of existence, there were seven elections for the Congress, eight for the presidency, and forty-five governments. Instability was also encouraged by the government's total dependency upon the Congress, where no stable majority could be organized. This political turmoil led to several periods of military rule during the First Republic and eventually to its overthrow.
In January 1915, senior military officers, who were becoming increasingly alienated from the republic, imposed a period of military rule at President Manuel de Arriaga's request. In May of the same year, however, prorepublican junior officers and sergeants returned the government to civilians and held new elections. The PD, led by Afonso Costa, won the day.
In 1916 Prime Minister Costa, who feared that a German victory in World War I would mean the loss of Portugal's African colonies of Mozambique and Angola, sent an expeditionary force of 40,000 men to fight on the side of the Allies. Poorly trained and equipped, the force suffered horrendous casualties in Flanders. This debacle, as well as severe food shortages caused by the war mobilization, paved the way for a second military intervention in December 1917, led by Major Sidónio Pais. Pais, who had held a diplomatic post in Prussia some years before, was sympathetic to Germany and antiliberal. He was an energetic, charismatic individual who sought to build a broadly based popular following. Gradually, however, he came to rely on upper-class youths, young army officers, students, and sons of big landowners, who were antiliberal and traditionalist. In December 1918, Pais was assassinated by a radical republican corporal recently returned from the front. Portugal's government was returned to civilians.
Political instability continued under civilian government. A small-scale civil war erupted in northern Portugal as monarchists led by Henrique Paiva Couciero attempted to restore the monarchy. A wave of violence swept the country, and leading republican figures, including the prime minister, were murdered. Political instability and violence brought economic life to a standstill. The middle class, which had initially supported the republic, began to turn toward traditional values as liberal and republican ideals were increasingly discredited.
By 1925 the republic had become the butt of ridicule and cynicism. It never satisfactorily resolved its dispute with the church, against which some of its first legislation had been directed. Official anticlericism made it impossible for many to accept the republic and stimulated the development of a politically involved Catholic intelligentsia in opposition to the parliamentary regime. The apparitions at Fátima in 1917 occurred at the height of Prime Minister Costa's anticlerical campaign. Those dissatisfied with the republic viewed the authoritarian governments established in Italy (in 1922) and Spain (in 1923) as attractive alternatives.
Many military officers, despite their previous negative experiences in government, thought that only they could save Portugal from disintegration. Their inclination to intervene once again was heightened by grievances over low pay and poor equipment. During the last thirteen months of the republic, there were three attempts to overturn the regime. The last of these was successful. On May 26, 1926, General Manuel Gomes da Costa, the coup d'état's leader selected by the young officers who had organized it, announced from Braga his intention to march on Lisbon and take power. This announcement was followed by a massive military uprising that met little resistance. On May 28, General Gomes da Costa symbolically entered Lisbon, a dramatic gesture emulating Benito Mussolini's march on Rome in 1922. Prime Minister António Maria da Silva resigned on May 29, and the First Republic was ended.
The coup d'état was bloodless because no military units came to the aid of the government. On May 30, the president of the republic, Bernardino Machado, turned the reins of power over to Commander José Mendes Cabeçadas, a naval officer and staunch republican, not to General Gomes da Costa, the titular leader of the military uprising. This resulted in two months of behind-the- scenes infighting among various factions of the military. The promonarchist tendency within the May 28 Movement, as the coup was called, allied itself with right-wing but not necessarily monarchist junior officers who wanted some form of authoritarian state. In the hope of preventing the rise of a monarchist or authoritarian regime, Mendes Cabeçadas formed a joint government with Gomes da Costa on June 1. On June 17, Gomes da Costa ousted Mendes Cabeçadas and his followers from the provisional government. General da Costa's supremacy was temporary; he too was ousted on July 9. On the same day, General Óscar Fragoso Carmona was named head of the military government.
The military government was now in the hands of monarchists and authoritarian officers, and it seemed as if a restoration of the monarchy would follow. This was not to be, however, because of the reaction that such an outcome could have provoked among a substantial number of republicans within the officer corps. Carmona, who was both a republican and a devout Catholic, was acceptable to a broad range of views. He carefully preserved a balance between pro- and antimonarchists and pro- and anticlerical officers in order to ensure that the military regime would survive. On March 25, 1928, General Carmona was elected to the presidency of the republic and appointed Colonel José Vicente de Freitas, a staunch republican, as prime minister, which virtually assured that the monarchy was not going to be restored, at least not during the military dictatorship.
Carmona named António de Oliveira Salazar, a professor of political economy at the University of Coimbra, as minister of finance. Salazar accepted the post on April 27, 1928, only after he had demanded and had been granted complete control over the expenditures of all government ministries. In his first year at the Ministry of Finance, he not only balanced the budget but achieved a surplus, the first since 1913. He accomplished this feat by centralizing financial control, improving revenue collection, and cutting public expenditures. Salazar remained minister of finance as military prime ministers came and went. From his first successful year as minister of finance, Salazar gradually came to embody the financial and political solution to the turmoil of the military dictatorship, which had not produced a clear leader. Salazar easily overshadowed military prime ministers and gradually gained the allegiance of Portugal's young intellectuals and military officers, who identified with his authoritarian, antiliberal, anticommunist view of the world. Moreover, Salazar's ascendancy was welcomed by the church, which saw in him a savior from the anticlericalism of the republicans. It was also welcomed by the upper classes of landowners, businessmen, and bankers, who were grateful for his success in stabilizing the economy after the financial crisis of the First Republic.
As Salazar came to be seen as the civilian mainstay of the military dictatorship, he increasingly took it upon himself to lay out the country's political future. He set forth his plans in two key speeches, one on May 28, 1930, and the other on July 30 of the same year. In the first, he spoke of the need for a new constitution that would create a strong authoritarian political order, which he dubbed the New State (Estado Novo). In the second, he announced his intention to establish such a state. The military approved of Salazar's speeches, and on July 5, 1932, after the collective resignation of the government of General Júlio Domingos de Oliveira, which had come to power two years earlier, he was appointed prime minister.
Salazar came from a peasant background. He had studied for the priesthood before turning to economics at the University of Coimbra, where he received his doctorate in 1918 and afterward taught. While a faculty member, he earned a reputation as a scholar and a writer, as well as a leader in Catholic intellectual and political movements. After taking up the reins of government, he retained his professorial style, lecturing the cabinet, his political followers, and the nation. Salazar never married and lived ascetically. A skillful political manipulator with a capacity for ruthlessness, he was a respected rather than a popular figure.
The period of transition to the authoritarian republic promised after the military takeover in 1926 ended in 1933 with the adoption of a new constitution. The 1933 constitution, dictated by Salazar, created the New State, in theory a corporate state representing interest groups rather than individuals. The constitution provided for a president directly elected for a seven-year term and a prime minister appointed by and responsible to the president. The relationship of the office of prime minister to the presidency was an ambiguous one. Salazar, continuing as prime minister, was head of government. He exercised executive and legislative functions, controlled local administration, police, and patronage, and was leader of the National Union (União Nacional--UN), an umbrella group for supporters of the regime and the only legal political organization.
The legislature, called the National Assembly, was restricted to members of the UN. It could initiate legislation but only concerning matters that did not require government expenditures. The parallel Corporative Chamber included representatives of cultural and professional groups and of the official workers' syndicates that replaced free trade unions.
Women were given the vote for the first time, but literacy and property qualifications limited the enfranchised segment of the population to about 20 percent, somewhat higher than under the parliamentary regime. Elections were held regularly, without opposition.
In 1945 Salazar introduced so-called democratic measures, including an amnesty for political prisoners and a loosening of censorship, that were believed by liberals to represent a move toward democratic government. In the parliamentary election that year, the opposition formed the broadly based Movement of Democratic Unity (Movimento de Unidade Democrática--MUD), which brought democrats together with fascists and communists. The opposition withdrew before the election, however, charging that the government intended to manipulate votes. General Norton de Matos, a candidate who had opposed Carmona in the 1949 presidential election, pulled out on the same grounds. In 1958 the eccentric General Humberto Delgado ran against the official candidate, Admiral Américo Tomás, representing the UN. Delgado pointedly campaigned on the issue of replacing Salazar and won 25 percent of the vote. After the election, the rules were altered to provide for the legislature to choose the president.
Salazar's was a low-keyed personalist rule. The New State was his and not a forum for a party or ideology. Although intensely patriotic, he was cynical about the Portuguese national character that in his mind made the people easy prey for demagogues. He avoided opportunities to politicize public life and appeared uncomfortable with the political groups that were eventually introduced to mobilize opinion on the side of the regime's policies. Politics in Salazar's Portugal consisted of balancing power blocs within the country--the military, business and commerce, landholders, colonial interests, and the church. All political parties were banned. The UN, officially a civic association, encouraged public apathy rather than political involvement. Its leadership was composed of a small political and commercial elite, and contacts within ruling circles were usually made on an informal, personal basis, rather than through official channels. Within the circle, it was possible to discuss and criticize policy, but no channels for expression existed outside the circle.
The UN had no guiding philosophy apart from support for Salazar. The tenets of the regime were said to be authoritarian government, patriotic unity, Christian morality, and the work ethic. Despite a great deal of deference paid to the theory of the corporate state, these tenets were essentially the extent of the regime's ideological content. Although the regime indulged in rallies and youth movements with the trappings of fascist salutes and paraphernalia, it was satisfied to direct public enthusiasm into "fado, Fátima, and football"--music, religion, and sports.
A devout Roman Catholic, Salazar sought a rapprochement with the church in Portugal. A concordat with the Vatican in 1940 reintroduced state aid to Roman Catholic education, but Salazar resisted involving the church--which he called "the great source of our national life"--in political questions. His policies were aimed essentially at healing the divisions caused within Portuguese society by generations of anticlericalism. Although the church had consistently supported Salazar, the regime came under increasing criticism by progressive elements in the clergy in the 1960s. One such incident led to the expulsion of the bishop of Porto.
Whatever may be said of his political methods, Salazar had an exceptional grasp of the techniques of fiscal management and, within the limits that he had set for the regime, his program of economic recovery succeeded. Portugal's overriding problem in 1926 had been its enormous public debt. Salazar's solution was to achieve financial solvency by balancing the national budget and reducing external debt. This solution required a strong government capable of cutting public expenditures and reducing domestic consumption by raising taxes and controlling credit and trade. In a few years Salazar singlemindedly achieved a solvent currency, a favorable balance of trade, and surpluses both in foreign reserves and in the national budget.
The bulk of the Portuguese remained among the poorest people in Europe, however. The austerity that Salazar's fiscal and economic policies demanded weighed most heavily on the working class and the rural poor, forestalling the development that would raise their standards of living. Outside the cities, traditional patterns of life persisted, especially in the conservative north, which had been stabilized by evenly distributed poverty and was a stronghold of support for the regime. To create an atmosphere of rising expectations without having the means to satisfy them, Salazar argued, would return the country to the chaotic conditions Portugal had known earlier in the century.
Stable government and a solvent economy would eventually attract foreign investment regardless of the attitude abroad to the nature of Salazar's regime. Cheap labor and the promise of competitive prices for Portuguese-made goods provided an incentive for investment, particularly in labor-intensive production, which was becoming uneconomic in Northern Europe. Priority was given, however, to colonial development. Salazar insisted that the overseas territories be made to pay for themselves and also to provide the trade surpluses required by Portugal to import the essentials that it could not produce itself. In essence, he updated Portuguese mercantilist policy: colonial goods were sold abroad to create a surplus at home.
In the years before World War II, Salazar cultivated good relations with all major powers except the former Soviet Union. Intent on preserving Portuguese neutrality, he had entered into a nonintervention convention with the European powers during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39); however, Soviet activity in Spain and the leftward course of the Spanish Republic persuaded him to support Francisco Franco's nationalists, with whom more than 20,000 Portuguese volunteers served. The war in Spain also prompted Salazar to mobilize a political militia, the Portuguese Legion, as a counterweight to the army.
Although he admired Benito Mussolini for his equitable settlement of Italy's church-state conflict, Salazar found the "pagan" elements in German nazism repugnant. He opposed appeasement, protested the German invasion of Poland in 1939, and would appear to have been among the first, with Winston Churchill, to express confidence in ultimate Allied victory as early as 1940. Portugal remained neutral during World War II, but the Anglo-Portuguese alliance was kept intact, Britain pledging to protect Portuguese neutrality. The United States and Britain were granted bases in the Azores after 1943, and Portuguese colonial products--copper and chromium--were funneled into Allied war production. Macau and Timor were occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945.
Portugal became a charter member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949, and in 1971 Lisbon became headquarters for NATO's Iberian Atlantic Command (IBERLANT). Portugal also maintained a defensive military alliance (the Iberian Pact, also known as the Treaty of Friendship and Nonaggression) with Spain that dated from 1939. Admission to the United Nations (UN) was blocked by the Soviet Union until 1955. In 1961 Indian armed forces invaded and seized Goa, which had been Portuguese since 1510.
Into the early twentieth century, the European settler communities in Portuguese Africa had virtual autonomy, and colonial administrations were perpetually bankrupt. Lisbon's concern in Angola and Mozambique was to make good the Portuguese claim to those territories, and pacification of the interior was still underway in the 1930s. Control over the colonies was tightened under Salazar.
The Colonial Act of 1930 stated that Portugal and its colonies were interdependent entities. The New State insisted on increased production and better marketing of colonial goods to make the overseas territories self-supporting and to halt the drain on the Portuguese treasury for their defense and maintenance. New land was opened for settlement, and emigration to the colonies was encouraged.
Portugal ignored the UN declaration on colonialism in 1960, which called on the colonial powers to relinquish control of dependent territories. Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea were made provinces with the same status as those in metropolitan Portugal by constitutional amendment in 1951. Armed resistance to the Portuguese colonial administration broke out in Angola in 1961 and had spread by 1964 to Mozambique and Guinea. By 1974 Portugal had committed approximately 140,000 troops, or 80 percent of its available military forces, to Africa; some 60 percent of these were African. Portuguese combat casualties were relatively light, and fighting consisted of small-unit action in border areas far from population centers. Only in Guinea did rebel troops control substantial territory. Portuguese forces appeared to have contained the insurgencies, and although large numbers of troops were required to hold the territory, Portugal seemed to some observers capable of sustaining military activity in Africa indefinitely. These same observers considered that, from a military standpoint, the wars had been won.
The wars did not interrupt the colonial production on which Portuguese economic stability depended. Indeed, they had provided a windfall to economic development in Angola and Mozambique, both with large settler communities. A large rural development project was underway in the Cahora Bassa region of Mozambique, as was the exploitation of oil in Cabinda enclave near Angola. More colonial income was being diverted into social services for Africans and Europeans, and in areas of medicine and education better facilities were thought to be available in Luanda and Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) than in Lisbon. However, forced native labor remained a factor in the economic development of Portuguese Africa into the 1960s. Foreign investment capital often came to the colonies from countries whose governments had officially condemned Portuguese colonialism.
No one except Pombal left so broad a mark on modern Portuguese history as Salazar. For nearly forty years, he completely dominated Portuguese government and politics. His departure was prosaic: he suffered an incapacitating stroke in June 1968 after a freak accident and died, still in a coma, more than a year later.
President Tomás appointed Marcello José das Neves Caetano to succeed Salazar as prime minister, although the regime did not admit for some time that Salazar would not be returning to power. Caetano was a teacher, jurist, and scholar of international reputation who had been one of the drafters of the 1933 constitution. Considered a moderate within the regime, he had taken unpopular stands in opposition to Salazar. He had resigned as rector of Lisbon University in 1960 in protest over police repression of student demonstrations. Unlike Salazar he came from the upper middle class, was ebullient and personable, and sought contact with the people.
It was clear from the start that Caetano was a different sort of leader. He spoke of "evolution within continuity," change fast enough to keep up with expectations but not so fast as to antagonize conservatives. He brought technocrats into the government and eased police repression. The elections held in 1969 were the freest in decades. He even altered the nomenclature of the regime; the New State became the Social State, but it remained essentially an authoritarian regime.
In contrast to Salazar, Caetano advocated an expansionist economic policy and promoted rapid development and increasing consumption without, however, supplementing the means of production. The consequence of liberalization was the first perceptible inflation in years, reaching 15 percent on such working-class staples as codfish and rice in the early 1970s.
Prime Minister Caetano had inherited Salazar's office but not his power nor, apparently, his skill as a politician and economist. President Tomás, meanwhile, had emerged with greater authority, as Salazar's death put him in a position to exercise the constitutional authority of the presidency to the fullest. Deeply conservative and supported by an entrenched right wing within the official political movement, Tomás employed threats of an army coup to oppose Caetano's policy of liberalization. Caetano took a harder line on Africa in an effort to head off opposition by the president and the officers close to him.
As the events of spring 1974 were to demonstrate, the regimes of Salazar's New State and Caetano's Social State had depended on personalities. In existence for nearly fifty years, the institutions of the corporate state had never put down roots in Portuguese political soil. Apathy had not implied support. On April 25, 1974, the officers and men of the Armed Forces Movement (Movimento das Forças Armadas--MFA) ousted Caetano and Tomás, paving the way for a junta under General António de Spínola to take command of the Portuguese Republic.
Portugal shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, although it is only about one-sixth as large as its neighbor. Including the Azores (Açores in Portuguese) and Madeira, the country has a total area of 92,080 square kilometers. Portugal lies on the westernmost promontory of continental Europe. The rugged Pyrenees Mountains separate Iberia from the heart of the European continent, and Portugal is even further distant across the vastness of Spain. Distance and isolation have created in Portugal a sense that it is a part of Europe geographically but apart from it culturally, socially, economically, politically, and even psychologically. Even in the early 1990s, Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese) was a two-to-three-day drive from Paris.
Portugal is bounded on the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and on the north and east by Spain. The country's shape is roughly that of a rectangle, with its short sides on the north and south and its long sides on the east and west. Portugal's Atlantic coastline is 837 kilometers long; its northern and eastern frontiers with Spain are 336 and 839 kilometers long, respectively.
Historically, Portugal emerged as a separate country during centuries of struggle with the Spanish provinces of León and Castile. Even hundreds of years after breaking away from Spain for the last time in 1640, fears remained in Portugal that it might one day be swallowed up by larger and more powerful Spain, perhaps not militarily, but culturally and economically. That sentiment is expressed by the Portuguese proverb that "neither a good wind nor a good marriage ever come from Spain." Meanwhile, Portugal's long coast has given it an "Atlantic vocation" and propelled its historic ventures of global exploration and colonization.
Portugal is not a homogeneous country geographically. The physical environment varies enormously, creating several distinct geographic regions that, in turn, have shaped the culture of the people and their economy and society. Northern Portugal is a mountainous, rainy region, characterized by many small farms and vineyards. The Portuguese nation began in this region, fending off León and Castile while simultaneously driving the Moors south and eventually out of the peninsula. It is a desolate area of rocky hillsides where smallholders have eked out a meager existence for hundreds of years. This region is also said to be the origin of the strongest Portuguese national values of hard work, thrift, traditionalism, Roman Catholicism, and practicality. It is also an area, however, that has lost many of its inhabitants through emigration.
Central Portugal, between the Rio Douro in the north and the Rio Tejo (Tagus River in English), including the capital city of Lisbon and its environs, is less homogeneous. The central coastal region consists of dunes and pine forests, and many residents of the area earn their livelihood from fishing. The central eastern areas, known as the Beira, consist of mainly small and medium-sized farms, with some mining and light industry. The greater Lisbon area, including both the city and its suburbs, accounts for most of the nation's commerce and much of its industry.
Southern Portugal, known as the Alentejo (literally, "beyond the Tejo") is an area of gently rolling hills and plains dominated by extensive estates with large-scale agriculture and grazing. It was traditionally also a land of often embittered tenant farmers and peasants. In contrast to the conservative north, the Alentejo was an area of radical political movements; for a long time, the Portuguese Communist Party (Partido Comunista Português--PCP) was the strongest party in the region.
The extreme south of Portugal is known as the Algarve. It is a dry region of smallholdings, grazing, and fishing, and coastal towns. This is the area of Portugal most strongly influenced by the Moors; even today the Moorish influence is present in the region's dialect and architecture. With its warm climate and Mediterranean sky, the Algarve has also become a center for tourism and a home to many foreign retirees.
Historically, Portugal was divided administratively into six provinces that corresponded closely to these natural geographic divisions. The north consisted of two provinces, the coastal Minho and the interior Trás-os-Montes. The center was made up of Beira and Estremadura, and the south consisted of the Alentejo and the Algarve. Later these historical provinces were further subdivided for administrative purposes, but the historical names have been retained in popular usage.
Even though it is a small country, Portugal has a wide variety of landforms, climatic conditions, and soils. The major difference is between the mountainous regions of the north and, across the Rio Tejo, the great rolling plains of the south. Within these two major regions are further subdivisions that reflect the country's vast differences. The Minho and Trás-os-Montes are both mountainous, but whereas the former is green with abundant rainfall, the latter is dry and parched. The Beira Litoral and Estremadura are younger geologically and contain sandstone, limestone, and volcanic rock. Beira Alta (Upper Beira) is mountainous and forms a barrier across the center of Portugal, but Beira Baixa (Lower Beira) is dry and windswept, an extension of the Spanish plateau. The Alentejo consists of gentle hills and plains. Because it is one of the driest areas in the country, it is not suitable for intensive agriculture. The area does support cattle raising, as well as cork oak and some grains. It is separated from the Algarve by two mountain ranges, the Serra de Monchique and the Serra do Caldeirao.
Geography and topography are also reflected in the climate. The mountainous regions of the north are considerably colder than the south. Winter snows in the Serra da Estrêla (which contains Portugal's highest peak at 1,986 meters) and the Serra do Gerês near the northern Spanish border may block roads for a time. The weather along the northern coasts and in the center of the country is milder; Lisbon has an average high temperature of 14°C in January and 27°C in August. Southern Portugal is warmer. The ocean moderates coastal temperatures, but the interior of the Alentejo can be quite warm, with temperatures sometimes above 40°C during the summer months. Because of its Mediterranean climate, most of Portugal's rainfall occurs in the winter, the north receiving much more rain than the south.
Portugal has ten major rivers, five of which have their origins in Spain. The Rio Minho begins in Spanish Galicia and for a distance of seventy-four kilometers forms the northern Portuguese frontier with Spain. The Rio Douro is of great importance to the commerce of northern Portugal. It also originates in Spain and flows the entire width of Portugal before emptying into the Atlantic at Porto, the country's second largest city. The Rio Douro is navigable by small craft for its full distance of 198 kilometers in Portugal; historically the river was used to transport casks of port wine to Porto. Its steep banks are terraced with vineyards, and the valley of the Rio Douro is one of the most picturesque in all Portugal.
The Rio Tejo is the country's longest river, has the largest drainage basin, and is the most important economically. It is navigable only eighty kilometers upstream, but that includes the vast estuary on which Lisbon is located. The Tejo estuary is the best natural port on the European continent and able to handle large ocean-going vessels. It also contains the Cacilhas drydocks, the largest in the world.
The most important river in the south is the Rio Guadiana which, flowing north to south, forms part of the border with Spain. Other important rivers in Portugal include the Rio Lima and the Rio Tâmega in the north, the Rio Mondego in the center, and the Rio Sado and Rio Chança in the south.
The soil systems of Portugal are usually sandy, arid, and acid, reflecting the soils of the Iberian Peninsula generally. Soil in the north can be rocky. Northern Portugal is better suited for agriculture than the south because of abundant rainfall, but with proper irrigation the south could support more intensive agriculture.
About one-fourth of Portugal is covered by forests (mainly pine and deciduous oak); if such cultivated tree crops as olives, cork oak, almonds, chestnuts, and citrus are counted, about one- third of the country's area is tree covered. In the northern mountains, pine, oak, poplar, and elm trees are prevalent. Vegetation is more varied in the central region and includes citrus trees and cork oak. The warm, dry south contains many areas of rough pasture, as well as abundant cork oak.
In addition to continental Portugal, the country's territory also includes the Azores and Madeira islands. The Azores consist of nine inhabited islands and several uninhabited rock outcroppings 1,280 kilometers west of the mainland in the Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago has an area of 2,278 square kilometers and a population of about 250,000. The Azores produce sufficient foodstuffs for internal consumption and some exports, but they remain even poorer than the mainland. The Madeira archipelago, located about 560 kilometers miles west of Northern Africa, consists of two inhabited and several uninhabited islands. With a total area of 788 square kilometers and a population of about 270,000 people, the archipelago is severely overpopulated.
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