History of Portugal

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The history of Portugal encompasses developments in the territory of the Portuguese Republic from prehistory to the present.

Prehistory and early history

The Roman period

The Iberian Peninsula was next to northern Italy one of the main battlegrounds between Carthage and the Romans in the Second Punic War . This is how Roman troops came to the peninsula for the first time. After a decisive victory by the Roman general Scipio (206 BC), the Carthaginians had to evacuate the Iberian Peninsula and, at the time of the peace treaty in 201 BC. Give up all claims on them. 197 BC The Romans founded two provinces into which the Iberian Peninsula was divided: Hispania citerior , which comprised the north and east of the Iberian Peninsula, and Hispania ulterior , which lay in the south and west of the peninsula.

The Celtiberian tribes living there were not prepared to accept Roman rule without a fight. Practically since the beginning of the Roman presence there was therefore resistance from the various Celtiberian tribes. So began in 197 BC The Celtiberian War , which was fought with great severity after Roman victories in 179 BC. BC ended with a peace treaty between Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and the rebellious tribe of the Lusonen.

Even with this Roman victory, however, the provinces did not come to rest; now, among others, the Lusitans , another Celtiberian tribe, rose up without major military conflicts.

154 BC Then there was another great uprising of the Celtiberians, the so-called Spanish War . 150 BC BC the Romans succeeded in deceiving the leaders of the Lusitans and they destroyed large parts of this tribe. Viriatus , one of the few survivors, became the leader of the Lusitans. He was able to inflict severe defeats on the Romans and so later became a folk hero. Only when Viriatus was murdered at Viseu by traitors from his entourage on behalf of the Romans (139 BC) did the uprising collapse. From 138 B.C. The Romans built fortifications in what is now Lisbon . However , it was only Caesar who succeeded from 60 BC. From Lisbon to break the last resistance of the Portuguese tribes.

The Celtiberians had a religion in which prisoners were sacrificed on important occasions . This is for example vouched for by the historian Appian for the funeral ceremonies of Viriatus.

The Roman province of Lusitania in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula

Rome ruled the country for almost four centuries. Under Augustus was 27 BC. An administrative reform carried out; three provinces were established on the Iberian Peninsula: Baetica , Hispania Citerior or Tarraconensis and Lusitania (capital Emerita Augusta , today's Mérida ). The province of Lusitania was again divided into three districts (" conventus "): Pacensis (capital Pax Iulia, today's Beja ), Scallabitanus (capital Scallabis, today Santarém ) and Emeritensis (capital Emerita, today Mérida). Lusitania comprised most of what is now Portugal and what is now the Spanish provinces of Salamanca and Cáceres . In late antiquity , Diocletian divided the province of Tarraconensis into two new provinces: Hispania Carthaginensis and Gallaecia (Callaecia). The province of Gallaecia comprised the entire area of ​​what is now Portugal north of the Douro .

In 68 AD the governors of Tarraconensis and Lusitania, Galba and Otho , formed the Legio VII Gemina from Hispanic soldiers and rose against Nero ; Galba became the new emperor.

In 98 AD, Trajan became Roman Emperor. He came from Italica ( Seville ) and was the first emperor of Rome to come from the provinces of the Iberian Peninsula.

The Christianization took place mainly in the 4th century; the four dioceses of Braga, Ossónoba, Évora and Lisbon were established, of which Braga was the oldest.

Germanic kingdom

Under King Rechiar, the Suebi ruled briefly from Cape Finisterre to the Algarve and the Mediterranean

The Germanic invasions from 409 ( Vandals , Alans and Suebi ) and 416 ( Visigoths ) devastated the Roman province; it slipped from Roman rule around the middle of the 5th century. Of the four peoples who conquered the country, the Suebi first dominated in what is now Portugal. The Suebi kings had their seat in Bracara Augusta, today's Braga .

466 was Eurich after the assassination of his brother Theodoric II. King of the Visigoths. Eurich extended his sphere of influence from southern France to large parts of the Iberian Peninsula. The Suebi were pushed back to the northwest, they were left with the area north or west of a line Coimbra - Palencia - Astorga .

In 470 Eurich undertook a campaign against the Suebi residing in the Lusitania. The Visigoths gradually broke away from the role of foederati of the Roman Empire. The oldest Germanic body of law in Latin, the Codex Euricianus, was written around 470 .

The Eastern Roman Empire recognized the existence of an independent vandal empire. The dominion of the Visigoth Empire extended further to the Iberian Peninsula.

In 506 the Breviarium Alarici ( Lex Romana Visigothorum ) was proclaimed, a body of law based on Roman law for the Romansh population.

Around 550 the Suebi were converted to Catholic Christianity by Saint Martin von Dume , Bishop of Braga. Eventually, however, the Visigoths prevailed. Her King Leovigild subjugated the Suebian Empire in 585 and incorporated it into the Visigoth Empire.

Muslim period

From 711 the Visigoth Empire was destroyed by the Moors from North Africa under Tāriq ibn Ziyād , and the Iberian Peninsula came almost completely under their rule. The last king of the Visigoths, Roderich , fell in the battle of the Río Guadalete . Today's Portugal became part of the Muslim province of Al-Andalus, which later became the emirate - and then the Caliphate of Córdoba .

The Christian resistance was organized by the genteel Goth Pelayo (in Portuguese Pelágio), who initially came to terms with the Muslim rulers, but after a dispute with the Muslim governor of Asturias became a rebel and his supporters in an Asturian mountain area turned him into a "prince" ( lat. princeps ) or king. The young Asturian monarchy saw itself as the successor and heir to the Visigoth Empire. With Pelayo's victory in the Battle of Covadonga in 722, the Reconquista began , the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula.

King Alfonso III of Asturias (866–910) moved the capital of his empire to León . In 868 he conquered and settled the area around Porto as part of the Presura Vímara Peres , in 878 the repopulation of Coimbra began. However, both cities were lost again to the Moors. The recaptured westernmost part of Asturias around the Douro experienced a planned expansion. In 997, Frankish knights took the city of Porto again on behalf of and under the leadership of the ruler ( dux magnus ) of Portucale, Gonçalo Mendes , but they lost it again shortly afterwards and could not finally conquer it until 1050.

In the course of the 11th century, the county of Portucale , which became the nucleus of what would later become Portugal, consolidated . Count Nuno Auvites (1017-1028), who united the noble families Nunes and Mendes by marriage, as well as his direct descendants Mendo Nunes (1028-1050) and Nuno Mendes (1059-1071) gradually succeeded in making the county of Portucale dependent on the kingdom To loosen León and to consolidate their hereditary rule. These aspirations for independence of the Portuguese nobility were defeated in 1071 in the Battle of Pedroso. Count Nuno Mendes fell, which resulted in the extinction of the house of the Counts of Portucale, and León-Castile was able to secure its sovereignty again.

In 1064 King Ferdinand I the Great of Castile and Léon succeeded in recapturing Coimbra from the Moors. His successor Alfons VI. the brave became king of Asturias-León in 1065 and also assumed the title of king of Castile, Galicia and Portugal by 1073 . He rearranged the area around Porto and raised it to the status of a county ( Comitatus Portaculensis ), named after the old Roman port Portus Cale, today's Porto . Although the new county remained under the suzerainty of Asturias-Castile-León, it was soon able to secure a great deal of independence again.

In 1086 Alfonso VI was defeated. of León and Castile in the battle of Zallaqa to the united army of the Moorish rulers of Seville , Badajoz and Granada as well as the Almoravids under their leader Yusuf ibn Tashfin . Thereupon he called crusaders for help. This is how Burgundian knights came to the country.

Portugal under the Burgundian rulers

Henry of Burgundy, Count of Portugal

Henry of Burgundy , the progenitor of the first Portuguese royal house, the House of Burgundy , received the counties of Portucale and Coimbra in 1095. After the death of Alfonso VI. of Castile and León he broke his fiefdom dependency, but after his death Portugal came back under the suzerainty of León until Henry's son Alfonso I was finally able to enforce independence from Castile and León in 1143.

In 1251 the last parts of the Moors' rule over the Algarve were destroyed and the Reconquista on the European continent ended for Portugal. It was only continued in Morocco in 1415 with the conquest of Ceuta .

The House of Burgundy ruled the country until 1383.

Portugal under the house of Avis

King John I of Portugal

In 1383 the House of Burgundy in Portugal died out with Ferdinand I. Through the revolution of 1383 , with John I, the Avis family gained the Portuguese throne. He signed the Treaty of Windsor (1386) , which allies Portugal and England , which is still in force today . This not only secured Portuguese independence for the next 200 years and brought about deep changes in the country's social structure, but also laid the essential political and economic foundations for the discoveries and expansion of Portugal in the 15th century.

Under the Avis kings from Manuel I , who were to rule the country until 1580, Portugal rose to become a world power. Through the Portuguese explorers and conquerors, the country created a colonial empire and through the lucrative Indian trade it became one of the leading trading powers in Europe.

Personal union with Spain

King Philip II of Spain united the thrones of Spain and Portugal (painting by Anthonis Mor )
Philip IV of Spain ruled as Philip III. also Portugal. Painting by Velázquez, oil on canvas, 1631/32, National Gallery, London

In 1580, Heinrich I, the last king of the Avis family, died without any descendants. The Spanish Habsburg King Philip II was able to assert an inheritance claim.

However, first António, prior of Crato , a illegitimate descendant of the house of Avis (grandson of Manuel I ), took over the orphaned throne.

This was countered by the well-founded claims of Philip II, who was not only appointed heir to the throne by Henry I in his will, but also as the son of Isabella of Portugal , the eldest daughter of King Manuel I, descended from the Avis house through the female side and in In the absence of a male heir, he was regularly entitled to succession to the throne. Philip II sent an army under the command of the third Duke of Alba, which defeated António's troops in Alcántara. Thereupon Philip II of Spain was proclaimed King of Portugal by the Cortes of Tomar under the name Dom Filipe I. The two crowns of Portugal and Spain were thus united under the Habsburgs. After the agreements with the Cortes, however, the Spanish side undertook to respect Portuguese autonomy. So the two states should not be united, but only ruled in personal union by a common ruler.

Only Portuguese should be appointed to the administration. The king promised to convene and consult the Cortes often, and a Portuguese council was set up in Madrid for Portuguese affairs. The Azores Philipp could not conquer I. However, they initially remained António of Crato faithful.

Philip I of Portugal (= Philip II of Spain), the favorite son of Emperor Charles V , was born in Valladolid in 1527 . In 1543 he married his cousin Maria of Portugal , a daughter of King John III. This marriage and his descent from Isabella of Portugal established his claim to the Portuguese throne. In 1556, after the abdication of his father, he took over the government in Spain and the Netherlands. Charles V had also given him the imperial crown and the Austrian ancestral lands of the Habsburgs, but this failed due to the resistance of the German electors . Imperial crown and stem land fell then his uncle Ferdinand I to. Since then, the House of Habsburg was divided into a Spanish and an Austrian line.

Philip I (II.) Was a staunch champion of the Counter Reformation . In all parts of his empire he fought Protestantism with tough measures. In terms of foreign policy, the focus was on the contrast with France and especially with England under Elizabeth I, as well as the fight against the Turks. Philip dispatched the Armada against England in 1588 , but it was devastated.

In Portugal Philip had to put down a number of uprisings. The accession of a Spanish king to power was anything but popular with the people. In addition, the memory of the popular “young knight king” Sebastian was still fresh. Since Sebastian's body was never found on the battlefield of Alcazarquivir, false Sebastiane could pretend to be the missing king and provoke revolts against Philip. António von Crato also tried again in 1589, this time with the help of the English pirate Drake , but he was defeated again by the Spanish.

Philip I (II) died in 1598. His son from his last marriage to Anna of Austria ascended the throne, in Spain as Philip III. , in Portugal as Philip II.

While Philip I still respected the autonomy of Portugal, the country was under his two successors Philip II (= Philip III of Spain, 1598–1621) and Philip III. (= Philip IV of Spain, 1621–1640) more and more attached to Spain. The promises of Philip I were forgotten, and Spaniards were appointed to posts in the Portuguese administration. The refusal of the kings to visit Portugal and the disruption of trade from the wars waged by Spain added to the bitterness in Portugal.

In terms of foreign policy, Portugal was of course now also in opposition to Spain's many European enemies. England, Portugal's traditional ally, was now his opponent. Even the Dutch, with their rising maritime power, who had just freed themselves from the Spanish yoke in a bloody civil war, tried to harm the Spanish-Portuguese interests wherever they could.

Portugal lost Hormuz to the British (1622), the Dutch conquered Ceylon and Malacca, and established themselves in Brazil (1630, Pernambuco ) and Africa (1637, Elmina ). Spain got involved in the Thirty Years War , in which the Spanish Habsburgs supported their Austrian relatives.

All these wars that Spain had to wage ruined the country and especially the Spanish public finances. The king therefore levied high taxes, which affected Portugal as well as the rest of his possessions. As a result, revolts broke out in Portugal and Castile. When Philip III. (IV.) Decreed the merger of the Portuguese with the Spanish army, this was a great disgrace for the self-confident Portuguese nobility; it was a clear violation of the promise of autonomy that Philip I (II) had made to the Portuguese Cortes on his accession to the throne.

The reign of the House of Bragança

Portugal is fighting for its independence

The Duke Olivares on Horseback, Portrait by Diego Velázquez , 1634, oil on canvas, Prado
King John IV of Portugal

In 1634 and 1637 revolts broke out in Évora , and in 1640 a revolt broke out in Catalonia . The Duke of Olivares , the all-powerful Prime Minister Philip III, planned to use Portuguese troops to crush the Catalan uprising, which caused further outrage in Portugal. France, the great adversary of the Habsburgs and thus Spain, saw an opportunity to weaken the Spaniards. Cardinal Richelieu therefore supported the Portuguese and encouraged the Duke of Bragança to revolt against the Spaniards. Taking advantage of the Spanish weakness, the Spanish governor, the Duchess of Mantua, was overthrown in a coup in Lisbon and the head of the Bragança family was proclaimed King John IV .

An uprising instigated by the Archbishop of Braga and some nobles to restore the rule of the Habsburgs failed. Johann had several nobles executed and clergymen sentenced to lengthy prison terms. With John IV, the House of Bragança ascended the Portuguese throne, the penultimate dynasty to rule the country.

Spain did not react to the events in Portugal until years later, as its military forces were tied up by the Thirty Years War and the war with France. In 1644 there was a minor battle near Montijo. Portugal first renewed its alliance with England (contracts with Charles I in 1642, Oliver Cromwell in 1654 and Charles II in 1661, who married Catarina de Bragança ). Portugal ceded Tangier and Bombay to England. John IV tried successfully to recapture parts of the Portuguese colonial empire. Although Malacca was finally lost to the Dutch, he succeeded in driving the Dutch out of Luanda and São Tomé in 1648 and in alliance with the English during the first Anglo-Dutch naval war in 1654 from Brazil. With the loss of the East Indian colonies, Brazil now became the most economically important Portuguese colony. Cane sugar , gold and diamonds from Brazil became the main source of Portuguese wealth. Because of the foreseeable confrontation with the Spaniards, the king strengthened national defense. A permanent council of war and a secret council for the defense of the national borders were established. With the help of the General Society of the Brazilian Trade (Companhia Geral do Comércio do Brasil), founded in 1649, the main aim was to secure maritime traffic between Brazil and Portugal. Under Johann, Portugal became a powerful and respected country in Europe again.

In 1656 Johann IV died. His eldest son, Alfons VI. , succeeded him. Alfonso VI was only 13 years old when his father died. Therefore, a reign was established under his mother, Luísa de Guzmão. Alfonso VI was paralyzed and mentally weak from the age of three, so that the reign was continued even after he came of age. As a result of a conspiracy by the third Count of Castelo Melhor against the reign, Alfonso VI began. 1662 formally to govern independently, but power fell de facto to the Count of Castelo Melhor, the gray eminence behind the throne.

In 1659, the war with France ended in the same year, Spain finally attacked and tried to recapture Portugal for the Habsburgs ( Restoration War ). The Spaniards occupied Elvas . However, a Portuguese-British force defeated the Spaniards in several battles. In 1665 the Spanish King Philip IV died and with it the last monarch from the House of Habsburg who still had the Portuguese title of king. The Spaniards, weakened by the military defeats, had to recognize Portuguese independence in the Treaty of Lisbon in 1668 . Ceuta remained with Spain. These victories over Spain earned the king the nickname "o Vitorioso" (the victorious).

Alfonso VI lost more and more influence to his younger brother, the Infante Peter . This allied with the queen against Alfonso VI. Also in the people and in the Cortes the general opinion was that Alfons VI. unable to rule the country due to his handicap. In 1667, Peter and the Queen drove out the previous Privy Council and forced the King to sign a document with which Alfons renounced the exercise of government. The Cortes deposed the king in 1668 and appointed Peter regent. The king's marriage was dissolved because he was allegedly unable to perform it. The Queen then married the Prince Regent Peter. Alfonso VI lived as a prisoner in Sintra and the Azores until his death in 1683 . After his death, Prince Regent Peter ascended the Portuguese throne as Peter II.

Portugal in the age of absolutism

During the reign of Peter II, the country's economy was reorganized according to mercantilist standards (reforms by the third Count of Ericeira) and a far-reaching trade treaty was concluded with England (1668). Under this agreement, English products were given preferential tariffs in Portugal in return for English preferential tariffs for Portuguese wine. In the Methuen Treaty of 1703, Great Britain was finally allowed duty-free imports of textiles and manufactured goods, Portugal paid for it with the gold and diamonds of Brazil. This treaty, which remained in force until 1842, contributed to Portugal becoming economically dependent on Great Britain and, since the country was inundated with cheap British products, it did not undertake industrialization of its own.

The Cortes met for the last time in 1653 and twice more between 1679 and 1698. The following absolutist kings no longer called the old assembly of estates. Only after the liberal revolution of 1820 would the Cortes meet again.

Portugal entered the War of the Spanish Succession on the British-Austrian side in 1703 .

In 1706 Johann V ascended the throne (until 1750). Absolutism was introduced under him ; the Cortes had not been called up since 1696/98. Johann V is portrayed as a capable statesman, highly educated and interested in many things, who was modeled on Louis XIV of France. In Portugal, as in France, the aristocrats no longer cared about their land holdings; they became mere courtiers. His wealth, which the king, in the tradition of other absolutist kings, invested in buildings in his glory (monastery palace of Mafra , university library of Coimbra, aqueduct of Águas Livres in Lisbon), came from the Brazilian gold trade. During his reign, the War of the Spanish Succession came to an end. A Portuguese army under the leadership of the Marquês das Minhas succeeded in taking Madrid, but the Spanish and French then won the Battle of Almansa (1707), while the French René Duguay-Trouin sacked Rio de Janeiro . Portugal and France made peace in 1713, and finally Portugal and Spain in 1715.

John V joined the Pope in a war against Turkey (Battle of Matapan, 1717), but soon came into conflict with the Holy See when the latter tried to gain more influence over the Catholic Church in Portugal. It was only when the Pope agreed that all of Lisbon's bishops should receive the title of Cardinal and Patriarch, and gave the King the title of “Most Believing King” (o Rei fidelíssimo), that the King and Pope were reconciled again. Under John V the country experienced a "Second Golden Age", of which many of the magnificent buildings erected by the king still bear witness to today.

Joseph I , his successor, who ruled from 1750 to 1777, was more interested in his buildings and the opera than in state affairs. He criticized his father's wastefulness and his support for the Inquisition. When Joseph I ascended the throne, he appointed nobles to his circle of advisors who had stood in opposition to his father, including the brilliant Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the first Marquês de Pombal .

Marquês de Pombal, “Expulsion of the Jesuits” by Louis-Michel van Loo and Claude-Joseph Vernet , 1766.

In 1755, Lisbon was devastated by a major earthquake . The Marquês de Pombal organized the reconstruction. After proving his organizational skills in this way, Pombal was appointed First Minister and thus Regent of Portugal in 1756. He laid the foundation for Portugal's entry into the modern age. Instead of traditional clerical politics, the Marquis relied on enlightened absolutism. This quickly earned him opposition from the Church. The Jesuits preached that the earthquake was God's punishment for the reforms of the Marquis. When there was an assassination attempt against the king in 1758, which had never been resolved , Pombal struck back. Education was laid down, opposition politicians, including the Duke of Aveiro , were executed, and an important member of the Jesuits was burned at the stake. In 1759 the Jesuit order in Portugal and Brazil was dissolved. Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal in 1761 , but not in Brazil. All existing legal discrimination against the new Christians (baptized Jews) was lifted, censorship was transferred from the church to the state, and the Inquisition was placed under the supervision of the state. A science faculty was founded at the university, a state school system was created that emancipated the Indians in Brazil. The Portuguese army was reformed under the supervision of Count Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe . The Marquis ensured that more Portuguese settlers were settled in Brazil, and promoted the Brazilian trade through the establishment of trading companies, including the East India Company. Both agriculture and trade experienced an upswing during this period, and the state's financial situation improved considerably.

Joseph I was married to a Spanish Bourbon princess. Even so, he was unwilling to abandon Great Britain, Portugal's traditional ally, and join the Spanish-French alliance against Great Britain. Spain then invaded Portugal in 1762, but had to make peace in 1763 and leave Portugal again. For the last three years the queen ruled the sick king.

Joseph I left no male heir. The king was therefore faced with the choice of either enabling the female succession to the throne - in which case his daughter Maria would have followed him to the throne - or to hold on to the male succession; then his younger brother, Peter , would be called next in line to the throne. The dilemma was resolved when Joseph married his brother to his daughter. Together they climb as Maria I and Peter III. the throne.

The new queen was very religious, so the anti-clerical policy of the Marquês de Pombal was a horror to her. As soon as she ascended the throne, she therefore released Pombal, whom she placed under house arrest in his country estate. Maria I reversed a number of the Marquis' anti-church reforms, but continued his foreign and economic policy. The country's infrastructure was renewed, an equilibrium in foreign trade with Great Britain was achieved, and dependence on Great Britain was reduced through trade diversification and an alliance with Russia .

After the death of her husband, the queen increasingly fell into irrational piety and eventually went mad. In 1792 she was incapacitated. Her son the heir to the throne, who later became King John VI, took over the reign .

French and British occupation, the Brazilian period

King John VI from Portugal and Brazil, flees from Napoleon to Rio de Janeiro

Due to its alliance with Great Britain, Portugal found itself in an extremely precarious foreign policy situation vis-à-vis revolutionary France . Fearing that the revolutionary ideas might spread to Brazil, it took part in the war against France (1793), but from 1795 was alone with Great Britain as the last ally on the continent. Spain took advantage of this weakness and conquered parts of Portugal in the so-called " Orange War " (Guerra de Las Naranjas) in 1801 (Spanish ultimatum, Spanish occupation of the Alentejo, cession of the city of Olivença to Spain in the Peace of Badajoz ). Lucien Bonaparte and Manuel de Godoy extorted high compensation that went into their own pockets. Instead, they ignored Napoleon's wishes and refrained from occupying several Portuguese provinces. Napoleon was furious, called his brother a villain and thief and prophesied a bitter end to the Spanish monarchy. In 1806 Napoleon declared the continental block against Great Britain in Berlin . Portugal could not give in to Napoleonic pressure to close its ports to British ships and join the continental blockade because it was too dependent on British trade. The French insistence grew stronger after Napoleon's defeat in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). In 1806, Napoleon gave Portugal an ultimatum. Either the country declares war on the British or France declares war on Portugal. In 1807 Spain had to grant the French marching rights in the Treaty of Fontainebleau. Napoleon managed to occupy Portugal and General Junot conquered Lisbon. The royal family fled to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro became the new seat of government.

George Cruikshank : Whitlock the Second, or: A New Clouding of British Valor ; Caricature of the surprising concession by the British to allow the French to take “private property” with them when they withdrew after their defeat in 1808

The French tried three times to occupy the country: The first invasion of Junot in 1808 was initially successful, until a British expeditionary corps of 13,000 men landed in Portugal under the command of British General Arthur Wellesley , later Duke of Wellington. The British quickly managed to inflict several defeats on the French. General Junot and his men had to withdraw from Portugal, but in the Treaty of Sintra the British had to grant them free retreat. In 1809 the French tried again, this time it was Marshal Soult who invaded Portugal from Galicia . The Anglo-Portuguese troops were initially under the command of William Carr Beresford , later again under the command of Arthur Wellesley, who had returned to Portugal when he heard of the new invasion. With the victory of Talavera de la Reina over the French (July 27-28, 1809), the second invasion ended.

In August 1810 the French tried for the third time, this time Marshals Masséna , Ney and Junot occupied the province of Beira. Wellington defeated them on September 27, 1810 in the Battle of Buçaco , near Coimbra. The British and Portuguese had used the time to dig a fortified line of defense at Torres Vedras , north of Lisbon . The French invasion was halted on this line and the French suffered great losses. After the defeat of Sabugal (April 3, 1811) they had to withdraw from Portugal for good and the country was liberated. Officially, however, the war did not end until 1814 with the French defeat in the Battle of Toulouse .

The result of the war was a disaster for Portugal: the expansion of industrialization was halted, the country devastated by the scorched earth tactics used by both the French and the British. Constitutionally, Portugal was ruled from Brazil, which received a new status in 1815 and was no longer a Portuguese colony , but an independent kingdom with the same rights as Portugal, linked to it by personal union. Portugal was heavily indebted and its trade dependence on Great Britain grew. Since 1810 Great Britain also had the right to trade directly with Brazil, bypassing Portugal. Portugal became a de facto Brazilian colony and British protectorate, and power in the country was in the hands of the British commander, William Carr Beresford.

After the death of Mary I in 1816, the Prince Regent in Rio de Janeiro was named John VI. crowned king of Brazil and Portugal.

Liberal revolution and the struggle between absolutists and constitutionalists

Domestically, the call for a constitution grew, especially in the Portuguese army . The liberal political ideas, brought to Portugal by Napoleon and the troops of revolutionary France, fell on fertile soil in the poorly paid army. The absence of the royal family, the presence of foreign commanders (Beresford) and the events in neighboring Spain, where liberalism was enjoying success, added to the unrest in Portugal. Beresford was able to gain the upper hand again in 1817 by executing a number of conspirators, including the liberal General Gomes Freire de Andrade , but his tough crackdown ultimately reinforced the resolve of his opponents.

In 1820 there was the liberal revolution , which began with an officers' uprising in Porto. As a result, the British were disempowered and a constituent cortex was elected, which, under the leadership of the lawyer Manuel Fernandes Tomás , drafted the country's first constitution. This was adopted on September 23, 1822 as the "Political Constitution of the Portuguese Monarchy" by the Cortes. Johann VI. was asked to return to Portugal, a request that the king did rather reluctantly that same year. However , he left Crown Prince Peter behind in Brazil. When the Cortes tried to persuade the Crown Prince to return to Portugal and to reinstate colonial status for Brazil, the latter declared Brazilian independence on September 7, 1822 . Brazil became an empire, Crown Prince Peter of Portugal became Emperor Peter I of Brazil (Dom Pedro I).

After the return of the king, the conflict between the liberal constitutionalists, i.e. those who wanted Portugal to be governed as a constitutional monarchy , and the absolutists, i.e. the supporters of the absolute monarchy, which was not restricted by any constitution, escalated dramatically. The rift ran right through the royal family: while the king hesitated but wanted to avoid a break with the liberals, Queen Charlotte Johanna and Prince Michael were uncompromising supporters of absolutism.

In 1824 the conservative forces revolted against the new liberal constitution. The king was held like a prisoner by his wife and son Michael in one of his palaces and was to be forced to abdicate. France and the Holy Alliance support the counter-revolution in Portugal. France sent an army to Spain, which eliminated liberalism there and had similar plans with Portugal, but was stopped due to a British intervention. The king was able to flee from his palace on a British warship, from there took over the supreme command of his army again and finally forced Prince Michael into exile in Austria . However, the constitution of 1821 was revoked. Johann ruled for two more years until he died in 1826.

The Miguelistenkrieg:

King Michael I of Portugal

After the death of Johann VI. his eldest son, Emperor Peter I of Brazil, inherited the Portuguese throne, which he ascended under the name of Peter IV.

The new king stayed in Brazil. Regent was his sister, Elisabeth Maria von Braganza , who was still from Johann VI. was installed in this office in will.

Peter IV issued a new constitution in 1826, the so-called Charter . It was more conservative than the liberal constitution of 1821 because the king hoped - in vain - that the new constitution would defuse the conflict between liberals and absolutists. Elisabeth Maria, herself a supporter of the absolutists, resisted the charter, but was later forced by the Duke of Saldanha to put it into effect.

Peter IV did not succeed in reuniting his two kingdoms. He failed after a short time because of the impossibility of ruling Brazil and Portugal at the same time. In Portugal they were no longer willing to endure a king who did not reside in the country again. In Brazil, on the other hand, the criticism that the emperor was devoting more and more energy to solving the Portuguese problems grew louder. The monarch eventually had to choose between Brazil and Portugal, and he chose Brazil. In May 1826, after only two months of government in Portugal, he abdicated as the Portuguese king in favor of his underage daughter Maria da Glória . This resulted in the final separation of the monarchies of Portugal and Brazil.

Peter had come up with a clever solution to arrange the succession. Since his daughter was still too young to rule, his brother Michael was to be brought back from exile in Austria to act as regent until the queen came of age. Later, when the queen came of age, Michael would marry her, his own niece, and ascend the throne with her. Before that, Michael had to swear allegiance to the constitutional charter, which he did.

Michael had other plans, however. Shortly after his return to Portugal, he allied himself with the absolutists, deposed his niece and bride, had a traditional meeting of the estates called and proclaimed himself king. He ruled Portugal as the last monarch in an absolutist way, in Portugal he set up a political system of coercion through which his domestic political opponents, liberals and constitutionalists, were forced into exile or imprisoned.

Peter was unwilling to accept his younger brother's breach of trust and wanted his daughter to be given the Portuguese throne. In addition, he had to contend with increasing domestic political difficulties in Brazil. In 1831 he resigned as Emperor of Brazil (there in favor of his son Peter II ), went to Europe and began the fight against his brother. This went down in history under the name of Miguelistenkrieg or War of the Two Brothers (1832–1834). With the help of his generals, the dukes of Saldanha and Terceira , he managed to defeat Michael. This had to go into exile again. Peter died a short time later, his daughter was declared of legal age and began to govern independently.

The age of liberalism

Although the absolutists no longer played a significant role in Portuguese politics after their defeat in the Miguelistenkrieg, the country still did not come to political peace. The liberals were a heterogeneous group, held together primarily by their opposition to the absolutists, which has now disappeared. That is why they quickly split into a left-wing and a right-wing conservative wing. The dispute arose over the question of what the future constitution of the country should look like. While the left-wing liberals - they were called Setembrists - wanted to reinstate the constitution of 1821, the right-wing liberal conservatives, the Cartists , supported the constitutional charter of 1826.

The Cartist Government

João Carlos Gregório Domingos Vicente Francisco de Saldanha Oliveira e Daun, 1st Count, 1st Margrave and 1st Duke of Saldanha

Queen Maria II was a follower of the Cartists. In the period from 1834 to 1836 it therefore exclusively appointed cartistic governments. Prime ministers of this time were the heroes of the Miguelistenkrieg, so above all the dukes of Saldanha, Terceira and Palmela . They first set out to overcome the legacy of the absolutists through political reforms. The administration and judiciary were reorganized according to the Napoleonic model, and the trade monopolies of the large corporations were abolished. The religious orders were disbanded, church property was nationalized and sold in a desperate attempt to improve the country's financial situation. In this way a new class of large landowners was created, which was mainly recruited from the upper class . Miguelist bishops were deposed, the country came into sharp opposition to the Catholic Church. However, the governments changed in quick succession and overturned over internal scandals and the resistance of the Setembrists.

The Setembrists in power

The Marquis of Sá da Bandeira

In 1836, after the probably falsified elections won by the Cartists, the September Revolution in Portugal , when the Setembrists came to power. Against her will, the Queen had to appoint Setembrist cabinets until 1842, which were particularly shaped by Manuel da Silva Passos and the Marquis of Sá da Bandeira .

Against the Setembrist government there was some resistance, including violent resistance, on the part of the Cartists, which was partly secretly, partly openly, also supported by the queen (1836 Belenzada , 1837 uprising of the marshals , 1838 mutinies in Lisbon).

Even so, the Setembrists managed to carry out a number of significant reforms. The school system was reformed and institutions that are still famous today, such as the Academy of Fine Arts and the National Theater, were founded. The foundations for the Portuguese tax system, which has remained unchanged to this day, were laid, and slavery was also abolished in the colonies.

In 1837 a new Constituent Cortes was elected, which gave the country a new, extremely democratic constitution.

From 1840 the influence of the Setembrists declined. The Queen was able to get her way and with the appointment of António Bernardo da Costa Cabral as Minister of Justice, one of her confidants and cartists was placed in the cabinet.


António Bernardo da Costa Cabral, 1st Margrave of Tomar

The political scene from 1842 to 1846 was completely dominated by António Bernardo da Costa Cabral, later the Marquis of Tomar, which is why this period is also known as cabralism ( cabralismo ). Costa Cabral, who was just Minister of Justice at the time, put an end to the rule of the last Setembrist government in a coup in 1842. He was appointed Prime Minister by the Queen, repealed the new Setembrist Constitution and reinstated the Constitutional Charter of 1826. Until 1846 he ruled the country in an authoritarian dictatorial manner, but also carried out a number of forward-looking reforms. The evaluation of the person of Costa Cabral and his reign is controversial in Portuguese historiography to this day.

Civil War and Restoration

The general dissatisfaction with the dictatorship of Costa Cabral led to the uprising of Maria da Fonte in 1846 , which overthrew Costa Cabral. The Queen dismisses Costa Cabral with a heavy heart, but after a short time appoints a new conservative cartist government under the Duke of Saldanha. The Setembrists then form a counter-government in their stronghold of Porto. Civil war breaks out. The government is unable to control the insurgents in the north of the country, only through the intervention of British and Spanish troops can the government win the civil war (1847).

After the civil war, Portuguese politics entered a quieter phase. Political parties develop from Cartists and Setembrists, the Regeneration Party from the Cartists, and the Historical Party from the Setembrists . Henceforth the opposition between the two currents will again be carried out by political rather than military means. The period up to 1856 was carried out by the governments of the Regeneration Party, especially by the Duke of Saldanha, who was head of government for long years (1846–1849 and 1851–1856). Costa Cabral also becomes Prime Minister for a short time (1849-1851), but falls over scandals and his great unpopularity.

The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Portuguese kings

King Ferdinand II of Portugal from the German noble family Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Queen Maria II died in 1853 giving birth to her eleventh child at the age of 34. The reign of the House of Bragança in Portugal ended with the reign of Maria II. The queen married Ferdinand von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha in 1836 . Through this marriage, the Portuguese branch of this German noble family, which can be traced back to the House of Wettin and the Margraves of Meissen , came to the throne.

Maria II's successor was her son Peter V. He was still a minor when his mother died, so that his father, Ferdinand II., Took over the reign initially. In 1855 the king came of age and took over the government himself.

Rotativism period

An oligarchic parliamentary monarchy developed in Portugal . The politicians of both the Regeneration and the Historical Parties both came from the upper class. Since it was a small, self-contained group of people who all had the same background, a system of regular rotation in the exercise of government was formed, called rotativism in Portuguese historiography . As soon as a party was no longer able to exercise government, it gave its mandate back to the monarch, who then appointed a head of government from the opposition. Only then did the monarch dissolve parliament, so that it was ensured that the party that had just assumed government responsibility also got a parliamentary majority, which was ensured by manipulating the elections if necessary (which was not difficult given the fact that only one percent of the Population was eligible to vote). In this system, the two big parties took turns in government responsibility, making sure that both ruled for about the same time.

The Duke of Loulé

Rotativism began when the new King Peter V dismissed the long-term Prime Minister Saldanha in 1856 and appointed the leader of the Historical Party as head of government with the Duke of Loulé . For the first time since the coup d'état of the Costa Cabral, the heirs of the Setembrists were back in power. The government of the Duke of Loulé ruled until 1859, after which the Regeneration Party (government of the Duke of Terceira 1859-1860, government Joaquim António de Aguiar 1860-1861) and the Historical Party (again the Duke of Loulé until 1865) alternated in quick succession.

The reign of Peter V ended tragically. In 1858 he married Stephanie von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who, however, died a year later. The young king fell into a deep depression. In 1861 the popular king himself died at the age of only 24. The king fell ill during an epidemic of fever, and two of his brothers died with him within a short time. Ludwig I then ascended the Portuguese throne as the eldest living son of Maria II.

From 1865 to 1868 a grand coalition of historical and regeneration parties ruled under Joaquim António de Aguiar. Because of tax increases, riots broke out in Lisbon on the New Year of 1868, which overthrew the government. Then the Regeneration Party ( António José de Ávila ) ruled again , then the Marquis of Sá da Bandeira , who had since left the Historical Party and founded his own party, the Reformist Party . It was followed again by the Duke of Loulé, who was overthrown in 1870 by an operetta-like coup by the now 80-year-old (!) Duke of Saldanha. Sá da Bandeira ended the last Saldanha government after a few months and held new elections.


Fontes Pereira de Melo

After the new elections, the first government, Fontes Pereira de Melo, was formed by the Regeneration Party. Fontes Pereira de Melo was to remain in office until 1877, leading the longest government ever in this period of Portuguese history. During this time some important politicians who had determined the fate of Portugal died, such as Joaquim António de Aguiar in 1874, the Duke of Loulé in 1875 and the Marquis of Sá da Bandeira in 1876. That year the first Republican Party was also formed. The reign of Fontes de Melo is particularly marked by the onset of industrialization .

This is also the time when the Republicans first appeared. After the republic was briefly proclaimed in neighboring Spain in 1873 , supporters of the republican form of government also joined forces in Portugal and founded the first republican party in 1876 .

With the death of Sá da Bandeira, the Reformist Party he founded, which was a split from the Historical Party, lost its livelihood. It therefore united in 1876 with the Historical Party to form the Progressive Party . Anselmo José Braamcamp is elected chairman of the new party. In the tradition of the Historical Party, which carried on the Setembrist movement, the Progressives were a liberal left-wing party, while the Regeneration Party represented the conservative element in Portuguese politics. The progressives demanded, among other things. a constitutional reform, the extension of the right to vote to other eligible voters, decentralization in the administration as well as a reorganization of the financial administration and the judiciary. 1877–1878 Fontes Pereira de Melo had to hand over the government to António José de Ávila for a short time (he officially resigned due to illness, but in fact the criticism of his government had become too strong). The return of Fontes Pereira de Melo, who was commissioned by King Ludwig to form a government again in January 1878, provoked strong protests from the Progressive Party, which for the first time were directed not only against de Melo but also against the king himself. In the elections of November 1878, the Regeneration Party was able to assert itself against the Progressive Party. In these elections, the first Republican MP was also elected to the Cortes.

The second government of Fontes Pereira de Melo finally overthrew on May 29, 1879, through a scandal sparked by the finance minister's relationship with Überseebank. The progressives came to power for the first time. "Rotativism" was resumed, now between the Regeneration and the Progressive Party.

The Regeneration Party stood in uncompromising opposition to the new government, Fontes Pereira de Melo succeeded in 1881 in overthrowing the Braamcamp government with a vote of no confidence and in taking over the government again. The leader of the Progressive Party Braamcamp died on September 16, 1885, and was succeeded by José Luciano de Castro . When the government of Fontes Pereira de Melo had to resign over a tax dispute in February 1886, José Luciano de Castro succeeded him.

Fontes Pereira de Melo died in 1887. In the parliamentary elections in the same year, the progressives were able to hold their own, the Republicans had two MPs. António Serpa succeeded Pereira de Melo as chairman of the Regeneration Party and thus the new leader of the opposition. In a by-election in 1888, the republican Teófilo Braga , who was to become the first president of the republic in 1910, was elected a member of parliament in Lisbon.

In 1889 the king died and his son Karl (Dom Carlos) ascended the throne of Portugal.

The crisis of the ancien régime

The colonial crisis

The period that followed was marked by a renewed interest in the overseas parts of the empire, especially the African possessions. At the Berlin conference in 1884 it was agreed that the exercise of real control and domination, instead of historical connections, would decide in future whether the African territories belong to the European colonial powers.

Portugal went public in 1887 with the plan (the so-called "Pink Map Plan") to unite its colonies in East Africa (Mozambique) and West Africa (Angola) into a coherent colony, which brought the country into opposition to Great Britain who planned to do the same for a contiguous colony from Cairo to Cape Town. True to the guidelines of the Berlin conference, Portuguese soldiers began to occupy areas outside of the regions in the interior of Africa previously controlled by Portugal, which represented the connection between the two Portuguese colonies (for example in today's Malawi ) in order to gain de facto control over these areas to be able to demonstrate. Of course, Britain protested against this practice.

In early 1890, the British government gave Portugal an ultimatum demanding that the country withdraw all soldiers who were between the two colonies. In this situation, Charles I appointed António Serpa Pimentel of the Regeneration Party as the new Prime Minister. In recognition of the real balance of power, he had no choice but to fulfill the British ultimatum. The plan to combine Mozambique and Angola into a single colony had failed.

The pink map had sparked a wave of nationalist enthusiasm for colonial policy in Portugal. The disappointment among the population was correspondingly great when the plan collapsed because of the British ultimatum. For the first time, the blame for the national impotence was placed not only on the government, but also on the monarchy itself, so that the king came directly into the field of fire of the domestic political dispute.

The country was fermenting, the republican opposition grew stronger and stronger. The student António José de Almeida , a later president of the republic, published the anti-monarchy article "Braganza, the last". In the book "Finis Patriae" by Guerra Junqueiro the king was ridiculed.

The parliamentary elections of March 1890 were accompanied by violent attacks, ten dead and over 40 injured as a result. The Republicans got three seats, all in Lisbon. In 1890, the first of May was celebrated in Portugal for the first time. The issue of the African colonies led to a government crisis. After months of negotiations, the country signed the Treaty of London , which established the borders between the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique and the surrounding British territories. When the government brought the treaty to parliament for ratification, it became known that the government had accepted the British ultimatum and dropped the plan for a contiguous Portuguese colony in southern Africa. The outrage was great, there were riots in Lisbon, the parliament was no longer quorate because of the departure of the opposition. Serpa Pimentel resigned, and between 1890 and 1893 the king appointed non-partisan governments.

In early 1891 there was a republican uprising in Porto. The republic was proclaimed. The uprising was, however, suppressed.

Economic problems

In addition, the country's economic problems grew, and Portugal became increasingly dependent on foreign powers. A sharp decline in the value of the currency and a fall in real wages made the republican and socialist currents rise further. The country's financial situation became more and more dangerous. Due to its independence, Brazil ceased to be a source of income, the African colonial empire brought significantly lower income than Brazil before, and Portugal itself, despite some attempts at industrialization, remained largely a poorly developed agricultural country. Finally, on May 7, 1891, national bankruptcy had to be declared. As a result, the value of Portuguese paper money fell by 10%. The national bankruptcy meant above all a severe loss of reputation of the king and the Portuguese state among the population as well as a threat to Portuguese sovereignty (later, in 1901, the king even had a veto right of foreign creditors - Great Britain, France and Germany - when drawing up the budget accept). Desperate measures to improve the country's financial situation have been proposed. The king waived 20% of his endowments and the sale of the Portuguese colonies was discussed in parliament.

With the appointment of Ernesto Rodolfo Hintze Ribeiro from the Regeneration Party as Prime Minister in 1893, the phase of bipartisan governments ended and the country returned to the system of rotation between the two major parties. In addition to Hintze Ribeiro, José Luciano de Castro of the Progressive Party was Prime Minister several times during this period.

Politically, there was chaos, in several elections the Republicans were able to win votes, even if they still only represented a small minority in parliament. Reforms to the electoral law sought to weaken the Republicans. A constitutional amendment passed by royal decree without the consent of parliament gave the king greater powers to the detriment of parliament.

The solution to the colonial crisis, problems with the church

In 1899 the colonial crisis between Great Britain and Portugal is resolved in a secret treaty ( Treaty of Windsor ). The two powers mutually recognize their possessions, Great Britain undertook to defend the integrity of the Portuguese overseas possessions and received the right to move troops freely through the territory of the Portuguese possessions in Africa. The Windsor Treaty was also of great importance because there had been contacts between the German Empire and Great Britain beforehand . The object of these agreements was to delimit German and British interests in southern Africa in the event that Portugal had to sell or pledge the colonies due to its financial situation. In fact , the great powers had already begun to consider the division of the Portuguese colonial empire. It fits in with the fact that during the Spanish-American war the USA also considered annexing the Portuguese Azores alongside the Spanish possessions ( Philippines , Cuba ). The Windsor Treaty ended this danger and Portuguese rule in Mozambique and Angola was consolidated.

Another issue that heated up the spirits domestically was the relationship between the state and the Catholic Church. The "Calmon incident", in which a 32-year-old woman, the daughter of the Brazilian consul in Porto, was abducted with her consent because she wanted to enter a monastery against her father's will, led to anti-clerical riots in Lisbon. The Regeneration Party, traditionally anti-clerical, reacted with a series of decrees directed against the religious orders. Only religious associations that made it their business to propagate the Christian faith in the overseas colonies were allowed. In Portugal, a number of religious institutions have been closed, including a Catholic daily newspaper. The king supported these measures of his government, which at least briefly raised his reputation among the population.


Meanwhile, the Republicans win the local elections in Porto. Even when the election is declared invalid and repeated, this does not change this result. The leader of the Regeneration Party and opposition leader, António Serpa Pimentel, died in 1900, Hintze Ribeiro succeeded him and took over the government again in the same year.

There are increasing tensions within the Regeneration Party, which further complicate the already confusing domestic political situation. Next to Hintze Ribeiro, João Franco is the most important politician within the party. He came into sharp contrast to Hintze Ribeiro and left the party with his supporters in 1901 and founded the Liberal Regeneration Party .

In 1905 and 1906 the domestic political situation worsened. The government bans some Republican publications and new street fighting and riots erupt in response. When the French President visits the country, he is welcomed with great enthusiasm, a powerful Republican demonstration. The Progressive and the Regeneration Party conclude a kind of truce to jointly defend the King's government against the Republicans. Neither Luciano de Castro from the Progressives nor Hintze Ribeiro from the Regeneration Party, who are both briefly heads of government in these years, can turn things around, however.

In 1906 the king finally appoints João Franco as the new prime minister. Franco is considered to be the last head of government of the Portuguese monarchy with some significance. His reign went down in Portuguese history as "Francism" (in Portuguese francismo ).

João Franco, one of the last heads of government from the time of the Portuguese monarchy

At first he tried to restore the people's trust in the king by means of a soft line of government. As a government motto he gives "tolerance and freedom so that the population learns to appreciate the king's government". One of the first measures taken by the new government is a far-reaching amnesty, from which Republicans in particular, who have violated press censorship through their publications, will benefit. The head of the Republicans, Bernardino Machado, can give a public speech at a demonstration without the police intervening. The king tries to improve his reputation also by being more directly involved in the work of the government and begins to attend the meetings of the cabinet. In the elections in June 1906, the government managed to get a majority. Four Republican MPs are elected. However, the government fails to integrate the Republicans into the political system. During a parliamentary session, the Republican MP Afonso Costa exclaims: “For less than what King Charles did with us, the head of Louis XVI is in France . rolled in the sand ”. This has cut the tablecloth between Republicans and the government, and Republican MPs are banned from parliamentary sessions for three months. 63 people were arrested during demonstrations in which the Republicans support Afonso Costa. In Porto, 12,000 people come together for a large republican congress. 45,000 people sign a petition calling for the Republican MPs to return to parliament, which finally happens on December 21, 1906. A new press law in 1907 tightened censorship . On May 8, 1907, Franco ruled for the first time in a dictatorial manner, i.e. with a decree without the consent of parliament. Dissidents within the Progressive Party then allied themselves with the Republicans. In early January 1908 a number of Republican Party leaders and dissidents from the Progressive Party were arrested and tried on charges of preparing a coup. Franco demands and receives from the king a decree that provides for the deportation of republican insurgents to the overseas colonies.

King Charles I of Portugal was shot in Lisbon in 1908

The next day (February 1, 1908) the king, together with the heir to the throne Ludwig Philipp, was shot on the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon.

The end of the monarchy

Emanuel II , a younger son of the murdered king, then ascended the throne at the age of 18 as the last king. The king could no longer save the ailing Portuguese monarchy. As a first measure, he dismissed João Franco, whom he blamed for the fatal shots on his father and brother, and appointed the non-party Admiral Ferreira do Amaral as head of government, who tried again with a series of liberal measures to turn things around (so-called Politics of Pacification - " Politica de Acalmação "). The Francist press laws were revoked and a whole series of previously closed newspapers were able to appear again. An amnesty was passed for the mutinous sailors. The Cortes were dissolved and new elections were announced. The Republicans achieved one of their greatest successes in the local elections in Lisbon.

Emanuel II, the last king of Portugal

The Portuguese monarchy had another six prime ministers in the two years that it was to exist. The supporters of the monarchy were divided, the regeneration party split into two warring wings (late 1909).

In the same year the radical forces prevailed at the party congress of the Republicans, the armed revolution was now the official goal of the party. On October 3, 1910, Miguel Bombarda , a psychiatrist and thought leader of the Republican movement, was murdered by a mentally ill former patient. Although the act did not seem to have had a political background, it led to riots in Lisbon and other major cities in the country. Two days later a provisional government was formed under the leadership of the republican Teófilo Braga , and the republic was proclaimed in Porto on October 5, 1910. The day before, the king had resigned and gone into exile in Great Britain. The Portuguese monarchy, which began in 1139 when Alfonso I assumed the title of king, ended in the 771st year of its history.

The first republic

The monarchy was followed by the first republic in Portugal (until 1926), which was characterized by a great deal of political instability. In the 16 years of its existence it saw nine presidents and 45 different governments. Weak presidents, to whom the constitution does not give the necessary means of power to defend them against their enemies, a general fragmentation of the party system and, as a result, rapidly changing governments without a parliamentary majority, weaken the republican system. The weak republic was also constantly exposed to attacks by its enemies from the right (monarchists) and left ( socialists , communists , anarchists ). The coup of Sidónio Pais in 1917 would have given the republic the fatal blow, only the assassination of Pais in 1918 ensured its continued existence.

Portugal declared its neutrality at the beginning of the First World War. When the Portuguese government complied with an Allied request to confiscate German ships in Portugal, the German Reich declared war on Portugal on March 9, 1916. Portugal then set up an expeditionary force; it had nominally around 55,000 soldiers. 2,160 of them fell and 5,224 were wounded. More details in Portuguese Expeditionary Force .

Military dictatorship and Estado Novo

In 1926 the republican constitution was overturned in a military coup. As early as 1928, António de Oliveira Salazar entered the government as finance minister with special powers (unlimited control over the state budget). From then on he was already the most powerful person in Portugal, and his appointment as Prime Minister in 1932 was only a logical consequence. In 1933 he enacted a new constitution that laid down a one-party state, and began setting up his "Estado Novo" ("New State"). This was shaped by the Catholic Church, which was strengthened again after strong anti-clerical governments in the time of the republic; Opponents of the regime were suppressed.

According to decree number 19694 of May 5, 1931, women were given the right to vote and stand for election on condition that they had completed at least secondary school; Men, on the other hand, only had to be able to read and write. According to Adams, this clause resulted in very limited women's suffrage for women with a high level of education. With the electoral law DL 24631 of November 6, 1934, everyone who could read and write received the national right to vote. In elections to certain local bodies, however, some restrictions on women remained in place until 1968.

During the Second World War , Portugal remained officially neutral, but maintained diplomatic relations with the German Empire and with both the German Empire and Great Britain carried out tungsten and rubber trade, which was important for the war economy . As a neutral country, Portugal was only indirectly affected by the war. The colony of Portuguese Timor , which was first occupied by Allied troops from Australia and the Netherlands and later by the Japanese , was the only territory in Portugal where direct combat operations took place during the war (→ Battle of Timor ). The Portuguese Macau came under Japanese control by a protectorate decision in 1943 . After the United Kingdom and the United States had been allowed to set up military bases on the strategically important Azores in 1943 , relations with Germany were broken off in 1944 at the urging of the British.

In 1946 and 1947 there were two military conspiracies against the Salazar government, both of which were suppressed, and then a cautious liberalization , which opened up the one-party system somewhat, even if the parliament continues to be monopolized by the National Union became. In 1949 Portugal joined NATO as a founding member , thus abandoning the previous foreign policy course of neutrality. From 1953 to 1958 first efforts were made to decolonize the African colonies, which would later lead to the colonial war that was so ruinous for Portugal.

The Portuguese Colonial War and Carnation Revolution

Indonesian soldiers pose with a captured
Portuguese flag in Batugade, East Timor, in November 1975

Since the beginning of the 16th century, Portugal had conquered colonies in Africa, whose resistance movements in Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde began in 1961 to achieve independence from Portugal with protests and later with armed struggle. Portuguese India was lost to India in the same year. On December 18, India occupied the colony in a coup. The NRP Afonso de Albuquerque was lost in the last naval battle in Portuguese history.

Since the beginning of the colonial wars in the African provinces, ordinary soldiers from the Portuguese people had also been trained to become officers. The discontent in the colonial troops was so great that the colonial war, which was spreading on more and more fronts, could no longer be waged. The returning officers of the lower ranks set the initial spark for the uprising in their home country.

On the one hand, the clashes in Africa reached their peak in the early 1970s. On the other hand, these struggles were an essential reason for the Carnation Revolution in Portugal itself, which ended the dictatorship of Marcelo Caetano through a conspiratorial military coup and a popular movement, who by and large had continued Salazar's line from 1968.

Overview of the independence movements and the date of independence:

Also Portuguese Timor should be granted independence, but due Indonesian influence broke a civil war from. The Portuguese population was evacuated and the colonial administration withdrew to the small island of Atauro in front of the capital Dili . FRETILIN , who emerged victorious from the civil war, took control. Since Governor Mário Lemos Pires refused to return from Lisbon without instructions and Indonesia began to occupy the border areas , FRETILIN unilaterally proclaimed the independence of East Timor on November 28, 1975 . On December 7th, Indonesian troops landed in Dili and now openly occupy East Timor . Governor Lemos Pires left Atauro the next day on board a Portuguese warship, which ended the Portuguese colonial history in Southeast Asia .

As the last piece of the former colonial empire, Macau remained under Portuguese administration.

Third republic to date

Mario Soares

After the Carnation Revolution, General António de Spínola was given power to govern as the head of a provisional “Junta of National Salvation”. The phase after the revolution was marked by the dispute within the union of the putsch officers Movimento das Forças Armadas between the more conservative current around Spínola and a socialist wing around the first Prime Minister Vasco Gonçalves , General Francisco da Costa Gomes , the captain Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho and the captain Salgueiro Maia . Initially, the left wing took control. There was nationalization and land reform, Spínola was only forced to resign and after an attempted coup in March 1975 to exile, and the new constitution of 1976 defined the transition to socialism as a national goal.

After the military coup of 1974, a new electoral law was passed on May 14, 1974 (Law 3/74, Article 4, Number 1). According to the Decree Law No. 621-A / 74, Article 1.1 of November 15, 1974, Portuguese citizens who were 18 years of age or older on February 28, 1975 were eligible to vote for the Constituent Assembly. For the first time in Portuguese history so that universal suffrage was recognized and exercised in the following year: On April 25, 1975, the members of the Constituent Assembly were elected, the Constitution of Portugal conceived. This was proclaimed on June 2, 1976 and thus constitutionally ensured equality of the right to vote for women and men for all elections.

In the first presidential election under the new constitution on June 27, 1976 , the relatively moderate General António Ramalho Eanes won surprisingly clearly (61.59%; Otelo received only 16.46% of the vote); this paved the way for Portugal to turn to a parliamentary democracy on the Western European model. Eanes and the leader of the Socialist Party Mário Soares (head of government from July 1976 to January 1978 and June 1983 to November 1985 , president from 1986 to 1996 ) finally led the country into the European Community . On January 1, 1986, Portugal and Spain were admitted to the European Community; the number of members increased from ten to twelve.

In December 1979, for the first time since the Carnation Revolution, a right-of-center political group won the general election . The Sá Carneiro cabinet replaced the Lourdes Pintasilgo cabinet on January 3, 1980 . Carneiro died in a plane crash on December 4, 1980; Francisco Pinto Balsemão succeeded him. The government was able to agree with the socialist opposition on a constitutional amendment that would withdraw the socialist remnants that were written into the constitution after the Carnation Revolution. The amended constitution that came into force in 1982 eliminated, among other things, the Revolutionary Council, which had been important up until then, and created a constitutional court ( Tribunal Constitucional de Portugal ) based on the model of other democratic states. In 1985 Aníbal Cavaco Silva became Prime Minister, and his conservative Partido Social Democrata (PSD) won a landslide victory in the 1987 election, in which one party received an absolute majority for the first time. Cavaco Silva remained Prime Minister until after the 1995 parliamentary elections ; he led a neoliberal economic policy and withdrew the nationalizations from the time of the Carnation Revolution. From 1995 to 2002, the socialists again formed the government with António Guterres (→ Guterres Cabinet I and II ).

In the parliamentary elections on March 17, 2002 , there was another slide to the right. With a turnout of 62.3%, the conservative PSD under José Manuel Barroso achieved a relative majority of 40.1%, followed by the socialist Partido Socialista (PS) and the right-wing conservative People's Party Partido Popular (PP) with 37.9 and 8 respectively ,8th %. With the latter, Barroso formed a coalition government; the populist chairman of the PP, Paulo Portas , became defense minister and the areas of justice and labor and social affairs (Ministro da Segurança Social e do Trabalho) also went to the PP (→ Barroso cabinet ). The socialists, however, provided the state president without interruption ; In 1996 the socialist Jorge Sampaio succeeded Soares.

In 2004 Barroso was nominated by the European Council to succeed Romano Prodi as President of the European Union ('Commission President'). His successor as Prime Minister was Pedro Santana Lopes , who only ruled for a short time (→ Lopes cabinet ) because the President prematurely dissolved parliament in November and announced a new election for February 2005. In this election , the PS received an absolute majority of the seats for the first time in the history of Portugal. Your top candidate, José Sócrates, became the new Prime Minister on March 12, 2005 (→ Sócrates I and II cabinets ).

On January 22, 2006, around 8.8 million Portuguese elected a new president. The previous President Jorge Sampaio (PS) was no longer allowed to run for office after two terms. The center-right candidate and former head of government Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD) received an absolute majority of 50.54% (turnout 62.6%) against five candidates from the left . He was supported by an alliance of PSD and PP-CDS. The 66-year-old professor of economics, who was the architect of the Portuguese economic boom from 1985 to 1995, became the first bourgeois president in Portugal since the Carnation Revolution of 1974. He was in office from March 9, 2006 to March 9, 2016.

The 69-year-old Vice President of the National Assembly, Manuel Alegre (PS) , who stood against the will of the PS party leadership, achieved second place with 20.7% . The former head of state Mário Soares (1924-2017) ran for the PS despite his old age; he received only 14.34% of the vote.


See also


  • António Henrique de Oliveira Marques : History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 385). Translated from the Portuguese by Michael von Killisch-Horn. Kröner, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-520-38501-5 .
  • Walther L. Bernecker , Horst Pietschmann : History of Portugal: From the late Middle Ages to the present. 2. update Ed., Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 3-406-44756-2 .
  • Walther L. Bernecker, Klaus Herbers: History of Portugal. Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 2013. ISBN 978317020662-5 .
  • Christophe Picard: Le Portugal musulman - (VIIIe - XIIIe siècle); l'Occident d'al-Andalus sous domination islamique. Maisonneuve et Larose, Paris 2000, ISBN 2-7068-1398-9 .
  • Martins Oliveira: Histoire du Portugal. La Différence, Paris 1994, traduit du portugais par Claire Cayron, ISBN 2-7291-1021-6 .
  • Malyn Newitt: A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400-1668. Routledge, London 2005, ISBN 0-415-23980-X .
  • AR Disney: A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire: From Beginnings to 1807. 2 vols., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2009, ISBN 0-521-73822-9 .
  • P. Goubert: Le Portugal byzantine. In: Bulletin des Études Portugaises et de l'institution francaise en Portugal. XIV (1950) pp. 273-283.


  1. ^ Pedro (Potsdam) Barceló: Hispania Tarraconensis, Hispania Citerior . In: The New Pauly . October 1, 2006 ( brillonline.com [accessed July 23, 2020]).
  2. ^ Pedro (Potsdam) Barceló: Hispania Baetica, Hispania Ulterior . In: The New Pauly . October 1, 2006 ( brillonline.com [accessed July 23, 2020]).
  3. ^ Ernst Münch : Fundamentals of a History of the Representative System in Portugal . Hinrichs, Leipzig 1827.
  4. War with Portugal!
  5. ^ A b c d Mart Martin: The Almanac of Women and Minorities in World Politics. Westview Press Boulder, Colorado, 2000, p. 312.
  6. a b c d - New Parline: the IPU's Open Data Platform (beta). In: data.ipu.org. Retrieved October 5, 2018 .
  7. ^ Jad Adams: Women and the Vote. A world history. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-870684-7 , page 308
  8. a b c Maria Luisa Amaral, Teresa Anjinho: Winning Women's Vote: Female Suffrage in Portugal. In: Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz, Ruth Rubio-Marín: The Struggle for Female Suffrage in Europe. Voting to Become Citizens. Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden and Boston 2012, ISBN 978-90-04-22425-4 , pp. 475-489, pp. 482-483.

Web links

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