Portugal Recent History

History of Portugal from 1383 to 1926

Portugal becomes a world power – House of Avis (1383-1580)

After a dispute over the succession, John I was the first king of the House of Avis to become the king of Portugal. One of the most important kings was Manuel I, who ruled Portugal from 1495 to 1521. Portugal rose to a world power under him.

Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India. Portugal began to build its colonial empire. The country acquired colonies in Africa, America and Asia: Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, Ceylon and the Moluccas were among them.

It also flourished culturally. After Manuel I even a whole architectural style was named, the Manueline (or Emanuel style). Many buildings in this style were destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake in 1755. The tower of Belém or the Jeronimos Monastery have been preserved (see also have a look).

Personal union with Spain and House Braganza

Because the House of Avis died out in 1580, Portugal fell to the Habsburgs, who ruled Spain. For 60 years Portugal remained a province under Spanish rule. During this time Portugal lost several colonies, such as Ceylon, to the Dutch.

But in 1640 it regained its independence when the Duke of Braganza declared a revolt. He proclaimed himself King John IV and founded the House of Braganza. In 1755 a severe earthquake destroyed Lisbon. Brazil became the most important colony in Portugal. But in 1822 Brazil achieved its independence. Until 1853, the House of Braganza represented the kings of Portugal.

Portugal under the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1853-1910)

In 1853 the direct line of the House of Braganza died out. Because the last Queen Maria II was married to Ferdinand von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha, the latter took over the throne and handed it over to his son Peter V, now of age, in 1855. This dynasty ruled until 1910.

This time was marked by great poverty in the country and severe economic problems. The royal family, on the other hand, lived in luxury. So there were many uprisings by people who demanded the abolition of the monarchy and wanted a republic. In 1908 the king and his heir apparent were shot in an assassination attempt. The second son Manuel took over the throne as Manuel II.

Portugal becomes a republic (1910-1926)

In 1910, after the assassination of a republican, riots broke out in Lisbon that ultimately led to the end of the monarchy. The Republic was proclaimed on October 5, 1910, and King Manuel II fled into exile. A provisional government was formed. Teófilo Braga became the first president.

But the situation was unstable. There were uprisings by monarchists and communists, several coup attempts and weak governments without a majority in parliament. In 1926, a military coup ended the first Portuguese republic.

History of Portugal from the Estado Novo to today

Estado Novo – the “new state” (1926-1974)

A military coup ended the republic in 1926. In 1932 the civilian António de Oliveira Salazar became Prime Minister of Portugal. A year later he proclaimed the Estado Novo, the “new state”. However, this was a dictatorship under Salazar’s leadership. Only one party was allowed, political opponents were persecuted and murdered. There was no freedom of the press, there was censorship.

In 1961, the Portuguese colonies in Africa began fighting for independence. Portugal was not ready to give it up, as other European nations were doing at the time. This led to bitter fighting, especially in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea (Guinea-Bissau). It was only with the end of the Estado Novo that these countries finally became independent.

In 1968 Salazar suffered a stroke. Marcelo Caetano became Salazar’s successor. He could not bring himself to reform and continued Salazar’s line.

The Carnation Revolution 1974 and its consequences

According to aristmarketing, Portugal was still a poor and backward country. The dictatorship had consciously left the population in poverty and ignorance and had not taken part in modern developments such as industrialization. In 1974 the military finally rose against the dictatorship. The soldiers put red carnations in their rifle barrels. This is how the name Carnation Revolution was born.

Now the colonies in Africa have been given independence. Many politically persecuted people returned to their homeland from exile. In 1976 Portugal received a new constitution.

The third republic

After the First Republic until 1926 and the Estado Novo as the Second Republic, Portugal has been called the Third Republic since 1976. The country’s first president became the moderate General Eanes in 1974. Mário Soares of the Socialist Party (PS), a social democratic party, became the first prime minister. Together with the conservative-liberal PSD, it is one of the two people’s parties in Portugal. Soares took over the office of President in 1986 and held it until 1996. In 1986 Portugal joined the European Community.

In 2002 the PSD won the elections under José Manuel Barroso. In 2005 the PS won again after Barroso was appointed President of the European Commission. Alternately, either the PSD or the PS won the next few years. In 2007 Portugal got sucked into the international financial crisis and had to take a tough austerity course. The economy has been slowly recovering since 2013.

António Costa of the PS has been Prime Minister since 2015. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of the PSD has been president of the country since 2016.

Portugal Recent History