Saturday, January 18, 2014

History of Portugal

  • 1.Romanization

  • The history of Portugal, a European and an Atlantic nation, dates back to the Early Middle Ages. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it ascended to the status of a world power during Europe's "Age of Discovery" as it built up a vast empire including possessions in South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia (Oceania). Over the following two centuries, Portugal kept most of its colonies but gradually lost much of its wealth and status as the Dutch, English and French took an increasing share of the spice and slave trades (the economic basis of its empire), by surrounding or conquering the widely scattered Portuguese trading posts and territories, leaving it with ever fewer resources to defend its overseas interests.
    Signs of military decline began with two disastrous battles: the Battle of Alcácer Quibir in Morocco in 1578 and Spain's abortive attempt to conquer England in 1588 - Portugal was then in a dynastic union with Spain, and contributed ships to the Spanish invasion fleet. The country was further weakened by the destruction of much of its capital city in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars and the loss of its largest colony, Brazil, in 1822. From the middle of the 19th century to the late 1950s, nearly two-million Portuguese left Europe to live in Brazil and the United States (U.S.).
    In 1910, there was a revolution that deposed the monarchy. Amid corruption, repression of the church, and the near bankruptcy of the state, a military coup in 1926 installed a dictatorship that remained until another coup in 1974. The new government instituted sweeping democratic reforms and granted independence to all of Portugal's African colonies in 1975.
    Portugal is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). It entered the European Community (now the European Union) in 1986.


    The Roman Provinces Lusitania andGalicia, after the reorganization of Diocletian298 C.E...
    Romanization began with the Roman arrival to the Iberian Peninsula, in 218 BCE, during the Second Punic War againstCarthage. The Romans sought to conquer Lusitania, accounting for much of modern-day Portugal, south of the Douro river and Spanish Estremadura, with its capital at Emerita Augusta (Mérida).]
    Mining was the primary determinant interest in the region: one of the strategic objectives of Rome was to cut the connection ofCarthage with the Iberian copper mines, tingold and silver. The Romans, able so, intensely exploited the Aljustrel mines (Vipasca) and Santo Domingo, in the Iberian Pyrite Belt that extends to Seville.
    While the South was relatively easily occupied by the Romans, the engagement with the north was hardly attained, due to the resistance of the Celts, the Lusitanians, led by Viriathus from Serra da Estrela, whereof he managed to antagonize Roman expansion for years. Viriathus, as an expert inguerrilla tactics, waged a relentless war against the Romans, defeating several and successive Roman generals, until he was killed in 140 BCE to treason.
    The conquest of the Iberian peninsula was full two centuries after the arrival, when the Romans defeated the Cantabrian wars in the time of Emperor Augustus (19 BCE). In 74 CE Vespasian granted the Latin right to most municipalities of Lusitania. In 212 CE, the Constitutio Antoniniana gave Roman citizenship to all subjects (free) empire and, at the end of the century, the emperor Diocletian founded Galicia, which included modern-day northern Portugal.
    Apart from mining, the Romans developed agriculture, one of the best agricultural land in the empire. In today's Alentejo vines and cereals were cultivated, and in the coastal line of the region, fishing was full-blown for the manufacture of Garum in Algarve and the coast of Lisbon, in Póvoa de Varzim, in Matosinhos and Troia, which was exported by Roman trade routes for the whole empire. Business transactions were facilitated by coinage and construction of an extensive road network, bridges and aqueducts, like bridge of Trajano in Aquae Flaviae (now [1]).
    The Romans founded numerous cities, such as Olisipo (in Lisbon), Bracara Augusta (in Braga), Aeminium (in Coimbra), Pax Julia (in Beja), and left an important cultural legacy in what is now Portugal: Vulgar Latin became the dominant language of the region, the basis of Portuguese and from the third century Christianity spread throughout Lusitania.

    The Germanic Invasion

    Península Ibérica c.560 d.C. Swabianterritory with its capital in Braga (Blue);Visigothic territory with its capital in Toledo(Ocher)
    File:Iberia 300BC.svg
    In 409, with the decline of the Roman Empire, the Iberian Peninsula was occupied by the Germanic tribes, called by the Romans, Barbarians. In 411, with a federation contract with Emperor Honorius, many of these people settled in Hispania, namely the Suevi and Vandals in Galicia where they founded the Swabian Kingdom with its capital in Braga, coming to dominate Aeminium (Coimbra), as well, and the Visigoths southwards. Both theSuevi and the Visigoths were those who had a more lasting presence in the territory corresponding to Portugal. As elsewhere in Western Europe cities suffered a sharp decline, of urban life both in the economy and as to ruralisation.
    With these Germanic invasions, Roman institutions disappeared, with the exception of the ecclesiastical organization, which was fostered by the Swabians in the fifth century and adopted by the Visigoths, afterwards. Although the Suevi and Visigoths were initially followers of Arianism and Priscilianism, they assumed Catholicism after the locals, evangelized and influenced by St Martin of Braga.
    Yet, in 429, the Visigoths moved south to expel the Alans and Vandals, and founded a kingdom with its capital in Toledo. As of 470 the conflicts between the Suevi and Visigoths increased. In 585 the Visigothic King Leovigildo conquered Braga and annexed Galicia. From there the Iberian peninsula was unified under the Visigothic kingdom.
    With the Visigoths settled in the newly formed kingdom, a new class was born unknown previously in Roman Times, Nobility.
    It was Nobility that played a huge role during the Middle Ages. It was also with the Visigoths that the Church began to play a very important part within the state. Since the Visigoths didn't know Latin, from the locals, they had to rely on the bishops to continue the Roman system of governance. The laws established during the Visigothic monarchy, were thus, made in councils by bishops, and the Clergy started to emerge as a high-ranking class.
    Both elements, Clergy and Nobility had a fundamental role in medieval society, which appeared respectively, during the Romanization of Lusitania, followed by the Visigothic Kingdom.

    Islamic rule and the Reconquista (711–1249)

    Mértola's mosque was transformed into a church in 1238.
    Landing near Algeciras in the spring of 711, the Muslim Moors (mainly Berbers with some Arabs) from North Africa invaded the Iberian peninsula, destroying the Visigothic kingdom. Many of the ousted Gothic nobles took refuge in the unconquered north Asturian highlands. From there they aimed to reconquer their lands from the Moors: this war of reconquest is known in Portuguese (and Spanish) as the Reconquista.
    Today, and unlike former historical views of the region, it is generally accepted that the land between the Minho and Douro rivers had maintained a significant share of its populations, between the 8th and the third quarter of the 9th century in a social and political area where there was no acting state powers. This modern and established view, distinct from traditionalist views on the period, derive from the use of modern archaeology and early works by Alberto Sampaio (1979 [1903]) As Vilas do Norte de Portugal (The Towns of Northern Portugal), Pierre David (1947), and Avelino de Jesus da Costa (1959 [1997]) and centered around the Northwestern Iberian Peninsula and the ancient diocese of Braga. Some of the most important sources for medievalists, the Liber Fidei Sanctae Bracarensis Ecclesiae and Inter Lima et Ave (Between the Lima and Ave Rivers, often known as "Bishop Pedro's Censual") are some of the most unique documents of the genre in Western Europe before the 13th century.
    At the end of the ninth century, the region appeared as part of the Galician-Asturian, Leonese and Portuguese systematic power structures. As in 868, Count Vímara Peres governed the region between the rivers Minho and Douro as a county (government) of the Kingdom of León, the region became known as PortucalePortugale, and simultaneously Portugalia — the County of Portugal. Concerning the arts and architecture, the Suebi-Visigothic sculptures showed a natural continuity with the Roman period. With the Reconquista, new artistic trends took hold, the Galician-Asturian influences are more visible than the Leonese. And the Portuguese group became characterized by a general return to classicism, with Mozarabe influences. In this process the county courts of Viseu and Coimbra had the most important role. The Mozarabic architecture was found in the south, in Lisbon or Coimbra, while in the Christian realms, the Galician-Portuguese architecture, along with Asturian, prevailed
    As a vassal of the Kingdom of León, Portugal occasionally gained de facto independence during weak Leonese reigns. Portugal appeared as a kingdom (as the Kingdom of Galicia and Portugal) in 1065 under the rule of Garcia of Galicia and Portugal. Because of feudal power struggles, Portuguese and Galician nobles rebelled. In 1072, the country rejoined León under Garcia II's brotherAlfonso VI of León.

    The Reconquista, 790-1300.
    In 1095, Portugal broke away from the Kingdom of Galicia. Its territories consisting largely of mountain, moorland and forest were bounded on the north by the Minho, on the south by the Mondego River.


    At the end of the 11th century, the Burgundian knight Henry became count of Portugal and defended his independence, merging the County of Portucale and the County of Coimbra. Henry declared independence for Portugal while a civil war raged betweenLeón and Castile.
    Henry died without achieving his aims. His son, Afonso Henriques, took control of the county. The city of Braga, the unofficial Catholic centre of the Iberian Peninsula, faced new competition from other regions. Lords of the cities of Coimbra and Porto (then Portucale) with Braga's clergy demanded the independence of the renewed county.
    Portugal traces its national origin to 24 June 1128, with the Battle of São Mamede. Afonso proclaimed himself first Prince of Portugal and in 1139 the first King of Portugal. By 1143, with the assistance of a representative of the Holy See at the conference of Zamora, Portugal was formally recognized as independent, with the prince recognized as Dux Portucalensis. In 1179 Afonso I was declared, by the Pope, as king. After the Battle of São Mamede, the first capital of Portugal was Guimarãesfrom which the first king ruled. Later, when Portugal was already officially independent, he ruled from Coimbra.

    Affirmation of Portugal

    From 1249 to 1250 the Algarve, the southernmost region, was finally re-conquered by Portugal from the Moors. In 1255 the capital shifted to Lisbon. Neighboring Spain would not complete their Reconquista until 1492 almost 250 years later.
    Portugal's land-based boundaries have been notably stable in history. The border with Spain has remained almost unchanged since the 13th century. The Treaty of Windsor (1386) created an alliance between Portugal and England that remains in effect to this day. Since early times, fishing and overseas commerce have been the main economic activities. Henry the Navigator's interest in exploration together with some technological developments in navigation made Portugal's expansion possible and led to great advances in geographic, mathematical, scientific knowledge and technology, more specifically naval technology.