Portugal History

Called as a kingdom by Alphonso I in 1139, and recognised by the Pope in 1179, Portugal’s independence was around of 12th century, although its tribal roots extend back beyond Roman times. The borders of Portugal as they are today were already in place by 1267. The part of Iberia which is now Portugal was occupied by a people known as the Lusitanos, however also the region was invaded and occupied by the Romans and later the Moors, it remained under the latter’s control until the 11th century, when Ferdinand, ruler of the Kingdom of Leon and Castilla (in what is now Spain) conquered much of the territory.

The Spanish monarchy managed to retain its independence into the 20th century (except for a 60-year period when the country was ruled by the Spanish Habsburgs. Previously one of the most famous figures during this period was Prince Henry the Navigator, amongst whose acquisitions were the Madeira and Azores. One of the best known visitors to Madeira was Christopher Columbus, who married a daughter of one of the island’s governors and lived in Porto Santo a time. The island survived a brief invasion by a French pirate in 1566, but in 1580, along with the rest of Portugal, came under Spanish domination.governors and lived in Porto Santo a time.

In the year 1910, the Kingdom of Portugal took the then unusual step of becoming a republic. However changing the political status of the country has some devastating consequences: a succession of 8 presidents, 44 governments, and a reeling economy.

However, the military responded with a takeover and the ensuing dictatorship endured for decades. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar the civilian dictator chosen by the military, Salazar was influenced by the populist fascism of Benito Mussolini in Italy and founded a party ruled Portugal with little leniency but with enough skill to keep his country out of World War II as a neutral country.

Later Year the town of Portugal was governed for two years by a leftist military junta led by members of the Movimiento das Forcas Armardas, the instigators of the revolution, while civilian politicians re-emerged and crystallised around the Socialist and Communist Parties and the right-wing Partido Popular Democratico.