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1909 lRevolution in Portugal - History

1909 lRevolution in Portugal - History

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1909 Revolution in Portugal

Declaring the Republic
After the assassination of a prominent Republican leader, a revolt broke out against the Monarchy. The Army and Navy led the revolt. King Manuel II fled Portugal for England. A Republic was declared, and Teofilo Braga, a noted author, was named Interim President..

The Spanish Defense Ministry decided to activate the Third Mixed Brigade of Cazadores to fight in Spanish Morocco. The brigade had believed that they would no longer be called up to active duty, and the members and their families were furious that they were called up. In late July, they began boarding ships to take them to Morocco. Onlookers, which included their families, were angry and jeered as they boarded the vessel, while the military was playing patriotic music.

On July 26, 1909, a general strike was called in Barcelona by a coalition that included anarchists and socialists. Violence broke out immediately as trains were halted, trams overturned, and convents and other church properties were burned. The opposition considered the church as one of their enemies, believing that the church supported the status quo.

Martial law was declared, and the army brought in troops from other parts of Spain, believing that recruits from the Barcelona area would not fire on the demonstrators. The army was able to put down the revolt, after sustaining eight dead and 124 wounded, while killing between 104-160 civilians. One thousand seven hundred people were arrested. Five of those arrested were sentenced to death, including Francesc Ferrer, one of the founders of the protest movement.
There was widespread condemnation of the government action in Europe. As a result, King Alfonso XX III dismissed Premier Antonio Maura.

The First Republic, 1910–26

The new regime formed a provisional government under the presidency of Teófilo Braga, a well-known writer. A new electoral law was issued giving the vote only to a restricted number of adult males. The provisional government presided over the election of a constituent assembly, which opened on June 19, 1911. The constitution was passed by the assembly on August 20, and the provisional government surrendered its authority a few days later (August 24) to the new president, Manuel José de Arriaga. Despite initial hopes that the republic would solve the massive problems inherited from the monarchy, Portugal soon became western Europe’s most turbulent, unstable parliamentary regime.

Although a monarchist invasion led by Henrique de Paiva Couceiro in October 1911 was unsuccessful, the main danger to the new regime came from its internal divisions. For the moment, it was fairly united in support of abolishing the monarchy and disestablishing the Roman Catholic Church. The religious orders were expelled (October 8, 1910) and their property confiscated. New legislation banned the teaching of religion in schools and universities and annulled many religious holidays. Persecution of Catholics in the early years of the republic attracted international attention and brought the new political system into conflict with foreign diplomats, humanitarian organizations, and journalists. Indeed, though the government initiated advances in education, health, civic freedoms, and colonial development, positive results were overwhelmed by administrative instability, labour unrest, public violence, and military intervention in politics.

By 1912 the republicans were divided into Evolutionists (moderates), led by António José de Almeida Unionists (centre party), led by Manuel de Brito Camacho and Democrats (the leftist core of the original party), led by Afonso Costa. A number of prominent republicans had no specific party. The whirligig of republican political life offered little improvement on the monarchist regime, and in 1915 the army showed signs of restlessness. General Pimenta de Castro formed a military government and permitted the monarchists to reorganize, but a Democratic coup in May led to his arrest and consignment to the Azores, along with Machado Santos. Dominated by Costa’s oratory, partisan press, and political machine, the Democrats’ regime was in turn overthrown by another bloody military coup (December 1917), led by the former minister to Germany, Major Sidónio Pais.

The authoritarian, unstable “New Republic” of charismatic President Pais failed to pacify the feuding factions, and its collapse precipitated a brief civil war. Following Pais’s assassination in Lisbon (December 14, 1918), republicans and monarchists fought a civil war (January 1919) in which the final armed effort to restore the monarchy failed, and political power was restored to the chastened Democrats. Four key tensions characterized the republic’s troubled political system: (1) excessive factionalism, (2) the tendency of the factions to bear allegiance to personalities rather than to ideas, institutions, and the public interest, (3) disparity between the landholding patterns of the north (typified by minifundias—small subsistence farms) and the south (typified by latifundias—large estates worked by landless peasants), and (4) the concentration of economic development in Lisbon, at the expense of the provinces.

Though officially neutral, Portugal at the outbreak of World War I had proclaimed its adhesion to the English alliance (August 7, 1914) and on November 23 committed itself to military operations against Germany. On September 11 the first expedition left to reinforce the African colonies, and there was fighting in northern Mozambique, on the Tanganyika (now Tanzania) frontier, and in southern Angola, on the frontier of German South West Africa. In February 1916, in compliance with a request from Britain, Portugal seized German ships lying in Portuguese ports, and on March 9 Germany declared war on Portugal. A Portuguese expeditionary force under General Fernando Tamagnini de Abreu went to Flanders in 1917, and on April 9, 1918, the Germans mounted a major attack in the Battle of the Lys. Although the Allies won the war and Portugal’s colonies were safeguarded, the 0.75 percent of the war indemnity paid by Germany to Portugal was scant compensation for the heavy costs incurred both in the field and at home, including the casualties of the African campaigns and the Western Front, the alienation of a portion of the army officer corps, crippling war debts to Britain, intense inflation, and a scarcity of food and fuel.

Former Evolutionist Almeida became the only president to complete his term during the First Republic, but the cycles of bankruptcy, corruption, public violence, and military insurrectionism continued. Finally, on May 28, 1926, the parliamentary republic was overthrown in a bloodless military coup that instituted what was to become western Europe’s most long-lived authoritarian system.

The revolution ended the Estado Novo regime

The Estado Novo (Second Republic) regime began in 1933 under the leadership of Prime Minister and dictator António Salazar, after a prior coup overthrew the 16-year First Republic. Characterized as an authoritarian government, it was a time of censorship and oppression and maintained by a “secret police” force. After Salazar suffered a stroke, leadership was shifted to Marcello Caetano who ruled for six years until his resignation after the Carnation Revolution.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

In 1930, 80 percent of the population lived in rural villages, and thirty years later, 77 percent of the population was still rural. Since 1960, urbanization has been fueled by extensive internal migration from the countryside to the cities, but only 35.8 of the population was defined as urban in 1996. The two large cities of Lisbon and Porto are both on the coast.

The hallmark of Portuguese architecture are azulejos , glazed ceramic tiles that cover the facades and interiors of churches, government buildings, and private homes. Azulejos were introduced by the Moors. Both geometric and representational patterns are used, the latter often depicting historical events or religious scenes. The azulejos style was taken to colonial Brazil and to India, and has been adopted by returned emigrants who have built new houses across the landscape of northern and central Portugal as social statements of their success abroad. Akin to azulejos are the mosaics used on the sidewalks of major walking avenues in Lisbon and Porto as well as in provincial towns. These avenues, lined with cafés and teahouses, are important public spaces where people stroll and converse. Stucco in various pastels is used on buildings, including the main government buildings in Lisbon. The other distinctive style of architecture is known as Manueline, after King Manuel I. It is a form of ornamentation that mixes elements of Christianity with ropes, shells, and other aquatic imagery, reflecting the nation's seafaring past.

Vernacular buildings in rural areas use local materials. In the north, traditional peasant houses, often with two stories and a red tubular clay tile roof, were built with thick granite walls. Animals were kept on the ground floor, which also was used for storage. Many of these houses had verandas. All had a big hearth in the kitchen with an overhanging chimney used to smoke hams and sausage as well as to cook and heat. The kitchen is the center of private family space these houses often also contain a parlor ( sala ) for receiving guests. In the south one-story, whitewashed, flat-roofed houses with blue trim around the windows and doorways are common. This form of architecture evokes the Moorish past. These houses, which are built to keep out the summer heat, have huge chimneys and hearths. Since the 1970s, new housing and large apartment complexes have been built to accommodate the growing urban population.

The History of Portugal

This informative, concise, and engagingly written work provides the most up-to-date history of Portugal, current through 1999, and gives a full picture of the political, social, cultural, and economic influences that shaped the history of Portugal. Covering the period from Portugal's early conception as a nation through its long history, with emphasis on the dramatic period of the last several decades, this volume culminates with the demise of the Salazar dictatorship and the independence of its colonies. Complete with a timeline for easy reference to events, brief biographies of important people, lists of monarchs and heads of state, and a bibliographic essay, it is the ideal companion for the student or interested reader.

In nine chapters, Anderson discusses the geography of Portugal, its prehistoric antecedents, its formation as a nation, and the events that once made it a world leader in exploration, discovery, and imperial power. How and why the country was drawn into the orbit of its large neighbor, Spain, lost much of its empire, and yet managed to regain its independence are examined, along with the trials and tribulations encountered on its journey from monarchy to modern republic. The discussion presents the factors that kept Portugal one of the poorest nations in Europe for most of its existence and the reasons that it is now, leading into the 21st century, closing the economic gap with wealthier nations.

How the Portuguese Celebrate April 25th, the Carnation Revolution

The words “military coup” and “peaceful” don’t usually go hand in hand, but they do when describing Portugal’s Carnation Revolution. Every year on April 25, Portugal remembers the non-violent rebellion that ended a 50-year long dictatorship and reestablished democracy in the country. Also known as Freedom Day, April 25 has become a national holiday that is celebrated across the country and in particular, in Lisbon.

This year marks the 43rd anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, when soldiers took to the streets in opposition to the government with flowers poking out of their firearms. Soon they were joined by civilians, who shared their ideas of independence and anti-colonialism. The regime they were protesting was the Estado Novo (New State in English), an authoritarian administration which opposed the end of colonialism and prevented citizens from speaking out against the government.

In honor of the holiday, most businesses and public buildings close for the day while others, including some museums, remain open. This year, the Camara Municipal de Lisboa (City Hall) is offering free tours of the building which was built in the late 19th century and considered one of the many architectural masterpieces in Lisbon.

While there isn’t a city-wide celebratory plan for this year’s holiday, a few events will take place on the 25th, before it, and over the following few days. One is a series of workshops, debates, and films held during the weekend prior at the Cinema de São Jorge in Avenida da Liberdade. The focus is political, hence the name Festival Política, and centered around the society’s role and reaction during the economic changes that have occurred in Portugal through its history.

On Monday, April 24, the famous yellow square Praça do Comércio will host a musical concert called “Canções para Revoluções” or “Songs for Revolution”. This is another free event, which will take place outside, in the middle of the square, and begin at 9:30 PM.

During Freedom Day visitors are welcome to share stories of the revolution, whether personal or from a relative or friend, at the Dias da Memória event. Dias da Memória (Days of Memory) will be held in the auditorium of the Museu do Aljube. The museum will also show a documentary film called Viva Portugal which will show photos depicting the first days after the revolution.

For anyone wanting to spend the free day outside, head over to one of Lisbon’s largest parks, Parque Eduardo VII, for games, concerts, urban art, and more.

While visiting Lisbon, take a moment to gaze up at the Ponte 25 de Abril, a suspension bridge named in remembrance of the Carnation Revolution.


Abshire, David M., and Michael A. Samuels, eds. Portuguese Africa: A Handbook. New York: Praeger, 1969.

Cann, John P. Counterinsurgency in Africa: The Portuguese Way of War, 1961–1974. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997.

Chilcote, Ronald H. Emerging Nationalism in Portuguese Africa: A Bibliography of Documentary Ephemera Through 1965. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institutions on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University, 1969.

Chilcote, Ronald H. Portuguese Africa. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1967.

de Bragança, Aquino, and Immanuel Wallerstein. The African Liberation Reader. 3 vols. London: Zed, 1982.

Duffy, James. Portugal in Africa. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962.

Ferreira, Eduardo de Sousa. Portuguese Colonialism in Africa, the End of an Era: The Effects of Portuguese Colonialism on Education, Science, Culture, and Information. Paris: UNESCO Press, 1974.

Hammond, Richard James. Portugal and Africa, 1815–1910: A Study in Uneconomic Imperialism. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1966.

Humbaraci, Arslan, and Nicole Muchnik. Portugal's African Wars: Angola, Guinea Bissao, Mozambique. New York: Third Press, 1974.

Lyall, Archibald. Black and White Make Brown: An Account of a Journey to the Cape Verde Islands and Portuguese Guinea. London: Heinemann, 1938.

Marcum, John A. Portugal and Africa, the Politics of Indifference: A Case Study in American Foreign Policy. Syracuse, NY: Program of Eastern African Studies, Syracuse University, 1972.

Minter, William. Portuguese Africa and the West. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1972.

Moreira, Adriano. Portugal's Stand in Africa. Translated by William Davis et al. New York: University Publishers, 1962.

Schneidman, Witney. Engaging Africa: Washington and the Fall of Portugal's Colonial Empire. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2004.

Sykes, John. Portugal and Africa: The People and the War. London: Hutchinson, 1971.

  • OFFICIAL NAME: Portuguese Republic
  • FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Republic, parliamentary democracy
  • CAPITAL: Lisbon
  • POPULATION: 10,355,493
  • OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Portuguese, Mirandese
  • MONEY: Euro
  • AREA: 35,516 square miles (91,985 square kilometers)


Portugal is the westernmost point of Europe and lies on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The long Atlantic coastline is popular with visitors and locals alike. Surfers are drawn to the strong surf in the west, and the warm, sandy beaches in the south are a haven for tourists.

Most people live along the coast, with a third of the population living in the large metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto.

Map created by National Geographic Maps


Portuguese cities still retain their historic character and many of the old buildings remain intact. Lisbon hasn't changed much since the late 18th century. The natural environment is well preserved and there is no serious pollution.

The art of tile painting and glazing, known as azulejos, is one of the most popular art forms in Portugal. The technique was first introduced by the Moors and was adopted by the king in the 1500s and the use of the blue and white tiles spread across the country and is practiced by artisans today.

Eight out of ten Portuguese people are Roman Catholic. Saints' days and religious festivals are very popular events. Although the country has been modernized thanks to the money it receives from richer European countries, the people are still quite poor compared to those in other countries.


Most of Portugal was once covered by forests. Today, only a quarter of the country remains forested. While some native species, such as the cork tree are still common, many plants are foreign species and were introduced by humans.

Farming and hunting have reduced the numbers of wild animals living in Portugal. The common animals are boars, wild goats, fallow deer, foxes, and Iberian hares. The Iberian lynx is the most endangered cat species in the world. Portugal and Spain are working together to create open space to allow the remaining few hundred lynxes to roam freely.

The coastline is a rich habitat for crabs, clams, and oysters, and tuna, bonito, and sardines are a common catch for Portuguese fisherman.

Many migratory birds stop in Portugal while on their journey to and from central Europe to Africa and beyond.

Effects of the Carnation Revolution

The Carnation Revolution became one of most defining moments in Portugal’s history. Perhaps the most profound effect of the Revolution was the deposing of the Estado Novo dictatorial regime and institution of democracy in Portugal. The toppling of the authoritarian regime which was infamous for religious persecution signaled the beginning of freedom of religion in the country. For instance, the Estado Novo regime had banned the activities of a Christian denomination known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a ban that was lifted soon after the revolution. The country’s international reputation also improved after the revolution. Previously, Portugal’s economy had suffered after being imposed on trade embargos and sanctions by its major trade partners.

Another significant effect of the Carnation Revolution was the end of the Colonial War that Portugal had been embroiled in for nearly two decades. The ending of the Colonial War culminated in the independence of all Portuguese colonies in Africa, which included Mozambique, Guinea, Cape Verde, Angola and Sao Tome and Principe. All the countries attained independence between 1974 and 1975. The realization of independence in former Portuguese colonies triggered a mass exodus of Portuguese people from the African countries, mainly from former Portuguese Mozambique and Portuguese Angola. These refugees who were estimated to number over a million were also known as “retornados.”

Bailout exit

2014 May - Portugal exits international bailout without seeking back-up credit from its lenders.

2014 August - The government bails out the stricken lender Banco Espirito Santo - Portugal's largest private bank - to the tune of 3.9bn euros in order to avert a possible wider economic collapse.

2014 November - Interior Minister Miguel Macedo resigns in wake of corruption inquiry linked to allocation of fast-track residence permits, many of which have gone to foreigners willing to invest large sums in Portuguese property.

Former Socialist premier Jose Socrates is remanded in custody on suspicion of corruption, tax fraud and money laundering.

2015 January - The government approves rules allowing descendants of Jews who were expelled from the country centuries ago to claim Portuguese citizenship.

2015 March - The head of the tax collection authority resigns amid claims that he tried to shield the files of influential figures from scrutiny.

2015 November - Following inconclusive parliamentary elections, Socialist leader Antonio Costa forms centre-left government committed to relaxing some austerity measures.

2016 October - Former prime minister Antonio Guterres is appointed UN Secretary General.

2017 February - Portugal drops complaint to the EU over Spain's plan to build a nuclear waste storage facility which environmentalists fear could affect the River Tagus, which flows into Portugal. In return Spain agrees to share environmental information and organise consultations over the facility.

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