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Portugal’s Timeline: A Brief History of Portugal Part 3

Portugal’s Timeline: A Brief History of Portugal Part 3

by Emily Mudge

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of our Brief History of Portugal series!

Kingdom of Portugal and the Age of Discovery

1139: Afonso Henriques founded the Kingdom of Portugal, with himself as its king.

1143: Afonso Henriques declared Portugal a vassal state of Pope Innocent II. As a result, Portugal received the church’s support in driving the remaining Moors from the country.

1255: Lisbon became the capital of Portugal.

Henry the Navigator on the Monument of Discoveries, Lisbon.

1394: Prince Henry, who would later become Henry the Navigator, was born.

1419: Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristao Vaz Teixeira discovered the Madeira islands. Prince Henry’s sponsorship made this journey possible.

1427: Diogo Silves discovered the Azores, also as a result of encouragement from Prince Henry the Navigator.

1451: Although the official date of the creation of the Caravel is unknown, it was likely around this year. Portuguese sailors created this faster, lightweight ship that would allow for easier exploration of the African coastline. 

1460: Death of Prince Henry the Navigator.

1492: Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. Subsequently, Portugal and Spain began to fight over the new territory.

1494: To prevent war, Portugal and Spain signed the Treaty of Tordesillas. This divided the territory of the New World between the two kingdoms.

1498: Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India by sailing around the southern tip of Africa.


Rise of the Portuguese Empire

1506: Lisbon Massacre. Over the course of several days, supporters of the church killed thousands of “New Christians” in the streets of Lisbon. These “New Christians” were Jews who had been forcibly converted to Christianity starting in 1497. The church suspected that many of the “New Christians” were still secretly practicing Judaism. For this reason, the “New Christians” received the blame for recent droughts and plagues throughout the kingdom.

1513: Portuguese ships landed on the coast of China, becoming the first European ships to do so.

1517: Portugal opened trade relations with China.

1536: The Portuguese Inquisition was established, specifically targeting “New Christians.”

1543: Portuguese explorers became the first European ships to land in Japan.

1569: This year marked the height of the Black Plague in Portugal, with over 60,000 deaths in Lisbon alone.

1572: Luis Vaz de Camoes published The Lusiads, a famous epic poem. As a result, the King named him the National Poet.

1668: After three decades of war, Portugal and Spain finally signed a peace treaty.

1697: Discovery of gold in Brazil.

1750: Marques de Pombal began his rule of Portugal. Pombal was a supporter of the growing anti-religious movement throughout the kingdom. For this reason, he began to remove the Jesuits from power.

1755: Great earthquake of Portugal, also called the Lisbon Earthquake. This quake devastated Lisbon, and caused fires and tsunamis that destroyed the kingdom. As a result, Marques de Pombal sent a survey to the Portuguese parishes. This survey marked the beginning of seismology, the scientific study of earthquakes.

1777: Marques de Pombal lost power in Portugal.


The Fall of the Empire

1807: Napoleon invaded Portugal. In order to protect the royal family, the Portuguese court was moved to Brazil.

1815: The Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves became the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. This allowed the King to move the capital of Portugal to Rio de Janeiro. Interestingly, this was the only time in history that a kingdom was ruled from one of its territories.

1820: Brazilian rebels forced the return of the Portuguese capital to Lisbon.

1821: Official end of the Portuguese Inquisition.

1822: Portugal ratified its first constitution. That year, Brazil also declared independence, marking the beginning of a two-year war for freedom.

1824: Portugal surrendered to Brazil.

1825: Portugal officially recognized the Empire of Brazil.


Portugal in the 20th Century

1910: The Republican Revolution began, and ended in victory. Portugal became a republic.

1917: Portugal fought with the Allies in World War I. Meanwhile, Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children, bringing a message of peace through prayer. Fatima would later become one of the most famous Marian Shrines in Europe.

1926: The 28 May Revolution overthrew the First Republic of Portugal. In the wake of the revolution, the National Dictatorship assumed power.

1932: Antonio de Oliveira Salazar became prime minister of Portugal.

1933: Salazar reformed the National Dictatorship into the Estado Novo. During this time, mass media censorship became common, and Salazar created a political police force called the PVDE.

1939: World War II began. Portugal remained neutral throughout the entire war, despite efforts on both sides to enlist the country’s aid.

1968: Antonio de Oliveira Salazar suffered a hemorrhage and was forced to leave office. However, no one informed him that he was no longer in power, and he believed that he was Prime Minister until his death. Marcelo Caetano became the real Prime Minister.

1970: Antonio de Oliveira Salazar died.

MFA - Carnation revolution - 25 of April - Portugal

MFA – Carnation revolution – 25 of April – Portugal

1974: The Carnation Revolution. The military coup on April 25th overthrew the Estado Novo regime, through largely non-violent means. After the revolution, Portuguese pacifist Celeste Caeiro offered carnations to the soldiers who had overthrown the regime. Other activists followed suit, placing carnations into the uniforms and guns of the soldiers. These flowers gave the revolution its name.

1975: All remaining Portuguese colonies in Africa gained independence.

1986: Portugal joined the EEC, which would later become the European Union.

1999: The last Portuguese overseas colony, Macau, was granted independence and returned to China.

2002: Portugal adopted the Euro, replacing the Escudo as the national currency.