The History of Portugal

The History of Portugal

The History of Portugal

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.


Every country has its unique place in the overall mosaic of human endeavor, and Portugal is no exception. Its history is entwined in the vicissitudes of enterprise, achievements and failings. It is embedded in problems of rigid class structures, warring noble factions, peasant revolts, pestilence, superstition, greed and arbitrary laws often enacted for the benefit of those in power. Further, Portugal was burdened with a church that was heavily endowed with clerics who, more often than not, sided with the wealthy, promoted racial hatred and inhumanity against non-Christians and wielded enormous influence, all too often for its own benefit.

Exclusively, unlike other regions of the Hispanic Peninsula such as Cataluña or the Basque regions -- each with its own distinctive heritage -- Portugal achieved independence not only once but twice from its giant neighbor, Spain. What determinants and circumstances molded Portugal into a coherent state and propelled it onto the world stage to leave a permanent legacy in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America?

The following pages depict the journey from its beginnings to the present day of this one little nation, which, at its zenith, had a colossal impact on world affairs out of all proportion to its size.

Thanks go to the people of Portugal, proud of their heritage and gen-

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