TIMELINE / Before 1800 to After 1930 / PORTUGAL / POLITICAL CONTEXT
 
Date Country Theme
1807 - 1816 Portugal Political Context
First Napoleonic invasion. Prince Regent João (1767–1826, crowned in 1816) transfers the court and the seat of political power to Brazil, avoiding being deposed and replaced by a Napoleonic nominee as in other European kingdoms. In Portugal, Beresford, the British governor, intervenes in Portuguese general politics disregarding national needs.
1817 - 1821 Portugal Political Context
The emergence of liberal ideas. In Porto a Provisional Ruling Council is created (1820) and pursues the rebellion against British rule that started in Lisbon. Liberal revolution breaks out in Porto (August 1820), spreads to Lisbon, beginning the radical cycle known as Vintismo. King João VI is forced to return to Portugal from Brazil in 1821.
1822 Portugal Political Context
1 October: Inspired by Cadiz Constitution members of Parliament authored the first liberal Constitution. King João VI (1767-1826) promulgated the document on 1 October 1822, in Lisbon. Royal prerogatives and the nobles and clergy privileges were limited, though with a weak impact.
1822 Portugal Political Context
King João VI asks his heir Prince Pedro, Duke of Braganza (1798–1834) to remain in Brazil. Part of the court decides to stay there. Facing revolt against the anti-Brazilian policy of Portugal, Pedro proclaims the independence of Brazil on 7 September (Grito do Ipiranga). In October he is acclaimed as the first Brazilian Emperor, Pedro I.
1826 - 1832 Portugal Political Context
With the death of his father, Emperor Pedro I of Brazil becomes Pedro IV of Portugal but gives up the throne to his daughter, future Queen Maria II. The proclamation of a moderate Constitutional Charter does not stop the absolutist movement led by his brother, Prince Miguel (1802–66), who disregards the rights of his niece Princess Maria and Pedro’s decision.
1832 - 1834 Portugal Political Context
Civil war. Pedro returns to Portugal as Regent to defend his daughter’s rights. He launches military operations from Azores and Porto against the absolutist faction of Prince Miguel favored by the Quadruple Alliance. After the Miguelists’ defeat, peace terms depend on the Évora-Monte Convention and Prince Miguel’s exile.
1834 - 1836 Portugal Political Context
Queen Maria II (1819–53) regains the crown after her father’s death and the liberals’ victory. The Queen has to cope with the transition from absolutism to constitutionalism and disputes between opposing factions, conservatives on one side (Cartismo supporters of the 1826 Charter) and radicals on the other (Vintismo defenders of the Constitution of 1822).
1836 - 1842 Portugal Political Context
Period of Setembrismo: lower-middle-class rebellion against corruption and upper-middle-class privileges. An industrialisation process takes off to counteract foreign dominance. To overcome the loss of Brazilian revenues the colonisation of African possessions is boosted. The slave trade is prohibited in 1836 by abolitionist Marquis of Sá da Bandeira.
1842 - 1851 Portugal Political Context
The period of Cabralismo, an authoritarian regime ruled by conservative Bernardo Costa Cabral who rehabilitates the 1826 Constitutional Charter but promoting the public infrastructures and fiscal code revision. Upper middle class and aristocracy regain state control and former privileges. Popular rebellions lead to the fall of his government.
1851 - 1868 Portugal Political Context
Regeneration, led mainly by Minister Fontes Pereira Melo (who gives the period name – Fontism) is a peaceful political cycle of global innovation started in 1851. The kingdom is tired of political unrest. Conditions are created for the middle classes and foreign investors to support economic expansion, the development of infrastructure and industrialisation.
1876 Portugal Political Context
Partido Histórico and Partido Reformista merge into the Partido Progressista in September. Power alternation with the Partido Regenerador framed rotativism. They were able to carry out some urgent reforms but in the end the system soon degenerated into political conformism.
1884 - 1885 Portugal Political Context
Berlin Conference called by Portugal to regulate European colonisation and convened by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The Portuguese government presents the "Pink Map”, a project uniting the colonies of Angola and Mozambique through the corridor of land that separates them. The proposal is rejected by England although endorsed by the majority of countries.
1889 Portugal Political Context
10 October: Coronation of King Carlos I (28 September 1863 – 1 February 1908) Despite the King’s attempt to reform the political system, the growing urban influence of the Republican Party and the people´s discontent were fostered by cash payments made to the Royal House.
1890 - 1908 Portugal Political Context
The British Ultimatum (11 January 1890) pressures Portugal to withdraw from southern Africa resulting in popular outrage and unrest. The bankruptcy of 1892, anti-monarchic sentiment against King Carlos I, the cost of living and unfulfilled popular needs are major drivers of the Republican movement.
1908 Portugal Political Context
1 February: The assassination of King Carlos I and his heir-apparent Prince Royal Luis Filipe in Terreiro do Paço in central Lisbon, fomented by, among other things, the King’s appointment of João Franco as head of government in 1906; with the King’s consent he set up a dictatorship one year later. Queen Amelia and Prince Manuel escape and the prince is enthroned as King Manuel II.
1910 Portugal Political Context
The Republic is proclaimed in Lisbon on 5 October. King Manuel II is forced to exile in England together with his mother Queen Amelia who ends up in her homeland France. A Provisional Government is set up, headed by Teófilo Braga, a well-known respected jurist and writer. The new cabinet ruled until the first republican Constitution was enacted.
1911 Portugal Political Context
April: First Republican Constitution enacted. Manuel de Arriaga is elected as the first President. It is believed that the Republic will address the economic crisis and promote progress. Though bringing together political forces, the regime is too vague to achieve the necessary economic and social reforms and soon ends up in political fragmentation and infighting.
1913 - 1914 Portugal Political Context
Afonso Costa is appointed Prime Minister. Republican achievements fall short of people’s expectations, fuelling the resistance of monarchists, capitalists and landlords. Inflation, public debt, trade deficit, strikes, the rise of anarcho-syndicalism, middle-class disillusion, and fear of communism will invite the establishment of the 1915 military dictatorship.
1916 Portugal Political Context
Germany declares war on Portugal. Portugal enters World War I, complying with international commitments in Europe and defending the Portuguese strategic possessions in Africa, mainly Angola and Mozambique. The Portuguese army fought on the western European Front and in the south of Angola (border with Namibia) and the north of Mozambique (Nevala).
1917 - 1968 Portugal Political Context
Major Sidónio Pais takes power on 5 December and is elected President on 21 April 1918. Continuous unrest leads to a military coup by General Gomes da Costa in 1926 followed by a dictatorship. António de Oliveira Salazar become Finance Minister (1928–32) and then Prime Minister until 1968. The Estado Novo dictatorship lasted for 48 years.