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the second independence of Portugal

Portugal freed itself from the Castilians with the revolt of December 1, 1640. It was the end of 60 years of Filipino rule in our country.

On December 1, 1640, Portugal put an end to Castilian rule, which had lasted for 60 years, and assumed once and for all the reins of its destiny. Since 1580, the Filipino dynasty reigned in Portugal, giving expression to the closest we have ever had to a hypothetical Iberian union.

The coup, which had been germinating for a long time in Portuguese society, resulted from a conspiracy of nobles and scholars, anxious to get rid of the Spaniards and resume the thread of a nation whose independence dates back to 1143🇧🇷

It was conducted by a group called Os Quarenta Conjurados and quickly spread throughout the country, ending with the establishment of the fourth dynasty in Portugal (the House of Bragança), and with the ascension to the throne and acclamation of King D. João IV.

However, it is necessary to quickly understand how this situation arrived and how Portugal, after the glorious feat of the Discoverieswhich made the country a global power, ended up in Castile’s lap.

1640: background to the revolt

The death of D. Sebastião in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir precipitated the dynastic crisis in Portugal

The loss of national independence is based on the absence of an heir to the throne after the death of D. Sebastião, following the disastrous campaign of Alcácer Quibir🇧🇷 The grandson of D. João III ascended the throne at just 14 years old, in 1568. Sebastião was the last heir of the Avis Dynasty, leaving no descendants, which caused a dynastic crisis. The kingdom ends up being in the hands of D. Henrique, but his precarious health and the serious political and economic problems that raged in Portugal did not allow him great success.

After his death, D. António, Prior of Crato, is acclaimed king of Portugal, but his government would only last 30 days, defeated by the Spaniards in the Battle of Alcântara.

Philip II of Spain took advantage of the situation to claim the throne, amid promises to maintain Portuguese autonomy, and in the Cortes of To take, in 1581, becomes Philip I of Portugal. A domain that would extend until 1640.

A significant part of the Portuguese never accepted this solution, even starting to spread some myths, the best known of all being that of “Sebastianism”.

As the legitimate king had never returned from battle, nor had anyone seen his body, many believed that only his return (through the mists of fog) could save Portugal.

portuguese revolt

The truth is that this Iberian union lasted until 1640, the year in which the restoration of independence began to take on an increasingly consistent form. Filipino rule was already intolerable for the Portuguese nobility and bourgeoisie, increasingly removed from decision-making centres, with the associated financial costs.

In the early hours of the morning of December 1, 1640, a considerable group of armed nobles entered the Royal Palace, in Lisbonand at the signal of D. Miguel Almeida neutralize any and all resistance.

The royal secretary, Miguel Vasconcelos, is found hiding in a closet and immediately killed, after which he is thrown out of one of the Palace’s windows.

Coeval chronicles point out that between the entrance to the Royal Palace and the acclamation of D. João IV (who was in Vila Viçosa) as King of Portugal, mediated something like a quarter of an hour. In 15 minutes, the Iberian union was undone and a stone was placed on Philippine rule, which had lasted for 60 years.

Action by King D. Carlos inspired the national anthem

See too
National Anthem: do you know the whole lyrics of A Portuguesa?

Recognition in 1668

If it is true that the Spaniards did not react militarily to the Portuguese uprising of 1640, it is no less true that it was then that a tortuous diplomatic path began towards the effective recognition of Portugal as an independent kingdom by the Spaniards. This would only happen in 1668, with the Treaty of Lisbon, when Alfonso VI already reigned in our country.

The holiday of December 1, 1640 was marked for the first time in 1823 and in the presence of the then monarch. D. João VI. It is currently the oldest civil holiday that Portugal celebrates, through the monarchy, the implementation of the Republic, the Estado Novo and Democracy.

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