The birth of a
The miracle of
the Battle of Ourique
Portugal forged the first global empire
Portugal: the origins
In about 800
the Celts invaded the Iberian peninsula, and they settled in
the north and in the west. The Iberians, a
brave and independent people, dominated the south.
Eventually, the two cultures fused into the Celtiberians.
During the Punic
the central and western area of the peninsula was occupied
by various tribes.
are recognized as the ancestors of the current-day
Portuguese culture. They were skilled workers and fighters,
had their own language and an advance culture.
clashed with the Romans in 194
and joined the Celtiberians in a war against the Roman
presence that lasted until 179
leadership of Viriatus, an excellent strategist who managed
to unite many Celtiberian tribes, the Lusitanians inflicted a
series of defeats on Roman troops from their military camp
on the Hill of Venus.
At its peak, Lusitania comprised the
areas between the Douro and Tagus River.
In about 700
the Islamic Moors, who were mostly Berbers and Arabs from
the Maghreb, invaded the peninsula from North Africa and
conquered all but the Asturias area.
What is now
Portugal first became part of the Emirate of Córdoba.
national legend, Lisbon, the capital city, was founded by
the ancient Greek warrior Odysseus.
arrived at a rocky headland near what is the present-day
city after leaving his homeland to wander the world, and stayed there for a while
broke the heart of the nymph Calypso, who,
the legend goes, turned herself into a snake, her coils
becoming the seven hills of Lisbon.
The birth of a nation
1109 the baby who would become the first king of
Portugal was born. D. Afonso Henriques was a courageous and
brave fighter who endured many battles to obtain the
independence of Condado Portucalense and conquer land to the
Moors. That’s why he remains famous in history under the
nickname “The Conqueror”.
In the 9th
century, the name Portucale was used to refer to the region
between the rivers Douro and Minho, the Minho flowing along
what would become the northern border with Spain.
By the 11th
century, Portucale was already known as Portugal.
Henry of Burgundy helped king
Alfonso VI of Castile conquer Galicia from the Moors. As a
reward, he was given the
hand of Teresa de Leon, and became
Count of Portugal.
Henry and Teresa
had several sons, but the only one to survive childhood was
Afonso Henriques. He was three years
old when his father died.
Teresa ruled the
county for sixteen years, but her loyalty to the Spanish
king led to a rebellion.
was set out to take control of the county, and proclaimed
himself Prince of Portugal after the Battle of São Mamede.
He defeated his mother near the town
of Guimarães, in June of 1128.
Countess Teresa was imprisoned and exiled.
She died in 1130.
In 1139, Afonso
Henriques won a battle over the Moors, and declared Portugal
a separate kingdom, with himself as king.
In October 5,
1143, Portugal was officially recognized as an independent kingdom.
continued to conquer land from the Moors, and by 1147 he
recapture Lisbon with the help of English, Flemish, German,
and French crusaders.
retaken in 1166, and the Algarve in 1249. At this point,
Portugal’s conquest was complete, and Portugal became
Europe’s first state to reach the limits of its territorial
expansion, which remain unchanged to this day.
In 1385, João
Mestre de Avis, with the help of legendary supreme constable
Nuno Álvares Pereira, defeated the Castilians at Aljubarrota
battle, where the Castilians outnumbered the Portuguese 6:1.
D. João I was
crowned King of Portugal. Along with his sons, Duarte, Henry
The Navigator, and Afonso started the «Golden Decades» of
worldwide discoveries, in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Source: PACHECO, Rita - D. Afonso Henriques.
The miracle of the Battle of Ourique
In 1139, Afonso I
won the Battle of Ourique and was able to impose
tribute on his Muslim neighbours.
later, the idea of a miraculous intervention by Saint James in favour of the Portuguese appeared in the
chronicles of the battle. Later
interpretations replaced Saint James with Jesus Christ.
In the legend,
Afonso Henriques is visited before the battle by an old man
who saw in a dream that he would be victorious because God
would intervene in his favour. He advised the nobleman to
leave the encampment alone when he heard the bell of the
local chapel. Riding off he was surprised by a ray of light
that showed him the sign of the cross and Jesus Christ on a
knelt in its presence and heard the voice of Christ, who
told him he would defeat the Moors, which he, through
courage and his faith, succeeded the following day.
The legend of
the miracle of the Battle of Ourique served thus as a
political instrument to defend Portuguese independence as
Conquerors: how Portugal forged the first global
agosto de 1415, uma frota portuguesa atravessou o
Estreito de Gibraltar e atacou o porto muçulmano de
Ceuta, em Marrocos, um dos pontos mais fortificados
e estratégicos de todo o Mediterrâneo. A tomada de
Ceuta surpreendeu a Europa.
In August 1415,
a Portuguese fleet sailed across the Strait of Gibraltar and
stormed the Muslim port of Ceuta, in Morocco, one of the
most strategic strongholds in the whole Mediterranean. Its
capture astonished Europe.
início do século XV, a população de Portugal não era
superior a um milhão de habitantes. Os reis eram
demasiado pobres para cunhar as suas próprias moedas
de ouro. A pesca e a agricultura de subsistência
eram os pilares da economia, mas só a ambição
igualava o nível de pobreza do país.
start of the 15th century, Portugal’s population
numbered no more than a million. Its kings were too
poor to mint their own gold coins. Fishing and
subsistence farming were staples of the economy, but
the nation’s poverty was matched only by aspiration.
I, o fundador da casa de Avis, tomou a coroa em 1385
e afirmou a independência em relação a Castela, o
país vizinho. O ataque a Ceuta foi planeado para
absorver a energia inquieta da nobreza; foi uma
campanha que combinou o espírito medieval da
cavalaria com a paixão pelas cruzadas.
João I, founder of the ruling house of Aviz,
snatched the country’s crown in 1385 and asserted the
country’s independence from neighbouring Castile.
The assault on Ceuta was designed to soak up the
restless energies of the noble class in a campaign
that combined the spirit of medieval chivalry with
the passions of crusade.
dias de saques e massacres transformaram um sítio
outrora descrito como «a flor de todas as cidades de
África». Este golpe surpreendente avisou os rivais
europeus que este reino pequeno era autoconfiante,
energético e estava pronto para a ação.
Three days of
pillage and massacre had ransacked a place once described as
«the flower of all other cities in Africa». This stunning
coup served notice to European rivals that the small kingdom
was self-confident, energetic ‒ and on the move.
Ceuta, os portugueses vislumbraram, pela primeira
vez, a riqueza de África e do Oriente. A cidade era
o ponto de chegada das caravanas que traziam ouro
pelo deserto do Sara, do rio Senegal e dos
entrepostos mais a ocidente do comércio islâmico de
especiarias com a Índia.
In Ceuta, the Portuguese
were afforded a first
glimpse of the wealth of Africa and the Orient. The city was
the roadhead for the caravans trafficking gold across the
Sahara from the Senegal River, and a depot of the Islamic
spice trade with the Indies.
foi o início da expansão portuguesa, o limiar de um
marked the beginning of Portuguese expansion, the
threshold of a new world.
anos, os portugueses desbravaram mais caminho e mais
rapidamente do que qualquer outro povo. Do seu ponto
de partida, avançaram para baixo, pela costa
ocidental de África, contornaram o Cabo e chegaram à
Índia em 1498, acostaram no Brasil em 1500, chegaram
à Índia em 1513 e ao Japão em 1543.
years, the Portuguese pushed faster and farther
across the world than any people in history. From a
standing start they worked their way down the west
coast of Africa, rounded the Cape, and reached India
in 1498; they touched Brazil in 1500, China in 1514,
and Japan in 1543.
século XV, Lisboa estava na vanguarda da exploração,
sendo um laboratório para testar ideias acerca do
In the 15th
Lisbon was the frontier of exploration, a laboratory for
testing ideas about the world.
a Europa, astrónomos, cientistas, cartógrafos e
mercadores olhavam para Portugal para obter a
informação mais recente acerca da forma do
continente africano. Matemáticos judeus, mercadores
genoveses e cartógrafos alemães eram atraídos para o
reboliço das ruas deste país, com o seu horizonte
marítimo infindável além da foz do Tejo, ao qual
voltavam as caravelas portuguesas carregadas de
escravos negros, papagaios de cores brilhantes,
pimenta e mapas desenhados à mão.
astronomers, scientists, mapmakers, and merchants looked to
Portugal for the latest information about the shape of
Africa. Jewish mathematicians, Genoese merchants, and German
cartographers were being attracted to the hubbub of its
streets, its vistas of boundless ocean beyond the mouth of
the River Tejo, from where Portuguese caravels returned with
black slaves, brilliantly coloured parrots, pepper, and
portugueses foram impelidos por um desejo de
realizar grandes feitos. Os reis e os seus filhos
viviam, lutavam e morriam segundo um código de honra
que acompanharia os portugueses pelo mundo fora.
were impelled by a desire to do great deeds. The kings and
their sons lived, fought, and died by an honour code that
would accompany the Portuguese across the world.
Sources: CROWLEY, Roger ‒ Conquerors: how Portugal forged
the first global empire. Random House.
CROWLEY, Roger ‒ Conquistadores: como Portugal criou o
primeiro império global. Presença.
PIRES, José; CALADO, Nuno ‒ A viagem de Pedro Álvares
a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Islamic
monarch, an emir.
an Iberian people living in what is now Portugal who
resisted Roman arrival in the 2nd century
the Muslims who invaded the Iberian peninsula in the 8th
century and established a civilization in Andalusia that
lasted until the late 15th century.
also known by the Latin name Ulysses, Odysseus was a
legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer’s
epic poem the Odyssey. He also plays a key role in
Iliad and other works in that same epic cycle.
Escola Básica e Secundária de Muralhas do Minho, Valença