Location in Portugal
|Subregion||Beira Interior Norte|
The village lies 4.5 miles (7.2 km) east of the border with Spain and straddles the N332 road. The Rio Côa run northwards a short distance to the west of the village. The town's castle fortress was completed in 1641 and is located to the north of the village and is approached through the two tunnel gates and dry moat named the Portas de São Francisco.
In and around the environment of Almeida, evidence of Human occupation can be found back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. Evidence has also been found of Roman occupation followed by the Suevi and the Visigoths. The first fortification constructed in the settlement were constructed by the Muslims who occupied the village until Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula.
Sancho I, The Populator
The village of Almeida was captured from the Moors by the second king of Portugal, Sancho I in the 12th century because of its strategic position on the new country of Portugal's border with Spain. So important to the security of the country, Sancho had the village heavily fortified. the castle was refortified on three further occasions by King Dinis, King Manuel I and by King João VI. The present 12 pointed star fortification was constructed in 1641 to a Vaubanesque plan to which the French military engineer is believed to have personnel worked on, during the castles final stages of completion.
During the Seven years War (1754 to 1763) which involved most of the great powers of Europe, Spain with the help of France launched an attack on Portugal due to it's alliance with Great Britain. As a result of the invasion Almeida was captured by the Spanish in 1726.
The fortress around the town guards an important cross-border road from Spain, and underwent several sieges. The siege of 1810 ended spectacularly when a chance shell ignited the main gunpowder magazine, which exploded, killing 500 defenders and destroying most of the town.
- Evans, David (2004 edition). Portugal - Cadogan guides. New Holland Publishers. pp. 199 to 200. ISBN 1860111262.
- Tourist & Motoring Atlas – Spain & Portugal. Publisher: Michelin Edition 2014. Work: page 42. ISBN 9782067192430
- St Louis - Coordinating Author, Regis (2009 7th edition). Portugal - Lonely planet guide. lonely planet Publishers. pp. 380 to 381. ISBN 9781741790153.
- Evans, David (2004 edition). Portugal - Cadogan guides. New Holland Publishers. pp. 200, Dom Sancho I conquers Almeida. ISBN 1860111262.
- An Account of Portugal, as it Appeared in 1766 to Dumouriez, Lausanne, 1775, pp. 247 and 254; See also García Arenas (2004), pp. 41, 73 and 74.
- The Royal Military Chronicle, vol V, London, 1812, pp. 50-51; See also Dull, Jonathan (2009) The Age of the Ship of the Line: the British and French navies, 1650–1851. University of Nebraska Press, p. 88.
- Terrage, Marc de Villiers du (1904). Les dernières années de la Louisiane française (in French), E. Guilmoto, p. 151.
- The Peninsular War. Author: Esdaile, Charles. Publisher:Penguin Books, 2002 Edition. Work:Chapter 12, Torres Vedras, Pagr 323, reference to the explosion .ISBN 9780140273700
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