A Cartista (Chartist) was the name, and later political party, associated with the conservative form of Liberalism that arose after the Portuguese Liberal Revolution of 1820. These individuals, who supported the Constitutional Charter of 1826 (granted by Peter IV of Portugal in an attempt to reduce the conflicts created by the revolution), which was a less radical charter character than the Constitution of 1822.
Following the Peninsular War, when the monarchy had remained transplanted in Brazil and continental Portugal was run by British-supported elites, pressure developed from professional classes to obtain more power, in light of their rule from abroad. Outward pressure eventually resulted in the 1820 Revolution, which established a Liberal constitution, investing power in the political structures and turning Portugal into a constitutional monarchy. King John VI of Portugal returned to the continent and supported this form of government, although during his reign there were pressures from the old elites (including multiple attempts by his son Miguel of Portugal to overthrow the established Liberal constitution), the Chartists effectively influenced the form of governance after this period.
The death of John VI, and the abdication of his successor, Peter IV of Portugal in favour of his young daughter (Maria da Gloria), once again, allowed Miguel an opportunity to seize the throne. Ultimately, this led to a war between the Chartists (supported by Peter VI) and the absolutist king (Miguel). Following the Concession of Evoramonte, which put an end to the Liberal Wars, two political factions developed, becoming more and more distinct: the conservative Chartists and the Vintistas, which were further to the left of liberal thought.
Following the restoration of the Charter, the Chartists came to power several times (under several different names), battling against various internal conflicts and counter-revolutions, such as the Patuleia and the Revolution of Maria da Fonte.
When the formation of political parties was clarified as a result of the Regeneração, the Cartistas re-formed in 1851 as the "Partido Regenerador", which up to the advent of the Republic in Portugal was the main conservative party of the right of the Constitutional Monarchy. It alternated in power with the Partido Progressista. More than half of Portugal's presidents of the council of the second half of the 19th century belonged to this political party.
A faction of 25 led by João Franco, opposing Hintze Ribeiro's leadership of the main party, formally broke away on 12 February 1901, and became the Partido Regenerador Liberal (officially called the Centro Regenerador Liberal) on 16 May that year.
Despite the resemblance of its name and some of its objectives, Portuguese "cartismo" is not directly equivalent to European chartism, since the letter it defended (the Constitutional Letter of 1826) was a charter that had been granted to the Portuguese in particular, rather than the generic charter of rights aspired to by European chartism. Indeed, it itself attacked the wishes of European chartism, particularly British Chartism, closer to the resolutions of Portuguese Constitution of 1822 than those of the Portuguese Constitutional Charter.