History of Portugal (1834–1910)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from History of Portugal (1834-1910))
Jump to: navigation, search
Kingdom of
Portugal and the Algarves
Reino de Portugal e dos Algarves

Flag Coat of arms
Hino da Carta
"Anthem of the Charter"
Capital Lisbon
Languages Portuguese
Religion Roman Catholic
Government Constitutional Monarchy
 -  1908–1910 Manuel II (last)
Prime Minister
 -  1834–1835 Pedro de Holstein (first)
 -  1910 António Teixeira (last)
Legislature Cortes
 -  Upper house Chamber of Peers
 -  Lower house Chamber of Deputies
 -  Liberal Wars 1834
 -  Lisbon Regicide 1 February 1908
 -  Revolution of 1910 5 October 1910
 -  1910 (metro) 92,391 km² (35,672 sq mi)
 -  1910 (metro) est. 5,969,056 
     Density 64.6 /km²  (167.3 /sq mi)
Currency Portuguese real

The kingdom of Portugal under the House of Braganza was a constitutional monarchy from the end of the Liberal Civil War in 1834 to the republican revolution of 1910.

The initial turmoil of coups d'état perpetrated by the victorious generals of the Civil War was followed by a parliamentary unstable system of governmental "rotation" marked by the growth of the Portuguese Republican Party. This was caused mainly by the inefficiency of the monarchic governments as well as the monarchs' apparent lack of interest for the country, aggravated by the British ultimatum for the abandonment of the Portuguese "pink map" project that united Portuguese West Africa and Portuguese East Africa (today's Angola and Mozambique).

The situation culminated in a dictatorship-like government imposed by King Carlos I, in the person of João Franco, followed by the king's assassination in the Lisbon regicide of 1908 and the revolution of 1910.


The imperfect Constitution of 1826, that begin a conflict within liberal revolutionaries; former-King and Regent (with Consort: left) introducing the 1826 Charter to Princess Maria da Gloria

Referred to as Devourism, this period of the constitutional monarchy grew from competing manifestations of the liberal ideology and their adherents. It was seen by Gastão Pereira de Sande, Count of Taipa, then an oppositionist (commonly referred to as radicals), who saw the government as a "gang made up to devour the country under the shadow of a child" (wherein the child was represented by the young Queen, Maria II of Portugal).

The post-Civil War period was characterized by a precarious executive, a lack of ideological definition, by the marginalization of popular movements, indiscipline and intervention of military chiefs in politics.[1] The death of the Regent, former King Pedro, after successfully installing his daughter as Queen thrust the inexperienced Maria da Glória into a role that, at the age of 15 years, she was unprepared to handle.

Her counselors, many aristocrats and nobles, still used the royalty as a counter to the liberal revolution.[2][3] There were two political currents: the moderates that defended the Constitutional Charter of 1828, and those who re-promoted the democratic Constitution of 1822. Both parties were disorganized, neither felt solidarity with the monarch, and their ideologies were not clearly defined; politicians regularly swung between Vintista and Constitutional politics.[4] Meanwhile the majority of the population were disenfranchised: illiterate and/or culturally unrefined, they merely supported whichever wind blew in their favor.[5] Education was limited to the cities, whose local merchants and apparatchiks had some sense of political mobility. Economically, Portugal was no better: in the post-War era, it continued to make its (diminishing) wealth from the cultivation of the land, the taxes and land-rents, while the machines, capital and entrepreneurs necessary to sustain industry were neglected.[6] The economy stagnated.


Mouzinho da Silveira, whose influence during the post-War era would result in changes to the economy, the separation of church and state and the reorganization of municipalities
António Luís de Seabra, who would be responsible for the establishment of a new legal code in Portugal

The constitutional monarchy was marked by a series of legislation proposed by the government of the day, which had in its base in the idealism of Mouzinho da Silveira. Silveira had promoted, during his terms in government revolutionary legislation, for both the absolutist and liberal governments of the time (1823–1833).[7] Payments to the State, the relations between the people and the Church, and the municipal government had remained medieval. Silveira realized, to the regret of politicians at the time, that politics was an instrument of the socio-economic conditions of the time.[8] Marginalized by both absolutists and liberals, his ideas and solutions were later adopted by the new generation of liberal politicians in the post-War era. Among many of his proposals, successive governments adopted: a policy of disengaging the economy from social conditions, limiting taxes to 5%, ending tithes, abolishing seigniorial fees, reducing export taxes to 1%, terminating inter-community commerce regulation, the intervention of the government in the municipality, the separation of the judiciary and administration, liberated commerce and prohibited some monopolies (such as soap and the sale of Porto wines). In general his initiatives, were legislated by the post-War regimes to eliminate privilege, establish equality, the liberalization of the economy and smooth the performance of the government.[8]


In 1834, Joaquim António de Aguiar terminated the State sanction of religious orders, and nationalized their lands and possessions. Later referred to as Mata-Frades (Killer of Brothers), Aguiar's government took control of the convents, churches, manor homes and holdings of various sects, that had been sustained by donations of the religious faithful and placed them for sale. Unfortunately, although they hoped to place land and goods in the hands of the more disadvantaged, most of the poor did not have the capital to purchase.[9] In fact, total sales were ten times less than expected, and most holdings were purchased by speculators or existing landowners.[10]


Another part of the post-War era was the reorganization of existing administrative units, in order to centralize, decentralize and then re-concentrate power in the national government. The debate began in 1832, when Mouzinho de Sousa's administration oversaw a system of appointed regional administrators that governed the municipalities, imposing central government programs and ideology: it was accused of being Napoleonic in its organization.[11] The issue of centralization or de-centralization was an ongoing debate in the post-War era, resulting in successive legislation. The government of Manuel Passos finally extinguished 466 municipalities in 1836, because many of those localities could not provide functional government.[12] But this only lasted six years: in 1842 Costa Cabral's regime instituted another process of centralization, which were quickly challenged by the legislative projects of Almeida Garrett, Anselmo Braamcamp, Martins Ferrão, and Dias Ferreira. An economic revitalization in 1878 finally resulted in a new program of decentralization by Rodrigues Sampaio, which included exaggerated local responsibilities and the ability to raise taxes. But, by 1886 there was a new centralizing tendency. Consequently, over time (even extending into the Republican era) local authorities began to be supported by subsidy and co-financed projects.[13]

Civil Code[edit]

Since 1820 the Philippine Dynasty, Portugal's civil code had been a chaotic and uncompiled system of laws, which many had realized required reform. But, after early attempts failed to rationalize these laws, and a unified code based on the French Civil Code was disavowed, the Portuguese courts continued to function using the Ordenações Filipinas (1603), which simple reforms of the Manueline codes (1521).[14] But by 1850, judge António Luís de Seabra wrote A Propriedade: Filosofia do Direto (English: Property: Philosophy of Law) which was adapted in 1867 as the new Portuguese Civil Code. It was unique for European civil codes, in its characterization of laws in terms of the person and property; it was divided into four sections: the person, the acquisition of goods, goods, and the defense of those goods or rights.[15] Seabra's rationalization would be long lasting (1867–1967), and would be the basis for, in the terminology of the Code: the judicial person, acquisition of laws, property, crimes and judgments.[15]

Setembrismo and Cartismo[edit]

Costa Cabral, one-time radical whose interest in French doctrinaire politics, would return Chartists to power

For the first two years, the Constitutional Charter was the law of the land, but the government and opposition could not agree: the Queen substituted the government four times, then called fresh elections to bridge the impasse. The opposition saw in the governmental inertia and the political deterioration, as a consequence of the Charter, and wanted to return to the 1822 Liberal Constitution.[16] These liberals were motivated by the movements in Spain, where in August 1836, a revolt by military officers (the Motín de La Granja de San Ildefonso) forced the reinstatement of the 1812 Cadiz Constitution. Ultimately, on 9 September 1836 a revolution by the politicized population and National Guard in Lisbon to drive the Cartistas (English: Chartists) from power, forced the Queen to re-instate the 1822 Constitution in Portugal.[2] The government installed after the revolution were known as Setembristas, their short-lived movement, Setembrismo, for having occurred in September. Although a popular manifestation, and later supported by the military and burgher politicians, it was a reactionary movement against the instability, and suffered from constant popular demands which paralyzed activity in government.[17]

But, from the Belém Palace, the Queen initiated her own counter-revolution to restore the Charter. It was supported by the United Kingdom and Belgium, which traded their support for territorial concession in Africa. Although Queen Maria II announced the resignation of the government and troops were garrisoned, Septembrist forces threatened to march on Belém.[18] The Belenzada, as it was known (which meant the event in Belém), failed.

In 1837, Marshals Saladanha and Terceira proclaimed the Charter in many of the garrisons of the provinces. The Revolta dos Marechais (English: Revolt of the Marshals) was provoked by the English, whom supported Saladanha and Terceira, and lasted briefly between July and September, but resulted in many deaths.[19] But, even after these events, Soares Caldeira, the civil leader of the original Setembristas organized a militant group of paramilitary Guarda Nacional based in the Lisbon Arsenal, later known as the Arsenalistas. They terrorized Lisbon, wearing their beards long, and camped out in the Rossio. Eventually, government forces massacred these extremists in the Rossio on the night of 13 March 1838.[20]

During its short reign, the Septembrist legislated the creation of public lyceums; the foundation of the Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon and Porto, the Medical-Surgical School in Porto and the Polly-technical School of Lisbon; in Africa they expanded the overseas colonies, colonizing the plateaus in Angola and in 1836 prohibited slavery; and finally these liberal revolutionaries attempted to reconcile the various political currents by establishing a revised Constitution (1838) to find a compromise between Chartists and Septembrists. Parliament, would continue to be formed by two chambers, but the Upper Chamber was constituted by (temporary) elected and appointed senators.[20]

But in 1842, in a coup d'etat led by one-time radical Costa Cabral (who influenced by French doctrinaire politics) began in Porto, with royal approval.[17][21] Queen Maria II ordered the reinstatement of the 1826 Charter, but little was made of reconciling the moderate or radical left, nor recognition of constituent power of the Nation.[2] The 1844 Torres Novas/Almeida declaration was easily crushed, but ultimately Costa Cabrals' firm and disciplined majority could not contain an undisciplined popular revolt.[17]

Maria da Fonte[edit]

Cartoon showing an idealized Maria da Fonte leading the rebels: an idealized representation of women's roles during the peasant revolt of 1846

Unlike Septembrist initiatives that were centered on the district capitals, many of Cabral's program affected the peoples directly in the interior. Cabral's moves once again decentralized government, placing the costs of health care, public finances and other sectors onto the tributary network, re-invoking the medieval system and subordinating local government authority. Two other initiatives, the forbidding of church burials and land assessment were directly worrisome to the rural population, who were fearful of the government taking their land-rights.[21] The revolt that occurred around the middle of April 1846, was similar to one that had occurred in Galicia, and involved a popular uprising in the parish of Fontarcada, Póvoa de Lanhoso. Although the revolt included both men and women, it was known as Maria da Fonte, because women had a salient involvement in the revolt, that was a rural uprising: armed with carbines, pistols, torches, and stakes, the peasantry assaulted the municipal buildings, burned land records, stole property and even attacked a garrison from Braga. Some even declared themselves Miguelistas, but rather for being in opposition to the invasions of the State and taxes, then rather politically affirmed.[22]

Failed Septembrist politicians, realized the political power that cholera-infected peasantry could have on the government, and used this fact to attack Cabral's government.[22] They succeeded in Cabral's removal and exile, but the Queen assembled a larger, more loyal cadre of Cabralist politicians around her new government, headed by the Duke of Saldanha.[17][22]


Meanwhile the peasant uprising was soon the initiative for an undisciplined band of political and military elements, influenced by the small merchant classes, to coopt the lower class struggle, similar to what influenced the French 1848 Revolution and Second Republic.[17][22] Although the physically the conditions were different, the Patuleia (as they were known) was a reaction to the doctrinaire liberalism and neo-aristocratic devourism of Cabralist politicians. Patuleia forces installed themselves in Porto, declaring a provisional government and attempted to march on Lisbon. The "soldiers", without strong ideological convictions, wavered from political ideology, sometimes trading sides. Miguelista sympathizers and politicians supported the Patuleia. Regardless, both the competing armies spread their civil war to all parts of the country, and only foreign intervention could stop the bloodletting. Eventually, the popular uprising was brutally suppressed with support from Great Britain and Spain.[23] Patuleia ships and troops were imprisoned and a peace treaty signed in Porto that included amnesty (Convention of Gramido, 29 June 1847).[17]


Marshall Saladanha, responsible for seven coup d'etats in his career after the Liberal Wars
Fontes Pereira de Melo, an important politician in the period of rotativism politics

Between 1847 and 1851 nothing happened: nothing was legislated, there were few conflicts and parliament was routine.[24] Costa Cabral's return from exile, marked the only scandal of note, when he received a carriage in exchange for a purchase. But, the last true conflict occurred of this period was less a revolution, and more a personal conflict. Marshal Saldanha, commander of the Liberal Wars and leader against the Patuleia forces, sidelined in the new politics, began a revolt in the military headquarters in Sintra. Unfortunately, few supported him, and worse, in successive centers (Mafra, Coimbra, Viseu, and Porto) he only found deceptions.[24] Finally, refugee in Galicia, the former-commander was acclaimed by regiments in Porto, and returned to an enthusiastic support at the São João Theatre. His movement, was a self-styled Regeneração (English: Regeneration) of the political order, the monarch worried that Saldanha would attract new adherents (and thus plunge the nation once again into a Civil War), decided to bring him into the fold, and the Queen installed him in government.[25]


Consequently, Portuguese politics entered a period of tacit coexistence between the parties.[26] While the Constitutional Charter did not change, the processes of government were modified: elections were made by direct suffrage, while Parliament could appoint commissions of inquiry into governmental acts.

Generally, the a wave of enthusiasm for national reconciliation swept the country: Cabral went again into exile and the country embarked on a program of material development directed by Minister Fontes Pereira de Melo.[17]

Chartists and non-Chartist transformed into Partido Regenerador (English: Regenerator Party) and the Partido Histórico (English: Historic Party), respectively, while later the reinvented Septembrists formed the Partido Progressista (English: Progressive Party). These two parties (Regenerator and Historic) were centrist, dedicated to the monarchy, liberal (centre-left and centre-right) politicians, and interested in economic reconstruction and solving the financial crisis that had deepened. Yet, the years following 1868 were marked by continuous political disorder, even as alliances were possible, and the preference for material progress and extensive public works damaged the State's finances: it was a false Regenerationist peace.[27]

This coalition against radicalism lasted until 1868, when insurmountable financial difficulties, turmoil in the streets and Parliament, and a succession of incompetent governments forced the Saldanha, once again, to impose his will.[28] Along with the army, he established a supra-party dictatorship in 1870 in order to impose political reforms, but he was never able to see their failure.[28]

Regicide of King Carlos I[edit]

The King Carlos I was murdered in the Lisbon Regicide, in 1908.
Main article: Lisbon Regicide

On 1 February 1908 the King Carlos I and Royal Family returned to Lisbon from Vila Viçosa. After leaving the train in Barreiro and traveling by boat to Lisbon, they were met in the city center by members of the court, Franco government (including the Prime Minister) and some royalist citizens. Returning to the royal palace, their landau passed through the Terreiro do Paço, where two republican activists Alfredo Costa and Manuel Buíça fired on the open carriage in which they were traveling. Five bullets were fired from a rifle carried by Buíça (a former army sergeant), hidden under his long overcoat: three of these struck and killed the King, while another fatally wounded the heir to the throne Luís Filipe. During the turmoil the police killed the two assassins, as well as an unfortunate bystander. The royal carriage was driven to the nearby Naval Arsenal, where both the King and Prince Royal were declared dead. Manuel, the King's youngest son, was quickly acclaimed as King of Portugal.

Manuel II would reign for only a short time, as republican forces continued to attack the monarchy and its institutions, even though the young king was considered a popular monarch. His unexpected accession to the throne (18 years of age), was marked by the brutal murder of his father and brother, yet his reign was pragmatic and respected the principles of the constitutional monarchy. Despite threats from the ultra-militant members of the Republican Party and the Carbonária, King Manuel courageously took responsibility for upholding the institutions of the State and Rule of Law.

Although Manuel II was concerned with the Questão Social (English: Social Questions) of the day (the working class, social reform, and social security programs) he would have little time to enact many new initiatives.

5 October Revolution[edit]

After general elections on 28 August 1910, Republican party representation had only grown to 14 deputies in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Cortes. Even with support from other pro-republican parties, the Republicans were only able to muster closer to 40 seats in the Chamber, in comparison to the 120 pro-monarchist deputies. Nevertheless, these governments tended to be unstable, and during his reign Manuel II changed the government seven times.

But, militant Republicans and their allies in the Carbonária, were not willing to remain in the shadows of the constitutional monarchy. Between 4–5 October 1910, members of the Carbonária, republican youth, and elements of the Army instigate a coup d'état against the already weak constitutional monarchy. The young King and his family, after a few mis-ques, escape from the Palace in Mafra for exile to England. On the morning of 5 October 1910, the Republic is declared from the balcony of Lisbon City Hall, ending eight centuries of monarchy in Portugal.


  1. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.290
  2. ^ a b c Paulo Jorge Fernandes, et al. (2003), p.6
  3. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.290-291
  4. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.291
  5. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.291-292
  6. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.292
  7. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.292-293
  8. ^ a b José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.293
  9. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.294-295
  10. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.295
  11. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.292-296
  12. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.296-297
  13. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.297
  14. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.297-280
  15. ^ a b José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.298
  16. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.299
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Paulo Jorge Fernandes, et al. (2003), p. 6
  18. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p.300
  19. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p. 300
  20. ^ a b José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p. 301
  21. ^ a b James Maxwell Anderson (2000), p.135
  22. ^ a b c d José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p. 303
  23. ^ See note 213 in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 12 (International Publishers: Nedw York, 1979) p. 666.
  24. ^ a b José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p. 305
  25. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p. 305-306
  26. ^ José Hermano Saraiva, (2007), p. 306
  27. ^ Paulo Jorge Fernandes, et al. (2003), p. 6-7
  28. ^ a b Paulo Jorge Fernandes, et al. (2003), p. 7