Ministry of the Overseas (Portugal)

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Former headquarters of the Portuguese Ministry of the Overseas, in Lisbon.

The Ministry of the Overseas (in Portuguese: Ministério do Ultramar) was the department of the Government of Portugal responsible for the administration of the Portuguese Empire.

In relation to the Portuguese Overseas territories, the Ministry of the Overseas had jurisdiction over almost all matters of government that, in the European Portugal, was divided by various ministries, including revenue and customs, economical affairs, internal security, public works, transports and communications, justice, civil administration, education and public health. The ministry also had responsibilities in the external relations with neighboring areas of the Portuguese overseas territories and in the military affairs. The minister for the Overseas superintended all governors-general and governors of the Portuguese Overseas.

The ministry had its origins in the Ministry of the Navy and the Overseas (Ministério da Marinha e do Ultramar), established in 1736, by King John V of Portugal. In 1911, the colonial affairs were separated from the Ministry of the Navy, being created an autonomous Ministry of the Colonies (Ministério das Colónias). In 1951, the department was renamed "Ministry of the Overseas".

After the Carnation Revolution in 25 April 1974, the ministry continued to exist, provisionally, as the Ministry of the Interterritorial Coordination (Ministério da Coordenação Interterritorial), until the independence of the last Portuguese territories of Africa in 1975. From 1975, until its ultimate extinction in 1976, the structure of the ministry continued to function, first as the Secretariat of State for the Decolonization (Secretaria de Estado da Descolonização) and then as the Ministry of Cooperation (Ministério da Cooperação).

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