28 May 1926 coup d'état

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28 May 1926 coup d'état
Desfile de tropas 28 de Maio 1926.jpg
Military procession of General Gomes da Costa and his troops after the 28 May 1926 Revolution
Date28 May 1926

 First Portuguese Republic

Portuguese Armed Forces

Commanders and leaders
Portugal Bernardino Machado
Portugal António Maria da Silva
Portugal General Peres
Portugal David Rodrigues
Portugal Mendes Cabeçadas
Portugal Gomes da Costa
Portugal Sinel de Cordes
Portugal Filomeno da Câmara
Portugal Passos e Sousa
Portugal Raul Esteves

The 28 May 1926 coup d'état, sometimes called 28 May Revolution or, during the period of the authoritarian Estado Novo (English: New State), the National Revolution (Portuguese: Revolução Nacional), was a military coup of a nationalist origin, that put an end to the unstable Portuguese First Republic and initiated 48 years of authoritarian rule in Portugal. The regime that immediately resulted from the coup, the Ditadura Nacional (National Dictatorship), would be later refashioned into the Estado Novo (New State), which in turn would last until the Carnation Revolution in 1974.[citation needed]


The chronic political instability and government's neglect of the army created opportunities for military plots.[citation needed] Historians have considered that the coup had wide support, including all political parties at the time except for the Democratic Party, Portuguese Communist Party, Socialist Party, the Seara Nova group, General Confederation of Labour, and the Democratic Leftwing Republican Party.[1]

In 1925 there were three failed coup attempts: on 5 March (led by Filomeno da Câmara); 18 April (inspired by Sinel de Cordes and led by Raul Esteves and Filomeno da Câmara); and 19 July (led by Mendes Cabeçadas).[2] The plotters were mostly acquitted by a military court.[2][3] Óscar Carmona, acting as military prosecutor of the 18 April plot, asked that the plotters be absolved.[2] During the trial, Óscar Carmona famously asked:[3]

"Why do these men sit in the defendant bench? Because their homeland is sick and orders its best sons to be judged and tried." - Óscar Carmona

The leaders of the 18 April plot were sent to the Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort, where they recruited the fort's commander, Passos e Sousa, to the rebel forces.[3] The officers decided on General Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa to lead the movement, who agreed to join the plotters on 25 May.[4]

On 27 May, General Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa arrived at Braga to launch a coup d'état. The First Portuguese Republic and Prime Minister António Maria da Silva, aware of the planned coup, tried to organize resistance.


The revolution started in Braga, commanded by General Manuel Gomes da Costa, followed immediately in Porto, Lisbon, Évora, Coimbra and Santarém.[citation needed] Generals Sinel de Cordes, Filomeno da Câmara, Passos e Sousa, and Raul Esteves also took part in the coup, leading the provincial military forces.[2] Initially believing he failed, Gomes da Costa announced his surrender.[citation needed]

Gomes da Costa on the balcony of the Coimbra Civil Government, acclaimed by people, June 1926


On 30 May, President Bernardino Machado appointed José Mendes Cabeçadas as head of government and minister of every ministry and on the following day transferred his powers, as president, to Cabeçadas.[2]

On 6 June, General Gomes da Costa marched on Lisbon's Avenida da Liberdade along with 15,000 men, being acclaimed by the people of the city.[2][5] Five days later, on 11 June, Cabeçadas' units in Santarém demobilized.[2] On 17 June, Gomes da Costa mobilized his units and demanded Cabeçadas' resignation.[2] Cabeçada resigned and transferred his powers to Gomes da Costa.[2] Gomes da Costa then tried to get the ministers associated with Sinel de Cordes to resign.[2] Yet, on 8 June a group of generals and colonels tried to get Gomes da Costa to accept a formal position of President, but he declined and was imprisoned on the following day.[2] Two days later he was deported to the Azores.[2] General Óscar Carmona was appointed head of government and the Ditadura Nacional began.[2]



  1. ^ Baiôa, Manuel (1994). "A ditadura militar na historiografia recente". Penélope: Revista de história e ciências sociais (in Portuguese). 14: 201–220. hdl:10174/24021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Rosas, Fernando (2007). Lisboa revolucionária: 1908-1975 (in Portuguese). Lisboa: Tinta da China Edições. ISBN 978-989-671-025-5.
  3. ^ a b c "Golpe de 28 de Maio de 1926". RTP Ensina (in Portuguese). Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  4. ^ Gallagher, Tom (1983). Portugal: A Twentieth-Century Interpretation. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-7190-0876-X.
  5. ^ Laidlar, John; Unwin, P. T. H. (2000). Portugal. Clio. ISBN 978-1-85109-331-1.