Iberian Union

The Iberian Union was the dynastic union of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Spanish Crown between 1580 and 1640, bringing the entire Iberian Peninsula, as well as Spanish and Portuguese overseas possessions, under the Spanish Habsburg kings Philip II, Philip III and Philip IV. The union began as a result of the Portuguese crisis of succession and the ensuing War of the Portuguese Succession and lasted 60 years,[1][2] until the Portuguese Restoration War in which the House of Braganza was established as Portugal's new ruling dynasty.

The Habsburg king was the only element of connection between the multiple kingdoms and territories, who ruled by six separate government councils of Castile, Aragon, Portugal, Italy, Flanders and the Indies. The governments, institutions, and legal traditions of each kingdom remained independent of each other.[3] Alien laws (Leyes de extranjeria) determined that the national of one kingdom was a foreigner in all the other Iberian kingdoms.[4][5]

Iberian Union

Unión Ibérica
União Ibérica
Coat of arms of
Coat of arms
Map of the Spanish-Portuguese Empire in 1598.   Territories administered by the Council of Castile   Territories administered by the Council of Aragon   Territories administered by the Council of Portugal   Territories administered by the Council of Italy   Territories administered by the Council of the Indies   Territories appointed to the Council of Flanders
Map of the Spanish-Portuguese Empire in 1598.
  Territories administered by the Council of Castile
  Territories administered by the Council of Aragon
  Territories administered by the Council of Portugal
  Territories administered by the Council of Italy
  Territories administered by the Council of the Indies
  Territories appointed to the Council of Flanders
CapitalMadrid (de facto)
Common languagesSpanish and Portuguese
Roman Catholic
GovernmentAbsolute Monarchy under Personal union
• 1580-1598
Philip II and I
• 1598–1621
Philip III and II
• 1621–1640
Philip IV and III
25 August 1580
1 December 1640
CurrencySpanish real and Portuguese real
Preceded by
Succeeded by
History of Portugal (1415–1578)
Crown of Castile
Crown of Aragon
Habsburg Spain
History of Portugal (1640–1777)
Crown of Castile
Crown of Aragon


The unification of the peninsula had long been a goal of the region's monarchs with the intent of restoring the Visigothic monarchy.[6] Sancho III of Navarre and Alfonso VII of León and Castile had both taken the title Imperator totius Hispaniae, meaning "Emperor of All Hispania"[7]. There were many attempts to unite the different kingdoms since Alfonso VII`s death in 1109, especially through a policy of intermarriage. One of the most famous attempts are those of Miguel da Paz (Michael of Peace), who would inherit the crowns of Portugal, Leon, Castile and Aragon, but he died at a young age; and those of Afonso, Prince of Portugal, who was to marry the eldest daughter of the Catholic Monarchs, if not for his untimely death by an accident from falling off his horse.


Political map of the Iberian Peninsula in 1570

The Battle of Ksar El Kebir in 1578 saw the death of the young king Sebastian. Sebastian's granduncle and successor, Cardinal Henry, was 66 years old at the time. Henry's death was followed by a succession crisis, with three grandchildren of Manuel I claiming the throne: Infanta Catarina, Duchess of Braganza (married to John, 6th Duke of Braganza), António, Prior of Crato, and King Philip II of Spain. António had been acclaimed King of Portugal by the people of Santarém on July 24, 1580, and then in many cities and towns throughout the country. Some members of the Council of Governors of Portugal who had supported Philip escaped to Spain and declared him to be the legal successor of Henry. Philip marched into Portugal and defeated the troops loyal to the Prior of Crato in the Battle of Alcântara. The troops occupying the countryside (Tercios) commanded by the 3rd Duke of Alba arrived in Lisbon.[8] The Duke of Alba imposed on the Portuguese provinces a subjection of Philip before entering Lisbon, where he seized an immense treasure; meanwhile, he allowed his soldiers to sack the vicinity of the capital.[9] Philip was recognized as king by the Cortes of Tomar in 1581, beginning the reign of the House of Habsburg over Portugal. When Philip left in 1583 to Madrid, he made his nephew Albert of Austria his viceroy in Lisbon. In Madrid he established a Council of Portugal to advise him on Portuguese affairs.

António exploited the opportunity the war between Elizabeth and Philip presented to convince the English into backing an amphibious assault on Portugal in April 1589. Led by Francis Drake and John Norris, the expedition of 120 ships and 19,000 men foundered on the shoals of sickness and indecision. At the cost of more than £100,000, the English fleet had lost around 40 ships and cost at least 15,000 men their lives. By contrast the Spanish only lost around 900 men.[10]

Portugal's status was maintained under the first two kings of the Iberian Union, Philip II and Philip III. Both monarchs gave excellent positions to Portuguese nobles in the Spanish courts, and Portugal maintained an independent law, currency, and government. It was even proposed to move the royal capital to Lisbon.

Continuity in the administrative system

The history of Portugal from the dynastic crisis in 1578 to the first Braganza Dynasty monarchs was a period of transition. The Portuguese Empire's spice trade was peaking at the start of this period. It continued to enjoy widespread influence after Vasco da Gama had finally reached the East by sailing around Africa in 1497–98. Vasco da Gama's achievement completed the exploratory efforts inaugurated by Henry the Navigator, and opened an oceanic route for the profitable spice trade into Europe that bypassed the Middle East.

Due to the complexity in the management of government, the Spanish Monarch needed some auxiliary bodies, as the Councils (Consejos), dedicated to the advice and resolution of problems, and submitted to the Monarch's knowledge and dictum. This complexity needed a permanent seat, and the king Philip II of Spain established in 1562 the permanent capital in Madrid, seat of the Royal Court and of the administrative staff,[11][12][13][14] although transferred in Valladolid, with the whole administrative staff, during a brief period (1601–1606).[15]

As for the functioning, the administrative correspondence came to the different Councils, to Madrid, then the secretary of every Council arranged the material that had to deliver for the attention of the king, and later the King assembled with the secretaries requesting the opinion of the Council. After that, the Council answered afterwards a session to treat the issue and to raise the formal consultation to the monarch. The secretary raise the consultation to the king, and was returned to the Council with his response to be executed. The meetings of the Councils took place in the royal palace, and they did not count on the presence of the king habitually. In this poly-synodical system,[16] "Consejo de Estado" (Council of State) stood out for its importance. The Consejo de Estado in Madrid, entrusted to declare on the major decisions that concerned the organization and the defense of the ensemble of the Hispanic monarchy, and it had frequently that to get into Portuguese matters. Even, the Council of War (Consejo de Guerra) exercised its jurisdiction on the troops placed in the Castilian strongholds established on the Portuguese littoral.

And also, there were Councils of territorial character, which functions specialized in a concrete territorial space, the Council of Castile, Council of Aragon, Council of Navarre, Council of Italy, Council of The Indies, Council of Flanders, and the Council of Portugal. The Council of Portugal, established in 1582, was integrated with a president and six (later four) counselors, and it was abolished at the end of the war in 1668, when Charles II of Spain gave up his title as King of Portugal. The function of the Council consists in representing close to the king the courts of the Crown of Portugal for the matters that depend on the justice, grace, finally, the economy of the royal Portuguese domain. Any decision of the king who concerning his Kingdom must do the object of a consultation to the Council before being transmitted to the chancellery of Lisbon and to the concerned courts. The Council of Portugal knows two eclipses: in 1619, for the presence of the King in Lisbon, and between 1639–1658, replaced with the Junta of Portugal. From the Restauração, the Council continued existing, since Philip IV had not recognized the independence of Portugal, and carried out the attending to the faithful Portuguese to the Spanish monarch, and the government of Ceuta.[17]

Relating to the particular government of the kingdom of Portugal itself. During the union of the kingdom of Portugal to the Spanish monarchy, the Spanish Hasburgs on the whole respected the pledges made at Thomar in 1581 to allow considerable Portuguese autonomy and to respected the territories of its empire. Public offices were reserved for Portuguese subjects at home and overseas. The king was represented at Lisbon sometimes by a governor and sometimes by a viceroy. So, Spain left the administration of Portugal and its empire largely to the Portuguese themselves, under general supervision from Madrid channeled through a viceroy in Lisbon. Important matters, however, were referred to Madrid, where they came before the Council of Portugal. In the kingdom of Portugal, the polisynodial system is reinforced:

  • Council of State. The Conselho de Estado of Lisbon is the King's private Council, entrusted of debating major issues related to the Crown, especially as for foreign policy. The counselors could send their remarks to the king, and the King consulted them through his Viceroy. Although the Conselho de Estado of Lisbon, worked as the great adviser Council of the King's delegate, this Council of State was without clearly defined administrative powers and actually it did not perform relevant role of coordination. The Spanish kings maintained the system of two secretaries of state, one for the kingdom and the other for "India", that is to say, for the colonies, despite several conflicts over jurisdiction, until the creation of the Conselho da Índia in 1604.
  • In the same way, Spanish kings retained the Mesa da Consciência e Ordens, which was both tribunal and council for religious affairs and was responsible for administering ecclesiastical appintments and for the property of the military orders in the colonies as well as in the home country.
  • Portuguese Inquisition remained independent from the Mesa da Consciência e Ordens. There were three major courts in Lisbon, Coimbra and Évora.
  • Also preserved was the Desembargo do Paço. The pinnacle of the entire Portuguese judicial system was the Desembargo do Paço or Royal Board of Justice in Lisbon. This board, the highest court in the kingdom, controlled the appointment of all magistrates and judges and oversaw the Casa da Suplicação or Court of Appeals in Lisbon, as well as the high courts in the Portuguese overseas territories. The first function of the Desembargo do Paço was to control the recruitment of the magistrates (leitura de bacharéis) and to monitor them in the exercise of their charge, its control spreads to the whole of the juridical professions. The Desembargo do Paço had to arbitrate conflicts between other courts of the kingdom. This court granted dispensations, acts of legitimization and another relevant issues about the justice and the grace, and which on occasions advised the king on political and economic as well as judicial matters. Moreover, a commission of jurists set up to reform the legal system produced a new code for Portugal, the Ordenações Filipinas, promulgated in 1603.
  • The Casa da Suplicação and the Casa do Cível, both are two royal courts of appeal for civil cases as criminal cases. The Casa do Cível exercised jurisdiction over the northern part of the kingdom, and the Casa da Suplicação over the rest on the realm including the islands and overseas.
  • In 1591, the four Vedores da Fazenda (overseers of the Treasury) were replaced by a Conselho da Fazenda composed of one Vedor da Fazenda presiding over four counsillors (two of them lawyers) and four secretaries. The Conselho da Fazenda exercised a control over the officials of finance, administered the particular king's goods and exercised its jurisdiction over the customs and the arsenals, the court of accounts and the administration of the monopolistic trade with overseas.
  • From 1604, the newly created Conselho da Índia was invested with powers for all overseas affairs, apart from matters concerning Madeira, the Azores and the strongholds of Morocco, and colonial officials were appointed and their dispatches handled by it. However, it was the Conselho da Fazenda which dealt with naval expeditions, the buying and selling of pepper and the collection of the royal revenues, in fact with all economic business. The Conselho da Índia, therefore, exercised only limited powers. As a creation of the Spanish king, it was regarded with disfavour by the Portuguese and because of the jealousy of the Mesa da Consciência e Ordens disappeared in 1614.

Nevertheless, the political conjuncture need urgent reactions, and in this context a system of meetings appeared for specific issues, as the Junta for the reform of the Council of Portugal (1606–1607, 1610), the Junta for the classification of the debts to the treasury (since 1627) or the Juntas for the organization of the navies of succor of Brazil (since 1637)...[18]

Portuguese Empire challenged

Planta da Restituição da BAHIA, por João Teixeira Albernaz
"Map of the Portuguese liberation of the city of Salvador in Brazil in 1625", João Teixeira Albernaz, o velho, 1631
1630: Dutch siege of Olinda, located in the Brazilian captaincy of Pernambuco, the largest and richest sugar-producing area in the world.[19]

Throughout the 17th century, the increasing predations and surrounding of Portuguese trading posts in the East by the Dutch, English and French, and their rapidly growing intrusion into the Atlantic slave trade, undermined Portugal's near monopoly on the lucrative oceanic spice and slave trades. This sent the Portuguese spice trade into a long decline. The diversion of wealth from Portugal by the Habsburg monarchy to support the Catholic side of the Thirty Years' War also created strains within the union, although Portugal did also benefit from Spanish military power in helping to retain Brazil and in disrupting Dutch trade. These events, and those that occurred at the end of Aviz dynasty and the period of Iberian Union, led Portugal to a state of dependency on its colonies, first India and then Brazil.

The joining of the two crowns deprived Portugal of a separate foreign policy, and Spain's enemies became Portugal's. England had been an ally of Portugal since the Treaty of Windsor in 1386. War between Spain and England led to a deterioration of the relations with Portugal's oldest ally, and the loss of Hormuz. English help provided by Elizabeth I of England in a rebellion against the kings assured the survival of the alliance. War with the Dutch led to invasions of many countries in Asia, including Ceylon (today's Sri Lanka), and commercial interests in Japan, Africa (Mina), and South America. Even though Portuguese were unable to capture the entire island of Ceylon, they were able to keep the coastal regions of Ceylon under their control for a considerable time. Brazil was partially conquered by both France and the Seventeen Provinces.

In the 17th Century, taking advantage of this period of Portuguese weakness, many Portuguese territories in Brazil were occupied by the Dutch who gained access to the sugarcane plantations. John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen was appointed as the governor of the Dutch possessions in Brazil in 1637 by the Dutch West India Company. He landed at Recife, the port of Pernambuco, in January 1637. By a series of successful expeditions, he gradually extended the Dutch possessions from Sergipe on the south to São Luís de Maranhão in the north. He likewise conquered the Portuguese possessions of Elmina Castle, Saint Thomas, and Luanda, Angola, on the west coast of Africa. After the dissolution of the Iberian Union in 1640, Portugal would reestablish its authority over the lost territories of the Portuguese Empire. The Dutch intrusion into Brazil was long lasting and troublesome to Portugal. The Seventeen Provinces captured a large portion of the Brazilian coast including Bahia (and its capital Salvador) and Pernambuco (and its capital Olinda). The whole Brazilian northeast was occupied but the Dutch conquest was short lived. The recapture of Salvador by a Spanish-Portuguese fleet in 1625 was followed by a rapid recovery of the lost territories. The Dutch returned in 1630 and captured Recife and Olinda in the captaincy of Pernambuco, the largest and richest sugar-producing area in the world. This began a war over Brazil, which would see the Dutch establish a colony called New Holland. However, the Second Battle of Guararapes, second and decisive battle in a conflict called Pernambucana Insurrection, ended the Dutch occupation of the Portuguese colony of Brazil.

On the other hand, the Iberian Union opened to both countries a worldwide span of control, as Portugal dominated the African and Asian coasts that surrounded the Indian Ocean, and Spain the Pacific Ocean and both sides of Central and South America, while both shared the Atlantic Ocean space.

Decline of the Union and revolt of Portugal

Joao IV proclaimed king-modificated
Acclamation of John IV as King of Portugal, painting by Veloso Salgado in the Military Museum, Lisbon.

When Philip II of Portugal (Philip III of Spain) died, he was succeeded by Philip III (and IV of Spain) who had a different approach on Portuguese issues. Taxes raised affected mainly the Portuguese merchants (Carmo Reis 1987). The Portuguese nobility began to lose its importance at the Spanish Cortes, and government posts in Portugal were occupied by Spaniards. Ultimately, Philip III tried to make Portugal a royal province, and Portuguese nobles lost all of their power.

Several other problems also damaged Portuguese support of their union with Spain. One of these was certainly the pressure from the center, especially from the Count-Duke of Olivares, towards uniformity and sharing the financial and military burden of Castile's wars in Europe. However, the Portuguese were hardly inclined to help with that, as Spain had failed to prevent the Dutch occupation of several of Portugal's colonial holdings, despite the fact that both the Portuguese and the Spanish were nominally under the same crown.[20]

This situation culminated in a revolution by the nobility and high bourgeoisie on December 1, 1640, 60 years after the crowning of Philip I. This revolution, while foreseeable, was most immediately sparked by a popular Catalan Revolt against the Crown. The plot was planned by Antão Vaz de Almada, Miguel de Almeida and João Pinto Ribeiro. They, together with several associates, known as the Forty Conspirators, took advantage of the fact that the Castilian troops were occupied in the other side of the peninsula. The rebels killed Secretary of State Miguel de Vasconcelos and imprisoned the king's cousin, the Duchess of Mantua, who had governed Portugal in his name. The moment was well chosen, as Philip's troops were at the time fighting the Thirty Years' War in addition to the previously mentioned revolution in Catalonia.[21]

The support of the people became apparent almost immediately and soon John, 8th Duke of Braganza, was acclaimed King of Portugal throughout the country as John IV. By December 2, 1640, John had already sent a letter to the Municipal Chamber of Évora as sovereign of the country.

Restoration War and the end of the Union

The subsequent Portuguese Restoration War against Philip III (Portuguese: Guerra da Restauração) consisted mainly of small skirmishes near the border. The most significant battles were the Battle of the Lines of Elvas (1659), the Battle of Ameixial (1663), the Battle of Castelo Rodrigo (1664), and the Battle of Montes Claros (1665); the Portuguese were victorious in all of these battles. However, the Spaniards won the Battle of Vilanova (1658) and the Battle of the Berlengas (1666). The Battle of Montijo (1644) was indecisive, starting out with great Spanish success and ending with Portuguese success; the number of casualties were nearly equal.

Several decisions made by John IV to strengthen his forces made these victories possible. On December 11, 1640, the Council of War was created to organize all the operations.[22] Next, the king created the Junta of the Frontiers, to take care of the fortresses near the border, the hypothetical defense of Lisbon, and the garrisons and sea ports. In December 1641, a tenancy was created to assure upgrades on all fortresses that would be paid with regional taxes. John IV also organized the army, established the Military Laws of King Sebastian, and developed intense diplomatic activity focused on restoring good relations with England. Meanwhile, the best Spanish forces were pre-occupied with their battles against the French in Catalonia, along the Pyrenees, Italy and the Low Countries. The Spanish forces in Portugal never received adequate support. Nevertheless, Philip IV felt he could not give up what he regarded as his rightful inheritance. By the time the war with France ended in 1659, the Portuguese military were well established and ready to confront the last major attempt of a worn out Spanish regime to reclaim control.

English soldiers were sent to Portugal and helped the Portuguese rout Don John's army at Ameixial near Estremoz on June 8, 1663. The Spaniards lost 8,000 men and all their artillery while the Portuguese had only 2,000 casualties. On July 7, 1664 about 3,000 Portuguese met 7,000 Spaniards near Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo and killed 2,000 and took 500 prisoners. Many Spanish communities lost population and blamed their decline on the war against Portugal. Louis XIV sent French troops to Lisbon, and on June 17, 1665 the German General Friedrich Hermann Schomberg led about 20,000 Portuguese forces to victory at Montes Claros near Vila Viçosa with only 700 killed and 2,000 wounded. The Spanish army of 22,600 men was devastated with 4,000 dead and 6,000 captured. Protests erupted in Madrid as Spain had wasted 25 million ducats on the disastrous Portuguese war. The Spanish tried to carry on the war for two years more. Spain recognized Portugal's sovereignty and made peace on February 13, 1668.

See also



  1. ^ António Henrique R. de Oliveira Marques, History of Portugal. 1972, page 322. Boris Fausto, A Concise History of Brazil, page 40.
  2. ^ [http://servidormanes.uned.es/mciud/documentos/documentos_trabajo/INDICACIONES_SOBRE_IDENTIDAD_CIUDADANIA_Y_CULTURA_POLITICA_1978-2006_%5B1%5D.pdf Indicaciones sobre la investigacion "Ciudadanía, identidades complejas y cultura política en los manuales escolares españoles".Centro de Investigación MANES

    there is consensus among professional historians that the most adequate term is Hispanic monarchy

  3. ^ The "Spanish Century"
  4. ^ Valdés, Manuel Alvarez-Valdés y (1991). La extranjería en la historia del derecho español (in Spanish). Universidad de Oviedo. ISBN 9788474687378.
  7. ^ Notice that, before the emergence of the modern country of Spain (beginning with the dynastic union of Castile and Aragon in 1479, followed by political unification in 1516), the Latin word Hispania, in any of the Iberian Romance languages, either in singular or plural forms (also rendered in English as Spain or Spains), was used to refer to the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, and not, as in modern usage, for a country of Spain to the exclusion of Portugal.
  8. ^ Geoffrey Parker The army of Flanders and the Spanish road, London, 1972 ISBN 0-521-08462-8, p. 35
  9. ^ Henry Kamen, The duke of Alba (New Haven–London: Yale University Press, 2004), Pp. x + 204.
  10. ^ "The Tudor Invasion of Spain: How Elizabeth I's English Armada ended in humiliation".
  11. ^ Madrid - Google Libros. Books.google.es. 2006. ISBN 9781740598590. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  12. ^ John Horace Parry, ''The Spanish seaborne empire'', University of California Press, 1990. Books.google.es. 1990. ISBN 9780520071407. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  13. ^ Stephen J. Lee, ''Aspects of European history, 1494-1789'', Routledge (1984). Books.google.es. 1984. ISBN 9780415027847. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  14. ^ Torbjørn L. Knutsen, ''The rise and fall of world orders'', Manchester University Press (1999). Books.google.es. 1999. ISBN 9780719040580. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  15. ^ Alastair Boyd, ''The Companion guide to Madrid and central Spain'', Companion Guides (2002). Books.google.es. 2002. ISBN 9781900639378. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  16. ^ "Stephen J. Lee, ''Aspects of European history, 1494-1789'', Routledge (1984)". Google.es. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  17. ^ "Santiago de Luxán Meléndez, ''La pervivencia del Consejo de Portugal durante la Restauración: 1640-1668'', Norba. Revista de historia, ISSN 0213-375X, Nº 8-9, 1987-1988, p.61-86". Dialnet.unirioja.es. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  18. ^ Julio Valdeón Baruque, ''Revueltas y revoluciones en la historia'', Universidad de Salamanca (1990). Books.google.es. 1990. ISBN 9788474815863. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  19. ^ "Recife—A City Made by Sugar". Awake!. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  20. ^ Elliot, J.H. (2002). Imperial Spain: 1469-1716. New York: Penguin Books. pp. 337–338. ISBN 0-14-100703-6.
  21. ^ Elliot, J.H. (2002). Imperial Spain: 1469-1716. New York: Penguin Books. pp. 346–348. ISBN 0-14-100703-6.
  22. ^ (Mattoso Vol. VIII 1993)


Anglo-Portuguese Alliance

The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance (or Aliança Luso-Britânica, "Luso-British Alliance", also known in Portugal as Aliança Inglesa, "English Alliance"), ratified at the Treaty of Windsor in 1386, between England (succeeded by the United Kingdom) and Portugal, may be the oldest alliance in the world that is still in force – with the earliest treaty dating back to the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373 - although this claim is disputed by some historians who believe the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France, first signed in 1295, may still be in effect.Historically, the Kingdom of Portugal and the Kingdom of England, and later the modern Portugal and United Kingdom, have never waged war against each other nor have they participated in wars on opposite sides as independent states since the signing of the Treaty of Windsor. While Portugal was subsumed under the Iberian Union, rebellious Portuguese factions and government in exile sought refuge and help in England. England spearheaded the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) on the side of the deposed Portuguese royal house.

The alliance has served both countries throughout their respective military histories, influencing the participation of the United Kingdom in the Iberian Peninsular War, the UK's major land contribution to the Napoleonic Wars and the establishment of an Anglo-American base in Portugal. Portugal aided England (and later the UK) in times of need, for example, in the First World War. Today, Portugal and the United Kingdom are both part of NATO, a larger intergovernmental military alliance between several North American and European states that accounts for over 70% of total global military spending.

Battle of Ponta Delgada

The naval Battle of Ponta Delgada, Battle of São Miguel or specifically the Battle of Vila Franca do Campo took place on 26 July 1582, off the coast of the island of São Miguel in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, during the War of the Portuguese Succession. A combined corsair expedition, mainly French (an Anglo-French fleet with Portuguese forces included), sailed against a Spanish naval force made up of Portuguese and Castilian ships, to preserve control of the Azores under pretender António, Prior of Crato and to defend the islands from incorporation into the Iberian Union—the largest French force sent overseas before the age of Louis XIV.In the first engagement between large fleets of carracks and galleons operating at great distances from the mainland, the mercenary fleet under Filippo di Piero Strozzi was severely defeated by a squadron under Álvaro de Bazán. The Spanish victory resulted in the rapid Spanish conquest of the Azores, completing the incorporation of Portugal into the Spanish Empire.

Capture of Bahia

The capture of Bahia was a military engagement between Portugal (at that time, united with Spain in the Iberian Union) and the Dutch West India Company, occurred in 1624, that ended in the capture of the Brazilian city of Salvador da Bahia by the latter. This capture was part of the Groot Desseyn plan of the Dutch West India Company. Although the Dutch intentions were reported to the Spanish no preventive counter-action was taken by them.

Capture of Recife (1595)

The Capture of Recife also known as James Lancaster's 1595 Expedition or Lancaster's Pernambucan expedition was an English military expedition during the Anglo–Spanish War in which the primary objective was the capture of the town and port of Recife in Pernambuco on the Portuguese colony of Brazil (then within the Iberian Union with Spain) in April 1595. An English expedition of ships led by James Lancaster sailed via the Atlantic capturing numerous prizes before he captured Recife. He held the place for nearly a month and then proceeded to defeat a number of Portuguese counterattacks before leaving. The booty captured was substantial, Lancaster chartered Dutch and French ships that were also present there thus making the expedition a military and financial success.


Ceuta ( or ; Spanish: ['θewta]) is an 18.5 km2 (7 sq mi; 4,571 acres) Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa, separated by 14 km (9 mi) from Cadiz province on the Spanish mainland by the Strait of Gibraltar and sharing a 6.4 km (4 mi) land border with M'diq-Fnideq Prefecture in the Kingdom of Morocco. It lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of nine populated Spanish territories in Africa and, along with Melilla, one of two populated territories on mainland Africa. It was part of Cádiz province until 14 March 1995 when both Ceuta and Melilla's Statutes of Autonomy were passed, the latter having been part of Málaga province.

Ceuta, like Melilla and the Canary Islands, was a free port before Spain joined the European Union. As of 2011, it has a population of 82,376. Its population consists of Christians, Muslims and small minorities of Sephardic Jews and ethnic Sindhi Hindus.

Spanish is the official language, while Darija Arabic is also spoken by 40–50% of the population, which is of Moroccan origin.

Coat of arms of Ceuta

Though a city of Spain, the coat of arms of Ceuta is nearly identical to the coat of arms of Portugal, since that city was conquered by King John I of Portugal on 21 August 1415. The city chose to join Spain when Portugal again became independent at the end of the Iberian Union, a period in which all the Iberian crowns were held by the same royal house, in 1640.

There are two principal differences between the coat of arms of Portugal and the coat of arms of Ceuta. The coat of arms of Portugal has a third castle along the chief, which is part of the red border, while in the coat of arms of Ceuta that castle has been moved to the point of the shield. This difference can be explained by the higher status of Lisbon and other cities closer to the king as compared to Ceuta. The other difference is the crown. Though today there is no crown on Portugal's coat of arms, traditionally the crown on the coat of arms has been that of a king, while Ceuta's is that of a marquis, owed to the fact that the title of marquis had been used for governors of marches, or a country's frontier regions.


Conquistador (; from Spanish or Portuguese conquistador "conqueror"; Spanish: [koŋkistaˈðoɾes], Portuguese: [kũkiʃtɐˈdoɾis, kõkiʃtɐˈðoɾɨʃ]) is a term widely used to refer to the knights, soldiers and explorers of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire. During the Age of Discovery, conquistadors sailed beyond Europe to the Americas, Oceania, Africa, and Asia, conquering territory and opening trade routes. They colonized much of the world for Spain and Portugal in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

After Columbus's discovery of the West Indies in 1492, the Spanish conquistadors, who were primarily poor nobles from the impoverished west and south of Spain, began building up an American empire in the Caribbean, using islands such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola as bases. Florida fell to Juan Ponce de León after 1513. From 1519 to 1521, Hernán Cortés waged a campaign against the Aztec Empire, ruled by Moctezuma II. From the territories of the Aztec Empire conquistadors expanded Spanish rule to northern Central America and parts of what is now southern and western United States. Other conquistadors took over the Inca Empire after crossing the Isthmus of Panama and sailing the Pacific to northern Peru. As Francisco Pizarro subdued the empire in a manner similar to Cortés other conquistadores used Peru as base for conquering much of Ecuador and Chile.

In Colombia, Bolivia, and Argentina conquistadors from Peru linked up with other conquistadors arriving more directly from the Caribbean and Río de la Plata-Paraguay respectively. Conquistadors founded numerous cities many of them on locations with pre-existing pre-colonial settlements including the capitals of most Latin American countries. Besides conquests, Spanish conquistadors made significant explorations into the Amazon Jungle, Patagonia, the interior of North America, and the Pacific Ocean.

Council of Portugal

The Council of Portugal, officially, the Royal and Supreme Council of Portugal (Portuguese: Real e Supremo Conselho de Portugal; Spanish: Real y Supremo Consejo de Portugal), was the ruling body and a key part of the government of the Kingdom of Portugal during the Iberian Union. The council was founded in 1582 by Philip I of Portugal following the model of the Council of Castile. It provided Portugal with a large degree of autonomy from the Portuguese House of Habsburg.Apart from administering the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves, the council administered Portugal's colonial empire.

The council ceased to exist after the Portuguese Restoration War.

Dual monarchy

Dual monarchy occurs when two separate kingdoms are ruled by the same monarch, follow the same foreign policy, exist in a customs union with each other and have a combined military but are otherwise self-governing. The term is typically used to refer to Austria-Hungary, a dual monarchy that existed from 1867 to 1918.

In the 1870s, using the Dual Monarchy of Austria–Hungary as a model, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and William Ewart Gladstone proposed that Ireland and Great Britain form a dual monarchy. Their efforts were unsuccessful, but the idea was later used in 1904 by Arthur Griffith in his seminal work, The Resurrection of Hungary. Griffith noted how in 1867 Hungary went from being part of the Austrian Empire to a separate co-equal kingdom in Austria-Hungary. Though not a monarchist himself, Griffith advocated such an approach for the Anglo-Irish relationship. The idea was not embraced by other Irish political leaders, and Ireland eventually fought a war of independence (1919–1921) to leave the Union of Great Britain and Ireland.

Later historians have used the term to refer to other examples where one king ruled two states, such as Henry V and Henry VI, who were effectively kings of both England and France in the fifteenth century as a result of the formation of a puppet state in a large area of France during the Hundred Years' War, Denmark–Norway, a dual monarchy that existed from 1537 to 1814, the Iberian Union between Portugal and Spain (1580–1640), and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795).A dual monarchy is not necessarily a personal union. In a personal union two or more kingdoms are ruled by the same person but there are no other shared government structures. States in personal union with each other have separate militaries, separate foreign policies and separate customs duties. In this sense Austria–Hungary was not a mere personal union, as both states shared a cabinet that governed foreign policy, the Army and common finances.

Forty Conspirators

The Forty Conspirators (Portuguese: Os Conjurados) were a Portuguese nationalist group during the Iberian Union. The Conspirators were composed of forty men of the Portuguese nobility, and a large number of clergy and soldiers. Their goal was to depose the House of Habsburg king, Philip III (and IV of Spain).

The plot was planned by Antão Vaz de Almada, Miguel de Almeida and João Pinto Ribeiro. On 1 December 1640, they, together with several associates, known as the Forty Conspirators, took advantage of the fact that the Castilian troops were occupied on the other side of the peninsula and killed Secretary of State Miguel de Vasconcelos, imprisoning the king's cousin, the Duchess of Mantua, who had governed Portugal in his name. The moment was well chosen, as Philip's troops were at the time fighting the Thirty Years' War in addition to the previously mentioned revolution in Catalonia.The support of the people became apparent almost immediately and soon John, 8th Duke of Braganza, was acclaimed King of Portugal throughout the country as John IV. By December 2, 1640, John had already sent a letter to the Municipal Chamber of Évora as sovereign of the country.

List of viceroys of Portugal

This is a list of the Viceroys of Portugal during the Iberian Union (1580–1640). According to what was established in the Cortes of Tomar in 1581, the regency of the Kingdom of Portugal always had to be trusted by the king to a Portuguese, or in alternative to a member of the Royal Family. This was, in a general way, fulfilled, having during two periods the regency been trusted to a governmental council called Government Junta of the Kingdom of Portugal.

1580 : Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba

1583 : Albert VII, Archduke of Austria

1593 : First Government Junta:

Miguel de Castro, Archbishop of Lisbon

João da Silva, Count of Portalegre

Francisco de Mascarenhas

Duarte Castelo-Branco, Count of Sabugal

Miguel de Moura

1600 : Cristóvão de Moura, 1st Marquis of Castelo Rodrigo (1st time)

1603 : Afonso Castelo-Branco, Bishop of Coimbra

1605 : Pedro Castilho, Bishop of Leiria

1608 : Cristóvão de Moura, Marquess of Castelo Rodrigo (2nd time)

1612 : Aleixo de Meneses, Bishop of Guarda

1615 : Miguel de Castro, Archbishop of Lisbon (Interim)

1619 : Diogo da Silva e Mendonça, Count of Salinas (1st time)

1621 : Second Government Junta:

Martim Afonso Mexia, Bishop of Coimbra (1621–1622)

Diogo de Castro and Nuno Álvares de Portugal (1622–1623)

Diogo de Castro and Diogo da Silva e Mendonça (2nd time) (1623–1626)

Diogo da Silva e Mendonça and Afonso Furtado de Mendonça (1627–1630)

António Ataíde and Nuno de Mendonça (1631–1632)

1632 : Nuno de Mendonça

1633 : João Manuel de Ataíde, Archbishop of Lisbon

1633 : Diogo de Castro, Count of Basto

1634 : Margarida of Savoy, dowager Duchess of Mantua

No, or the Vain Glory of Command

No, or the Vain Glory of Command (Portuguese: Non, ou a Vã Gloria de Mandar) is a 1990 Portuguese film directed by Manoel de Oliveira. The film, starring Luís Miguel Cintra and Miguel Guilherme, depicts a series of defeats from the entire military history of Portugal – the assassination of Viriathus, the Battle of Toro, the failed attempt of Iberian Union under Afonso of Portugal and Isabella of Spain and the Battle of Alcácer Quibir – and the Lusiads episode of the Island of love, which are told through flashbacks as a professorish Portuguese soldier recounts them while marching through a Portuguese African overseas territory in 1973, during the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–74). He easily draws his comrades into philosophical musings, while the little contingent suffers surprise attacks by groups of independentist guerrillas.

It was screened out of competition at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.

Pax Hispanica

The Pax Hispanica (Latin for "Spanish Peace") refers to a period of twenty-three years coinciding with renewed Spanish ascendancy in Europe (roughly 1598–1621), when Spain achieved European stability after various conflicts with the Kingdom of France, the Kingdom of England and the Dutch United Provinces.Peace was achieved by several treaties:

1598: The Peace of Vervins ended Spanish involvement in the French Wars of Religion. Spain had been at war with France, with only brief respites, since the Second Italian War of 1499.

1604: The Treaty of London concluded the Anglo-Spanish War on terms largely favourable to Spain.

1609: The Twelve Years' Truce halted the fighting in the Spanish Netherlands.Spain, the foremost great power of the time, had been mired in conflicts with the Dutch since the reign of Philip II.

In 1579 the Dutch founded the Utrecht Union, after the reconquest by Spain of many territories in the Dutch provinces by Alexander Farnese.

The following year, the Spanish Monarchy achieved, for the first time since the Muslim conquest, the territorial unity of the Iberian Peninsula through a personal union with the Kingdom of Portugal, thus creating the Iberian Union (1580–1640). After capturing Ostend from Spinola, the Dutch continued their rebellion, finally achieving the independence during the reign of Philip III of Spain.

After this, Spain held the peace in Europe for nine more years, when the Twelve Years' Truce ended.

Philippine dynasty

The Philippine Dynasty, also known as the House of Habsburg in Portugal, was the third royal house of Portugal. It was named after the three Spanish kings who ruled Portugal between 1581 and 1640 in a dynastic union of the two crowns. The three kings, all named Philip (Spanish: Felipe; Portuguese: Filipe, Portuguese pronunciation: [fɨˈlip(ɨ)]), were from the House of Habsburg.

The history of Portugal from the dynastic crisis in 1580 to the House of Braganza monarchs was a period of transition. At its beginning, the Portuguese Empire spice trade was near its height. It continued to enjoy widespread influence after Vasco da Gama had finally reached the East by sailing around Africa in 1497–1498. Vasco da Gama's achievement completed the exploratory efforts inaugurated by Henry the Navigator, and opened an oceanic route for the profitable spice trade into Europe that bypassed the Middle East.

Throughout the 17th century, the increasing predations and beleaguering of Portuguese trading posts in the East by the Dutch, English and French, and their rapidly growing intrusion into the Atlantic slave trade undermined Portugal's near monopoly on the lucrative oceanic spice and slave trades. This sent the Portuguese spice trade into a long decline. To a lesser extent, the diversion of wealth from Portugal by the Habsburg monarchy to help support the Catholic side of the Thirty Years' War also created strains within the union, although Portugal did benefit from Spanish military power in helping to retain Brazil and in disrupting Dutch trade. These events, and those that occurred at the end of the House of Aviz and the period of the Iberian Union, led Portugal to a state of dependency on its colonies, first India and then Brazil.

Portugal–Spain relations

Portugal–Spain relations describes relations between the governments of the Portuguese Republic and the Kingdom of Spain. The two states make up the vast majority of the Iberian Peninsula and as such, the relationship between the two is sometimes known as Iberian relations.

In recent years, both countries have enjoyed a much friendlier relationship. Together, the two countries are full-time members of the European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area and NATO.

Portugal and Spain had been rival sea powers as early as the 14th century. Portugal initially was in a position to explore the area facing the Atlantic and adjacent to the African coasts.

In successfully doing so, it discovered that Africa has been the Arab world's major source of gold brought by camel caravans across the Sahara. This prompted Prince Henry to send expeditions farther south along the Africa coast. Bartolomeu Dias and his crew found themselves sailing in the eastern coast of Africa after a South Atlantic gale blew their ships around the southern tip of the African continent. This passage is now known as the Cape of Good Hope. An expedition headed by Vasco da Gama was sent on a diplomatic and trade mission to India. He followed the route of Dias until he reached Malindi (Kenya) in East Africa. Da Gama bombarded the town and took Indian hostages.

Portugal was able to establish a commercial post in Cochin, a port southwest of India. In 1509, another Portuguese explorer, Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, successfully reached Malacca, an important trade center in Southeast Asia.

Spain came into the scene a few years later. After completely defeating the last Moorish (Muslim) stronghold on the Iberian peninsula, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela directed their attention to the search for new territories overseas.

Spain was convinced that it had finally reached Asia with the expedition undertaken by Christopher Columbus, this expedition was tremendously important because they arrived in the Americas, an immense and highly unknown territory that began an era of exploration and conquest whose Spanish soldier-explorers called 'Conquistadors' explored much of the interior territory of the New World. The Spanish Vasco Núñez de Balboa reached the Pacific Ocean for the first time crossing the Isthmus of Panama. Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator, convinced Charles I of Castile (Habsburg) to finance an expedition exploring the Pacific Ocean. Magellan was killed in Mactan (now Lapu-Lapu, Philippines) by its ruler, but the Spanish explorer Juan Sebastián Elcano and his remaining crew was able to continue the voyage, following Magellan's plan and bringing the good news of their circumnavigation of the world to Castile.

Portuguese Empire

The Portuguese Empire (Portuguese: Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (Ultramar Português) or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (Império Colonial Português), was one of the largest and longest-lived empires in world history. It existed for almost six centuries, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415, to the handover of Portuguese Macau to China in 1999. The empire began in the 15th century, and from the early 16th century it stretched across the globe, with bases in North and South America, Africa, and various regions of Asia and Oceania. The Portuguese Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Spanish Empire.The Portuguese Empire originated at the beginning of the Age of Discovery, and the power and influence of the Kingdom of Portugal would eventually expand across the globe. In the wake of the Reconquista, Portuguese sailors began exploring the coast of Africa and the Atlantic archipelagos in 1418–19, using recent developments in navigation, cartography and maritime technology such as the caravel, with the aim of finding a sea route to the source of the lucrative spice-trade. In 1488 Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1498 Vasco da Gama reached India. In 1500, either by an accidental landfall or by the crown's secret design, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil on the South American coast.

Over the following decades, Portuguese sailors continued to explore the coasts and islands of East Asia, establishing forts and factories as they went. By 1571 a string of naval outposts connected Lisbon to Nagasaki along the coasts of Africa, the Middle East, India and South Asia. This commercial network and the colonial trade had a substantial positive impact on Portuguese economic growth (1500–1800), when it accounted for about a fifth of Portugal's per-capita income.

When King Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal) inherited the Portuguese crown in 1580 there began a 60-year union between Spain and Portugal known to subsequent historiography as the Iberian Union. The realms continued to have separate administrations. As the King of Spain was also King of Portugal, Portuguese colonies became the subject of attacks by three rival European powers hostile to Spain: the Dutch Republic, England, and France. With its smaller population, Portugal found itself unable to effectively defend its overstretched network of trading posts, and the empire began a long and gradual decline. Eventually, Brazil became the most valuable colony of the second era of empire (1663–1825), until, as part of the wave of independence movements that swept the Americas during the early 19th century, it broke away in 1822.

The third era of empire covers the final stage of Portuguese colonialism after the independence of Brazil in the 1820s. By then, the colonial possessions had been reduced to forts and plantations along the African coastline (expanded inland during the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century), Portuguese Timor, and enclaves in India (Portuguese India) and China (Portuguese Macau). The 1890 British Ultimatum led to the contraction of Portuguese ambitions in Africa.

Under António Salazar (in office 1932–1968), the Second Portuguese Republic made some ill-fated attempts to cling on to its last remaining colonies. Under the ideology of Pluricontinentalism, the regime renamed its colonies "overseas provinces" while retaining the system of forced labour, from which only a small indigenous élite was normally exempt. In 1961 India annexed Goa and Dahomey (now Benin) annexed Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá. The Portuguese Colonial War in Africa lasted from 1961 until the final overthrow of the Estado Novo regime in 1974. The so-called Carnation Revolution of April 1974 in Lisbon led to the hasty decolonization of Portuguese Africa and to the 1975 annexation of Portuguese Timor by Indonesia. Decolonization prompted the exodus of nearly all the Portuguese colonial settlers and of many mixed-race people from the colonies. Portugal returned Macau to China in 1999. The only overseas possessions to remain under Portuguese rule, the Azores and Madeira, both had overwhelmingly Portuguese populations, and Lisbon subsequently changed their constitutional status from "overseas provinces" to "autonomous regions".

Portuguese succession crisis of 1580

The Portuguese succession crisis of 1580 (Portuguese: Crise de sucessão de 1580) came about as a result of the deaths of young King Sebastian I of Portugal in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir in 1578 and his successor and granduncle Henry I in 1580. As Sebastian and Henry had no immediate heirs, these events prompted a dynastic crisis, with internal and external battles between several pretenders to the Portuguese throne; in addition, because Sebastian's body was never found, several impostors emerged over the next several years claiming to be the young king, further confusing the situation. Ultimately, Philip II of Spain gained control of the country, uniting the Portuguese and Spanish Crowns in the Iberian Union, a personal union that would last for 60 years, during which time the Portuguese Empire declined.

Spanish irredentism

Spanish irredentism claims for a unify Iberian Peninsula. The recovey of Gibraltar, a standing territorial vindication in the Spanish foreign policy, and an aproximation with Portugal for the reunification, are the main proposals.

Álvaro II of Kongo

Álvaro II Nimi a Nkanga was king of Kongo from 1587 to 1614. He was one of Kongo's most powerful and important kings, who succeeded his father Álvaro I, but not until resolving a dispute with his brother. Both sides brought armies to São Salvador but to avoid bloodshed they agreed to single combat, won by Álvaro.

Álvaro faced serious problems with other nobles besides his brother, and in 1590-91 was racked by a serious, though poorly documented, civil war. In order to reestablish his authority, Álvaro had to accept the virtual independence of Miguel, the count of Soyo. In order to recognize those nobles who had been loyal to him during this struggle, Álvaro began granting habits of the Order of Christ to his followers. Although the Portuguese crown complained to the Pope about this, claiming that the King of Portugal, as Grand Master of the Order was the only one to grant such habits, in fact, Kongo kings would establish this order (see Order of Christ (Kongo Empire)) and continued to knight their followers in it right through the nineteenth century.

During Álvaro's reign, the capital city, São Salvador was recognized as the capital of the diocese of then Portuguese Congo and Angola, and the first bishop was appointed, in 1596. However, because the kings of Portugal claimed the right of Padroado (patronage), they chose their own bishop. Constant struggles between the king and the bishop followed.

Kongo's relations with Portuguese Angola worsened during Álvaro's reign, and he complained bitterly about the behaviour of the governors to the King of Spain (then also ruling Portugal during the period of the Iberian Union).

In 1604–1608, Alvaro II sent an ambassador to Pope Paul V in the person of Emanuele Ne Vunda.

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