Portuguese History

The country of Portugal is very old and has many exciting episodes in its history. It all started in 1143 when D. Afonso Henriques inherited the kingdom of Portugal from his parents, but wanted to keep it independent while his mother wanted to join Portugal with her kingdom of León.  D. Afonso managed to claim independence and gain some more land for Portugal, and that’s how the country was founded. Later on the other kingdoms in our peninsula formed Spain and now both countries enjoy a great relationship.

Maybe the most exciting period in Portuguese history is when the era of Discoveries started, which brought a lot of knowledge to Europe and helped make the world a little smaller. In 1425, D. Henrique (Henry the Navigator) sailed to Ceuta, in North Africa, and conquered it, stating many trips by ship that charted a lot of lands and cultures the Europeans didn’t know about yet. They found many places in the African continent, India, Japan and later on, even Brazil. Along the way, they earned many riches and learned a lot about sailing and other technologies, like reading directions from the stars, mathematics, cooking, and better ways to make all sorts of things.

Nowadays, Portugal is a Democracy, implemented in 1820. Unfortunately, elections were stopped for 50 years by a dictator called Salazar (he didn’t want anyone else being President), but it all ended very well with a revolution where no one had to fight, in 1975! That happened on the 25th of April and what the Portuguese call the “flower revolution” because a florist in Lisbon gave the revolutionaries carnations to wear, something that is still celebrated every year.

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