Portugal: key historical events
last modified 21 November 2023
Map of changes (railways, frontier at Olivenza)
Demography of Portugal
3 May 2007, Madelaine McCann, 3 years old, was abducted from the tourist
resort of Praia de Luz, Portugal.
11 June 2005, General Vasco Goncalves, Portuguese politician, died (born 3 May 1921)
2002, Portugal adopted the Euro.
1996, Jorge Sampaio, Socialist Party, elected President.
1995, The Socialist Party won elections.
Its leader, Antonio Guterres, became
1991, Soares, Social Democratic Party, was elected President.
1989, Portugal amended its Constitution
to allow for major State enterprises to be privatised.
18 September 1987, Americo Tomas, 14th
President of Portugal, died (born 1894).
1986, Portugal joined the European
Community (now EU).
9 June 1983, In Portugal, a centre-Left coalition took office under Mario Soares.
30 October 1982, New
Constitution in Portugal ended the influence of the military in government.
26 October 1980, Marcelo Caetano,
Portuguese politician, died aged 74.
1978, Soares resigned.
25 April 1976. Portugal
held legislative elections, exactly a year after the previous elections.
2 April 1976, Portugal
adopted a new Constitution with a commitment to socialism.
1975, Portugal�s former African colonies became independent.
26 November 1975, Attempted
coup in Portugal by left-wing soldiers was foiled.
26 April 1975, In
Portugal�s first free elections for 50 years, former exile Mario Soares won for the
Portuguese Socialist Party.
14 July 1974, Left-wing
government took office in Portugal, under Colonel Vasco Goncalves.
15 May 1974, General Spinola became ruler of Portugal, see 25 April 1974. A moderate
conservative senior army officer, Spinola was unable to block the rise of the Communists
in Portugal and he resigned in September 1974. Spinola attempted a counter-coup
against the Communists in March 1975 but this failed. In April 1975 Mario Soares�s
moderate socialist party won elections, but power remained with the Supreme
Revolutionary Council of Marxist Officers, led by Captain Otelo de Carvalho.
Portugal seemed to be on the way to becoming a Communist state, but in November
1975 moderate socialists under Colonel Ramalho Eanes arrested Carvalho
and other communist officers, with little resistance. Eanes became president in 1976
as Prime Minister, restoring democracy.
25 April 1974, A military coup in Portugal.� PM Marcello Caetano was overthrown in an almost
bloodless military coup organised by left-wing junior officers of the secret
Movimento das Forcas Armadas (MFA).� There was
dissatisfaction with Portugal�s demoralising colonial wars in Angola and
Mozambique. The coup provoked rejoicing in Lisbon and the red carnation was
adopted as symbol of the revolution. See 15 May 1974.
19 April 1973, The Portuguese
Socialist Party was founded in the German city of Bad M�nstereifel, by
militants from Portuguese Socialist Action.
27 July 1970,
Portuguese Fascist dictator Antonio Salazar died, aged 81. He was replaced by Marcello
Rule of Salazar
27 September 1968, Antonio Salazar
resigned as Prime Minister of Portugal, after holding the office for 36 years
and 84 days, the longest term of office of any politician. Aged 79, he had
suffered a major stroke.
6 August 1966, Portugal
opened what was then Europe�s longest suspension bridge, the Ponte Salazar,
7,427 feet long across the River Tagus near Lisbon. The main span was 3,323
1 December 1954, The Est�dio da Luz football stadium opened in Lisbon,
1949, Portugal became a founder member of
12 October 1943, Allied forces landed in the Azores, a possession of
Portugal. Portugal had hitherto remained neutral in the War, mindful of the
proximity of Franco�s Spain, but Dr Salazar, Portuguese leader, now believed an
Axis defeat was inevitable. The Azores would be very useful as a base for
aerial protection of Allied convoys crossing the Atlantic. The German Consulate
in the Azores was now closed down and all German citizens evacuated; only the
Portuguese mainland German Consulate remained open.
1939-1945, Portugal was neutral during World
War Two, but latterly let the Allies use its air bases on The Azores.
30 June 1937, Portugal
stopped co-operating with the Non-Intervention Committee patrol agreement and
ordered British observers off its soil.
19 May 1936, The
Mocidade Portuguesa paramilitary youth organization was created in Portugal.
5 July 1932. Oliveira
Salazar became virtual
dictator of Portugal at the head of a Fascist regime.� Portugal was in the middle of an economic and
2 July 1932, Manoel II,
ex-King of Portugal, died.
30 July 1930, In
Portugal, the Fascist National Union Party was formed.
3 February 1927, In
Portugal, a revolt began against dictator General Carmona; the revolt was defeated on 13
28 May 1926, A coup in
Portugal established a military dictatorship.
8 November 1925, The
Democratic Party won a majority in Portuguese elections, gaining 83 of the 163
19 October 1921,
Portuguese PM Antonio
Granjo was assassinated.
6 March 1921, The
Portuguese Communist Party was founded.
19 January 1919. A pro-monarchist uprising in Portugal;
the monarchy was proclaimed at Oporto.
15 December 1918, The
Sidonio Paes was assassinated.
1917, Manoel Jose de Arriaga, first elected
President of Portugal 1911-15 after the overthrow of King Manuel II (born 1840),
1916, Portugal fought on the Allied side in World War One.
29 May 1915, Manuel de
Arriaga officially resigned as president of Portugal, allowing Prime
Braga to take over as the second president of the country.
Portugal becomes a Republic, monarchy
21 October 1913, An
attempted pro-Royalist revolution in Portugal was suppressed by the government.
25 August 1911, Dr Manoel de
Arriga was elected President of Portugal.
20 April 1911, Portugal
formally separated Church and State, following the declaration of a Republic in
3 October 1910. A revolution in
Portugal ousted King Manoel II after a
2-year reign. The monarch, set up in 1128, ended. He and his mother left for
England, where he died in 1932, and Portugal
became a Republic under 67-year-old Teofilo Braga, on 7 October 1910.
1 February 1908, Carlos I,
King of Portugal, was assassinated along with his son, Prince Luiz, by soldiers after a
failed revolution. He was succeeded by his 18-year old younger son, Manoel II.
7 August 1906, Marcello
Caetano, Portuguese Prime Minister, was born.
19 May 1906, Joao Franco
became Prime Minister of Portugal, with dictatorial powers.
12 December 1905, Elections
were held in Portugal for the 148-seat C�mara dos Senhores Deputados. The
Partido Progressista of Prime Minister Jos� Luciano de Castro
won 109 seats, more than 73%.
10 May 1902, Portugal
was bankrupt, and defaulted on its external debt. It faced heavy costs from an
ongoing insurrection in Angola, which continued until 6 September 1902.
19 January 1902, Maria Cristina,
Infanta of Portugal and Spain, died aged 68.
12 April 1894, Francisco
Craveiro Lopes, 12th President of Portugal (1951-58), was born in
19 October 1889, King Luis I
of Portugal died aged 51 (born 1838). He was succeeded by his son, Carlos I,
September 1863, Carlos
I, King of Portugal, was born (died 1 February 1908).
November 1853, Maria
II of Portugal died, aged 34. She was succeeded by her 16-year-old
son, Pedro V.
King Miguel I
November 1866, Miguel
I, King of Portugal, died.
16 May 1834, The
6-year civil war in Portugal ended. Miguel was defeated and left the country.
4 July 1828, Dom Miguel,
Regent of Portugal, had himself proclaimed King after a coup in May 1828. Civil
war began and his niece, 9-year old Maria, was taken to England for her safety.
King John VI
10 March 1826, King John VI
of Portugal died aged 56. He was succeeded by his son, Dom Pedro of Brazil, as Pedro IV;
IV refused to leave Brazil, and abdicated in favour of his infant
15 September 1820, The
Portuguese revolution reached the capital, Lisbon. The British were evicted.
24 August 1820, A revolt
broke out in Portugal as discontent grew over excessive British influence in the country,
and the absence of the King, who was still in Brazil.
20 March 1816, Queen Maria I
of Portugal died aged 81. She was succeeded by her son, John VI, but he remained in
29 November 1807, As France
invaded Portugal, the Portuguese Royal Family, the Braganzas, fled to Portugal,
under the protection of British Admiral Sidney Smith. They took with them the
fleet that Napoleon hoped to use to invade Britain.
19 November 1807,
Naploeonic France, along with Spain, invaded Portugal because of its refusal to
join the Comntiental system, the closure of European ports to British ships.
26 October 1802, Maria Miguel,
King of Portugal, was born (died 14 November 1866).
29 September 1801, The
Treaty of Madrid between France and Portugal confirmed the Treaty of Badajoz,
ending the war between Spain and Portugal.
15 November 1799, The
John VI of Portugal took pwer due to the mental illness of his
1786, Portugal�s feeble-minded King Pedro died. His son John,
aged 19, who was nominahed Regent in 1792 and who ruled as John VI for 10 years from his
mother�s death in 1816.
8 May 1782, Sebastiao de
Carvalho, Marquis of Pombal, reformer and virtual ruler of Portugal
1750-77, died in Pombal aged 82.
24 February 1777, Jose I, King of
Portugal, died. Maria I became Queen of Portugal.
1765, Portugal abolished the auto-da-fe
(act of faith) parade in Lisbon; this had often been used as an excuse for
antisemitism or persecution of �heretic� Christians.
13 May 1769, John VI, King of
Portugal, was born (died 26 March 1826).
25 August 1762, The city
of Almeida was captured by Spain,
from Portugal. Portugal was allied with Britain in a war against Spain.
1 November 1755, An earthquake reduced two thirds of Lisbon
to rubble, killing 60,000 people. Lisbon had been a great city with a
population of about a quarter of a million. The quake has been estimated at
Richter 9, and caused cracks as wide as 5 metres in the ground to open. Further
destruction was caused when a 6 metre high tsunami struck, drowning many who had
sought refuge on ships in the harbour. Fire then destroyed many more buildings.
Striking on All Saints Day, the quake caused many to be sceptical of God�s
existence, and the event spurred research into natural causes for disasters
rather than Acts of God, laying the foundations for the Enlightenment.
King John V
31 July 1750, John V
of Portugal died aged 61, after reigning for 44 years. He was succeeded by his
son, 35, Jose
Manuel, who ruled until his death in 1777.
9 December 1706, King Pedro II
of Portugal died aged 58 after a 23-year reign. He was succeeded by his 17-year-old
son who ruled as John V until 1750.
13 May 1699, Sebastiao
Pombal, Portugiese statesman, was born near Pomba (died 8 May 1782
22 October 1689, John V,
King of Portugal, was born.
1683, King Afonso VI, a dissolute monarch, died aged
40, and was succeeded by his 35 year old brother Pedro, who had served as Regent
since 1667. He now ruled as Pedro II until he died in 1706.
Portuguese independence from Spain
13 February 1668, Spain
recognised Portugal as an independent nation.
17 June 1663, Battle of
Montes Claras. Sancho de Vita Flor routed the Spanish.
8 June 1663, Battle of Ameixal. Sancho de Vita Flor defeated San Juan.
1661, Spain made further attempts to regain Portugal.
14 January 1659, The
Battle of Elvas practically ensured Portuguese independence from Spain.
6 November 1656, John IV
of Portugal died, aged 53. He was succeeded by his 13-year old son, who ruled
VI until 1667.
26 May 1644, Battle of Montijo. A Portuguese force
Mathias d�Alberquerque, backed by France and England, successfully
attacked into Spain. After this victory near Badajoz, Spain left Portugal in
peace for some years.
1640, The Duke of Braganza was crowned John IV,
King of Portugal.
Portugal under Spanish rule
December 1640. Portugal regained its independence from the Spanish.
1594, Lisbon closed its spice market to Dutch and
English traders; at this time Portugal
was in personal union with Spain, both being ruled by Philip
II, and England was helping the Dutch to gain independecnce from
Spain. This forced traders from those countries to get their spices directly
from India, and the creation of the
Dutch East India Company followed.
8 July 1583, Fernao Mendes
Pinto, Portuguese aedventurer, died (born 1509)
11 December 1582, In
Portugal, Spanish military leader Fernando Alvarez de Toledo died.
25 August 1580, Spanish
forces defeated the Portuguese at Alcantara and occupied Lisbon. Porto fell in
October 1580. The conquest of Portugal by Spain doubled Spain�s overseas
31 January 1580, King Henry I
of Portugal died (born 1512), causing a succession crisis.
4 August 1578, Sebastian, King
of Portugal, was killed in the Battle of Al Kasr al Kebir in
Morocco, where Portuguese forces were annihilated by a larger Muslim army.
7,000 Portuguese soldiers were killed and a further 8,000 were taken prisoner.
The Portuguese throne was left without an heir, ending the Avis Dynasty, and enabling Philip II of Spain to claim it
in 1580. See
King John III
11 June 1557, John III,
King of Portugal, died
on his 55th birthday. He was succeeded by his 3-year old grandson, Sebastian.
22 April 1529, The Treaty of Saragossa divided the eastern
hemisphere between Spain and Portugal, along a north-south line 17 degrees,
9297.5 leagues) east of the Moluccas.
13 December 1521, Manuel I,
14th King of
Portugal, died aged 52 (born 3 May 1469). He was succeeded by his son, John III.
16 December 1515, Alphonso D�Albuquerque, Portuguese naval
military expert, died at sea.
3 February 1509, Portugal defeated
the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Diu, Indian Ocean. Portugal was moving
to dominate the spice trade, which had been lucrative for the Sultan of
Gujarat, Mahmud Begada. Begada was supported by other beneficiaries of
the established trade; Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and Venice. However the
Portuguese ships, built to withstand the rigours of a long voyage, were superior,
and Portugal�s victory gave them control of the Indian spice trade for a
6 June 1502, John III, King of
Portugal, was born.
21 May 1502, The Portuguese explorer Joao de Nova discovered the island of St Helena, in the south Atlantic.
1500, The Portuguese discovered Brazil.
King John II
25 October 1495, John II,
King of Portugal from 1481, died aged 40. He was succeeded by his cousin, who
ruled as Manuel
I until 1521.
7 June 1494, The Treaty
of Tordesillas was signed. In 1493, Pope Alexander VI had set a line at 100
leagues west of the Cape Verde islands from north to south Pole; Spain had the
rights to colonise west of this line, Portugal to the east. The 1494 Treaty moved this line a further
270 leagues to the west. This
resulted in Portugal having possession of both Brazil and Africa; in turn this
greatly facilitated the expansion of the slave trade, providing cheap labour
for the sugar plantations.
31 August 1486, The
Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz set sail for India.
1482, The Portuguese constructed a fort at Sao Jorge da
Mina,Gold Coast (now Elmina, Ghana) for securing the Portuguese monopoly in the
west African gold trade. By the early 1500s, some 680kg of gold a year was
being shipped to Portugal from this fort.
29 August 1481, John II of
Portugal began to rule in his own right, after the death of Afonso V
in 8/1481, aged 49. John II ruled until 1495.
6 March 1480, The Treaty of Toledo: Ferdinand and
Isabella of Spain recognised the African conquests of Alfonso of
Portugal, and he ceded the Canary Islands to Spain.
September 1479, The Treaty of Alcovas between Portugal and
Spain confirmed Castile�s claim on the Canary Islands, and Portugal�s claim on
the Azores and Madeira, also Portuguese rights in west Africa.
1470, Portuguese explorers reached the Equator.
1469, The Portuguese King, Alfonso V agreed that,in return for an annual
fee, merchant explorer Fernao Gomes would be allowed to continue to
push Portuguese exploration efforts further down the west African coast.
Ultimately this also opened the way for Portuguese penetration into Brazil.
Prince Henry the Navigator
1460, Death of Henry the Navigator. This might have halted
further Portuguese exploration of the west African coast, but see 1469.
24 May 1449, Afonso V
of Portugal decalred war on his uncle amnd Regent, Pedro, who was killed at the
Battle of Alfarrobeira.
9 September 1438, King Duarte I
of Portugal died aged 47 after a 5-year reign. He was succeeded by his
6-year-old son who ruled as Afonso V until 1449, with his uncle Pedro
11 August 1433, John I,
King of Portugal, died aged 76, after a 40-year reign. He was succeeded by his
40-year-old son Duarte (Edward) who ruled until 1438.
1421, Prince Henry the Navigator founded a school of
1419, The Portuguese occupied Madiera, whicb was
1415, Prince Henry led a Portuguese expedition to
capture the port of Ceuta from the Moors. On finding treasure from Senegal,
which had been brought by caravan across the Sahara, he decided to try and
reach Senegal by sea. However his sailors feared sailing too far south, in case
they fell off the edge of the (flat) earth, and they also believed the hot sun
would scorch� them black, like the
Africans. See 1470.
4 March 1394, Prince Henry
the Navigator, Portuguese Prince, was born, son of King John I.
9 May 1386, The Treaty of Windsor cemented the alliance between England
14 August 1385, The
Battle of Aljubarrota. Portugal secured its independence against Spain. King Joao (John) I took power,
and ruled until 1433. He started the Avis
1384, Lisbon was besieged by Castilian
forces whose monarch Juan, by marriage to the Portuguese Infanta Beatrix,
had a claim to the Portuguese throne. However Juan was not desired as King by
the Portugiese people.
22 October 1383, Ferdinand I,
King of Portugal, died aged 38
leaving no male heir. Ferdinand�s widow Leonora ruled as Regent for Beatrix,
who married Juan
1373, Lisbon was sacked by Castilian forces, see 1367.
16 June 1373, Under the
Treaty of London, England and Portugal became permanent allies.
1367, Pedro I of Portugal died aged 47 after a 10
year reign marked by harsh policies. He was succeeded by his 22-year son who
ruled until 1383 as Ferdinand I. He repudiated his betrothal to a
Castilian princess so he could marry Leonora Telles. This repudiation provoked Henrico II of
Castile to invade Portugal in 1373.
22 April 1357, John I,
King of Portugal, was born (died 11 August 1433).
1325, King Denis died aged 64 after a 46-year reign.
His rule had seen prosperity and growth in Portugal. He was saucceded by his
35-year-old son who ruled for 32 years as Afonso IV. There was civil was with his son Pedro.
12 September 1297, King Denis of
Portugal and King Ferdinand IV of Castile
signed the Treaty of Alcanizes. The geographic limits of Portugal were fixed
permanently, with the exception of S�o
F�lix de Galegos, lost in 1640 and Olivenza,
lost in 1801.
King Afonso III
1279, King Afonso III
of Portugal died aged 69 after a 34-year reign. He was succeeded by his
18-year-old son who had led a rebellion against him; he then ruled until 1235
1251, Portugal took control of The Algarve, in its south-west.
4 January 1248, King Sancho II
of Portugal died.
1245, King Sancho II of Portugal was deposed by Pope Innocent
IV, who then offered the Crown to his brother Afonso, Count of Boulogne.
Afonso ruled as Afonso
III (born 2 May 1210, died 16 February 1279) until 1279, despite
civil war caused by Sancho�s attempts to regain the Crown.
King Afonso II
1223, Afonso II of Portugal died aged 38. He was
succeeded by hixs 15-year-old son who ruled as Sancho II, until deposed by the
Pope in 1245.
25 September 1217, Afonso II,
King of Portugal, defeated the Muslims at Alcazar do Sol.
1211, King Sancho I of Portugal died aged 57 after a
26-year reign. He wa succeeded by his 26-year-old son who ruled as Afonso II
King Afonso Henriques; first King of Portugal
Death at age 76 of King Alfonso Henriques I of Portugal. He had
proclaimed himself King of Portugal
1128,after a successful defeat of the Muslims, seizing power from his mother;
his father, Henry
of Burgundy, First Count of Portugal,
had died when Afonso
(born 1110) was just two years old. He
defeated the Muslims at Ourique (1139) and Lisbon
(1147), later taking from them the provinces of Galicia, Estremadura and Elvas.
He was succeeded by his 31-year-old son who ruled until 1231 as King Sancho I.
Under his rule, many new roads were built and new cities were founded in
28 October 1147.
The Moslems in Lisbon
surrendered peacefully to an allied Christian force under Portugal�s
Henriques I. The Moslem inhabitants were allowed to depart
June 1147, The Second Crusaders, who had earlier gathered at
port of Dartmouth, now agreed to help Afonso I of Portugal liberate Lisbon from
of Portugal recognised by Castile at the Treaty of
25 July 1139, King Afonso
Henriques I (1110-85) of Portugal defeated the Muslims at Ourique.
Portugal. Battle of Ourique, Portugal.
Henriques attacked the Muslims, defeating a larger army than his
own, but one weakened by internal divisions. This gained him the support of the Pope.
1128, Afonso was
now proclaimed the first King of Portugal. Now aged 19, he repudiated his
agreement to accept Castillian domination. He defeated Castille�s King Alfonso VII,
and drove hois mother into exile.
1112, Henry of Burgundy, Count of Portiugal, died.
He was succeeded by his 3-year-old son Afonso Henriques. Afonso�s mother was Regent until
became King in 1128.
739, The Kingdom of Asturias expanded into modern-day Portugal.
718, At the Battle of Covadonga, the Kingdom of Asturias, north-western Spain, defeated the Arabs and escaped occupation by
them. However Islamic expansion continued in other regions and by the 720s
they controlled an area from Provence to the borders of China.
715, Lisbon fell to the Arabs.
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