Spain Recognizes Portugal's Independence –
Although Portugal had been an independent nation since the 12th century and had been one of the most powerful nations in the world, with colonies in Africa, Asian and South America, in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost full independence when it was “united” with Spain from 1580 to 1640.
The King of Portugal, Sebastian, had died without having a child, and King Philip III of Spain took advantage of the situation to claim the throne of its neighbor. Portugal still had its colonies and didn't formally lose its independence, but being ruled by the Spanish king meant that that Portugal was dragged into Spain's war with others (the Eighty Years War). Because of this, the Dutch attacked many of Portugal's colonies and disrupted trade. Also, Philip III died and was replaced by his son, Philip IV, and this new Spanish king tried to make Portugal into a Spanish province.
Disgusted by their loss of power and wealth, some of the Portuguese nobles united under John IV (seen here, left) and in 1640 staged a “coup,” which means a take-over of the government. However, Spain did not “recognize” Portugal's right to be fully independent. For the next 28 years, there were some serious battles and many skirmishes between Spain and Portugal (part of a larger conflict called the Thirty Year War). On this date in 1668, however, Spain finally formally accepted the loss of Portugal.
Did you know...?
Several countries in Europe—and nations around the world that were associated with these countries through colonization—speak languages that we call the “Romance Languages.” All of these languages are based on Latin, and the reason they are spoken in so much of Europe is because the Roman empire conquered much of that territory, bringing with it the Latin language.
Here's the question: can you name some Romance languages? Can you tell the major Romance languages apart from each other?
Try out your knowledge with this quiz:
1.We said that the new king of Portugal, as of 1640, was John IV. But that is the English version of his name. Below are Romance-language versions of the name John. Which would have been used by Portugal's new king?
2.The words for cat and hat are similar in English. Here are the word pairs in the major Romance languages. Which do you think is French?ANSWERS:1.B. Joao (Juan is Spanish, Jean is French, and Giovanni is Italian) 2.D. chat and chapeau (A is Spanish, B is Portuguese, and C I Italian) 3.C. Buon giorno (A is French, B is Portuguese, and D is Spanish) 4.A. Paz (B is Italian and C is French)
A. gato and sombrero
B. gato and chapeu
C. gatto and cappello
D. chat and chapeau
3. Which of these Romance-language greetings is Italian?
B. Bom dia.
C. Buon giorno.
D. Buenos dias.
4. Which of these words for peace is Spanish?
Cook Portuguese Today
You can look up recipes for such feasts as octopus stew, hot pickled pork, and salt cod pie, but if you're not up for such adventurous food, how about trying Ana Patuleia Ortins' Sweet Rice Pudding, or sweet potato soup, or lavadores (“washboard cookies,” which have nothing to do with a washboard!).
(I did NOT link to a recipe that features the tentacles and suckers seen here, above. I'm just a wimp.)
Learn some Portuguese Words
This website has an English/Portuguese dictionary, lessons on Portuguese animal names, parts of the body, numbers, colors, and so forth, plus outline maps of Portugal and Brazil (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Enjoy the Beauty of Portugal
Portugal includes mountains, a long seacoast, and the Azores Islands, but this video concentrates on monuments, buildings, and other human-made beauties.
Visual Geography has some nice photos of the more natural sights of the country.