Portugal is the European country where Tomás was from and was to eventually rule. It is located west of Spain on the Iberian Peninsula.
Early History Edit
The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in South Western Europe. The name of Portugal derives from the combined Romano-Celtic name Portus Cale. The region was settled by Pre-Celts and Celts, giving origin to peoples like the Gallaeci, Lusitanians, Celtici and Cynetes, visited by Phoenicians and Carthaginians, incorporated in the Roman Republic dominions as Lusitania and part of Gallaecia, after 45 BC until 298 AD, settled again by Suebi, Buri, and Visigoths, and conquered by Moors. Other influences include some 5th century vestiges of Alan settlement, which were found in Alenquer, Coimbra and Lisbon.
The region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and then by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula. These were subsistence societies that, although they did not establish prosperous settlements, did establish organized societies. Neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing.
It is believed by some scholars that early in the first millennium BC, several waves of Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and inter-married with the local populations, forming different ethnic groups, with many tribes. Chief among these tribes were the Calaicians or Gallaeci of Northern Portugal, the Lusitanians of central Portugal, the Celtici of Alentejo, and the Cynetes or Conii of the Algarve.
New Kingdoms Edit
During the Reconquista period, Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula from Moorish domination. A victory over the Muslims at the Battle of Ourique in 1139 is traditionally taken as the occasion when the County of Portugal as a fief of the Kingdom of León was transformed into the independent Kingdom of Portugal. Henry, to whom the newly formed county was awarded by Alfonso VI for his role in reconquering the land, based his newly formed county in Bracara Augusta, capital city of the ancient Roman province, and also previous capital of several kingdoms over the first millennium.
On June 24, 1128, the Battle of São Mamede occurred near Guimarães. Afonso Henriques, Count of Portugal, defeated his mother Countess Teresa and her lover Fernão Peres de Trava, thereby establishing himself as sole leader. Afonso then turned his arms against the Moors in the south. His campaigns were successful and, on 25 July 1139, he obtained an overwhelming victory in the Battle of Ourique, and straight after was unanimously proclaimed King of Portugal by his soldiers. Afonso then established the first of the Portuguese Cortes at Lamego, where he was crowned by the Archbishop of Braga, though the validity of the Cortes of Lamego has been disputed and called a myth created during the Portuguese Restoration War. Afonso was recognized in 1143 by King Alfonso VII of León and Castile, and in 1179 by Pope Alexander III.
The reigns of Dinis I, Afonso IV, and Pedro I for the most part saw peace with the Christian kingdoms of Iberia, and thus the Portuguese kingdom advanced in prosperity and culture.
Treaties and Alliances Edit
In 1373, Portugal made an alliance with England, which is the longest-standing alliance in the world. This alliance served both nations' interests throughout history and is regarded by many as the predecessor to NATO. Over time this went way beyond geo-political and military cooperation and maintained strong trade and cultural ties between the two old European allies. Particularly in the Oporto region, there is visible English influence to this day.
In 1383, John I of Castile, husband of Beatrice of Portugal and son-in-law of Ferdinand I of Portugal, claimed the throne of Portugal. A faction of petty noblemen and commoners, led by John of Aviz (later King John I of Portugal) and commanded by General Nuno Álvares Pereira defeated the Castilians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. With this battle, the House of Aviz became the ruling house of Portugal.
The territory of Portugal includes an area in the Iberian Peninsula and two archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean: the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. It lies between latitudes 32° and 43° N, and longitudes 32° and 6° W.
Mainland Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus that flows from Spain and disgorges in Tagus Estuary, in Lisbon, before escaping into the Atlantic. The northern landscape is mountainous towards the interior with several plateaus indented by river valleys, whereas the south, that includes the Algarve and the Alentejo regions, is characterized by rolling plains.
Portugal's highest peak is the similarly named Mount Pico on the island of Pico in the Azores. This ancient volcano, which measures (7,713 ft) is an iconic symbol of the Azores, while the Serra da Estrela on the mainland is an important seasonal attraction for skiers and winter sports enthusiasts.