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History & Culture of Portugal - Part 2

HISTORY & CULTURE OF PORTUGAL - PART 2Carthage & Portugal - Phoenician City-State in Tunisia. An ancient Phoenician city-state and civilization located in present-day Tunisia. Carthage was founded around 814 BC as a colony of Tyre, it was one of the richest and most powerful cities in antiquity, and the centre of a major commercial and maritime empire that dominated the western Mediterranean until the mid third century BC.

Phoenicians had already arrived on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula in the 12th Century BC, in search of metals, and founded trading posts at Cádiz (1000 BC), Málaga, and Seville. They traded with the peoples of the interior, taking out silver, copper, and tin and bringing in eastern trade goods. Tavira and Luz da Tavira were founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th Century, existing till destroyed by conflict at end of 6th Century.

Between 8th & 6th Centuries, successive waves of Celtic people invaded and settled Western Iberia, suited to the herding-farming life (the Celtiberians).

During the seventh century B.C., Greeks arrived and founded several colonies, including Sargunto on the Mediterranean coast and Alcácer do Sal on the Atlantic coast. During the fifth century B.C., the Carthaginians replaced the Phoenicians and closed the Straits of Gibraltar to the Greeks. The Carthaginians undertook the conquest of the peninsula but were only able to permanently occupy the territory in the south originally controlled by their Phoenician and Greek predecessors.

The mouth of the Arade River near Portimao proved an important natural shelter that soon became a small commercial port for the Phoenicians, Greeks and then Carthaginians. The Carthaginians founded two settlements nearby in the mid-6th century BC, known by their Roman names Portus Magonis and Portus Hannibalis ("Hannibal's Port"). The former is the nucleus of present-day Portimão, the latter in nearby Alvor.

Following centuries of conflict with the Sicilian Greeks of Syracuse, its growing competition with Rome culminated in the Punic Wars (264–146 BC), which saw some of the largest and most sophisticated battles in antiquity, and nearly led to Rome's destruction. Hamilcar took control of the rivers flowing into the Gulf of Cadiz, thus seizing the silver mines of Sierra Morena in Spain close to the Portuguese border, generating enough wealth and coinage to pay his armies and enrich Carthage. The Rio Tinto flows from the Sierra Morena, also a major source of copper, gold, iron and manganese, necessary for the bronze age development. Douro was also rich in gold.

In 146 BC, after the third and final Punic War when Carthage was destroyed, Rome assumed control of Hispania Superios and Hispania Inferior and expelled all Carthaginians from their coastal colonies.

550 BC – founding of Portimao in Algarve
237 BC - Carthaginian General Hamilcar Barca enters Iberia with his armies through Gadir (Cadiz), with his sons Hasdrubal and Hannibal.
228 BC - Hamilcar dies in battle – his son Hasdrubal expands Carthaginian control of Iberia, and alliances withthe Counei and Celtici in Portugal south of the Tagus. The Lusitani north of the Tagus ally with Rome after thei leader Viriatus is assassinated.

Read other parts of this series HERE.


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