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Exceptionalism of Empire Builders

EXCEPTIONALISM OF EMPIRE BUILDERSAs I translated the piece below by José Pedro Teixeira Fernandes in the June issue of Journal das Notícias História, I was also reading the novel by Dorothy L Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh with the title Thrones, Dominations. An unusual title for a detective story, which is also in some respects a historical novel, since DLS died in 1957, and JPW finished her novel in 1998.

Portugal and the Order of the Garter

PORTUGAL AND THE ORDER OF THE GARTERMonarchs have usually been keen to further both their own and their country’s interests by awarding to each other the Orders of Chivalry characteristic of their own nation.  British Orders of Knighthood include the Most Noble Order of the Garter, which was founded in 1348 by King Edward III. 

Geoparque Algarvensis

GEOPARQUE ALGARVENSISIf you know Algarve you may wonder why the earth around Silves is so reddish. You may ask about Rocha da Pena, a huge rock in a plain area. You may have heard about the remains of a dinosaur-like animal found here newly.

The history of the artificial sea-access in Tavira

THE HISTORY OF THE ARTIFICIAL SEA-ACCESS IN TAVIRAI have long been intrigued by the formation of the sand islands of the Ria Formosa.  I show below the history of the artificial sea-access in Tavira, and further translate a study of Culatra Island, giving something of the history of the artificial access for Faro and Olhão.

John Nicol, Mariner

JOHN NICOL, MARINERIn the charity shop, I recently bought a small book, The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner.  It is more memoirs than autobiography.  The book was first published in 1822, and the blurb on the cover of my 1997 edition is effusive:

Portugal remembers its quiet heroes on Holocaust Day

auschwitzAuschwitz, the most infamous Nazi concentration camp, was liberated 74 years ago on 27th of January 1945, by Soviet troops.  From early 1942 until late 1944, transport trains delivered victims from all over occupied Europe to the camp's gas chambers where they were killed with the pesticide Zyklon B. An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to the camp, of whom at least 1.1 million died.

Portugal's government remembered the victims and those men and women who prevented the extermination of people persecuted by the Nazi regime, reiterating Portugal's "firm commitment to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust, so that it does not happen again."


January in the good and bad old days

JanusThe Julian calendar proposed by Julius Caesar took effect on 1 January 45BC when the place we now know as Portugal was under the control of the Roman Republic.

On 10 January four years earlier, Julius Caesar had famously crossed the Rubicon and declared Alea iacta est (The die has been cast!). This resulted in the Great Roman Civil War, a politico-military struggle fought over a wide area, including the provinces of Hispania, as the Iberian Peninsula was then called.

November 11th - Peter Booker looks at 'the Armistice in Portugal'

ww1The legitimate republican government of Portugal had been overturned in December 1917 by a Germanophile major, Sidónio Pais. He presided over a dictatorial regime, and enjoyed a surge of popularity as he promised unachievable improvements to the economic life of the Portuguese.

Always uniformed, and with a greater retinue than enjoyed by any of Portugal´s recent monarchs, he gave the appearance of authority and certainty. Elected President of the Republic (he was the sole candidate) in May, 1918, he was however unable to satisfy the country´s desire for political and economic stability, and in particular he was unable to force down inflation.