Catalonia and Portugal shared destiny

The history of Catalonia and Portugal is linked by shared events that marked the destiny of both peoples  forever.

The occupation of Portugal  by Spain in 1580 deprived our country of its sovereignty and had disastrous  consequences  for the  colonial empire.

Coronation of KIng Joao IV

It would take 60 years for Portugal to recover its independence and to become a free nation again .

If we  want to place ourselves in the atmosphere  of the period that preceded Portugal  regaining its  freedom from Spanish rule , it would be sufficient to page trough Alexander Dumas classic romance “D’Artagnan and Three Musketeers  “.

This was the time of  “30 Years War “, between  France and Spain ,when  the French king and his Prime Minister , the famous cardinal Richelieu ,wanted to weaken Spanish  dominance in Europe  and to take-over  Spanish  territories in the Pyrenees of northern region .

With this purpose France started to encourage internal political tensions, which led to simultaneous revolts in Catalonia and Portugal   against the  Spanish King Phillip IV .

The result was that Spain was  facing  the scenario fighting  two major wars of secession,  in Portugal and Catalonia, in addition to a great international conflict caused by the burden of the Thirty Years’ War.

The first  option for Spain was mobilize  Portuguese noblemen and troops to send  them to suppress the revolt of Catalonia, a strategy that would also  keep Portuguese army unable to support any separatist  movement.

This move provoked the  Portuguese nobility to take decisive action to end Spanish domination, proclaiming the restoration of Portuguese independence on 1st  December 1640.

Faced with revolt in two fronts Spain decided to suppress the Catalonia revolt first, which it did with extreme cruelty.

The campaign to suppress Catalonian revolt would take four years, a  period during which with the support of France and England Portugal had time to organise and put together a strong army that made it impossible for Spain to regain  control.

It was Catalonian sacrifice of freedom that gave Portugal the chance to become a free nation.

The roads of history lead us to Catalonia of present times, still fighting for a chance of freedom  that did not have 377 years ago when Portugal gained control of its destiny.

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