free ebooks

A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Whereupon Olivares completely changed front

in like manner awarded posts

in Portugal. When this purpose became known it was used as one of the principal means of stirring up opposition to Spain, on the ground that Portugal was to be deprived of her autonomy. The renewal of legislation such as that proposed by the Duke of Lerma with respect to the Jews and an increase in taxation added to the dissatisfaction in Portugal to such an extent that there were several riots. Spain's financial difficulties arising from the European wars led Olivares to turn yet more insistently to Portugal, and in the year 1635 new and heavier taxes began to be imposed, together with the collection of certain ecclesiastical rents which had been granted to the king by the pope. This produced the first outbreak against the royal authority. A revolution was started at ?vora in 1637 which soon spread to all parts of Portugal, but the nobles, the wealthy classes, and the Duke of Braganza were not in favor of the movement, and it was soon suppressed. The condition of affairs which had provoked it continued, however, and was accentuated by new burdens and fresh departures from the agreement of Philip II. Taxes became heavier still; Portuguese troops were required to serve in the Low Countries; and the Duke of Braganza, of whom Olivares was unreasonably suspicious, was appointed viceroy of Milan, with a view to getting him out of Portugal. It was this last measure which was to bring about a fresh and more determined uprising than that of 1637. The duke refused the appointment, whereupon
Olivares completely changed front, possibly with a view to concealment of his real suspicions, and made Braganza military governor of Portugal, besides sending him funds with which to repair the fortifications of the kingdom. The duke would almost certainly have been satisfied with this arrangement, had it not been for his wife, whose ambitious character was not duly taken into account by Olivares. This lady was a Spaniard of the family of the dukes of Medina Sidonia, but she was desirous of being a queen, even though it should strike a blow at her native land. She conspired to bring about a Portuguese revolution headed by her husband, who should thus become king of Portugal. The Catalonian outbreak of 1640 furnished a pretext and the propitious occasion desired. The Duke of Braganza and the nobility generally were ordered to join the royal army in suppressing the Catalans. Instead, the nobles rebelled, and the revolution broke out on the first of December in the same year, 1640. Fortresses were seized, and the Duke of Braganza was proclaimed as Jo?o (or John) IV, king of Portugal.

[Sidenote: The war of Portuguese independence.]

The war lasted twenty-eight years, but, although it might well have been considered as more important than any of the problems of the time, other than the equally momentous Catalan revolt, it was not actively prosecuted by Spain. Spain was engaged in too many other wars, to which she gave perhaps an undue share of her attention, and was more than ever beset by her chronic difficulty of lack of funds. France, England, and the Protestant Netherlands gave help to Portugal at different times, whereby the last-named was able to maintain herself against the weak attacks of Spain. The decisive battle was fought at Villaviciosa in 1665, but it was not until 1668, in the reign of Charles II, that peace was made. Portugal was recognized as independent, retaining such of her former colonies as had not already been taken by the Dutch,--with one exception; the post of Ceuta, in northern Africa, remained Spanish,--the only reminder of Spain's great opportunity to establish peninsula unity through the union with Portugal.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us