Monday, September 17, 2012

Capitol, Geography and Currency in Portugal

Lisbon, the Capitol of Portugal

Lisbon, the beautiful city by the sea! 
Amazing enough it resembles Rio de Janeiro which is situated in Brazil and was the capital of the Portuguese Colonial Empire from 1808 to 1821. Note 1 below

Brief history

The area that Lisbon occupies has been populated since the Neolithic period. Like most European capitals, Lisbon development included much conflict. Occupation by Iberians, Celts, Romans, Sarmatian Alans, Germanic Vandals, Visigoths, Vikings, Moors, French, Islams, and Slavs. A period of diversification in cultures and religions.

Finally, under the banner of Afonso I of Portugal, Christian forces brought Lisbon back into Christian hands in 1147. A popular story of this reconquest of Portugal is that there was a bishop who was killed by the crusaders and that the people prayed for intercession of the Virgin Mary. This act proved to the Knights of Christ that the population was Christian. Arabic ways lost their influence and Muslims converted to Roman Catholicism or sent home.
In 1255, Lisbon became the official capital of Portugal. During the last centuries of the Middle Ages, the city expanded substantially and became an important trading post with both northern European and Mediterranean cities. The growth of this era provided a stable economic base, interrupted briefly by the Castilians, which allowed Portugal to become a powerhouse in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Most of the Portuguese expeditions which led to the building of the vast Portuguese Colonial Empire were launched from Lisbon. Along with the growth of the empire, Lisbon became the European hub of commerce and culture with its tentacles in Africa, India, the far East and of course, Brazil.

Then war broke out again as the Kingdom came down on the wrong side of European power, at least for the short term. Napoleon invaded Portugal  in 1777 in reaction to the Portuguese King's support of England. This lead to the "Great Escape" of 15,000 to Brazil where they set up the Kingdom of the Portuguese Empire until Napoleon was finally defeated. In 1821 the royal family moved back to Portugal, leaving Prince Dom Pedro I to rule the colony.


Lisbon is also the largest city of Portugal - located on the coast where the Tagus [Tejo] River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. With its cities rising from the ocean in an abundance of sunshine, its limestone buildings with red tile roofs provide a dramatic contract to the brilliant blue of the ocean and skies.
With the Serra da Estrela, Spanish Sierras a Gata, Gredos and Guadarrama, to the North, Portugal's highest peak is 1991 meters. As you move south you will find the hills of Portugal. Descending from the table lands to the ocean, the largest river, Douro, crosses Northern Portugal from East to West.


The Portuguese Escudo was the currency of Portugal until the introduction of the euro in 2002, Inflation made the Escudo virtually irrelevant, and centavo coins were withdrawn from circulation.

Note 1 - The Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil occurred on November 29, 1807 when the Portuguese royal family and its court of 15,000 escaped Lisbon just days before the army of Napoleon captured Lisbon. Along with them, they moved the capital of the Portuguese Colonial Empire to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For thirteen years, Rio functioned as the capital of the the Portuguese Kingdom.

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