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An Empires
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The Kingdom of Portugal

Starting Resource: 16
-- From Land: 9
-- From Trade: 7

Capital Territory: Portugal
Nation Class: Small

Total Starting Military
Infantry: 7
Cavalry: 2
Knights: 0
Artillery: 0
Generals: 1
Merchantmen: 2
Frigates: 2
Ships of the Line: 1

Click on the map to view your nation's position and starting troops

In the first millennium BC, Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and intermarried with local peoples, the Iberians, forming the Celt-Iberians. In 238 BC, the Carthaginians occupied the Iberian coasts. In this period several small tribes occupied the territory, the main tribes were the Lusitanians, who lived between the Douro and Tagus rivers, and the Callaeci who lived north of the Douro river among some other tribes. The Conii, influenced by Tartessos, were established in southern Portugal for a long time. The Celtici, a later wave of Celts, settled in Alentejo.

In 219 BC, the first Roman troops invaded the Iberian Peninsula, driving the Carthaginians out in the Punic Wars. The Roman conquest of Portugal started from the south, where they found friendly natives, the Conii. Over decades, the Romans increased their sphere of control. But in 194 BC a rebellion began in the north, the Lusitanians successfully held off the Romans, took back land and ransacked Conistorgis, the Conii capital, because of their alliance with Rome. Viriathus, the Lusitanian leader, drove the Roman forces out. Rome sent numerous legions, but success was only achieved by bribing Lusitanian officials to kill their own leader. During this period, a process of Romanization was carried out.

In the 5th century, Germanic tribes, most notably the Suevi and the Visigoths, invaded the Iberian peninsula, set up kingdoms, and became assimilated in the Roman culture of the peninsula. An Islamic invasion took place in 711. Many of the ousted nobles took refuge in the unconquered north Asturian highlands. From there they aimed to reconquer their lands from the Moors. In 868, Count Vimara Peres reconquered and governed the region between the Minho and Douro rivers. The county became known as Portucale (i.e. Portugal), due to its most important city, Portucale (today's Porto) and founded a villa with his name - Vimaranes (today's Guimaraes) where he chose to live.

While a dependency of the Kingdom of Leon, Portugal occasionally gained de facto independence during weak Leonese reigns, but it lost its autonomy in 1071 due to one of these attempts, ending the rule of the counts of the House of Vimara Peres. Then 20 years later, Count Henry from Burgundy was appointed Count of Portugal as a payment for military services to Leon, and with the purpose of expanding the territory southwards. The Portuguese territory included only what is now northern Portugal, with its capital in Guimaraes. Henry died and his son, Afonso Henriques took control of the county. The city of Braga, the Catholic centre of the Iberian Peninsula, faced new competition from other regions. The lords of the cities of Coimbra and Porto, together with the clergy of Braga, demanded the independence of the county.

Portugal traces its emergence as a nation to 24 June 1128, with the Battle of Sao Mamede by Afonso I of the House of Burgundy. On 5 October 1143 Portugal was formally recognized. Afonso, aided by the Templar Knights, continued to conquer southern lands from the Moors. In 1250 the Portuguese Reconquista ended when it reached the southern coast of Algarve. In an era of several wars when Portugal and Castile tried to control one another, King Ferdinand was dying with no male heirs. His only child, a single daughter, married King John I of Castile who would therefore be the King of Portugal after Fernando's death. However, the impending loss of independence to Castile was not accepted by the majority of the Portuguese nobility, which led to the 1383-1385 Crisis. A faction led by John of Aviz (later John I), with the help of Nuno Alvares Pereira, finally defeated the Castilians and their Portuguese supporters in the most historic battle of Portugal, the Battle of Aljubarrota. The victorious John was then acclaimed as king by the people.

Entering the 1400s Portugal had built a large fleet and was embarking on an age of naval exploration. Its chief rival is Spain, though it could quickly find itself in conflict with England, France, Venice or Morocco. The key to success for Portugal is keeping a decent army at home to keep Spain honest, then use its large fleet to establish an empire overseas. As attractive as invading Spain to take over the whole Iberia might seem, it rarely proves easy and often turns to desaster.

Visit the 1483 Discussion Forums to chat about Portugal.

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