The story of Portugal possesses a peculiar interest from the fact that it is to its history alone that the country owes its existence as a separate nation. Geographically, the little kingdom is an integral portion of the Iberian Peninsula, with no natural boundaries to distinguish it from that larger portion of the peninsula called Spain; its inhabitants spring from the same stock as the Spaniards, and their language differs but slightly from the Spanish.
Its early history is merged in that of the rest of the peninsula, and but for two great men, Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, and John I., the founder of the house of Aviz, Portugal would not at the present day rank among the independent nations of Europe. The first of these monarchs created his dominions into a kingdom like Leon, Castile, and Aragon, and the latter encouraged the maritime explorations which gave the little country an individuality and national existence, of which it was justly proud.
When Philip II annexed Portugal in 1580, it was at least a century too late for the Portuguese to coalesce with the Spaniards. They had then produced Vasco da Gama and Albuquerque and other great captains and explorers, who had shown Europe the way to India by sea; and their tongue had been developed by the genius of Camões and Sá de Miranda, from a Romance dialect, similar to those used in Galicia, Castile, or Aragon, into a great literary language. Conscious of its national history, Portugal broke away again from Spain in 1640, and under the protection of England maintained its separate existence during the eighteenth century…
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About the Author
H. Morse Stephens (October 3, 1857 – April 16, 1919) was an historian and professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley. Stephens immigrated to the United States in 1894 and took the position of Professor at Cornell University in the Department of History, where he taught European History. In 1902, Stephens went to the University of California as Professor of History and Director of University Extension, a position he held from 1902–1909. He served as Dean of the University of California College of Arts and Sciences from the fall of 1918 until his death. Stephens was an active member of the American Historical Association serving as its President in 1915.
- Title: A Short History of Portugal – From the earliest times to the 19th century
- Author: H. Morse Stephens
- Publisher: Didactic Press
- Digital Edition: March 17, 2015
- Language: English
- E-book File Size: 4805 KB