sábado, 28 de julho de 2012

It's Portugal NOT Spain!

Just because I get annoyed when Portugal is confused with Spain, and portuguese with spanish I'll let you with texts I copied from the fantastic book from Barry Hatton "The Portuguese" (buy the book it's awesome).
I know I have put  a lot of the texts from the book here and hope the writer doesn't mind, but it's because I haven't found a better book than this to explain things like who are this folk, this country, why we are not Spain and our golden Era of Discoveries.
So if you don't know, Portugal is an independent country, Portugal is not Spain...Portugal is next to Spain and we are a much older country than Spain (Spain was only formed as a country as about 300 years after Portugal) and we are two different countries with almost nothing to do with each other so it's not acceptable everyone confuses us with Spain (even europeans).
I hope this helps you expalining the huge difference.

Portugal and Spain

"Portugal has two neighbours: the Atlantic Ocean and Spain. One of them was long viewed as a risky prospect, treacherous and dangerous; the other was wet.
Iberian history is largely a chronicle of two nations separated by their shared geography, a case of so near yet so far. Iberian's configuration invites comparisons between the portuguese and the spanish, and the similarities are obvious. But the differences, too, are pronounced.
Spain is roughly four times bigger, in area and population, and shunts Portugal into a remote corner, constituting a buffer between the portuguese and the rest of Europe .
Spain was traditionally Portugal's great adversary. Encroachment or even annexation by Castille, the expansionist kingdom that grew into the spanish state, was ever a menace. In portuguese foreign policy, this was for centuries "the Spanish Question". In the choreography of their relationship with Spain, the Portuguese trod warily around their pugnacious neighbour. And when they needed a powerful friend to help keep Spain at arm's length they turned to England, their oldest ally.
Agaisnt the odds, Portugal throughout history mostly resisted the gravitational pull of Madrid. Agostinho da Silva, a portuguese philosopher of the last century, observed, "Portugal's most remarkable feat in the world wasn't the maritime explorations nor the Christian reconquista nor the establishment of overseas territories. It was resisting Castile." The consequence was that the two countries turned their backs on each other and went their separate ways.

Castile has always rued the successes of the headstrong people of the west coast who stubbornly stood their ground.
Trouble first broke out in 1127 when, after a disagreement over who owned what, Afonso VII of Castile laid siege to the northern city of Guimarães. in response, a few months later in 1128, Afonso Henriques triumphed over Castile at the Battle of São Mamede and seized the country of Portucale, the northern part of the modern Portugal. In 1143, in the Treaty of Zamora, Castile begrudgingly recognized Afonso Henriques as ruler of that part of teh peninsula, though Portugal's first king had to pledge allegiance and pay an annual sum to Castille.
A papal bull of 1179 gave the vatican's blessing to Portugal's independent status.
Then a dispute over the rightful heir to the portuguese throne led juan I of Castile to invade, helped by french cavalry, inattempt to claim the crown, the portugusedelivered him a stinging defeat at the celebrated Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385.
But back again another crisis of succession brought belligerent Castile back over the border this time it recoreded a rare triumph in 1580. As the result, Felipe I of Spain was formally recognized as King of Portugal. Castille ruled for 69 years. Spanish are said to have terated the portuguese with contempt, portuguese had enough and staged a revolt in 1640, placing João IV on the throne and restoring home rule in gritty defiance to Castile. Even so, there were another five major armed showdowns with Castille between 1644 and 1665 before Castile gave up and endorsed Portugal's independence in 1668 [aleluia] - almost 500 years after the Vatican!
In an offshoot of the seven Years' War, which engulfed all Europe's major powers, Spain made another foray over the border in 172 [this guys never give up!], but with England jumping to Portugal's aid, it came to nothing. The last bilateral conflict between the two countries occurred in 1801.

Portugal was long the thorn in Spain's south-western side, a nagging reminder of Madrid's inability to claim the peninsula as wholly its own, to make itself complete. (In 1940 and in 1975 Franco's Spain drew up unconsummated plans to invade Portugal). Spaniards, it seems, have overcome this silent rebuke by putting Portugal out of their mind, pretending it does not exist.
It vexes the portuguese that they can understand spanish, and willingly get by in Spain by speaking a kind os spanish-accented portuguese with a few local words thrown in. But spaniards come to Portugal and just speak spanish. And if you reply to them in portuguese, they give you a blank look. They may live next door but they are no better equipped, after all, than any other foreigners to cope with the confounding portuguese language. It should be recalled, however, that portuguese harbour a secret pride about the inscrutability of their language.

Portugal went unshackled into the Atlantic while keeping a wary eye on its neighbour.
Claudio Sanchez Albornoz, a spanish historian and a former ambassador in Lisbon, concludes that the two nations have been kept apart by "centuries of hostility, centuries of apprehension, centuries of incomprehension, centuries of ambitions and fears.
Their different - to an unexpected degree - national characters led them into a quirky and complex relationship.
The portuguese do not on the whole possess the spontaneous vitality and vigour of their neighbours. Spanish brio, self-confidence and self-regard are largely absent from their collective character. Where spaniards are aggressive, self-assertive people, the portuguese are reserved and more attuned to indignation and humility.
After the 1974 military coup, which stood portuguese society on its head overnight, but cost only a handful of lives (compared with the spanish civil war which slaughtered hundreds of thousands), spaniards wondered out loud whether blood or water ran in portuguese veins. Just as unkindly, the spanish dictator General Franco reportedly commented that so few people were killed in that Carnation Revolution because the portuguese were cowards.
Portugal has not launched an unprovoked military attack on anyone since the 16th century. That was during the Age of discovery, when the two iberian countries so spectacularly spread their wings. While Spain bragged out about its conquests of that period, the portuguese celebrated their discoveries: they are a people who could be cruel, but never matched the scale of spanish bloodletting in latin America.
The portuguese are neither venomous nor hostile about Spain but resentt the way Spain ignore them. Spain's centuries-old lack of interest in Portugal is so complete that it almost seems studied. Weather forecasts on spanish television channels and in newspapers simply leave the rectangle along the left side of the peninsula blank.

Nowadays the two countries get along, but for centuries the relationship was frosty and puctuated with viril antagonism. Old portuguese proverbs reveal the antipathy: "from Spain neither good winds nor good marriages come", goes on, in a reference to the hot, dry wind from East that shrivels crops and,, it is thought to royal marriages that ill-advisedly attempted to bind the countries into one. An old spanish proverb is just as pointed: "strip a spaniard of all his virtues and you have a portuguese". Even now, the customary portuguese reference to spaniards being nuestros hermanos ("our brothers" in spanish) is tinged with irony. If the portuguese and spanish are branches of the same Iberian tree, they are estranged. The 19th century Alexandre Herculano admitted to an incorrigible individualism among his compatriots: "We are independent because that's just the way we like it: that is the total, absolute, incontestable reason for our national idividuality."

Of all the the patchwork of culturally distinctive regions on the peninsula that wanted to stay out of Madrid's clutches (Catalonia or Basque Country and Galicia), Portugal was the most succesful. Portugal, left on its won initiative blazed an independent trail that took it around the world, building an empire that enabled it to sustain itself. 

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