Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to roam around and learn a bit more about Portuguese History. To find your interests, please, have a look at the right side of the page, where you can find all the posts arrenged into labels, such as "Society", "Politics", etc. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Last Saturday, September 10th, I participated in this wonderful project of walking through Lisbon's streets with a guide listening to descriptions and stories of different sites we saw. It was a walk through the Western hills that compose the Lisbon terrain (7 hills in total; there's a legend to it and all) and we passed by several of the palaces built there, a few that even survived the 1755 earthquake.
The highlights for me, of course, were the mentions of the French Invasions when we reached the Saint Catherin hill and the Chiado area.

Our guide, a Master in Medieval History, André Leitão, mentioned something I had written about before - Portuguese sayings that originated during this time period - but with an interesting addition and also a bit about the history of a palace posted before by me here.
The 1st info, was about the saying «A ver navios passar» (To see ships go by), referring to the fact that the Portuguese king John VI left for Brazil with the Napoleon's troops at the door.
I've always thought that it mentioned the people left behind watching the royal ships depart, but our guide had another explanation: That it was Junot who saw the ships go by at the top of Saint Catherin's hill, the next day after the royal family left, when the French arrived. Interesting!

Above, the square with the hill's name. Underneath, the view by night of the Tagus river from Saint Catherin's hill. Photos by Sara Seydak.

The 2nd info, and maintaining Junot as the center of the discussion with the confirmation that the Loreto Palace was actually his official residence in Lisbon, some more info about Lisbon's Chiado.
Of course, today's Chiado wasn't called that way back then. It actually was called "Largo das
duas Igrejas" (Two churches square) and the area was called "Pedreira" (Quarry) having had a
convent of our lady of the quarry, which barely survives the earthquake and ensures that way, an
architectural border between Lisbon's downtown and today's Chiado.

 The Loreto Palace during day time. Photo by Sara Seydak.

Here's some more history on the palace:

And here we were, during a simple night walk, twice information was given for me to improve my past posts. Time is truly circular!

Sunday, June 19, 2016


After 3 posts on links to free downloads of historical documents that have no copy rights anymore, here's something easy to digest. Today, I'll be posting something about food, with recipes. I hope you'll enjoy it!

Quinces and guava fruits.

Marmelada, quince jam, is a typical Iberian jam, that, after cooking, becomes solid and can be preserved for many months. Quinces are fruits that are picked in the Fall, so quince jam is made for Winter.
It is such an old recipe that its origins are lost in time, but still a very normal thing to have in a Portuguese household today.

                                                    Marmelada. Image taken from: redecompeixe.blogspot.com

Goiabada is a jam made from the guava fruit and has its origins in Brazil, made by the 1st Portuguese colonials as a substitute to marmelada who brought the sugar cane with them.
In many former English colonies it is known as guava cheese.

                                                  Goiabada. Image taken from: poetaluizclaudio.arteblog.com.br

Funny thing though, and this is why I love History, there are 2 types of quinces and 2 types of guava and both make or a whiter marmelada/goiabada or a reder marmelada/goiabada. Isn't life funny?

Some interesting facts on marmelada: Portuguese sailors as soon as the 16th century would take this delight as part of their provisions, because of its easy keep and storage, without knowing that they were consuming vitamin C and avoiding scurvy.
It was even one of the first gifts handed to representatives of these strange new places that the Portuguese visited and who's inhabitants saw the first white Europeans for the first time.
Well, I said it was an easy post to digest, so here are some recipes:

Link to a Portuguese cook book of 1780. Go to page 217 for the marmelada recipe or just watch the video below.

Marmelada recipe (and you guessed it, the Goiababa is made the same way, with or without the peel):
- 2 kg of quinces
- 1 lemon peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 200 ml of water
- 3/4 of the weight of the quinces, after they're peeled and pits removed, in sugar

Clean and cut the quinces as shown and add them to a pot with all the remaining ingredients.
Cook it for 1 hour on slow heat.
Mash the boiled fruit into a pulp and let it cook for another 10 min.
NOTE: the longer you cook the jam, the more solid it becomes.
Test the jam as shown, to see if it is "au point", divide it into little sterelized bowls, cober it in cooking paper soaked in snaps.

You can eat the jam, after it's cold, as a desert with cheese, or just (how I like it) with bread and loads of butter.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


  • ·         Campaigns of his grace the Duke of Wellington; 1823

  • ·         Ashé, Thomas; History of the Azores, or Western Islands; 1813

  • ·         Blanchard, Pierre; Le Voyageur de la Jeunesse dans le Quatre Parties du Monde; 6 tomes; 1812

  • ·         Breton; L'Espagne et le Portugal, ou Moeurs, Usages et Costumes des Habitants de ces Royaumes; 6 tomes; 1815

  • ·         Broughton, S. D.; Letters from Portugal, Spain& France, written during the campaigns of 1812,1813 and 1814; 1815

  • ·         Bowdich, Thomas Edward; Excursions in Madeira and Porto Santo during the Autumn of 1821; 1825

  • ·         Collins, Francis; Voyages to Portugal, Spain, Sicily, Malta, Asia Minor, Egypt,...; 1809

  • ·         Durdent, Jean René; Beautés de L'Histoire du Portugal, ou Abrégé de L'Histoire de ce Pays,depuis L'Antiquité jusqu'à nos Jours; 1821

  • ·         Eliot, William Granville; A Treatise on the Defense of Portugal ...in 1808-1809; 1811

  • ·         Graham, William; Travels Through Portugal and Spain during the Peninsula War; 1820

  • ·         Halliday, Andrew; The Present State of Portugal and of the Portuguese Army, 1812

  • ·         Keatinge, Maurice (Colonel); Travels in Europe and Africa, 1816


  • ·         Milfrod, John Junior; Peninsular Sketches during a Recent Tour, 1816

  • ·         Neale, Adam; Letters from Portugal and Spain, 1809

  • ·         Southy, Robert; Letters Written during a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal, 1797

  • ·         Warren, Sir Wm (Lieut.-Gen.); Letters from the Peninsula,1808-1812; edited by his nephew; 1909

  • ·         Wollf, Jens; Sketches and Observations on a Tour through a Part of the South of Europe, 1801

  • ·         Letters from Portugal and Spain, Written during the March of the British Troops under Sir John Moore; 1809

  • ·         Letters from Barbary, France, Spain, Portugal; by an English officer; 2 vols.; 1790

  • ·         Voyage en Portugal depuis 1797 jusqu'en 179; 2 tomes; 1803

  • ·         Journal of an Officer in the King's German Legion: Comprising an Account of his Campaigns and Adventures in England, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Sicily and Itlay; 1827