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!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


(Taken from the Portuguese magazine VISÃO, special edition, number 13, September 2011)

Firstly I have to say sorry for the lack of quality of the pictures and of the lack of some of the bibliography of them but 1. they where scanned out of the magazine I've mentioned above and 2. not researched by me personally so, in terms of bibliography, I had to take whatever the writers of the articles researched.

This post is about some very comical caricatures and other images from the period of the French Invasions and also some expressions that were born during that time and have survived until today. Also a fado written back then which I've translated.


Caçada aos corsos imperiais e reais – dedicada aos amantes da caça (The imperial and royal deer hunt – dedicated to the lovers of hunting), from the private collection of António Ventura. A pun with the word “corso” which can mean “Corsican” or “deer”, reflecting Napoleons origins, Corsica.

O Patriotismo Hespanhol Triunfante da Capacidade Francesa (the Spanish patriotism triumphant of the French habitabilities), from the private collection of António Ventura. A satire showing the horror by the French army that didn't knew this type of Iberian warfare, religious too and Joseph Bonaparte loosing his crown.

Porto de Leiria: dous soldados portuguezes forão sercados pelo inimigo porem disparando aquelles sus pistolas e fizeram fugir vergonhozamente 22 francezes de cavallaria. Mez de Julho de 1808 (Leiria Harbor: two Portuguese soldiers were surrounded by the enemy but shot their pistols and made 22 French cavalry run away. Month July 1808). Portuguese bravery depicted in this cartoon.

The French overtaking Lisbon and the Portuguese soldiers during the 1st invasion and removing the flag from the S. Jorge castle, from the private collection of António Ventura.

A entrada dos protectores: A entrada destes guerreiros, Foi com grande intrepidez; Descalços de pé e perna, Dois aqui, acolá três! (The entrance of the protectors: the entrance of these warriors was with great intrepidity; barefooted and naked legs, 2 here and 3 there!), rimes from the Cancioneiro Geral under a cartoon depicting the conditions of the French army when it arrived in Portugal.

Vista do Praça do Rocio na qual se reprezenta a dezordem e terror dos francezez no dia do Corpo de deus no anno de 1808, os quaes tumultoazamente largarão as Armaz e dezempararão a Artilharia pelo susto que o povo lhes cauzou e os boatos que correrão: Já chegarão os inglezes.(View from the Praça do Rossio in which is depicted the disorder and terror of the French on the All Saints day of the year 1808 and who will tumultuously drop their weapons and desert the artillery because of the scare that the people caused them and of the rumors that were spread: The English are here.)
1 – Palácio da Inquisição em cuja varanda principal estava Junot.(The Palace of the Inquisition on which main balcony Junot appeared.)
2 – Entrada de S. Domingos.(Entrance of S. Domingos.)
3 – Quarteirão de S. Domingos.(S. Domingos city block.)
4 – Entrada da praça da Figueira.(Entrance of the Figueira plaza.)
5 – Emboucadura da rua Augusta.(“Mouth” of the Augusta street.)
6 – Vista do castello.(View of the castle.)
7 – Arco da bandeira por onde fugio a cavallaria franceza.(Arch trough which the French artillery fled.)
8 – Artilharia franceza dando parte a Junot do terror das suas tropas.(French artillery telling Junot about the terror suffered by the troops.)
9 – Entrada da rua dos Ourives de ouro. (Entrance of the Ourives street.)
Description of the invasion of Lisbon in 1808 and the response of the Portuguese civilians left alone to defend themselves after the King had fled to Brazil.)

Napoleão: fazei lá paz com ele! (Napoleon: make peace with him!). A satire describing all of Napoleon's human and political “qualities” and suggesting that because of them and of his actions Portugal should embrace them and make peace with him. Don't ask me to translate it all....


  • A ver navios (to watch ships): Said when ones purpose doesn't succeed, translating the idea that one was left to see ships sail away. It came from the moment when the French army entered Lisbon in 1808 and Junot saw the Portuguese royal family leave for Brazil.

  • Ir para o maneta (to got to the one-handed): When someone is sent to a man with only one arm it's the same as sending that person to hell. General Loison, who lost his arm in a hunting accident, was this one-handed man and it was a terrible thing for a Portuguese to fall into his hands (no pun intended!).

  • «... alminhas da ponte» (…little souls of the bridge): it can be used as to pray, lay flowers, light a candle for a lost/desperate cause. During the 2nd French invasion, in the city of Porto, the locals ran in panic over the bridge ponte das barcas making the same bridge crash. Today there's a shrine used for prayer, built at the end of the 18th century.

  • Por no prego (to put it on the nail): Same idea as to put something on pawn. The expression came after the English officers used Portuguese homes to live in (like the one you see as a header on my blog, where Wellington lived), informing the owners that they were being evicted with a bulletin nailed to the door. (this expression I didn't took from the magazine; it's something I've learned in school.)


Last but not least, a fado said to have been written during the 1st French invasion and that tells Lisbon not to become French. Song in which Lisbon is seen as a young girl that has to follow her father's (ancestors) example and not fall in love with France. Here sung by the most famous fado singer, Amália Rodrigues.



Don't court the French, little girl, Lisbon. Portugal is gentile sometimes but certain things aren' t forgiven.
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror of the old man that should serve you as an example. Go, follow the loyal advice, don't break your father's heart.
(Chorus) Lisbon, don't be French, with certainty you wont' be happy. Lisbon, what a wild idea, vain and "alfacinha" (the name os inhabitants of Lisbon) to marry Paris. Lisbon, you have boyfriends here that say, poor things!, with their souls in their voices: Lisbon, don't be French, you're Portuguese, you're just for us.
You fell in love with the beautiful uniforms, little girl, Lisbon. See for whom you keep yourself, an immodest maiden is nauseating.
You have here brave and valiant Lieutenants, born and raised here. Come on, have better manners, little mean and whimsy girl.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Yesterday, for my birthday, I put into practice this wonderful inspiration I had: a birthday with things that reminded me of the French and English presence in Portugal during the Napoleonic wars.
It all started with me wanting to eat something that I hadn't in along time and with the fact that I wanted to go sightseeing. And as I took a closer look on what it all was, soon I decided to call it “Napoleonic”. Not that it really is (therefore the brackets) but because it reminds me of it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

The day started with a walk through Sintra (or in English: Cintra). I love this place, it's in between a mountain range, it has loads of history and is involved in a magical setting. In this case I decide to visit the surrounding park of the Pena Palace, which I never did.
Now you ask, why Sintra?Sintra supposably was the place where the Convention held between Portugal, England and France happened in 1808. Now the interesting fact is that the name of the convention didn't came from one of the many places in Sintra where supposedly it happened but because of a letter sent by General hew Dalrymple to the British government. The London Gazette published an article in September 1808 referring that letter and since then the convention was know as the one of Cintra.
So, please, if you're googling it on the English wikipedia, don't assume the many mistakes written there as correct.

An image of the Pena palace through the trees and a bridge over a creek. Almost 3 hours visiting the Pena National Park on foot. Gorgeous!

For dinner I had a much desired “francesinha”! There's no correct way to translate it but it would be something like “little French girl”. It's a recipe from Porto (city involved in the 2nd invasion) and was invented in the 20th century. It's highly caloric but soooooooooooooooooooooo yummie! There's the link and if you want the recipe, you just let me know! I ate my “little French girl” with “pommes frites”, as it is done because of the gorgeous spicy sauce. And... fries are very French, even if invented in Belgium, aren't they?

The Francesinha, the french fries and a plate of many pretty things I've gathered on my walk to show my dogs but they couldn't have cared less. Also a hand made soap smelling like honeysuckles that I bought for myself.

To drink, pear juice. Why? Not only because I like it but also there's this lovely tale around our nation's pear, called Rocha. It is said that a French soldier left some seeds after he went back home. Actually the species comes from the late 19th century when a farmer called Rocha noticed that one of his pear trees gave a different type of fruit that was more resistant then the others.
Even so, a Portuguese juice company made a wonderful advert about it, that is posted below.


For desert I had (a) “napoleon”. No, not like that! A cake made out of puff pastry, also know as “mille-feuille” (a thousand leaves). And the name comes from the Italian town Naples and not from the French general. But still, I though ti would match up beautifully.

And accompanying it some port (to learn more please read a a previous post on the subject). Decided to spent some more and buy “Offley” in remembrance of all the foreigners who where living and working in Portugal at the turn of the century. To understand why I chose this brand you'll have to read a previous post on the Portuguese economy.

And that's all folks!