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!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Recently I have visited an expo about the drawing of the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya. Besides of being contemporary to the Napoleonic Wars, he was already a famous painter before that, much loved by the Spanish Royal Family. He is known to have been a critic to the Spanish social costumes and to have drawn what he would see on the streets during the French occupation. You can find many famous paintings by this author online portraying this Historical fact. By observing the drawing closer, I couldn't help myself in finding some similarities between the Spanish and the Portuguese society, not to forget the similarities of what happened to the both of the people. Of course, I would like to talk about these similarities, the social ones and then show you the pictures I took of the war. It made me shiver just to think that these scenes could have been on the streets of Lisbon, Porto and other towns. And if you-re interested, here's a link to the Metropolitan Museum of NY and a data base from which you can download books for free. This link will take you directly to a book about Goya.


Holy Inquisition: Although the Portuguese Holy Inquisition lasted longer then the Spanish (both of them as soon as the end of the 15th century until the French Invasion, while in Portugal officially only in 1821) both of them provoked a halt in society's development. The control of the Catholic Church over people's lives and thoughts, for centuries, caused a serious handicap in the sense of individuality and belonging of the Iberian people. One could get arrested, be tortured and set to die in a public square for something as simple as hear-say. Not bowing before the cross, not eating pork, swearing in public, etc, were other of the lowest accusations one could suffer.

Religion: Inquisition aside, the Catholic Religion was very important in both countries. I have spoken before about the Catholic Puritanism of the Portuguese Society. It must have been similar in Spain. Not only did it took part in every aspect of daily life, it also controlled science and public education. And not speaking about the cult around everything clerical, to a point of what we today would call hysteria. Of course, this goes without saying that the intellectual world sought refuge in foreign countries.

"This is not the least". Old noblemen carrying a religious icon in a procession, showing that instead of working for the end of war the higher classes are more worried about the salvation of their souls.

"Strange devotion". A religious relic being carried by a donkey. The daily evils and injustices are forgotten by the passing of a dead monk turned saint.

Education: As said above, controlled by the Church. Medicine, politics, philosophy and other scientific studies were oppressed by the thought that God was the explanation for everything. We mustn’t forget that the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was explained for haven been caused by people's sins and even some of the more “modern” explanations of shifting in the soil that appeared around this time, were not only set aside but considered heretic. Also on a private level, education given at home or in private schools was very violent. Wrong answers, slow learning, laziness were corrected with a strong hand and through physical punishment. Even servants or people from lower classes were thought to be allowed to be corrected this way.

"He broke the pitcher". According to Goya children are punished for breacking a pitcher but not for real missdemeaners.

Politics: The end of the 18th century brought new winds to the Iberian Peninsula, whether form France or the Americas. Liberal thought was setting itself in people minds. Liberalism vs. Absolutism was the struggle of the Iberian political scenario. Both countries suffered a similar destiny of the people's will after the Napoleonic Wars: Portugal got it's new Constitutional Monarchy in 1820, forcing the new Crown-Prince, D. Pedro to sign the constitution; Spain, by having practically the same, some years earlier, with the Cosntitution of 1812.

Women: In a time of men, in peacetime or in war, women were/are always considered the lowest of both genders. Back in the 19th century it wasn’t different. In Spain or in Portugal, women hadn't the right to have a mind of their own and were, therefore, tied to their families, whether in the form of their fathers, whether in the form of their future husbands. Women couldn't leave the house; even going to church was considered a privilege; rich families had private chapels in their homes. A woman’s' reputation was everything and the slightest suspicion would bring her down to a level of the most common of women. Marriages were arranged, many times to older men who had property and richness and evens so, they would be considered a way of freedom of the family's will. For a young woman who would be married to a much older rich man, even as horrible as it sounds and as her life would be, it could also interpreted by the young bride as a slack in parental control. On the other hand, we have the prostitution. Women, for some reason or other have been left to fight for themselves and resort to sell their bodies. It is curious that in societies were religious morals are the highest also have a high prostitution rate and that all that religion isn't enough to help a needing gender. This was Goya's critic.

"They say yes and give their hands to the 1st one that shows up". Marriages are celebrated in the blind (arranged marriages) and here the bride is shown as a mascared princess.

"The ridiculous nonsense". 2 groups sitting on a branch looking like 2 families arranging a marriage.

French Invasions/War of Independence: In Portugal the Napoleonic Wars are called French Invasions, In Spain War of Independence. The 1st because our Crown-Prince took refuge in Brazil leaving the country for Frances/British control; the 2nd because the Crown was substituted by Napoleon’s brother Joseph, forcing the Royal Family to abdicate. But both countries suffered the same and both societies decided it was time to take faith into their own hands. Goya painted how people took justice ito tehir own hands and painted the athrocities portraied by the invading soldiers. Altough the 1st French Invasion in Portugal was a peacfull one, most of the drawing I photographed show a similar scenario.

"They take advatage". A consequence of war. Soldiers robbing cadavers. 

"That's how it happened". A church being looted.

"Cartloads to the cemetery".

"Heal them and ready for a new one". Soldiers would get a quick fix and be sent back onto the battle field.

"What use has the bowl?". 1 bowl of soup isn't enough to help these people.

"They are from another lineage". The gap between rich and poor makes either side feel that they belong to another "lineage". 

"And they are beasts". The ferocity of the women saving themselves.

"The same". 

"Ravages of War". Bombing of a house. 

"Unlucky mother". And child.

"There is no remedy". Mass shootings taking place.

"They don't want to". Besides of the imminent assault, it shows the strenght of these women.

"One can't look". A group of Spaniards after searching refuge in a cave are facing a shooting.

"Not even like this". Elegant women being assaulted by soldiers. Notice the fallen baby on the ground.

"The worst is to begg". An elegant girl is trying to pass by beggars trying not to see them.

"Mob". Poplars hitting the body of a dead or almost soldier.

"What rampage is this?". French officials demanding taxes, leaving the population impoverished and the women crying.

"Because of a razor". A man being garroted because a razor was found on him as a measure of stoping popular retaliation.


"What esle is there to do?". Question asked after the enormous amount of atrocities commited by the invading forces.

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