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 27, 2015


Funny thing again, this time with coffee or more so, sugar. Here I was, waiting for a friend at a coffee house, when I noticed the back of those little sugar packages that come with your espresso. Mine had a little story, an old Portuguese legend about the origin of the name of many places here. I got up, walked to the counter and had a look at more sugar packages. All of them were different. Once I was at home, I did some more research.
There about 20 in total, but  I chose 2 stories that most likely were told in this country about the French Invasions, numbers 8 (about fish) and 12 (about love). Both of them are about names of towns on the Portuguese Archipelagos Azores and Madeira.

 Part of the "Lendas dos nomes das terras" collection on the Chave d'Ouro sugar packages. Image taken from www.coisas.com

The legend of Rabo de Peixe, Azores:
On the island of S. Miguel, a group of fishermen, after a days work, were discussing what name they should give to the place they lived. During this discussion, they noticed that in the ocean near of them, a small fish was fighting for his life with a bigger fish. at the end, the bigger fish managed to eat the smaller one, leaving nothing but his tail, which floated on the water surface.
Observing this, the fishermen concluded that this had to be a message and so they decided to call that place "Rabo de Peixe", or in English, Fish tail.
To notice that this town is, still today, one of the poorest towns in Portugal and looking at the meaning of symbolisms between the fight of the bigger fish and the smallest, one could come to some interesting conclusions.


The legend of Machico, Madeira:
At the turn of the 14th to the 15th centuries, a young Englishmen, Robert Machim, eloped with his love, an English lady, Ana d'Arfet, who was to be married soon.
At the time, during the 100 years war, Robert managed to hire a boat so they could escape to France. But a storm took them to an island on the Atlantic ocean and because Ana was ill, they took cover in the cove.
The next morning the storm had swept the boat away and Ana became progressively ill, until she died a few days later. In sorrow, Robert soon followed in death. The crew raised crosses on their graves and later were caught by Moors that sold them as slaves in North Africa.
Many years later, one of the 1st Portuguese navigators found this cross, built a chapel over it and called that cove "Machim".
Now, the interesting fact about this story is that it was told most in a time where Portugal was in war with Spain over the succession of the Portuguese Crown, in 1640. Perhaps as a way to support the marriage of Catarina de Bragança with England's King Charles II?

For more legends, go to:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

William Bradford

Found William Bradford's book with paintings of Portugal and Spain during the Iberian Campaign. Some of the images I have used in the past, but now I'll share the link to the entire book with you.

Aquaduct in Alcântara, Lisbon, Portugal.

"Esquisse du pays, du caractère et du costume en Portugal et en Espagne, prises pendant la campagne et durant la marche de l'armée anglaise en 1808 et 1809", 1812

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Almeida 2015

So, here I am talking and writing about the Portuguese society during the French Invasions, but how many of you knew that I am a re-enactor as well of this time period?
I portray a female civilian who follows a British regiment (the 43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry) and, yes, onto the battlefield as well.
And since I've never spoke of this hobby of mine on this blog, here is a small video of this year's re-enactment of the Siege of Almeida and a few historical data to it. also a link to some photos of the event.

                       (I appear between 48 secs. and 1:07 min. kneeling behind our sergeant!)

A few photos you can follow on Facebook:

Valishka Fotografia

Carlos Manuel Rodrigues Marques

For you to have a small background to it, here are a few historical data:
The Siege took place during the 3rd French Invasion, in 1810, when the French (lead by the Marshal Michel Ney) surrounded the bastion after the victory of Cuidad Rodrigo. The Portuguese forces present hadn't enough fire power to defend the town and only managed to defeat the invaders with the help of the British forces of Brigadier-General William Cox.

You can read more about it at:

The town of Almeida is also mentioned in a book of memoirs written by a British soldier called The vicissitudes of a Soldier's life or a series of occurrences from 1806 to 1815", by John Green, late of the 69th Durham Light Infantry:

« (...) Freyneda, the then headquarters of the British army, is on the frontiers of Portugal: it does not consist of more than fifty houses; has one church and about one hundred inhabitants: it is five leagues from Rodrigo, three from Almeida; and about six from Guarda. (...)» (Chapter XIII, page 131 to 132)

A couple of links to free downloadable PDFs:

And last but not least, the link to the local re-enactment group's page: