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Thread: From Wilson to World War One: Portuguese History 1836-1920

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    From Wilson to World War One: Portuguese History 1836-1920



    From Wilson to World War One



    Portuguese History 1836-1920


    --------------------------

    Okay, determined to finish an AAR, I wrote this one out in basic form prior to presenting it here on the forums. I hope to update frequently for once, possibly once a day or two days. This follows my attempts to make Portugal a Great Power, no major goals per see but I tried ot stay relatively historical. This will be done in Histroy Book style as you might have guest.

    Anyway hope you enjoy, this was something of a rollercoaster game.

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    Prelude .a - The War of the Two Brothers


    4th Battle of Cape St. Vincent, June 1833

    The death of King João VI of Portugal in 1826 created a dispute over royal succession. The rightful heir to the throne was his eldest son, Pedro I of Brazil, who was briefly made Pedro IV of Portugal. Neither the Portuguese nor the Brazilians wanted a unified monarchy; consequently, Pedro abdicated the Portuguese crown in favor of his daughter, Maria da Glória of Portugal, a child of seven, on the condition that when of age she marry his brother, Miguel. In April 1826, as part of the succession settlement, Pedro revised the constitution granted in 1822, the first constitution of Portugal, and returned to Brazil leaving the throne to Maria, with Miguel as regent.

    In the Portuguese Constitutional Charter, Pedro attempted to reconcile absolutists and liberals by allowing both factions a role in government. Unlike the Constitution of 1822, this new document established four branches of government. The legislature was divided into two chambers. The upper chamber, the Chamber of Peers, was composed of life and hereditary peers and clergy appointed by the king. The lower chamber, the Chamber of Deputies, was composed of 111 deputies elected to four-year terms by the indirect vote of local assemblies, which in turn were elected by a limited suffrage of male tax-paying property owners. Judicial power was exercised by the courts; executive power by the ministers of the government; and moderative power by the king, who held an absolute veto over all legislation.


    Pedro IV of Portugal, I of Brazil

    The absolutist party of the landowners and the Church, however, were not satisfied with this compromise, and they continued to regard Miguel as the legitimate successor to the throne on the grounds that he was Portuguese, while Pedro was Brazilian. They were alarmed by the liberal reforms that had been initiated in Spain by the detested Revolutionary French (reforms which the Portuguese feudal aristocracy had been spared) and took heart at the recent restoration of the autocratic Ferdinand VII in Spain (1823) who was eradicating all the Napoleonic innovations. In February 1828, Miguel returned to Portugal, ostensibly to take the oath of allegiance to the Charter and assume the regency. He was immediately proclaimed king by his supporters, who pressed him to return to absolutism. A month after his return, Miguel dissolved the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Peers and, in May, summoned the traditional cortes of the three estates of the realm to proclaim his accession to absolute power. The Cortes of 1828 assented to Miguel's wish, proclaiming him king as Miguel I of Portugal and nullifying the Constitutional Charter.


    Miguel I

    This usurpation did not go unchallenged by the liberals. On May 18, the garrison in Porto, the center of Portuguese progressives, declared its loyalty to Pedro, to Maria da Glória, and the Constitutional Charter. The rebellion against the absolutists spread to other cities. Miguel suppressed these rebellions, and many thousands of liberals were either arrested or fled to Spain and Britain. There followed five years of repression.
    In Brazil, meanwhile, relations between Pedro and Brazil's agricultural magnates had become strained. In April 1831 Pedro abdicated in Brazil in favor of his son, Pedro II, and sailed for Britain. He organized a military expedition there and then went to the Azores, which were in the hands of the liberals, to set up a government in exile. In July 1832, with the backing of liberals in Spain and England an expedition led by Dom Pedro as Pedro IV landed near Porto, where it was besieged by Miguelite forces. To protect British interests, a naval squadron under Commander William Glascock in HMS Orestes was stationed in the Douro, where it came under fire from both sides.

    In June 1833, the liberals, still encircled at Porto, sent to the Algarve a force commanded by the duke of Terceira supported by a naval squadron commanded by Charles Napier, using the alias 'Carlos de Ponza'. Terceira landed at Faro and marched north through the Alentejo to capture Lisbon on July 24. Meanwhile Napier's squadron encountered the absolutists' fleet near Cape Saint Vincent (Cabo São Vincente) and decisively defeated it at the fourth Battle of Cape St. Vincent. The liberals were able to occupy Lisbon, where Pedro moved from Oporto and repulsed a Miguelite siege. A stalemate of nine months ensued. Towards the end of 1833 Maria da Glória was proclaimed Queen, and Don Pedro was made Regent. His first act was to confiscate the property of all who had served under Don Miguel. He also suppressed all religious houses and confiscated their property, an act that suspended friendly relations with Rome for nearly eight years, until mid-1841.

    The absolutists controlled the rural areas, where they were supported by the aristocracy, and by a peasantry that was galvanized by the Church. The liberals occupied Portugal's major cities, Lisbon and Porto, where they commanded a sizeable following among the middle classes. Operations against the Miguelists began again in earnest in early 1834 and they were defeated at Évora-Monte.


    Battle of Évora-Monte

    The Battle of Aceiceira, fought on May 16, 1834, was the last and decisive engagement of the Portuguese Civil War. The Miguelite army was still formidable (about 18,000 men), but on May 24, 1834, at Évora-Monte, a peace was declared under a convention by which Don Miguel formally consented to renounce all claims to the throne of Portugal, was guaranteed an annual pension, and was banished from Portugal, never to return. Don Pedro restored the Constitutional Charter, but he died September 24, 1834. Maria da Glória resumed her interrupted reign as Maria II of Portugal, marrying Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (cousin of Queen Victoria’s groom to be Prince Albert) in 1835.

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    Prelude .b - Wilson's Appointment


    Queen Maria II and King-Consort Ferdinand II

    Following her return to the throne, Queen Maria II married the young German prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, later dubbed King-Consort Ferdinand II following the brith of their first child, Prince Pedro, in 1837, as is Portuguese custom. The two shared a progressive nature, with Maria especially so after seeing the ravages of her uncle’s reactionary rule.

    She took her position as a duty not priviledge to heart and sought to improve the lot of the average Portuguese. She pursued the improvement of public health and basic education for much of her life, while giving birth to a new child almost every year, against the advice of doctors. Maria declared “If I die, I die at my post”, and did just that, dying giving birth to her eleventh child in 1853 at the age of 34.

    While Queen Maria focused on social problems, Ferdinand was a man of science and the arts, and saw the Industrial Revolution in Britain as the future of Portugal. He was also one of the first men to openly encourage the ‘New Imperialism’, of direct colonisation, especially in Africa. This combined with encouragement of the arts, Portuguese industry and even sympathy for the trade union movement has placed him as an important figure in the 19th Century and in his co-operation with Wilson, a major driving force behind Portugal’s revival.

    Indeed it was Ferdinand that first brought Wilson to Lisbon in early 1836. Maria and her new husband had quickly fallen in love and shared their liberal ideas for Portugal’s future. Realising that foreign, namely British, expertise would be needed to help kick start industrialisation, Ferdinand mentioned Clement Wilson, a former Liberal-Tory MP who he had seen speak on free trade and industry in London in 1833. The two had held a correspondence, at that point about possible reform in his native Saxony. Now husband to the Queen of Portugal, Ferdinand offered Wilson a job as an economic advisor to Maria’s government. Wilson, alienated by the ever-increasing reactionary stance of the Tories under the Duke of Wellington, accepted.


    Clement Wilson

    Wilson’s role as an economic advisor, officially little more than a high-ranking civil servant cannot be underestimated. Positioned between the monarchy and parliament he was able to lead the Portuguese economy towards its own Industrial Revolution. This not only had the expected knock-on effect of urbanisation, the rise of the middle-class and a stronger Portugal but also encouraged the emulation of Britain in terms of colonial expansion and naval power. Wilson’s intervention also saw opposition in the form of resugant absolutists, while fermenting radical political movements such as republicanism and anarchism, that would have a major effect on Portugal as the 20th cenutry began. Wilson’s belief in ‘captured markets’ in the form of colonies, based on the British model of Imperial preference also laid the foundation for other, more powerful nations to follow for fear of losing out. This climate of colonial expansion has been viewed by many as the major cause of the First World War, gaining Wilson an extremely controverisal position in European History.

    Appendix- Brief Overview of Portugal's Political System in 1836

    The political system of Portugal outlined by the 1826 Constitutional Charter was modelled greatly on Britain’s own constitution. The legislature was split into two, with an elected lower house, the House of Deputies comprising of 111 seats, and an appointed upper house, the House of Peers, consisting of clergy and aristocrats. The judiciary consisted of the courts and the executive was the Cabinet. Despite this the monarchy still retained a veto on legislation and could even present its own; this was part of the compromise with absolutists. The compromise has also increased the power of the Cabinet, and equalised the importance of the two Houses compared to the original system laid out in the 1822 Liberal Constitution. It would be this change in constitution that would be the basis for the development of political parties in Portugal.

    Chartists
    The Chartists, as their name suggests, supported the compromise Charter of 1826 and for all intents and puposes were Portugal’s conservative party. Led by the Duke of Terceira, they strongly supported the position of the House of Peers and the monarch’s powerful position, however in terms of policies they differed little from their ‘liberal’ opponents. The only major area was in the position of the Church, a difficult topic in strongly Catholic Portugal. The Chartists supported Catholicism as the official state church of Portugal, although initatly popular this position, held by the party’s successors would come under attack as the century dragged on.

    Septembrists
    Again named after their ideal consitution, that of September 1822, the Septembrists were considered the more progressive party in the House of Deputies, with strong radical factions. The 1822 Constitution had turned the monarch into a mere figurehead, while the House of Deputies dominated the unelected House of Peers in the legislature. Led mostly by the emrging middle-class, the Septembrists were Wilson’s natural allies and in the wake of the Two Brother’s War, won the first elections in June 1835.

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    Doesn't look good for the Church...but since this is a free, capitalist liberal democracy, I have faith in Portugal's progress.
    Sieur de Dole

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    That Wilson is just such a troublemaker.

    More.

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    Liberalism is an expenive adventure unless you start out with a really good infrastructure already.

    You only have 2 parties?

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    VJ: Danke

    RGB: Not quite sure what that means, is Conservatism cheap? And yes Portugal 1836 only has two factions, though it gets plenty more complex as time goes on.

    Formula51: Remember he isn't a politican, just an economist, what harm could an economist do?

    Fulcrumvale: I did hope

    aussieboy: I think the Church is safe for now... however, free is a point of view, capitalism is getting there, liberalism is msot certainly in the air and democracy is a terribly foriegn concept- Portugal has a bumpy ride ahead.

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    Part I. ~ The First Year


    Lisbon textile factory c.1836

    Wilson’s appointment as advisor to the Crown and it’s government quickly saw a shake-up of Portuguese economics. The liberal Septembrist government under Prime Minister Antonio Oliveira strongly supported Wilson’s line and holding 58 of the 111 seats in the House of Deputies, quickly started passing legislation, beginning with the removal of import duties on hundreds of goods. Simultaneously taxes on Portugal’s emerging middle-class were cut and bureaucratic red tape regarding the creation of new companies and factories were removed. By the end of Wilson’s first year, industrialists saw business boom with Lisbon’s textile industry, the focus of reform, doubling in number and tripling in profit. In the Algarve, the old shipyards of Faro were opened to foreign investment, allowing the British company, Cardwell & Associates to buy half of the ailing Portuguese West African Trading Company’s monopoly in April. Soon British expertise and technology gained the Faro shipyards a new lease of life, making it Portugal’s most profitable industry.

    In more rural northern Portugal industrialisation was less direct, but the government’s new laissez-passé approach allowed many smallholder and communal farms to be bought en masse by entrepreneurs. In the vineyards around Oporto especially, this created a more mechanised style of production, allowing wine exports to explode. This in turn caused poverty and unemployment amongst many small farmers, something that would have major consequences later on.


    Prime Minister Oliveira

    Despite the progressive programmes of the Septembrists they wouldn’t remain in office to see their success. In May, on the wave of liberalism that began with the victory of the constitutionalists in the Portuguese Civil War in 1834 and had been reinvigorated by Wilson’s economic ‘suggestions’, Oliveira, a dedicated abolitionist managed to push a Bill through freeing Portugal’s slaves. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 had granted Spain and Portugal leeway on slavery and slave trading due to the massive losses in manpower they had sustained during the Napoleonic Wars. Although the purchasing of new slaves had been stopped in 1824 by agreement with Britain, a slave population, though quite small following the independence of Brazil, still existed, mainly in the African colonies.

    By the beginning of June uproar unexpected by Oliveira had risen against the government. Despite the tiny contribution made by slaves, the still powerful West African Trading Company had owned most of them and wouldn’t take the uncompensated loss of part of its work force lying down. Many conservatives supported the Company as did some industrialists and merchants and soon the Septembrists were being dubbed as anti-business radicals. Many workers and peasants misunderstood the situation, believing slaves to be as important to Portugal’s prosperity as in 1815, however the Company didn’t bother to correct them and soon orchestrated demonstrations declaring the Septembrists anti-Portuguese. As the tide went against Oliveira, several deputies left the government, including the conservative War Minister, the Marquis of Valenca on June 7th. Due to the virtual non-existence of official parties within the House, the Prime Minister soon realised he lacked any remaining authority and on June 10th Queen Maria promptly accepted his resignation, allowing the more moderate Chartists to take power under the Duke of Terceira.


    Duke of Terceira

    Despite being relatively liberal when compared to their British and continental counterparts, the Chartists had gained their power on the back of a semi-nationalist, conservative crisis, this put them at the mercy of expectations. At the same time the electorate, dominated by liberal industrialists was outraged at the fall of their elected government, especially considering the recent defeat of absolutists in the Civil War, by the whims of the African Trading Company, the Queen and the ‘unvoting masses’. The Chartists soon found themselves painted both by supporters and critics alike as the “Tories of Portugal” as Wilson put it. However Terceira was an ambitious politician and soon absorbed the situation. Compensation was paid to the Africa Trading Company despite the Prime Minister himself being an abolitionist. The Portuguese royal standard became the party’s symbol, and nationalist rhetoric filled Chartist speeches, soon cementing them as the party of the crown and the country, much to the delight of conservatives, especially the more traditional landowners and peasants.

    However it was evidently a bluff by Terceira. Compensation had a more symbolic effect than economic, to both the Company and the government. Similarly nationalist sentiments had no foundation in policy, the budget remained unchanged from the Septembrist government’s free trade, laissez-faire stance. Indeed their only true difference with the opposition was their stance on religion, with the Septembrists advocating secularisation, though they never dared carry it out in strongly Catholic Portugal. They had however created a Commission in 1835 to investigate Church corruption in rural areas and by September 1836 it had reported its findings to the new government. Terceira was shocked to discover mass corruption and vice in many isolated areas. If one of strand of the party’s all-Portuguese façade held true it was strong support for the Church and Terceira refused to have the report published.

    However by November several members of the Commission, led by a radical atheist civil servant, Jose Sousa, went public with their findings. Again the Chartists gained the condemnation of the liberal electorate, almost causing the minority government to topple before 1837, however Queen Maria refused to give Oliveira the government, on the grounds that the Sousa Report was unreliable given the nature of the Commission’s members. This in turn caused a backlash against the Septembrists for creating the Commission in the first place, and by January, as the economy boomed, the government was secure once more.

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    Not too good for the Septembrists, though I'd have been more of a Chartist myself.
    Sieur de Dole

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    Sir Humphrey: Thank you, but I can reveal everything does not go well. All the more entertaining I guess

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    Part II. ~ Radicals and the 'Two India Company' Scandal 1837-38


    Two Portuguese 'Dandies', their
    fashion influenced by their English
    counterparts during the extended
    period of Anglophilia in the country


    The Chartist government was relatively inactive during the period 1837-40, as Wilson’s policies allowed the country to sustain major growth. Socially, the government adopted the laissez-faire positions of another Englishman, that of Peel, head of the Liberal-Tories, a group Terceira had come to admire for their ‘progressive’ stance. This was just one sign of a strong Anglophile attitude that had accompanied Wilson’s appointment, with British fashion and literature becoming popular amongst the wealthy, while being somewhat reciprocated in England, where Portuguese cuisine and its large exports of wine, as well as the Portuguese language, became something of a small craze in London. This social exchange would warm relations between the two old allies and continue throughout Terceira’s ministry.

    Although the Chartists maintained a sound economy and strong relations with Britain, it would be civil unrest that would highlight Terceira’s time as Prime Minister, eventually causing his fall. In August word reached Lisbon that the plantations owners of Mozambique had reclaimed their slaves by force and “spit upon the Crown”. Only the West African Trading Company had been granted compensation for their freed slaves leaving the independent slave owners of East Africa with nothing. This had led to outcry in Mozambique and shortly after the departure of officials overseeing abolition, reclamation of slaves by force had begun. Many slaves resisted, resulting in open conflict across plantations. It didn’t take long for the colony’s garrison to become aware of the situation with the colonial governor, ordering the plantation owners to stand down in July. The plantation owners, whose private armies numbered thousands of native tribesmen, were soon in conflict with the small garrison numbering only 500 and within weeks had seized Port Amelia, the colonial capital. The plantations owners, possibly in as part of a long conspiracy or simple desperation, declared their independence on July 20th as the “Republic of Amelia”, hoping that Lisbon would be unwilling to stage an invasion halfway across the globe against the small colony. They were to be proved wrong.


    Port Amelia

    On hearing the news Queen Maria immediately ordered an expedition to Mozambique, fearing the possibility of rebellion spreading to elsewhere in the Empire. Within a week, a brigade of troops under the command General Nunes Vidigal, a hero of the civil war, was ready to embark in Lisbon. However much to the embarrassment of the government, that had spent the previous days espousing Portuguese national unity and imperial cohesion, on August 9th, the day Vidigal’s troops prepared to leave port, the 1789 Movement, a radical breakaway group of the Septembrists appeared across the capital in force, with intent to overthrow the monarchy.

    The group had intended to begin their coup on the 10th but following the capture of several ringleaders that day prior, the remaining radicals decided to strike immediately, hoping the embarking army would be too disorganised to intervene. Though Vidigal was caught unawares, government agents informed him the Movement had only several hundred men and women in the city and so a battalion of infantry and several cannon were quickly moved to strategic locations. Within hours open street fighting had begun and the radicals were soon pushed back to their headquarters, a printing press in the city centre. The building was bombarded for half an hour before the Movement finally surrendered. Over 300 radicals had died, alongside 32 soldiers and policemen.


    Radicals battle Lisbon Town Watch

    The attempted revolution, though crushed became a major headache for the government. The House of Peers accused the Chartists of ineffectiveness, in their feeble attempts to halt the uprising and their inability to inform important authorities, such as the Army and city militia. Liberals also attacked the government’s main weapon, that of spies and informers, something viewed as a repressive force used only by Russian and Austrian autocrats. Although the criticisms would trigger the implementation of the 1838 Police Act, creating the first metropolitan police force for Lisbon, liberal influence would be downplayed as late August saw popular acts of violence against liberal industrialists, for their apparent connections with the 1789 Movement. Initiated by conservative army officers, the backlash gained popular support from Portugal’s fledging luddites, factory workers who had lost their jobs to machines. The luddites used anti-liberal sentiment and the protection of army officers and aristocrats to attack their former employers’ businesses.

    Vidigal, after a near fatal voyage around the Cape of Good Hope, finally landed in Mozambique in late September, just five miles up the coast from Port Amelia. The plantations owners gamble hadn’t paid off and they soon fortified their capital. However with only one antiquated cannon and 400 or so armed white militia, the ‘Republic’ soon realised, as three Portuguese gun batteries lined up to open fire, a siege would not end well. Hoping that native numbers might win the day, the militia alongside over 9,000 hired warriors from a dozen tribes quickly rushed towards the Portuguese, who where still lining up their battalions on September 25th.


    Natives charge Portuguese lines

    The charge was over open ground and even without full numbers, wave after wave of volley fire decimated the attackers. The settler militia, many just clerks and artisans pressed into service for fear of their leaders’ African mercenaries, quickly broke while the different tribes quickly proved disorganised, their numbers hindering them as cannon balls tore through their ranks. By the time the warriors reached the Portuguese lines, over half their number were either dead, wounded or already fleeing. Bayonets clashed with spears before Vidigal, an incredibly vain man, personally led the cavalry counter-charge back towards Port Amelia. The township surrendered immediately and Vidigal arrested twenty-seven men, prominent landowners, on a charges of treason.

    Even as Vidigal secured the Mozambique colony, hunting down the ringleaders and crippling the local tribes, another revolt following Amelia’s example had begun in Goa. However the Indian enclave had held few slaves prior to abolition, the revolt by local leaders was based on mercantile gain. The British East India Company, increasingly independent of London had been after the rich Portuguese enclave for years and following the Mozambique revolt and the uprising in Lisbon, had decided to make its move. Heavy bribes had soon influenced the small, corrupt Portuguese India Company ruling over Goa and as a revolt fermented in November, thousands of Calcutta paid mercenaries crossed the border in order to ‘secure’ the colony.


    Standard of the British East India Company

    Vidigal did not discover of the event until December 1st, and only then by an East India emissary offering military intervention to quell the ‘native’ uprising. Vidigal refused any such help however; he knew the pacification of Mozambique was far from over, with thousands of natives rising up after the bloody reprisals following the Battle of Port Amelia. Colonial sovereignty projected little beyond Amelia’s walls and so only a single battalion was spared, sent directly to Goa.

    Vidigal and much of his brigade would not arrive in Goa until April the next year following several lengthy treks into the jungle to halt the destruction of Portuguese missions and trading posts. In the five-month interlude, the single battalion, under the command of Lt. Colonel Guimaraes had arrived before New Year to find not the small loyal garrison desperately defending their compound but strung out across the colony, fighting a protracted guerrilla war. The mercenaries, though veterans of many wars across the sub-continent, lacked heavily artillery and other equipment necessary to storm Vasco da Gama, the colony's fortified capital. Instead they had focused on raids, killing patrols, creating unrest in the native population and even sinking supply ships with fire barges as they entered port.


    Portuguese patrol ambushed

    When Vidigal’s brigade finally landed in Goa, he discovered Guimaraes to be on the verge of defeating the Indians following an intricate campaign of small-scale raids and ambushes. Having gained much bad publicity back home for his slow progress in Mozambique, Vidigal took local command and ordered a frontal attack on the last Indian stronghold, Pernem, in order to restore his reputation as a daring General. Using Napoleonic tactics, the victors of Port Amelia now switched places with the 'inferior' opposition as they advanced in parade formation up hilly terrain against experienced marksmen. Eventually reaching the Indian fort, they were immediately countered-charged by hundreds of swordsmen. Vidigal once again personally charged the enemy, as he saw his men begin to fall back. The tactic worked, catching the Indians by suprise and he eventually carried the day, however his brigade of 7,000 had suffered over 2,800 casualties in only several hours. Despite pushing the Indian force out of Goa, Lisbon was furious.

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    Part III. ~ Luddites and the Opium War


    General Nunes Vidigal

    Vidigal narrowly avoided a court martial and disgrace as the ‘Two India Companies’ scandal came to dominate headlines. The Portuguese India Company was dissolved by royal decree in May, turning Goa into a Crown Colony while their British counterparts, a far more powerful body was only investigated, eventually leading to stronger restraint from Westminster. Despite little public recognition of his poor leadership, Vidigal was nevertheless still ordered to return to Lisbon for a military inquiry. Reluctantly the General set sail. As he resupplied in Cape Town, Vidigal learned of a new rebellion at home. Ever shrewd, the former hero intended to save his career. He immideatly set sail with all haste to stop a possible absolutist resurgence.

    The Faro shipbuilding boom had suddenly collapsed in early 1838, following the withdrawal of British funding in light of economic problems in England. Although by now new Portuguese companies had taken up much of the industry, the British trade depression had a knock on effect across Europe. Relying mainly on Spanish and Italian merchants for sales, the depression saw many trading houses collapse in the two countries, cutting Faro’s revenues in half. This had in turn caused huge unemployment, which combined with an ever-growing number of farmers heading to the towns for work saw poverty spread across the entire Algarve region.


    The cramped enviroment of Portugal's towns

    Unrest soon mounted with luddism taking hold once again in violent attacks on shipyards and factories, while many unemployed urban workers showed animosity to the new labour coming from the country who were willing to work for pathetic amounts, only increasing urban unemployment. Eventually this mixture caused massive riots across Faro between urban and rural workers. In turn as these subsided, often with violent suppression by militia, a general anti-government mood settled over the town’s population, particularly the ex-farmers and radical luddites. In this atmosphere several army officers and militia commanders, with monetary backing from Austria and Carlist Navarre raised in open revolt to Queen Maria and demanded the return of her absolutist uncle, Dom Miguel, to the throne.

    General Vidigal on hearing the news instead of sailing for rebellious Timor went with the majority of his force back to Portugal while about 500 men were left behind to suppress the island colony. Loyalist militia had bought time for Vidigal, hampering the absolutists on their march north and the revolt was finally crushed on June 12th when Vidigal’s forces landed, overwhelming the absolutists in a pitched battle outside Baja. Vidigal was declared a national hero as the defeater of absolutism not once, but twice.


    Vidigal's troops landing

    Eventually the brief trade depression had ended by September and employment rose once again, while a new law making the destruction of factory machinery punishable by ten years transportation to Angola soon broke luddism, following the transportation of 50 Luddite leaders as an example. As the economy strengthened once again, Wilson encouraged the Chartist government, now under the Duke of Saldanha following the death of Terceira in June to reform the education system. As illiterate farmers began to enter factories in greater numbers, Wilson saw accessible education as a way to help modernise the workforce and in October actually presented Saldanha with a Bill proposal. Saldanha was insulted, declaring “No English banker will tell me how to run this ministry!”. He flat out refused, sticking to his Peelite laissez-passé social policy.

    Wilson now showed his first flexing of major power, beyond a simple economic advisor. He was soon in talks with the Septembrists despite his dislike for their growing radicalism, and on December 4th the leader of the opposition, the Count of Bonfim, presented the Education Bill. The Bill was compromise, detailing free universal elementary education but at the behest of the Septembrists’ powerful left wing it also declared that such a system would be secular. Despite the Septembrists holding a majority, unlike the minority government they weren’t a united party and the secular clause in the Bill saw it defeated 38-73 by an alliance of Chartists and right-wing Septembrists. Wilson didn’t wish to see the group split over the issue, leaving the increasingly conservative Chartist unchallenged, and so he and Bonfim re-wrote a more moderate Bill, leaving religious schools independent and allowing Catholic teaching in state schools. The left wing was displeased by the Bill but nonetheless saw its value and in January 1839 backed Bonfim, who saw it pass with some Chartist support by 62-43.


    The defeated Saldanha

    Wilson’s growing influence extended into foreign affairs in April as talk of a free trade agreement with Britain began in light of the improving economic atmosphere. Despite the decimation of the Faro shipyards a year previous, the textile industry in Lisbon as well as the glassworks and vineyards of the Oporto region had survived relatively unscathed and boomed in late 1838 as European spending increased. This situation caused huge growth as thousands of farmers, bankrupted by the depression entered northern towns for work. Almost overnight Portugal’s industrial output doubled, with the few major industrialists becoming oligarchs over the lion’s share of Portugal’s economy. It was at this point that Portugal was recognised as one of Europe leading industrial powers, with Lisbon textiles being sold throughout Spain, Italy and Greece, while Portuguese wine was served in London, Vienna and even Paris.

    In light of this Westminster had wished to forge a free trade agreement with Queen Maria’s government both to benefit from the nation’s healthy industry and as the next step in the two country’s ever warming friendship. A Portuguese mission was prepared in April to go to London and discuss such an agreement, however Wilson insisted on being the lead delegate, over the Foreign and Finance Ministers, due to his nationality and skill, which would smooth negotiations. The Chartist cabinet was furious at the idea but thanks to his ever-close ear with the monarch, Queen Maria also insisted.


    Maria II, Wilson's close ally

    Despite the simplicity of the mission in light of warm relations between Britain and Portugal, Wilson was able to show his apparent importance to both the two Houses and the monarchy. However Wilson almost failed in his assignment due to his abject hatred of the ‘liberal’ aristocratic Whig government in Westminster, something that Wilson went to great length to cover-up on return to Lisbon, instead he was welcomed back as the great negotiator by the public, who had been consistently cautious over the foreign, unelected de facto minister.

    Not surprisingly, Wilson politely turned down an offer to take a second delegation to London as talks of a military alliance had begun to circulate via the British embassy in Lisbon. Britain had been at war with China since June following the murder of several merchants in Guangzhou and along with huge Indian armies supplied by the recently humbled East India Company, was conducting its largest military operation since the Napoleonic Wars with tens of thousands of soldiers and over half of the Royal Navy involved. The situation was perfect for a nation such as France to launch a surprise attack against British shipping, its African interests and even the home islands themselves. In such a situation, Prime Minister Grey had been in correspondence with Prime Minister Saldanha to ascertain a possible alliance to protect British shipping along the West African coast and through the Straits of Gibraltar.



    The Portuguese government had long worried how their diminutive military could protect their colonies, especially those in Asia such as Goa, Timor and especially the Chinese port of Macao. The British offer was the answer to a bleak military situation, as the threat of British sea power would easily deter both native and European aggression. By late September both Foreign Minister Cabral and Foreign Secretary Palmerston had signed the treaty, making it official.

    Talk soon began to circulate in the House of Deputies and the general public of joining the British expedition in China. Some wished to secure Macao as attacks on westerners had dramatically increased following the beginning of the ‘Opium’ War, as it was now called. Other more hawkish types wished to expand the Macao territory and seize the rich islands of Formosa and Hainan. However with a focus of economic development, as ever strongly pushed by Wilson, and the ever-present danger of rebellion in the colonies, something which was already stretching the Army, little came of the proposals.

  19. #19
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    Why did your shipyards suddenly collapse only to boom again a few months later?

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