Yes, you read it right! In Portugal we don’t have an “Independence Day” but a Restoration of Independence Day, which is today, the first of December. And, why is that? Well, it’s a long story but I’ll try to make it short:
In 1143, D. Afonso Henriques was recognized as King, our first King through the Treaty of Zamora. Since then, Portugal was an independent Kingdom but, in 1557, D. João III, our fifteenth King, died and his only legitimate descendent was his grandson, D. Sebastião. D. João III had nine children, but they all have died before him. D. Sebastião has become the King of Portugal when he was only 3 years old. When he was 24 years old, unmarried and without any legitimate or illegitimate child he disappeared in battle in Alcácer-Quibir (Africa). Portugal was left with no king and no princes! And, because they never found his body, the Portuguese people kept the hope and, for many years, Portugal waited for his legitimated king. But, he never returned in a foggy morning like the legend said. Unfortunately, his successor was a Cardinal, D. Henrique, brother of king D. João III. He was 66, and the pope did not release him from his vows. This way he couldn’t get married and have children, and he died two years later. One of the closest claimants was king Filipe II of Spain. D. Filipe claimed Portugal by force and, in 1581, he was elected King of Portugal. 60 years later, Portugal was completely tired of Spain and an important group of Portuguese nobles decided to put an end to that situation. In December 1, 1640 they started a revolt and they managed to end with the Spanish Domain. D. João Duque de Bragança, great-great-grandson of the King D. Manuel III, was acclaimed King of Portugal.
And that’s why we celebrate today’s holiday : O Dia da Restauração da Independência.
So, have a nice holyday! Bom feriado!