This essay focuses on the political, economic, cultural, and gastronomic history of Portugal. It is written for the participants in two Stanford Travel/Study programs – Portugal and Galicia Food and Wine, May 11-22, 2016 and Insider’s Portugal Seminar, June 1-June 16, 2008. 

 

           I begin with Lusitania in the Roman Empire (3rd century BCE-8th century CE) – Roman conquest, sources of wealth, and takeover by the Visigoths. I then focus on Portugal as part of Islamic Al-Andalus (8th-14th centuries) – evolution of Muslim rule, Medieval Green Revolution, and formation of the Christian Kingdom of Portugal. I move on to discuss Portugal in the Age of Exploration (1415-1640) – why Portugal led the Age of Discovery, how it dominated Indian Ocean trade, and why Portugal was taken over by Spain (1580-1640). I next examine Portuguese Colonialism in Brazil and Africa (1640-1822) – why the slave trade linked Portugal with Brazil, Portugal depended on British military aid, and export cycles led to Brazilian independence. I conclude by analyzing the phases of modern Portugal (1820-present) – constitutional monarchy, republicanism, totalitarianism, and European integration. I append a time line, a bibliography, and a description of sites that I visited in Portugal.

Roman and Visigothic Lusitania, Roman Conquest of Portugal, Agriculture, Contrasts in Food Patterns, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Visigothic Kingdom, Al-Andalus and the Islamic Conquest of Iberia, Moorish Wealth and Legacy, West Africa, Expansion in Central Africa, Domination of the Indian Ocean, Portuguese Colonization of Brazil, Economic and Political Change in Portugal, Portuguese Colonialism in Brazil and Africa, The Atlantic Slave Trade, Imperial Linkages – Portugal, Brazil, and Angola, International Dependence – Britain, Colonial Economy of Brazil, Transition to Brazilian Independence, Constitutional Monarchy, Parliamentary Regime, Unstable Republic, Repressive Dictatorship, Stable Democracy, Lisbon, Évora, Buçaco, Pinhao, Douro Region, Pontevedra and Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Porto, Tomar and Coimbra, Santar, Dão Region, Porto and Ponte de Lima, Madeira, Portugal, Lisbon, Sintra, and Cascais, Portugal