Anglo-Portuguese Alliance: 630 Years and Counting

That’s 632 years now…

Nomad Scribe

32-01-05/68 John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, dining with King João I of Portugal

Ever since my arrival in Lisbon, whenever new Portuguese acquaintances discover that I am English they invariably refer to the world’s oldest alliance or to Catherine of Braganza’s role in popularising tea-drinking in England. Their enthusiasm leaves me with a vague feeling of camaraderie that is difficult to explain given my limited knowledge of the story behind these historical headlines. However, whenever I walk the history-drenched, crumbling streets of Lisbon, my senses are both stimulated by the Lusophone world and comforted by the familiarity of the English world as glimpsed through place names like Rua da Cidade de Liverpool or Port brands like Taylor’s. And studying Portuguese, I encounter Anglicisms or sayings inspired by Anglo-Portuguese history. All this hints at a ‘special relationship’ between Portugal and England that has existed for far longer than the US–UK relationship…

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