By : December 30th, 2020 Kings and Queens 0 Comments

Manuel I Rei de Portugal, known as the Fortunate, o Blessed or the Lucky. He was born in Alcochete, a town near Lisbon in 1469 and died in Lisbon in the year 1521. Ninth son of Infantes D. Fernando, 2nd Duke of Viseu and D. Beatriz, married D. Isabel, daughter of the Catholic Kings.

With the Queen’s death due to childbirth, he married second wife the Infanta D. Maria de Castela, sister of D. Isabel, with whom he had ten children, in addition to the first child with his previous wife. Again a widower, he married Infanta D. Leonor, having two more children.

With the death of D. Afonso, legitimate successor to the throne of his priest King D. João II, D. Manuel I was acclaimed as his legatee to the throne in 1495.

King Manuel I’s policy was a continuation line of the previous governments. He continued with the Portuguese overseas exploration campaigns, expeditions that were decisive for the expansion of the empire and that led to the discoveries of Brazil by Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500, of the way to India by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and of the Moluccas by Admiral D. Afonso de Albuquerque in 1511.

Likewise, he received from his predecessor a powerful and centralized government with a strong tendency towards absolutism. D. Manuel dedicated himself to tax, legislative and administrative reforms. These reforms were fundamental to configure the Kingdom of Portugal as a modern state.

But the history of this king, which meant so much to the history of Portugal, is also a part worthy of the best soap operas.

Princess D. Leonor was destined for the wife of Prince D. João, heir to the crown of Portugal, and they were both still very young. King Manuel, however, who was widowed for the second time, seeing the portrait of the young princess, who was only nineteen, and says the tradition is of rare beauty, was so pleased with her charms that he decided to choose her for his wife, ignoring the pretensions of the prince his son, thus making his third nuptials.

Carlos V had been acclaimed as emperor of Germany, and had come from Flanders to Zaragoza, where he had met the court, and D. Manuel, on the pretext of congratulating him on having girded the imperial crown, sent Zaragoza as his ambassador, and Major Álvaro da Costa, but the main purpose of this embassy was to deal with the wedding, very secretly, given the circumstances that were taking place.

Álvaro da Costa carried out his mission with great diligence and diplomacy, the proposal was well accepted by the court of Castile, and the negotiations were quickly concluded.

The marriages took place in the same city of Zaragoza on 16 July 1518, with prosecutors being appointed to deal with Ambassador Álvaro da Costa, Cardinal Florent, Bishop of Tortosa, who later was Pope Adriano VI, Guilherme de Croy, duke of Sora; and João le Sauvage, lord of Strambeque.

This marriage of D. Manuel caused a certain astonishment in Portugal, because the monarch had been inconsolable by the death of his second wife, saying that he abdicated the crown on his son, and retired to the Penha Longa convent.

The prince felt great disgust, because he had also fallen in love with the portrait of his future wife, who had now become a stepmother.

After the marriage contracts were concluded, the new queen D. Leonor left Zaragoza, and entered Portugal through Castelo de Vide with the accompaniment of nobles.

The monarch was waiting for her at Crato, and on November 24th there were pompous parties. As there was plague in Lisbon, the royal spouses left with the entire court for Almeirim, where they stayed until the following summer, then passing to Évora, returning to Lisbon only when the epidemic was completely extinguished

D. Manuel I died in December 1521, leaving two more children with his third marriage. It is said, after widowing, D. Leonor recovered his destiny. The 23-year-old woman had a secret relationship with her stepson, D. João III. The secret love for her ex-fiance was a way to recover the lines of destiny that had been broken by D. Manuel I.

By : December 27th, 2020 Kings and Queens, Stories and Legends 0 Comments


When we think about England, we think directly about tea. 

Tea is so utterly English, such an ingrained part of the culture, that it’s also ingrained in how everyone else around the world perceives that culture.

Tea is such an ingrained part of the culture, that it’s also ingrained in how everyone else around the world perceives that culture

And while it’s fairly common knowledge that Westerners have China to thank for the original cultivation of the tannic brew, it’s far less known that it was the Portuguese who inspired its popularity in England – in particular, one Portuguese woman. 

Travel back in time to 1662, when Catherine of Braganza (daughter of Portugal’s King John IV) won the hand of England’s newly restored monarch, King Charles II, with the help of a very large dowry that included money, spices, treasures and the lucrative ports of Tangiers and Bombay. This hookup made her one very important lady: the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.

When she relocated up north to join King Charles, she is said to have packed loose-leaf tea as part of her personal belongings; it would also have likely been part of her dowry. A fun legend has it that the crates were marked Transporte de Ervas Aromaticas (Transport of Aromatic Herbs) – later abbreviated to T.E.A.

That last bit probably isn’t true (etymologists believe the word ‘tea’ came from a transliteration of a Chinese character), but what is for sure is that tea was already popular among the aristocracy of Portugal due to the country’s direct trade line to China via its colony in Macau, first settled in the mid-1500s (visit today to sample the other end of this culinary exchange, the Portuguese pastéis de nata, aka egg custard tarts).

When Catherine arrived in England, tea was being consumed there only as a medicine, supposedly invigorating the body and keeping the spleen free of obstructions. But since the young queen was used to sipping the pick-me-up as part of her daily routine, she no doubt continued her habit, making it popular as a social beverage rather than as a health tonic.

Everything from Catherine’s clothes to her furniture became the source of court talk

Hot poet of the time, Edmund Waller, even wrote a birthday ode to her shortly after her arrival, which forever linked the queen and Portugal with the fashionable status of tea in England. He wrote:

“The best of Queens, and best of herbs, we owe
To that bold nation, which the way did show
To the fair region where the sun doth rise,
Whose rich productions we so justly prize.”

To be fair, tea could be found in England before Catherine arrived, but it wasn’t very popular. 

Tea was unusual because it was so expensive and everyone was drinking coffee at this time.

The reason for the cost was threefold: England had no direct trade with China; tea from India wasn’t around yet; and the small quantities that the Dutch were importing were sold at a very high premium.

Tea became associated with elite women’s sociability around the royal court, of which Catherine was the most famous emblem.”

And what happens with famous people? Non-famous people imitate them. When the queen does something, everyone wants to follow suit, so very, very gradually by the end of the 17th Century, the aristocracy had started sipping small amounts of tea.

Until tea arrived with the Dutch, the English didn’t know anything about tea. No sugar spoons, no cups, no tea kettles so they copied the entire ritual from China. They imported Chinese tiny porcelain tea bowls, the saucers, the dishes for sugar, the small teapots.

Catherine’s home country had a hand in in popularising this aspect of the tea experience, too. Portugal was one of the routes by which porcelain got to Europe,it was very expensive and very beautiful. Since it was so prized, porcelain was probably part of Catherine’s dowry, and, like other aristocratic ladies, she would have accrued many gorgeous trappings to pad out her tea sessions once she was living in England.

But tea was not the only introduction of Catarina de Bragança in England.

The knowledge of orange

Catarina loved oranges and never stopped eating them thanks to their baskets that her mother sent her.

The orange compote

That the English call “marmelade”, using, incorrectly, the Portuguese term marmalade (quince paste), because Portuguese marmalade had already been introduced in England in 1495.

Catarina kept the compote of normal oranges for herself and her friends and that of bitter oranges for enemies, especially for the king’s lovers.

Influenced the way of dressing

She introduced the short skirt. At that time, a short skirt was above the ankle and Catarina scandalized the English court for showing her feet.

She introduced the habit of wearing men’s clothes to ride.

The use of the fork to eat

In England, even at court, they ate with their hands, although the fork was already known, but only for carving or serving. Catarina was used to using it to eat, and soon everyone was doing the same.

Introduction of porcelain

She was surprised that they ate on gold or silver plates and asked why they did not eat on porcelain plates as they had done for many years in Portugal. From then on, the use of porcelain crockery became widespread.


An ensemble of Portuguese musicians was part of the retinue she took from Portugal and it was by her hand that the first opera in England was heard.


Catarina also took with her some furniture, including precious Indo-Portuguese accountants who had never been seen in England.

The birth of the “British Empire”

Catherine’s dowry was great for the amount of money but, much more important for the future, for including the city of Tangier, in North Africa and the island of Bombay, in India.

Betraying the Treaties they had assumed and with the excuse that the King of Portugal was Spanish, the English managed, despite the control of the Portuguese Navy, to sail to India where they created a warehouse in Gujarat.

In 1670, after receiving Bombay from the Portuguese, King Carlos II authorized the East India Company to acquire territories.

Thus, the British Empire was born!

Its popularity extended to America, where one of the five neighborhoods of New York (Queens) was named after her.

By : December 24th, 2020 Gastronomy, Traditions 0 Comments


Christmas is an opportunity to meet with the family and the most important moment is even the dinner of the 24th where the family meets for dinner together and after waiting for  the Mass du Galo that is the Mass that celebrates the birth of Jesus.

During the dinner there are several traditions that are respected and the cod cannot be missed. Depending on the region, there are also gourmet alternatives to cod

In the Algarve, rooster with cabidela (prepared by adding rooster’s blood and vinegar)

In the Beira, the pulp is very popular

Lisbon and Tagus Valley, they also eat baked turkey

Tràs-os-montes and Alto Douro, they also prepare pulp, hake and fried fish

In the Azores, there is canja (chicken broth)

In the island of Madeira traditional meat kebabs

The tradition of Christmas night is to serve boiled cod accompanied by cabbage, potatoes and steamed vegetables

On the 25th they eat the lamb or the turkey in the oven and the “roupa velha” (the old clothes) which is the mixture of cod, potato and cabbage from the previous night, with garlic and enough oil and cooked in a pan

On the Christmas table can not miss the cakes … a lot of cakes!

Of course the Bolo Rei we talked about in the previous article, but also the fried cakes.

The fries are perhaps the most traditional of Christmas and in each region there is a variation in the preparation and the recipes have been passed from generation to generation.

They are normally prepared in large quantities and ahead of time. Besides, they say that when “it smells fried, it smells like Christmas”

According to tradition, at the end of dinner the table should not be cleared and the dishes should not be washed. And dinner leftovers shouldn’t be removed from the table either. They must stay just like during dinner to respect dead family members

And which is your Christmas Tradition?

By : December 22nd, 2020 Gastronomy, Traditions 0 Comments

The famous Bolo Rei is one of the best known Christmas traditions in Portugal. There is hardly any Portuguese family that does not respect this tradition. Round, with a hole in the middle and filled with candied fruits and nuts, they are the delight of the whole family.

Until a few years ago, this typical cake brought a metal object that was, however, prohibited in 1999 for safety reasons – and still a broad bean (which also came out of its composition). According to Portuguese tradition, the person to whom the slice of cake was served with the broad bean was the person responsible for, in the following year, buying the Bolo Rei.

Over time, this tradition has also been adapted, and there are now several variants of this traditional Christmas candy, such as Bolo Rainha for those who don’t like candied fruit, Chocolate King Cake and even the Bolo of Rei de Gila or with apple.

The story goes that the son of Baltasar Castanheiro, owner of the National Confectionery in Praça de Figueira, during a trip to Loire, France, tasted the galette des rois for the first time and, in love with the cake and the tradition of the bean, who decided who bought the cake the following year, imported the tradition in Lisbon. Nowadays, we can try this cake more or less between November and February at Confeitaria Nacional where, on December 23, the queue shows the importance of this tradition.

In Porto, the recipe is introduced by Confeitaria Cascais, which imported the tradition directly from Paris.

With the proclamation of the republic, the cake was in danger of disappearing because of the name “king”

Other names were proposed: national cake according to the National Confectionery or ex-king cake. Republicans proposed Bolo Presidente, Bolo Republicano or even Bolo Arriaga in relation to the first president of the Republic

But the tradition of this Christmas cake, besides being Portuguese, is found in different ways in many other countries:

– Galette des rois in France in brioche version or frangipane version with almond cream

– Dreikönigkuchen (the cake of the three kings) in Switzerland

– Roscón de reyes (galette des rois) in Majorca, much like the Portuguese version

– Brioche des rois in the Provencal Alps

– Rosca de Reyes in Mexico

– King Cake in New Orleans, official Mardi Gras (Carnaval) cake with colored sugar.

– Tortell of kings in Catalonia that can be simple or filled

And what will be your Christmas cake?

By : December 20th, 2020 Stories and Legends 0 Comments

In a few days it will be Christmas and a tradition that many families respect is that of the Christmas tree. But how was this tradition born? And how did you arrive in Portugal?

In the past, the Catholic Church did not celebrate Christmas, although it celebrated the birth of Jesus

It was in the 6th century with Pope Julius I that the date of Jesus’ birth was set for December 25, and we began to celebrate this feast.

Long before, for the Romans, it was the day of Saturnalia, festivals dedicated to the god Saturn and the winter solstice celebrated by the Celts and the Germanic peoples. That was how an old pagan festival became the biggest Christian festival.

But we are talking about the Christmas tree, which in Portugal, next to the nativity, cannot be missing.

This tradition is almost mandatory in all houses and is usually prepared between the 1st and the 8th of December.

In reality the tradition already existed at the time of the Romans who prepared firs for Saturnais.

The first Christmas trees were decorated with paper, dried fruits and cakes

According to history, the tree must be a pine tree due to its triangular shape that represents the Trinity for Christians. The first reference to the Christmas tree is in 1510, in Lithuania, attributed to Luther who would have decorated a tree with candles and a star.

And in the 16th century, this tradition already present in Germany and Germany passed to all of Europe and arrived in Portugal in the 19th century.

In 1835, as D. Maria II widowed months after his first marriage to Prince Augusto de Beauharnais, he was chosen to be the new husband of the sovereign D Fernando de Saxe Coburgo Gotha.

D Fernando II and D Maria II had a happy marriage crowned by 11 children (the queen died in giving birth to the last child). He introduced romanticism to Portugal, he is known for his taste for literature and art and for the construction of the Pena Palace in Sintra. But it was also he who introduced the Christmas tree in Portugal.

In 1844 he decided to surprise his family and prepared a Christmas tree decorated with colored balls and cakes and gifts next to the tree. From there the tradition of the tree was introduced in Portugal.

A curiosity: Each Christmas, D Fernando gave gifts to his children dressed as Saint Nicholas. Her cousin, Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband in England) did exactly the same for her family in England.

By : December 17th, 2020 Handicraft 0 Comments

The Cantarinha of Guimarães’ is a gift widely offered by the time of São Valentim, thus keeping an old tradition alive which is currently fed by the hands of masters of the pottery.

According to tradition, when a boy was ready to make the official marriage proposal, he first offered his girl a cantarinha, molded in clay. If the gift was accepted, the private request was formalized, and the announcement of the engagement depended only on the parents’ wishes. Once the consent was given, the cantarinha then served to keep the gifts that the groom and the bride’s parents offered, namely gold pieces.

Currently, the cantarinha are no longer properly used to ask someone for a hand or to store jewelry, but are assumed to be “guardians” of secrets and love stories. “Whoever offers them, does so because of the symbolism they contain”, is made of red clay sprinkled with white mica.

There are the big Cantarinhas, symbol of abundance, of the future, of hope. And the small Cantarinha, symbol of real life, of the uncertainties of the future and the small happiness of everyday life.

The Cantarinha was used, as well as valentine’s handkerchiefs, (October 14th article) as a symbol of acceptance or rejection of a dating / engagement request. If there was parental consent, the engagement was announced and the dowry treated, and the gifts offered to the bride and groom were placed in Cantarinha (gold cords, trancelets, crosses, hearts). Another version says that raffles were placed inside Cantarinha. The girl then took one at random that corresponded to a gift. Cantarinha of lovers is the most common name, but two more are added: Cantarinha of the gifts and Cantarinha of Guimarães.

In addition to its significance as a matchmaking object, which is its great attribute, Cantarinha dos Namorados is also a pottery product of excellence in terms of Portuguese handicrafts. Made of red clay baked for seven hours, and ornamented with small flourishes, there is an undeniable elegance when we look at it, and we understand why the girls who received this artifact in their hands melt.

It is made up of three parts: the base singlet, clearly larger, representing the couple’s prosperity; the little song that overlaps this one, noticeably smaller, symbolizing the problems that any pair of newlyweds or couples have to face; and finally, the shot is made with a bird, which some say is the secret keeper of the relationship.

By : December 14th, 2020 Traditions 0 Comments

Nossa Senhora da Nazaré is an image carved in wood, about 25 cm high, representing the Virgin Mary sitting on a low bench breastfeeding the Baby Jesus, with the faces and hands painted in a “dark” color. According to oral tradition, it was sculpted by St. Joseph when Jesus was still a baby, with faces and hands painted, decades later, by St. Luke. She is venerated at the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, at Sítio da Nazaré, in Portugal.

The history of the image was published in 1609, for the first time, by Frei Bernardo de Brito, in the book Lusitanian Monarchy. This monk from Alcobaça, chronicler of Portugal, reports that he found a territorial donation from 1182 in his monastery registry, which included the history of the image, which was venerated in the early days of Christianity in Nazareth in Galilee, his hometown. From Maria. Hence the invocation of Nossa Senhora – da Nazaré. From Galilee, it was brought, in the fifth century, to a convent near Mérida, in Spain, and from there, in 711 to the Sítio (of Our Lady) of Nazaré, where it continues to be venerated.

The story of this image is inseparable from the miracle that saved D. Fuas Roupinho, in 1182, an episode that was conventionally called “the Legend of Nazaré”.

During the Middle Ages, hundreds of images of Black Virgins appeared throughout Europe, most of which, like this one, were carved in wood, of small dimensions and linked to a miraculous legend. Today, there are about four hundred of these images, ancient or their replicas, in churches across Europe, as well as some more recent ones in the rest of the world.

The true and sacred image of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré has not yet been subjected to a laboratory test to date it scientifically and in parallel to obtain confirmation of being in front of a bi-millenary image, or of a replica produced later.

Legend of Nazaré tells that at dawn on September 14, 1182, D. Fuas Roupinho, mayor of the castle of Porto de Mós, hunted along the coast, surrounded by a dense fog, close to his lands, when he saw a deer that immediately started chasing. The deer headed for the top of a cliff. D. Fuas, in the fog, isolated himself from his companions. When he realized that he was on the top of the cliff, on the edge of the cliff, in danger of death, he recognized the place. He was right next to a cave where an image of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus was venerated. He then pleaded, out loud: Our Lady, Help me! Immediately, the horse miraculously stopped, sticking its paws in the rocky boulder suspended over the void, the Beak of Miracle, thus saving the rider and his mount from certain death that would result from a fall of more than one hundred meters.

D. Fuas dismounted and went down to the cave to pray and thank the miracle. Then he sent his companions to call bricklayers to build a chapel over the grotto, in memory of the miracle, the Hermitage of Memory, to be exposed there to the miraculous image of the faithful. Before the cave was trapped, the masons undid the altar there and among the stones, unexpectedly, they found an ivory safe containing some relics and a parchment, in which the relics were identified as being from São Brás and São Bartolomeu and the story was told of the small image representing the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1377, King D. Fernando (1367-1383), due to the significant influx of pilgrims, ordered the construction of a church, near the chapel, to which the image of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré was transferred. of origin, the village of Nazaré in Galilee.

The popularity of this devotion at the time of the Discoveries was so great among the people of the sea, that both Vasco da Gama, before and after his first trip to India, and Pedro Álvares Cabral, came on a pilgrimage to Sítio da Nazaré. Among the many pilgrims of the Royal family, we highlight Queen D. Leonor of Austria, third wife of King D. Manuel I, sister of Emperor Charles V, future Queen of France, who stayed at the Site for a few days, in 1519, in an accommodation of wood built especially for this occasion. Also S. Francisco Xavier, Jesuit priest, the Apostle of the East, came on a pilgrimage to Nazaré before leaving for Goa. In fact, the Portuguese Jesuits were the main propagators of this cult on all continents.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the cult of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré was widely disseminated in Portugal and in the Portuguese Empire. Even today, some replicas of the true image are venerated and there are several churches and chapels dedicated to this invocation around the world. It is worth mentioning the image of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, which is venerated in Belém do Pará, Brazil, whose annual party was named Círio de Nazaré and is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, reaching two million pilgrims in one day.

By : December 10th, 2020 Places and Monuments 0 Comments

Sumptuous golds, exotic woods, frescoes and thousands of rare and old books, arranged on shelves up to the ceiling. In the Johannine Library of the University of Coimbra, one breathes the history of the king who ruled the great Portuguese empire in the 18th century.

Here thousands of books rest, some of which are unique in the world. The Johannine Library , previously called Casa da Livraria, began to be erected in 1717, in the middle of the century of Enlightenment, at the behest of D. João V (1689-1750), the Portuguese king who privileged knowledge and who promoted a cultural policy without parallel across the country.

In the long reign of 43 years, one of the greatest in the history of Portugal, the monarch, who had ascended the throne at the age of 17, cultivates a taste for the arts, science and literature. With the coffers of the kingdom full of gold from the new deposits discovered in Brazil, the young monarch develops at the same time a certain appetite for splendour and for luxury: his idol is Louis XIV, the sun king.

On a regal initiative, emblematic works were made such as the Mafra Convent, the Águas Livres Aqueduct, the Royal History Academy, the Prototype Lusitanian Surgical Academy and this Library, a unique Baroque masterpiece, built by the best masters in fresco painting, gilders and carvers.

Three hundred years later, this library is considered the most beautiful University Library in the world, with an invaluable collection of incalculable value. It is visited every year by 200 thousand people, even more after the University of Coimbra was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2013.

The portrait of D. João V, the patron of the work, is highlighted on one of the main walls of the building in Baroque style.

The library was ordered to be built by D. João V, as well as the Library of the Convent of Mafra, which is also considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The University of Coimbra began to be built in 1717.

The rector at the time asked the King for a place to keep a library that was for sale. D. João V was not limited to building a mere library. He hired specialists and the three-story building is a symbol of a country that at the time broke with obscurantism and bet on knowledge and the arts.

The library has over 60 thousand volumes and has books published until the year 1800. The oldest is a bible from 1140, from the time of D. Afonso Henriques. The bible has four volumes and is made of leather. It is estimated that about a thousand animals have been slaughtered to do this. The library has several treasures such as the first edition of the Lusíadas, an Hebrew bible and some manuscripts, such as Almeida Garrett. These treasures are kept in the other building of the General Library that started operating in 1962. It is also in this structure that the works of the Joanine Library are consulted. About 800 volumes are requested per year for consultation.

The library is open for consultation by any citizen, but its activity, since its foundation, has been directed to the academic community.

The Bats. At first glance, you may think that these animals are a problem for the Johannine Library of the University of Coimbra. However, the bats that live there, occupying the space behind the shelves during the day and diving into the arched ceilings when the sun goes down, are not a problem.

On the contrary. The bats play a vital role in preserving the institution’s manuscripts, so much so that librarians are in no hurry to get rid of these animals.

The bats that live in the Johannine Library do not damage books and, since they are night owls, they generally do not disturb visitors who enter the library to be carried away by its charms.

In fact, the greatest danger to the book collection is the insect population. It is known that many species of insects gnaw on the paper, which can be a real danger for the very rare books that live in that library in Coimbra, which date before the 19th century.

It is in this tragic part of the narrative that bats enter, but not as villains. They are the true heroes who, at night, feed on insects, preventing them from spoiling the collection.

However, although bats are not a threat, there is a particular concern: faeces. To protect the estate, librarians cover 18th-century tables with fabric made of animal skin at night, and clean the floors every morning

By : December 7th, 2020 Kings and Queens 0 Comments


D. Afonso VI is one of the Portuguese representatives of the scandals that involve the monarchy.

D. Afonso VI was consecrated as “the Victorious” in the History of the Portuguese Monarchy, because it was during his reign that the decisive battles took place during the restoration war that ended in 1668 with the independence of Portugal from the Spanish kingdom.

But if on the one side he wielded his sword well on the battlefield, with women he did not have the same talent.

But let’s go in order.

D Afonso was the son of D. João IV and D. Luísa de Gusmão. Attacked in childhood by an unidentified disease, he is mentally and physically diminished. With the death of his brother D. Teodósio and his father, he ascends the throne at the age of thirteen, so the regency was left to his mother. The king grew up, rebellious to all the educational action, leading an unruly life and manifesting himself perfectly incapable of assuming the responsibilities of the government.

One of his companions, António Conti, insinuated himself in such a way that he soon lived in the royal palace, at the invitation of D. Afonso VI and having an influence on the business of the kingdom government. The scandal increased to the point that D. Luísa de Gusmão let the Infante D. Pedro, D Afonso’s younger brother, swear as future king and António Conti was arrested.

Meanwhile, the count of Castelo Melhor, advisor of the king and prime minister, carried out a coup d’état, compelling D. Luísa, to hand over the government to D. Afonso VI and forcing her to retire to a convent.

In the good graces of the king, he launched his brilliant political career in his short film, ending victoriously with the War of Restoration and managing to marry D. Afonso with Maria Francisca Isabel de Saboia who very quickly came into conflict with the count, and helped the brother-in-law D Pedro to remove his own husband from the government.

To achieve this, he asked to annul the marriage, accusing the king of impotence. During the process, 14 women participated as witnesses.

D. Afonso VI then experienced the humiliation of having these fourteen women witness his disability in bed!

In the time frame marked between January 9 and February 23 of the year 1668, public hearings took place that aimed to assess a possible sexual incapacity of King D. Afonso VI. The historic moment took place in the archbishop’s palace in Lisbon. 55 witnesses were called to testify, distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, always in the afternoon.

The queen took refuge in the Convento da Esperança, having appointed the Duke of Cadaval as prosecutor in the process.

There was no lack of exquisite details that are present in a manuscript at Torre do Tombo that was published by António Baião, in 1925. Titled Cause of nullity of marriage between Queen D. Maria Francisca Isabel de Saboya and King D. Afonso VI, this document revealed the testimonies of its 14 partners.

None of the women defended D. Afonso VI.

In fact, no one appeared at the hearings to defend D. Afonso, who was later deposed by decision of the Council of State.

With a new conspiracy in the palace, the abdication of D. Afonso VI resulted. D. Pedro took the power, married his sister-in-law, after the annulment of her marriage with D. Afonso and Afonso was exiled to Angra do Heroísmo in 1669, from where he returned in 1674, being then closed in the Palace of Sintra, where you can still visit his prison room, until his death.

D. Pedro II was crowned King, and fulfilled his role well with D. Maria Francisca. 9 months later a princess was born, Isabel Luísa.

By : December 4th, 2020 Gastronomy 0 Comments

The octopus à lagareiro is a very typical recipe of Portuguese gastronomy in which the octopus, the main ingredient of many Portuguese cuisine dishes, becomes the protagonist here. First it is cooked and then taken to the grill where it acquires the crispy and delicious texture. The name of this recipe comes from the figure of the Lagareiro (an individual who works in a mill in the production of olive oil) and is applied in this recipe due to the large amount of oil that is used to water the octopus.

In historical terms, the mill was a rustic tank where handcrafted olives were worked and crushed into pastes, to be pressed in large millstones to extract the oil. The lagareiro, therefore, was responsible for the progress of the entire process.

In addition to the tasting, savouring the oil, some preparations were made as a test to check and classify the properties and qualities of the oil. They also served as a check on the performance of workers, unless whether disasters and / or pest attacks were recorded. Another factor that could compromise the qualities of olives and olive oil, but no less important, was the improper handling of the fruits, from harvesting and transportation to pressing and storage.

The olive oil manufacturing process is very delicate and requires agility, which requires the maximum attention of those who work in it. The time between harvesting the olives and processing them, should be done as soon as possible, so that they do not ferment. If this happens, there is a high probability of bacteria multiplication, with consequences that can be tragic for the degree of acidity of the final product.

A dish that started to be quite appreciated from the first crop of olive oil to be produced, was lagareiro cod, which in the original versions, dating back many centuries ago, says that this fish was desalted, breaded with leftover ground bread, fried in olive oil taken directly from the mills, ending up being savoured with raw or roasted garlic. This recipe had its origin in the Beiras, between the South of the Douro River and the North of the Tagus River, where the oldest urban centers and villages were built even before the official consolidation of the Portuguese nation.

The preparation of cod in the mills, when the olive oil corresponded to the expectations of the products, went beyond what should be a simple test, acquiring festive contours.

Thus, the months of hard work were celebrated. The story goes that as soon as the Portuguese and Spanish ships brought the potatoes, the perfect mix was found and from there arises the expression that in Portugal, a dish with cod, has potatoes. Later, cod ended up being replaced by octopus, reaching a greater number of consumers.

For this recipe to be called “lagareiro”, the predominant ingredients included boiled, roasted and pounded potatoes, onion, garlic and at the end, all dipped in olive oil, the main ingredient of this dish.

Recipe Octopus à Lagareiro


1 kilo and a half of octopus

250 ml of olive oil

2 heads of garlic

1 onion

Salt q.s.

900 grams of small potatoes

2 bay leaves

White pepper



Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

Put the octopus in a large pot with 5 liters of water, 5 ml of oil, a chopped garlic head and an unpeeled onion and cook for 40 minutes until tender.

Check by pricking with a fork in the thickest tentacles.

Season with salt and let cool in the water itself.

Separate the head from the tentacles and set aside in an optimal dish for oven.

Wash the potatoes well and wrap them in salt. To be soft, bake at 160 degrees for 35 minutes.

Shake the salt from the potatoes well and add to the tentacles. Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees.

Sprinkle the octopus and potatoes with 200 milliliters of olive oil, distribute the crushed garlic cloves and bay leaves over the platter and sprinkle with white pepper.

Take it to the oven and when the octopus is very golden, it will be when it is ready.

Sprinkle the dish with chopped parsley and serve the octopus immediately.