Vila Franca de Xira
Vila Franca de Xira is a municipality in the Lisbon District in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 136,886, in an area of 318.19 km². Situated on the west bank of the Tagus River, 32 km north-east of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, Vila Franca de Xira is said to have been founded by French followers of Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, around 1200; the town is famous for its bull-running festivals in July and October. Bulls are raised in the salty marshlands of the Ribatejo, a notable breeding ground for the magnificent Lusitano horse, esteemed for its quick reflexes and maneuverability; the municipality contains several forts built during the Peninsular War and forming part of the Lines of Torres Vedras. These include the Fort of Casa. A number of brightly coloured Portuguese bullfighting costumes are on display in the ethnographic museum in the town's bullring, the Praça de Toiros Palha Blanco. Nearby, the town's Misericórdia church features striking 18th-century azulejos; the town has a Museum of Neo-Realism.
Three km south of Vila Franca de Xira lies the Lezíria Grande Equestrian Centre, where visitors can watch stylish displays of the impressive Lusitano horses. The centre stages typical bullfighting spectacles in its outdoor bullring. Visitors can ride Lusitano horses and take dressage lessons at the Quinta de São Sebastião, a sprawling estate at Arruda dos Vinhos, 11 km west of Vila Franca de Xira; the current Mayor is Alberto Mesquita, elected in 2013 as a member of the Socialist Party. Administratively, the municipality is divided into 6 civil parishes: Alhandra, São João dos Montes e Calhandriz Alverca do Ribatejo e Sobralinho Castanheira do Ribatejo e Cachoeiras Póvoa de Santa Iria e Forte da Casa Vialonga Vila Franca de Xira Official website Photos from Vila Franca de Xira
Portugal the Portuguese Republic, is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain, its territory includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. Portugal is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled and fought over since prehistoric times; the pre-Celtic people, Celts and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples. Portugal as a country was established during the Christian Reconquista against the Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128; the Kingdom of Portugal was proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique in 1139, independence from León was recognised by the Treaty of Zamora in 1143.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world's major economic and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, notably under royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King John II, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias' sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope, Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India and the European discovery of Brazil. During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castille, the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil, a late industrialization compared to other European powers, erased to a great extent Portugal's prior opulence. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established being superseded by the Estado Novo right-wing authoritarian regime.
Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Shortly after, independence was granted to all its overseas territories; the handover of Macau to China in 1999 marked the end of what can be considered the longest-lived colonial empire. Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, a legacy of around 250 million Portuguese speakers, many Portuguese-based creoles, it is a developed country with a high-income advanced economy and high living standards. Additionally, it is placed in rankings of moral freedom, democracy, press freedom, social progress, LGBT rights. A member of the United Nations and the European Union, Portugal was one of the founding members of NATO, the eurozone, the OECD, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries; the word Portugal derives from the Roman-Celtic place name Portus Cale. Portus, the Latin word for port or harbour, Cala or Cailleach was the name of a Celtic goddess – in Scotland she is known as Beira – and the name of an early settlement located at the mouth of the Douro River which flows into the Atlantic Ocean in the north of what is now Portugal.
At the time the land of a specific people was named after its deity. Those names are the origins of the - gal in Galicia. Incidentally, the meaning of Cale or Calle is a derivation of the Celtic word for port which would confirm old links to pre-Roman, Celtic languages which compare to today's Irish caladh or Scottish cala, both meaning port; some French scholars believe it may have come from ` Portus Gallus', the port of the Celts. Around 200 BC, the Romans took the Iberian Peninsula from the Carthaginians during the Second Punic War, in the process conquered Cale and renamed it Portus Cale incorporating it to the province of Gaellicia with capital in Bracara Augusta. During the Middle Ages, the region around Portus Cale became known by the Suebi and Visigoths as Portucale; the name Portucale evolved into Portugale during the 7th and 8th centuries, by the 9th century, that term was used extensively to refer to the region between the rivers Douro and Minho. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Portugallia or Portvgalliae was referred to as Portugal.
The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in South Western Europe. The name of Portugal derives from the joined Romano-Celtic name Portus Cale; the region was settled by Pre-Celts and Celts, giving origin to peoples like the Gallaeci, Lusitanians and Cynetes, visited by Phoenicians, Ancient Greeks and Carthaginians, incorporated in the Roman Republic dominions as Lusitania and part of Gallaecia, after 45 BC until 298 AD. The region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula; these were subsistence societies that, although they did not establish prosperous settlements, did form organized societies. Neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing, it is believed by some scholars that early in the first millennium BC, several waves of Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and inter-married with the local populations, forming differe
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque, Duke of Goa, was a Portuguese general, a "great conqueror", a statesman, an empire builder. Afonso advanced the three-fold Portuguese grand scheme of combating Islam, spreading Christianity, securing the trade of spices by establishing a Portuguese Asian empire. Among his achievements, Afonso managed to conquer the island of Goa and was the first European of the Renaissance to raid the Persian Gulf, he led the first voyage by a European fleet into the Red Sea, his military and administrative works are regarded as among the most vital to building and securing the Portuguese Empire in the Orient, the Middle East, the spice routes of eastern Oceania. Afonso is considered a military genius, "probably the greatest naval commander of the age" given his successful strategy—he attempted to close all the Indian Ocean naval passages to the Atlantic, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, to the Pacific, transforming it into a Portuguese mare clausum established over the opposition of the Ottoman Empire and its Muslim and Hindu allies.
In the expansion of the Portuguese Empire, Afonso initiated a rivalry that would become known as the Ottoman–Portuguese war, which would endure for many years. Many of the Ottoman–Portuguese conflicts in which he was directly involved took place in the Indian Ocean, in the Persian Gulf regions for control of the trade routes, on the coasts of India, it was his military brilliance in these initial campaigns against the much larger Ottoman Empire and its allies that enabled Portugal to become the first global empire in history. He had a record of defeating much larger armies and fleets. For example, his capture of Ormuz in 1507 against the Persians was accomplished with a fleet of seven ships. Other famous battles and offensives which he led include the conquest of Goa in 1510 and the capture of Malacca in 1511, he became admiral of the Indian Ocean, was appointed head of the "fleet of the Arabian and Persian sea" in 1506. During the last five years of his life, he turned to administration, where his actions as the second governor of Portuguese India were crucial to the longevity of the Portuguese Empire.
He pioneered European sea trade with China during the Ming Dynasty with envoy Rafael Perestrello, Thailand with Duarte Fernandes as envoy, with Timor, passing through Malaysia and Indonesia in a voyage headed by António de Abreu and Francisco Serrão. He aided diplomatic relations with Ethiopia using priest envoys João Gomes and João Sanches, established diplomatic ties with Persia, during the Safavid dynasty, he became known as "the Great", "the Terrible", "the Caesar of the East", "the Lion of the Seas", "the Portuguese Mars". Afonso de Albuquerque was born in 1453 near Lisbon, he was the second son of Gonçalo de Albuquerque, Lord of Vila Verde dos Francos, Dona Leonor de Menezes. His father held an important position at court and was connected by remote illegitimate descent with the Portuguese monarchy, he was educated in mathematics and Latin at the court of Afonso V of Portugal, where he befriended Prince John, the future King John II of Portugal. Afonso's early training is described by Diogo Barbosa Machado: “D. Alfonso de Albuquerque, surnamed the Great, by reason of the heroic deeds wherewith he filled Europe with admiration, Asia with fear and trembling, was born in the year 1453, in the Estate called, for the loveliness of its situation, the Paradise of the Town of Alhandra, six leagues distant from Lisbon.
He was the second son of Gonçalo de Albuquerque, Lord of Villaverde, of D. Leonor de Menezes, daughter of D. Álvaro Gonçalves de Athayde, Count of Atouguia, of his wife D. Guiomar de Castro, corrected this injustice of nature by climbing to the summit of every virtue, both political and moral, he was educated in the Palace of the King D. Afonso V, in whose palaestra he strove emulously to become the rival of that African Mars”. Afonso served 10 years in North Africa, where he gained military experience in fierce campaigns against Muslim powers and Ottoman Turks. In 1471, under the command of Afonso V of Portugal, he was present at the conquest of Tangier and Arzila in Morocco, serving there as an officer for some years. In 1476 he accompanied Prince John in wars against Castile, including the Battle of Toro, he participated in the campaign on the Italian peninsula in 1480 to rescue Ferdinand II of Aragon from the Ottoman invasion of Otranto that ended in victory. On his return in 1481, when Prince John was crowned as King John II, Afonso was made Master of the Horse for his distinguished exploits, chief equerry to the King, a post which he held throughout John's reign.
In 1489 he returned to military campaigns in North Africa, as commander of defense in the Graciosa fortress, an island in the river Luco near the city of Larache, in 1490 was part of the guard of King John II, returning to Arzila in 1495, where his younger brother Martim died fighting by his side. Afonso made his mark under the stern John II, won military campaigns in Africa and the Mediterranean sea, yet Asia is where he would make his greatest impact; when King Manuel I of Portugal was enthroned, he showed some reticence towards Afonso, a close friend of his dreaded predecessor and seventeen years his senior. Eight years on 6 April 1503, after a long military career and at a mature age, Afonso was sent on his first expedition to India together with his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque; each commanded three ships, sailing with Duarte Pacheco Nicolau Coelho. They engaged in several battles against the forces of the Zamorin of Calicut and succeeded in establishing the King of Cohin (Cohim, Ko
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 505,526 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Its urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.8 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. About 3 million people live including the Portuguese Riviera, it is the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the River Tagus; the westernmost areas of its metro area form the westernmost point of Continental Europe, known as Cabo da Roca, located in the Sintra Mountains. Lisbon is recognised as an alpha-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group because of its importance in finance, media, arts, international trade and tourism. Lisbon is the only Portuguese city besides Porto to be recognised as a global city, it is one of the major economic centres on the continent, with a growing financial sector and one of the largest container ports on Europe's Atlantic coast.
Additionally, Humberto Delgado Airport served 26.7 million passengers in 2017, being the busiest airport in Portugal, the 3rd busiest in the Iberian Peninsula and the 20th busiest in Europe, the motorway network and the high-speed rail system of Alfa Pendular links the main cities of Portugal to Lisbon. The city is the 9th-most-visited city in Southern Europe, after Rome, Barcelona, Venice, Madrid and Athens, with 3,320,300 tourists in 2017; the Lisbon region contributes with a higher GDP PPP per capita than any other region in Portugal. Its GDP amounts to thus $32,434 per capita; the city occupies the 40th place of highest gross earnings in the world. Most of the headquarters of multinational corporations in Portugal are located in the Lisbon area, it is the political centre of the country, as its seat of Government and residence of the Head of State. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, one of the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London and Rome by centuries.
Julius Caesar made it. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since it has been a major political and cultural centre of Portugal. Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon's status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed – by statute or in written form, its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal. One claim repeated in non-academic literature is that the name of Lisbon can be traced back to Phoenician times, referring to a Phoenician term Alis-Ubo, meaning "safe harbour". Roman authors of the first century AD referred to popular legends that the city of Lisbon was founded by the mythical hero Odysseus on his journey home from Troy. Although modern archaeological excavations show a Phoenician presence at this location since 1200 BC, neither of these folk etymologies has any historical credibility.
Lisbon's origin may in fact derive from Proto-Celtic or Celtic Olisippo, Lissoppo, or a similar name which other visiting peoples like the Ancient Phoenicians and Romans adapted accordingly. The name of the settlement may be derived from the pre-Roman appellation for the Tagus River, Lisso or Lucio. Lisbon's name was written Ulyssippo in Latin by a native of Hispania, it was referred to as "Olisippo" by Pliny the Elder and by the Greeks as Olissipo or Olissipona. Lisbon's name is abbreviated to'LX' or'Lx', originating in an antiquated spelling of Lisbon as ‘’Lixbõa’’. While the old spelling has since been dropped from usage and goes against modern language standards, the abbreviation is still used. During the Neolithic period, the region was inhabited by Pre-Celtic tribes, who built religious and funerary monuments, megaliths and menhirs, which still survive in areas on the periphery of Lisbon; the Indo-European Celts invaded in the 1st millennium BC, mixing with the Pre-Indo-European population, thus giving rise to Celtic-speaking local tribes such as the Cempsi.
Although the first fortifications on Lisbon's Castelo hill are known to be no older than the 2nd century BC, recent archaeological finds have shown that Iron Age people occupied the site from the 8th to 6th centuries BC. This indigenous settlement maintained commercial relations with the Phoenicians, which would account for the recent findings of Phoenician pottery and other material objects. Archaeological excavations made near the Castle of São Jorge and Lisbon Cathedral indicate a Phoenician presence at this location since 1200 BC, it can be stated with confidence that a Phoenician trading post stood on a site now the centre of the present city, on the southern slope of the Castle hill; the sheltered harbour in the Tagus River estuary was an ideal spot for an Iberian settlement and would have provided a secure harbour for unloading and provisioning Phoenician ships. The Tagus settlement was an important centre of commercial trade with the inland tribes, providing an outlet for the valuable metals and salted-fish they collected, for the sale of the Lusitanian horses renowned in antiquity.