Forgive him, sir, for not knowing what his opinion is saying

I will not comment on the barbarities and alarms that Ascenso Simões recently announced in an interview with the Observer, which has already been widely criticized and rejected in the press. I just want to denounce the granitic ignorance of the story that Mr. Deputy issued. “Knowledge of history is missing. We still have to realize that we had no empire at all, ”laments Mr. Ascended, soon he, who completely lacks this knowledge of history.

In the 1870s and 1880s, urban society, particularly in Lisbon and Porto (to a lesser extent), changed radically. In 1876 the Portuguese Republican Party (PRP) was founded; The Geography Society was born in 1875, and in 1877 Roberto Ivens, Serpa Pinto and Brito Capelo traveled to South Africa. There was a “colonial euphoria”, a kind of discovery of our African vocation, a dimension linked to the ancient tribe of Portugal, which in the 1970s reached a level of nationalism never seen in Portugal. In the 1970s, the African fate of Portugal was discovered even in popular circles.

The PRP threw more chips into the fire and decided to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Camões (8/8/1880) with the greatest possible splendor and care in order to attract as many people as possible. Camões, “the most sincere expression of the Portuguese genius” at the height of his male creativity, would be the great factor of national unity, the idea and the symbol of the homeland. The June 8 demonstration was a success, and among the thousands and thousands of people who now attended, the popular element – the people – stood out.

Then other and varied citizens’ celebrations followed, not only in Lisbon and Porto, but also in remote provincial countries. From 1880, with the entry of the PRP into the scene and the arrival of the mayor on the political stage, Portuguese politics changed. This policy now had to do justice to unsympathetic urban masses. A climate of patriotic uprising was created in Portugal, originally created by the celebrations of the Camonians. The centenary of the brilliant Marquis of Pombal, the hero who drove out the Jesuits, exacerbated radical anti-clericalism, another factor that does not neglect the agglutination of radical hosts. Other associations and associations were established. In order to understand how colonialism and imperialism have become undeniable, it is important to maintain the extreme aggravation of patriotism, which rests on two great pillars, namely Camões, the epic genius who told 8816 declassilabic verses the grandiose Portuguese saga of the discoveries. and the elevation of Portugal to the head of a Portuguese-African empire. The empire and the colonies became incredible. This was back in the 1880s.

The empire was not a Salazarist invention, and treating it as such makes you laugh. Without the context of patriotic mobilization that developed in the 1980s in the 19th century, reactions to the English ultimatum of January 1890 would have been inconceivable. News that Portugal had bowed its neck swept through Lisbon like lightning and was exploited by both monarchists and republicans. On the night of January 11, 1890, the squares, streets and cafes in Baixa immediately filled up. On the 12th, popular anger stoned the windows of the British Embassy in Lisbon: Angola and Mozambique were ours!

After many, many adventures, the patriotic fire gradually died down. With the ultimatum of 1890, however, the republican monopoly of patriotism was introduced. The constitutional monarchy, which for a decade had separated itself from rituals and civil communities from city dwellers, has survived the aftermath of the ultimatum more isolated than ever before. Another result of the ultimatum was the final “sacralization of the empire” (Valentim Alexandre & Jill Dias). By the time colonial rule became “immaterial” (V. Alexandre & J. Dias), the monarchy had proven incapable of maintaining it. In the imagination of the politicized urban mass, which in fact confirmed much prose from public writers, the idea crystallized that “the Braganças” and the strict oligarchy that surrounded them were “a foreign body in the body of the nation” (VPV). The entire establishment – including the king – was threatened with the loss of a piece of African land that we judged good or bad.

Finally, I remember one detail: we actually had an empire – the Luso-Brazilian empire. It took centuries. I don’t think I should be thrown into a footnote on the story. Or was Brazil also “a symbolic construction of the Salazar empire”?

The republic inherited the empire. He looked after him as best he could, which wasn’t much because we were poor. (In 1874 Fontes Pereira de Melo had the opportunity to invest a few hundred accounts in Angola.) During the First World War, the republic sent 39,000 soldiers to Africa who had suffered defeat after defeat by the Germans. When Norton de Matos became governor in the 1920s, he significantly increased the budget allocation. But it was much more than obvious that we had no way of developing into a colonial power. Salazar didn’t invent anything, he managed an inheritance. In reality, it inherited the empire, but referred to it as “our overseas provinces” to underline its innate belonging to Portugal. Where is the invention? But sir. Deputy Ascenso Simões is of the opinion, despite all the factual evidence, that “this realm that is in our head is the Salazarist realm. It is a symbolic construction of the Salazar empire. “Does anyone understand this sentence?

Finally, I remember one detail: we actually had an empire – the Luso-Brazilian empire. It took centuries. I don’t think I should be thrown into a footnote on the story. Or was Brazil also “a symbolic construction of the Salazar empire”?

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