Misplaced, misdated: the commemorations of the Battle of Ourique and of the discovery of Guinea during the Portuguese military dictatorship and the Estado Novo (1926-1946)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The medieval past represented an essential part of the Portuguese national imaginary during the course of nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to the battles, con-quests, treaties, kings and warriors that allegedly forged the nation and expanded its territory, the fifteenth-century Portuguese navigators and their achievements became objects of important public-held commemorations since the 1890s. In all these events, time and space, respectively represented by a related date (often a centenary) and place (site, city or monument), helped to confer a sense of historical authenticity to the com-memorated persons or events.
During the period of the Estado Novo (1933-1974), we have the well-documented and studied examples of the centenaries of the foundation of Portugal (1940), of the con-quest of Lisbon (1947) and of the death of Henry the Navigator (1960). Less known are the commemorations of the Battle of Ourique, taking place since the beginning of the military dictatorship in 1926 and continuing through the 1930s, and of the fifth cen-tenary of the conquest of Guinea (1946). Both these celebrations were, however, tainted by a problem of historical misrepresentation that resulted from a lack of historiographical consensus concerning the two events: in the first case, regarding the site of the Battle of Ourique; in the second, regarding the date of the discovery of Portuguese Guinea and the identity of its discoverer.
Period30 Jun 2017
Event titleThe Middle Ages in the Modern World: A multidisciplinary conference on medievalism in the post-Middle Ages
Event typeConference
LocationManchester, United Kingdom