The role of Portugal on the stage of imperialism: Communism, nationalism and colonialism (1930-1960)

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At the beginning of the 1930s, Portuguese political elites were committed to the recovery of the “lost glory” of the era of the so-called Portuguese Discoveries, a past age which was (and still is) often considered as the golden period of Portuguese history. The new Portuguese political regime, an outcome of a right-wing military coup d’e ́tat in 1926, and its opposition on the left were united in arguing in favour of a Portuguese Empire. In 1934, during Portugal’s I Exposição Colonial (1st Colonial Expo), the oppositionist newspaper O Diabo frequently praised the Por tuguese Empire, setting the tonefor the rest of the decade.
In the second half of the 1930s, the glorification of the Empire by oppositionists  became even more prominent, as exemplified by Portugal’s Frente Popular’s (Popular Front) programme, a political document that was the result of a con-
vergence between Portuguese communists, socialists and republicans. Written in 1936, the programme is critical of “colonial imperialism’s policy,” but not really of colonialism in general. According to Frente Popular, colonialism was morally acceptable because it can aid “other less civilized peoples, so that they can gradually join international life, until they reach the final stage of their complete autonomy.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-499
Number of pages15
JournalNationalities Papers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Imperialism
  • Communism
  • Nationalism
  • Colonialism
  • Portugal
  • 1930–1960


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