Maria da Fonte

   A 19th-century rural uprising of peasants against the central government, as well as the legendary name of a peasant woman rebel. Beginning in northern Portugal in a village called Vieira do Minho, women led supposedly by one called "Maria of the Fountain" were provoked to rebellion by new laws regarding health regulations (burial customs) and tax assessments. Mobs raided the village administrative center, burned records, and attacked officials. The insurrection spread throughout Minho province into Trás-os-Montes in 1846. The Costa Cabrai government was in office in Lisbon and failed to get the legislative chambers to support suppression of the rural uprising. The Maria da Fonte affair led to pressures to dismiss the Costa Cabrai government in order to mollify the rural insurgents. Queen Maria II consented to the resignation of the government and the appointment of a successor. The Costa Cabrai brothers then fled to exile in Spain. The name and concept of "Maria da Fonte" in folklore, songs, and tradition came to symbolize the idea of justified rural discontent and direct action against arbitrary action by the central government embodied by Lisbon. Following the end of the Maria da Fonte uprising in northern Portugal, a great deal of mythology attached to the original events.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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