- The official Portuguese national anthem since 1911. A Portuguesa, which means "The Portuguese Woman," refers to the historical symbolic female figure or "Lady Republic," a Portuguese woman who wears republican garb, including a republican banner or flag and a Phrygian bonnet. The concept and name were modeled on the similar figure from the French Revolution of 1789, and the name of the French national anthem, "The Woman from Marseilles," and republican symbols from France's Third Republic. Under the constitutional monarchy, the national anthem was called "The Hymn of the Charter," referring to the 1826 Charter or constitution drafted by Emperor Pedro I of Brazil or Pedro IV of Portugal to replace the controversial 1822 Constitution.A Portuguesa was composed during the popular frenzy and outcry generated by the English Ultimatum crisis of January 1890. Portugal capitulated to an English ultimatum presented to Lisbon by London during an Anglo-Portuguese conflict over possession of territory in central-east Africa. Intense feelings of patriotism, nationalism, and xenophobia were generated in the wake of the Lisbon government's capitulation and its subsequent resignation from office. Inspired by the popular reaction to this incident, Alfredo Keil, a Portuguese musician and opera composer of German descent, wrote the music for A Portuguesa, whose melody bears a slight resemblance to that of the stirring Internationale. The sentimental, bellicose lyrics were written by Keil's friend, Lopes de Mendonça.See also Ultimatum, English.During the remaining years of the waning monarchy, A Portuguesa was sung as a rallying cry by republican partisans who wished to abolish the monarchy. The song's spirit is not only nationalistic, but is imbued with an imperative of Portuguese national revival in order to remind the people of their greatness of centuries ago. After the First Republic replaced the monarchy, the republic's Constituent Assembly adopted A Portuguesa as the country's national anthem in June 1911, and it has remained so ever since. The first verse with chorus imparts the spirit of the entire patriotic message of the anthem:A PortuguesaHeroes of the sea, noble racevaliant and immortal nation,now is the hour to raise up on high once morePortugal's splendor.From out of the mists of memory,of Homeland, we hear the voicesof your great forefathersthat shall lead you on to victory!Chorus:To arms, to armson land and sea!To arms, to armsto fight for our Homeland!To march against the enemy guns!
Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. by Douglas L. Wheeler . 2014.
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