Deconolization

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Portuguese decolonization
Like the Spanish decolonization, Portuguese decolonization in the Americas was produced by the disintegration of the metropolitan state. The Portuguese court fled to Brazil during the Napoleonic occupation (1807). This transformed the former colony into the imperial center. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Brazil (richer and more populous than Portugal) was elevatedto formal equality with Portugal itself, with the court remaining in Rio de Janeiro. Only rebellion in Portugal led the King to leave Brazil in 1821. Attempts to return Brazil to subor-dinate status led to the complete severance of the link. The King's son, who had remained in Brazil, declared its independence in 1822. In the twentieth century, Portugal was the last European power to relinquish itsempire. Nationalist revolts in Angola in 1961 were brutally repressed at a time when Britain, France, and Belgium were abandoning their non-settler colonies without a struggle. War in Africa came to cost Portugal a quarter of its national budget, and ended only when the estado novo was toppled by liberal factions within the military. The roots of Portuguese imperialism in an era of decolonizationlie in her political theory. In the United Nations, Portugal stoutly denied the existence of any "non-self-governing territories" for which she was obliged to transmit infor-mation. The authoritarian-corporatist estado novo promoted a rhetoric of Greater Portugal as "one State, one Race, one Faith, and one Civilization." Meager levels of political participation within Portugal made such claimsmore plausible. Thus, the pattern of Portuguese and Spanish decolonization are similar. In the nineteenth century, external pressures suppressed the Portuguese metropolis and made Brazil the imperial center, a status that quickly turned into indepen-dence when Portugal sought to regain control. In the twentieth century, Portu-gal's colonies received ideological and material support from nationalindepen-dence elsewhere, rather than from Portugal's political ideas or colonial institutions. Decolonization occurred more than a decade after the bulk of Afri-can independence, in large part because of Portuguese commitment to her "overseas provinces."

The first of Portugal's two experiments with liberal democratic forms ended in 1926 when the civilian right, the landed oligarchy, and the militaryjoined forces in a counter-revolutionary move-ment that seized power and laid the ground for Europe's lengthiest dictatorship of the right. For the next forty-eight years, organized opposition to Portuguese authoritarianism was miniscule and ultimately it was contradictions within the apparatus of state that caused the regime to topple in 1974. This was a sudden demise, but over the long term,the regime's dependence on the capability of a single individual - Professor Ant6nio d'Oliveira Salazar - had been a fatal weakness. At no time did the dictator - virtually a reclusive personality - encourage internal debate or establish mechanisms for choosing a successor. His was an informal per-sonalist regime that might have come under sustained challenge sooner but for a key mitigatingcircumstance. Portuguese authoritarianism consistently displayed a high degree of rationality in the area of internal security. For many years, an extremely efficient undercover police apparatus kept down opposi-tion without resorting to total repression: over four decades, political murders committed in metropolitan Portugal amounted to less than 500. However, opposition forces remained continuallydiffuse and inactive in a country where, after the first few years, the
The military was also stony ground for communist recruiters. However, on more than one occasion before 1974, this was the organism that posed the main direct threat to Salazarism. Attemp-ted coups - albeit small-scale and often badly-planned ones - took place in each decade between the 1930s and the 1970s. In 1961 an important...
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