We’re rewarding the question askers & reputations are being recalculated! Read more.
59

I can tell you why Spain was neutral. (Sorry, I don't know much about Portugal) Germany and Italy helped Franco during the Spanish Civil War. When the Second World War started, Germany of 1939 was not very interested in Spain. As you know in May 1940 Italy joined the Axis while France was being conquered. After defeat the Germans prepared themselves to ...


30

I mean if the people felt they were Portuguese how could they accept kings with Asturian origins? Because they didn't feel they were "Portuguese" until later on. Firstly, you are taking the modern approach of the nation-state which was absent at the time of the creation of Portugal. At that time, what counted was the relationships of loyalty between the ...


27

Actually, Portugal and England have the longest alliance in the world -- one signed in the Treaty of Windsor (1386). The Portuguese and English agreed that neutrality for Portugal was the most viable stance though Portugal helped the alliance in other ways like evacuating civilians from Gilbraltar to Madeira and allowing later in the war, bases in the Azores....


21

The most important "paradigm shift" of the early 19th century was the Industrial Revolution. That was the harnessing of the steam, and later, internal combustion engines, for manufacturing advances that led to an "order of magnitude" gains (five to ten times) in the standard of living. The great powers of the time were also among the earliest beneficiaries ...


19

As mentioned in the comments, the Wikipedia entry on this subject does not adequately describe the situation and causes of the foundation of Portugal. The creation of Portugal was nothing short of a miracle which was accomplished by a single man, Alfonso Henrique (1109-1185), known as Alfonso Henry in English. His deeds are best known from the massive tomes ...


18

(Note that there are definitively many traces of Germanic influence on Spanish/Portuguese. For example, as @AlbertYago's pointed out, the Iberian vocabulary contains several Germanic imports; Wikipedia even has a section on this subject. Nonetheless, the underlying question is valid: the Germanic influence is obviously way, way weaker in Iberia than it is in ...


16

In "Mein Kampf," Hitler opined, "We stop the endless German movement to the south and west, and turn our gaze toward the land in the east...If we speak of the soil of Europe today, we can have primarily in mind the soil of Russia and her vassal border states." He was concerned primarily with conquering Russia and eastern Europe. Fought France and Britain (...


14

"The nail that sticks out gets hammer down" While a Japanese saying, it holds true for all the super powers. Be their outside enemies, inside corruption, or just economic bad luck, the hammers are numerous indeed. Spain in particular, was cripple by mega inflation due to all the gold coming from the Indies. Portugal was assimilated into Spain and then ...


14

The question is a bit confusing. The way I read it, you're asking why something expensive has enough demand to sustain a profitable trade ("How did the high price of spices allow such high demand?"). The answer is that it wasn't that expensive. A pound of spices might cost several days' worth of wages for an average craftsman, but a pound of pepper is a lot ...


13

The Wikipedia page has a bit of history for you. Remember that the freezer was invented first in the beginning of the 20th century, so before that, salt was a highly important (and expensive) commodity. Everything had to be salted in order to be transported inland. Cod is a good fish because it is lean – fat will get rancid. In the Northern Europe however, ...


13

Macau was a Portuguese Colony right next door to Hong Kong. Why didn't Japan invade it during WW2? Because they didn't need to. The Portuguese were steadfastly neutral. They weren't a military threat. Macau had no real military value and the authorities there were cooperating. Why spend the resources to invade and occupy an already compliant port and risk ...


12

You're looking at few different questions. 1) Why did Franco not bring Spain into the war voluntarily in 1939-40? a) Popular war fatigue: the Spanish people had been put through three years of a bloody fratricidal war. Remember, aerial bombardment of non-military targets such as capital cities was a brand-new military technique, and it was terrifying. ...


11

This is certainly a question that comes to mind when one reads about the developments under Ferdinand II, and after his marriage to Isabella in 1469, and especially when you see a series of maps showing the transforming landscape of the Iberian peninsula during the course of the reconquista. I haven't found anything in English which reaches into the mind of ...


11

Being Portuguese myself, I can answer from memory what we've learned from history lessons and popular knowledge. Living on a maritime-driven country, the Portuguese people always consumed large amounts of fish. Bear in mind most coastal fishing is restrained to smaller-sized specimens - the large specimens were more expensive; and to catch big fish, you ...


10

For Germany it was unnecessary, they weren't going to be a threat and would be a useless ally. Occupying Spain even under friendly terms would cost men and equipement. Essentially the same as Vichy France. With Italy and France you already have all the Mediterranean bases you need. The North Atlantic convoy routes are further away from Spain than bases in ...


10

It is very clear that Brazil declared independence from Portugal, and not the other way around. That is why it is celebrated in Brazil and not in Portugal. There was a fairly short war of independence, fought on Brazilian soil between the Brazilians and the Portuguese garrisons, later reinforced by additional troops sent from Portugal. This shows that ...


9

There isn't anything approaching annual time series data on these questions, so economic historians have to estimate them from other data. Kugler and Bernholz estimate that Spanish inflation averaged 1.1-1.4% per annum in the 16th century. This may sound low by modern standards, but it was quite high considering that early modern economies generally exhibit ...


9

They did, and certainly had quite a few, as an article cited in Wikipedia says: In mid-sixteenth-century Seville 7.4 percent of censused inhabitants were slaves and [...] between 1682 and 1729 the slave population of Cádiz was extremely large, making up perhaps as much as 15 percent of the total urban population. In other cities, such as Málaga, ...


8

The reactions to the Treaty by the other powers were far from swift. On one hand, communication was slow and untrustworthy, on the other hand the New World was much smaller (as mentioned in another answer). England (still Catholic) suffered from the consequences of the Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1485) and had not yet the resources. France was suffering from ...


8

The most significant contribution that Britain made to the Portuguese and Spanish military was in the form of cash. This allowed them to recruit & pay their soldiers and supply them with food & equipment. Between 1808 and 1814 Spain received a subsidy that averaged just over £1 million a year, considerably less than the Portuguese subsidy that ...


7

Spain was involved in the invasion of the soviet union by sending 15k troops called "Blue Division". In order to not putting his relations to western democracies at risk, Franco set having the involvement limited to the eastern front as a condition. Already before WWII, ongoing from 1936, Germany supported Franco's forces during the civil war with secretly ...


7

While it would be hard to disprove an early Portuguese presence in New England, it seems unlikely. One could argue that 16th century fisherman don't often leave behind a wealth of evidence, but consider how much evidence survives linking the Portuguese to Newfoundland around the same time. According to Mark Kurlansky: A 1502 map identifies Newfoundland as ...


7

Maybe you are confusing situations: Currently, the idea of "Reconquista" is just held to talk about the chronological and geographical frame, but the idea of a "managed" process to take all of the Iberian Peninsula back from the Muslim rulers is generally discredited as a "post-facto" fabrication (giving a "national idea" of "proto-Spain" to the several ...


7

Although the Portuguese had dozens of small forts and watering stations all along the coast at various times, none of these were developed as settlements because South Africa originally had no interesting or valuable trade goods to provide. South Africa has a dry climate and the aborigines were very primitive hunter/gatherers. There were no mines, spices or ...


7

I think you can talk about potential Moorish influences on Iberian nautical expansion in following three areas: Wealth By the 9th/10th Century, al-Andalus (Islamic Spain + Portugal) was by far the most advanced and wealthiest part of Western or Central Europe. When the northern Christian kingdoms expanded south, they were generally conquering places that ...


7

I cannot give you a definitive answer, but I think some of the general ideas are flawed: Starting point: You should not understimate the differences at the beginning of the 20th century between Spain and Portugal in one side and France, the UK and Germany in the other. War is only destruction: Yes, there is a lot of destruction in a war. But it also gives ...


7

By giving up Macau quietly, Portugal avoided an embarrassment similar to the one they experienced when India took Goa. More seriously, this was done as part of a treaty at a point in time where Portugal was carrying out a policy of de-colonization. Portugal basically offered to return Macao to China.


6

According to Colin McEvedy, in 737 AD, after the Muslim conquest of Visigothic Hispania, the population on the Peninsula was around 4 million. Nearly all of that would have been in Muslim-held territory, as there simply wasn't much else but a couple of little strips of land in the mountainous northern coastal region. Toledo was the only city of any real size ...


6

The argument arises from the fact that the royal family of Portugal fled to Brazil in the early 1800s when Napoleon took over Portugal. They then ruled from Brazil for around 12 years before the King returned to Portugal and his son was left as regent. It turned out to be a good move since the son's son, Dom Pedro II is widely considered one of the best ...


6

Morocco has no sensible grounds to claim these islands. It might have some legitimacy to claim semi-enclaves like Ceuta and Melilla or the couple of tiny islands off of its shore that currently are in Iberian hands. But Morocco's claim on these territories are on the same order as Spain's not so strong claim on Gibraltar: they've been under Iberian control ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible