A Portuguesa

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A Portuguesa (English: The Portuguese Hymn), Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ puɾtuˈɣezɐ], is the national anthem of Portugal. It was composed by Alfredo Keil and written by Henrique Lopes de Mendonça during the resurgent nationalist movement ignited by the 1890 British ultimatum to Portugal concerning its African colonies. Used as the marching song of the failed republican rebellion of January 1891, in Porto, it was adopted as the national anthem of the newborn Portuguese Republic in 1911, replacing O Hino da Carta (English: The Charter Anthem), the anthem of the deposed constitutional monarchy.



On 11 January 1890, the United Kingdom issued an ultimatum demanding that Portugal refrain from occupying land lying between the Portuguese colonies of Angola, on the west coast of Africa, and Mozambique, on the east coast, thereby forming one contiguous polity (as proposed on the Pink Map). Despite a popular uproar, the Portuguese government was forced to accept Britain's demands. This contributed to the unpopularity of King Carlos I and the monarchy, and it garnered support for the increasingly-popular republican movement in Portugal.[1]

The night after the ultimatum was accepted, the composer, Alfredo Keil, at the suggestion of a group of friends that included Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and Teófilo Braga, wrote the melody for A Portuguesa as a patriotic protest march. Inspired by the outrage felt by the Portuguese people, the lyricist, Henrique Lopes de Mendonça, accepted Keil's request to create words to suit his melody. Mendonça said A Portuguesa was a song "where the fatherland's wounded soul would merge with its ambitions of freedom and revival"; he hoped it would be an anthem, embraced by the people, that could express their yearning for national vindication. Such expressions are epitomized by La Marsellaise, the Portuguese fado, and Hino da Maria da Fonte (English: The Maria da Fonte Anthem).[2] The march was quickly disseminated; several thousands of copies of the sheet music were freely distributed, together with fliers and posters. The song's popularity also spread across national borders, and verses were translated into other languages.[2]

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