"The Estado Novo, the self-appointed champion and incarnation of the ideal of a national rebirth, promoted itself as the catalyst for the recovery of the spirit of the “glorious and heroic past” and the negation of Portugal’s historical decadence. Themes of national decadence during the 1930s premised much of the rhetoric of national rebirth, itself linked to the context of the legacy of the Discoveries, providing an explanation for the Estado Novo (as the antidote to historical decay), while constituting a demand for the imperial ideal sceptered to the Portuguese by the Discoveries." -- Excerpt from Paulo S. Polanah: “The Zenith of our National History!” National identity, colonial empire, and the promotion of the Portuguese Discoveries: Portugal 1930sRead More
"The importance of the Portuguese discoveries in Africa, Asia, and South America to Portuguese national identity was clearly manifested in Salazarist Portugal during the Estado Novo or New State (1933-1974). Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’ was one of the earliest proponents of these discoveries and sent out voyages to explore the West African coast expanding the known world. However, Henry’s importance to overseas discoveries and the opening of the world for Portuguese expansion fluctuated greatly over the next five centuries. During his lifetime Henry was credited immensely, while by the late sixteenth century he was largely peripheral in the pantheon of Portuguese discoverers. His reemergence to the forefront of Portuguese heroes in twentieth century Salazarist Portugal suggests a politicization of history through the creation of national myths and symbols constructed around the life of a feudal figure to create a particular view of national identity that based Portuguese’ uniqueness on the discovering past and the colonial empire."
— excerpt from “Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’: Representations of a Pre-Modern Figure in the Estado Novo, Portugal 1933-1974” by Samuel Fontaine (A Senior Thesis Submitted to The Faculty of the Department of History In Candidacy for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts in History, 2012).Read More