1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Against the Britons, march, march!

A Portuguesa is the national anthem of Portugal. It was written by Henrique Lopes de Mendonça (lyrics) and Alfredo Keil (music) after the nationalist resurgence ignited by the British Ultimatum (for Portuguese troops to vacate the territory between Angola and Mozambique) of 1890, in the late 19th century. Adopted as the march of the failed January 1891 republican rebellion, it was proclaimed as the new national anthem of the Portuguese Republic in 1911, replacing O Hino da Carta (The Charter Anthem), the anthem of the extinct Constitutional Monarchy in Portugal.

On 11 January 1890, the United Kingdom issued an ultimatum demanding Portugal to give up its intentions of occupying the lands between the African colonies of Angola, on the western coast, and Mozambique, on the eastern coast, thus joining the two territories as proposed on the Pink Map [no pun intended!]. Despite popular uproar, the Portuguese government was forced to accept the British terms. This measure contributed to the growing unpopularity of King Carlos I and the monarchy, and gained supporters for the already boosting republican movement.

The night after the ultimatum, composer Alfredo Keil elaborated the melody for A Portuguesa as patriotic-inspired protest march, as a suggestion of a group of friends that included the likes of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and Teófilo Braga. Inspired by the mutual feeling of outrage among the people, writer Henrique Lopes de Mendonça answered positively to Keil's request and created a poem for his melody. In the words of Mendonça, A Portuguesa was intended to be a song "where the Motherland's wounded soul would merge with its ambitions of freedom and revival", an anthem aiming to be fully embraced by the people and that could carry the sentiment of national revindication.

The anthem's official version consists of only the first stanza and chorus from Mendonça's poem. The last line of the chorus — "Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!" (Against the cannons, march, march!) — is a late alteration (1957) of the original "Contra os bretões marchar, marchar" (Against the Britons, march, march!), an angered reference to the British ultimatum.

A Portuguesa - Original Version

Heróis do mar, nobre povo,
Nação valente e imortal
Levantai hoje de novo
O esplendor de Portugal!
Entre as brumas da memoria,
Oh patria, sente-se a voz
Dos teus egrégios avós
Que há-de guiar-te à vitória!
Às armas, às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,
Às armas, às armas!
Pela patria lutar!
Contra os Bretões marchar, marchar!

Desfralda a invicta bandeira,
À luz viva do teu céo!
Brade a Europa á terra inteira:
Portugal não pereceu!
Beija o teu sólo jucundo
O Oceano, a rugir de amor;
E o teu braço vencedor
Deu mundos novos ao mundo!
Às armas, às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,
Às armas, às armas!
Pela patria lutar!
Contra os Bretões marchar!

Saudai o sol que desponta
Sobre um ridente porvir;
Seja o eco de uma afronta
O sinal do resurgir.
Raios dessa aurora forte
São como beijos de mãe,
Que nos guardam, nos sustêm,
Contra as injurias da sorte.
Às armas, às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,
Às armas, às armas!
Pela patria lutar!
Contra os Bretões marchar!!

In 1956, there were a number of variations of the anthem, not just in its melodic line but also in the instrumentation. Recognizing this, the government named a commission charged with determining the official version of "A Portuguesa." This commission prepared a proposal which, approved by the Council of Ministers on 16 July 1957, remains in effect to this day.

Translation & Music of the Current Version

Heroes of the sea, noble race,
Valiant and immortal nation,
Now is the hour to raise up on high once more
Portugal's splendour.
From out of the mists of memory,
Oh Homeland, we hear the voices
Of your great forefathers
That shall lead you on to victory!

To arms, to arms
On land and sea!
To arms, to arms
To fight for our Homeland!
To march against the enemy guns!

Unfurl the unconquerable flag
In the bright light of your sky!
Cry out all Europe and the whole world
That Portugal has not perished.
Your happy land is kissed
By the Ocean that murmurs with love.
And your conquering arm
Has given new worlds to the world!

Salute the Sun that rises
On a smiling future:
Let the echo of an insult be
The signal for our revival.
The rays of that powerful dawn
Are like a mother's kisses
That protect us and support us
Against the insults of fate.

Click to Play

A Contemporary Opinion Article: With allies like the British we do Not need Enemies

by Jorge Fiel

I was never a fan of the Brits [Bifes]. I started looking at them with askance in the night of 26 July 1966 (when I was ten years old), when I saw Eusébio leaving the Wembley footbal field to clear the tears to the shirt that I knew to be grenat but appeared to be black on the screen of Nordmende TV that my father bought, in installments, to see the "Magriços" in the World Cup in England.

I do not have the slightest doubt that we were stolen in that mid-final and that the English were 'carried on the lap' up to the title.

The first bad impression of the English has been dimmed as I was being presented to the Carnaby Street style, the music of the Kinks, Beatles and Stones, the pop culture and the minis-skirts of Mary Quant.

Everything has gotten worse with the deepening of my knowledge of History. The Treaty of Windsor (signed in 1386 between Portugal and England) may be the oldest diplomatic alliance still in force, but it was a bad deal for us.

After all, the illustrious generation of children (particularly Henrique [Henry the Navigator] and Duarte [Edward of Portugal]) which the English Filipa de Lencastre [Philippa of Lancaster] educated and gave to Portugal, was the most profitable extraction of six centuries of alliance created by D. João I [John I of Portugal].

The historic weakness of the Portuguese industry plunges its roots in the Treaty of Methuen (1703), which opened wide our doors to the English woolen cloth. The exports of Portuguese wines to Britain was a weak hand in return - as they were at war with the French, they had not many alternatives for supply...

But the great stab that the perfidious Albion stabbed on our back was the ultimatum of January 1890, which hurted to death our monarchy.

D. Carlos [Carlos I of Portugal] accepted the British demands and renounced to the Pink map (which consisted in the occupation of the actual territory of Zambia to Zimbabwe, connecting Angola to Mozambique).

This humiliation triggered a national wave of patriotic indignation, which had as hymn A Portuguesa, a poem by Henrique Lopes de Mendonça which concluded with an explicit appeal: "Against the Britons / march, march." Later on, when the Republic chose this song for its national anthem, the "Britons" turned into "cannons".

With allies like the British we do not need enemies. We put up with the hordes of English drunks in Albufeira. We bear with infinite patience the international circus that they built regarding Maddie. We tolerate the derision of bad taste and in terrible education of the London Press.

When I read the British letter rogatory where it is referred that our Prime Minister "has asked", "has received" or "has eased" (or as I say,"has gone to take a coffee", "has gone give a bath to the dog"...), the licensing of the Freeport; I immediately felt a willingness to propose that the "Britons" replace the "cannons".

PS. I'll suggest to Luís Pedro Nunes that the Inimigo Público [Public Enemy] sends a reporter to England to investigate what Manuela Ferreira Leite went there to do when she alleged that she was visiting her grandchild.

Source: Various and the Diário de Notícias


  1. Entristece-me que não tenhamos a mesma fibra e a mesma determinação para defender os nossos. Que os ingleses mostraram quando todos os indícios apontaram e apontam para que os srs. McCann tivessem responsabilidade no desaparecimento da filha.

  2. Shame about this article. The British and the portuguese are old allies.
    Not all British people agree with the behaviour of the McCanns.

  3. Reading this article, I come to the conclusion that for every racist english, there is a racist portuguese. And I am Portuguese. It is not a positiv message, so I'm sorry for it.

  4. joana..
    i agree with the last poster! whats going on? why does it feel that britain is beginning to get bashed here?
    Bottomline is that the Mccann case the Freeport case....does not represent the people of the UK.
    Aim the anger at the officials/politicians etc, not the uk and its people! we are all fed up of the politics in the uk,the corruption is rife, englishmen,women and children suffer because of it.
    Do not judge a country by a few, regardless of how high profile they are.....mojo.

  5. Agree, Joana, the British authorities have been pushing their luck over the McCann case. It's time the Portuguese 'march against the britons'.

  6. 'With allies like the British we do not need enemies' - exactly, there has been only lack of cooperation from Britain about the McCanns. Worse than that, the British media have portrayed the PJ as incompetent and dishonest and there appears to be an attempt to escalate the attack to the Portuguese government. All this to cover up what some British citizens may have done to a little girl and her body.

  7. Hello everyone. I do not belong to any of mentioned races, so can not be labeled a racist. Nevertheless I understand and support our Portuguese host in these historical revelations. And I still find it hard to believe that so many are so ignorant, that obvious truth of English history escapes them.
    England like no other country played a devil part in faith of many (mostly defenseless) nations only with a sole aim - power and money. And parallel with Maddie's case and Freeport case (in which English readers so not interested of course) is justified. Unfortunately English national conciseness was never loud enough to cover the noise of guns, lies and self-promotion.


  8. I'm surprised that people feel this article is "bashing" Britain. This article is a short history lesson in which it is pointed out that the alliance with Britain has been one sided and not a true alliance. It's not the first time that I have read a comment that states that the xenophobic and racist handling of the McCann case in Britain does not represent the feelings of the British people, but is this really true? Some Britons regard the Daily Mail and the Sun as being trash papers with racist overtones yet these papers have a very large readership in Britain, so how can it be said that these papers don't reflect the views of most Britons? What would happen if the McCann couple were a Portuguese couple who claimed that their child had been abducted in England? What would happen if a world wide campaign had been started by the couple to discredit the English police and to denigrate the people of England? What would happen if the Portuguese authorities refused to give any information to the English authorities with regards to the couple? How would the British people then react, would they be forgiving?



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