On 16th June 1373, England’s King Edward III signed a treaty of alliance with Portugal’s King Ferdinand. It still stands, making it the longest continuing alliance in history. This year, in June 2023, it celebrates its 650th anniversary. In this film, Mike Loades, a Brit living in Portugal, travels across the country to discover the roots of this enduring friendship.
Mike begins at Lisbon’s spectacular Castelo São Jorge, where an army of English crusading knights helped capture Lisbon from the Moors during the Reconquista. As a reward, they were granted land in Portugal, triggering both English settlement and trade.
The alliance really took shape during the 100-Years-War between England and France. France allied herself with Portugal’s neighbour Castile. To combat this, in 1373, England and Portugal formalized their own rival alliance. Mike picks up a longbow to explore how English knights and bowmen fought alongside Portuguese troops at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385 - a key battle in which the fate of both Portugal and England hung in the balance.
Mike also investigates how Sir Arthur Wellesley, later to become the Duke of Wellington, led Anglo-Portuguese armies against Napoleon's invaders with a dash of military genius.
Underpinning these military triumphs were the bonds of commerce. In Porto – the city that gave its name to port wine - Mike meets the British merchant families and visits the institutions that continue to epitomize the strong traditions that have linked these two nations for so long. It is an ongoing and fascinating story.
If you would like to learn more about the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, here are some interesting links
Official site of the ‘Portugal : UK 650’ celebrations
Oxford University Anglo-Portuguese 650 Research Project
History of Taylor’s Port (established 1692)