the darkest year of Porto's history
This weekend we welcomed runners from England and Switzerland. My favorite story and one of the many I got to share with them was about how D.Pedro IV's actions during the civil war and the 1832-33's siege of Porto influenced the course of history in Portugal and the city's toponymy.
"Pedro stopped in Azores to assemble an army, composed by mercenaries and exiled liberals. The army then disembarked in a beach near Porto and quickly occupied the city, cheered on by its residents."
This day was the 9th of July, 1832, exactly 185 years ago!
Nowadays, the beach is called 'da Memória' and an obelisk marks the place where the Liberal forces of D.Pedro disembarked (8th of July 1832)
This was also the start of a dark chapter of Porto's history: D.Miguel's troops fought back, almost 60.000 men returned to the city they had left defenseless, outnumbering the improvised army of 7.500 that Pedro had gathered in the Azores islands, and besieged Porto.
Nevertheless, the siege lasted for more than a year and ended with the unlikely victory of D.Pedro and the liberals under his command!
9th of July, 1832: Pedro's soldiers entered the city holding blue hydrangeas on the barrels of their guns. In 1974, another episode with flowers - red carnations this time. These were also used on the barrels of military guns, when troops entered Lisbon, putting an end to the oppressive regime that Salazar had led.
The blue color had - still has - a strong symbolism about it, as it was the color of the house of the Braganças (the Portuguese Royal family) and also one of the colors of the monarchy's flag - a regime that only lasted till 1910.
Blue is, to this day, a color that Porto proudly calls its own!
> Here < is a great text by Jules&Verne (a 7 minutes read) and beautiful photos of Porto if you want to learn more about the one story that perfectly epitomises Porto: the 1832's city siege!
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Sérgio is the founder of Porto Running Tours, a keen runner since 1999 and a friendly running tour guide-storyteller since 2015.
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