Braga celebrates the 650 years of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance
The commemoration of the oldest diplomatic alliance has a wide range of initiatives taking place in Portugal and the United Kingdom
Braga, 24 March2022 – The programme of the celebrations of the 650th anniversary of Anglo-Portuguese Alliance was presented this Wednesday, at the Salão Nobre dos Paços do Concelho, in Braga, at a Press Conference led by Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, who was accompanied by Katharine Felton, Political Advisor of the British Embassy in Lisbon and Maria João Rodrigues de Araujo, President of Portugal-UK 650.
This is a wide-ranging programme, from the initiative of Portugal-UK 650, which encompasses several actions worked in partnership with more than 100 Portuguese and British institutions, namely the Municipality of Braga, in the research, education, culture, commerce, cooperation and social fields, and which will run until mid-2023.
The celebration of the 650th anniversary of the oldest and most enduring diplomatic alliance in the world, which remains in force, is being held in Braga due to the city being the capital of the district where the first treaty between England and Portugal was signed on July 10, 1372, known as the Treaty of Tagilde, which led to the Treaty of Alliance, signed a year later (June 16, 1373), in London, at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
For Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, the association of the City to these celebrations “is a reason for pride and great satisfaction to be one of the epicentres of the celebration of a historical relationship of our country, which has produced many fruits in several domains. In this set of initiatives, the cultural dimensions are particularly valued, showing that Culture is always a good door for the relationship between peoples and different nations. In a context like the one we live in today, in which we need to strengthen ties beyond our borders, everything that contributes to revitalize and affirm such a strong relationship is extremely important”.
Katharine Felton, Political Advisor at the British Embassy in Lisbon, states that “it is an honour to join such prestigious partners in the beautiful city of Braga to launch the celebrations of the 650th anniversary of the bilateral relationship and friendship between the Portuguese and the British, which we wish to continue to deepen in the future. We are very excited about the wide range of initiatives, which we believe mark in Portugal and the UK, in the most distinctive way the true essence of this ancient alliance between our two countries.”
Portugal-UK 650 is the initiative responsible for the celebrations of the 650th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance in Portugal and the UK and hopes to contribute to a safer and more fraternal society, with greater knowledge of its historical and cultural heritage, more international solidarity and a strengthened dialogue, cooperation and friendship between the citizens of both countries. The president of the initiative, Maria João Araujo, made the historical framework of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, referred its importance for the present day and listed the various activities that are planned for the next two years and designed for all age groups.
Maria João Rodrigues de Araújo, president of Portugal-UK 650 stressed that it is intended that “everyone feels part of these celebrations, and so we have created a diversified programme of activities so that everyone can participate. One of our objectives is to promote the values expressed in the Alliance’s founding Treaty in today’s world: peace, friendship, truth, fidelity, constancy, solidarity, sincerity and kindness. We hope to contribute so that each of the participants, in the various activities, will feel inspired to be an ambassador for these values, in their community and in the world at large, which is so much in need of peace at this time.”
An interdisciplinary Congress and webinars on the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, several collaborative projects between institutions from both countries, including an interdisciplinary research project, exchanges between schools, educational resources for students from pre-school to secondary school, a Gala at Theatro Circo with performances by Portuguese and British artists, the project “6. 50 Trooping the Colour”, developed by the Alberto Sampaio Group of Schools, a new opera created by the opera studio of the Calouste Gulbenkian Music Conservatory, and the Dance in Perpetuity / Dança na Perpetuidade project are some of the interventions that are part of the celebrations of the 650 years of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance.
Fleur Derbyshire-Fox and Laura Harvey, Engagement Director and Head of Creative Programmes of the English National Ballet, respectively, also present at the Press Conference, had the opportunity to explain the concept of the project. A project that will take place, simultaneously, in Braga and in the United Kingdom, developed by the English National Ballet, Braga City Council and Portugal-UK 650.
An initiative that allows partner entities to celebrate the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance through a large-scale performance project based on the founding values of the Portuguese-British Alliance, involving artists, schools, local communities and international exchange.
As part of the celebration of this date, a new dance is being developed for all to celebrate the Alliance, as part of the “Dance in Perpetuity” project. The theme “Dance of Celebration” has been created for everyone to participate, whether amateur or artist. The choreography will be accessible, inclusive and fun, with perpetual peace and friendship as the central theme.
Fleur Derbyshire-Fox, leader of this project developed by English National Ballet, says “Dance in Perpetuity is one of the highlights of the celebrations of the 650th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance and it is a great honour for English National Ballet to have been invited to participate. This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the Alliance through a large-scale dance project, grounded in the founding values of the British-Portuguese Alliance, with schools, local communities and an international cultural exchange.
It is particularly timely to link communities and bridge two aligned countries as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic which we know has particularly affected young people’s opportunities, wellbeing and mental health. Dance is rooted in community, celebration, and healing and it is fitting that Dance in Perpetuity celebrates the Portuguese-British Alliance and provides a legacy for young people in Portugal and the UK.”
Joana Miranda, coordinator of Braga Media Arts, also addressed the realisation of a partnership with the English city of York and London, which are “a great opportunity” for the creativity of art and culture to perform. “We are developing two unique projects. The collaborative and artistic project ‘Surrounds’ will involve students from Braga and York, addressing the theme of the Environment. With London, we are developing a partnership project with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, in which art, culture and creativity will engage the community of both cities.”
For more information on the programme of celebrations of the 650th anniversary of the British-Portuguese Alliance, please visit https://portugal-uk650.com
About Portugal-UK 650
Portugal-UK 650 is the initiative responsible for the commemorations of the 650th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance in Portugal and the United Kingdom.
It aims to celebrate the common history between both countries, to write new chapters of friendship, cooperation and trade, to develop scientific research on the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, and to promote the values of the Alliance’s founding Treaty in today’s world – peace, friendship, truth, fidelity, constancy, solidarity, sincerity and kindness – “. …there shall henceforth be a true, faithful, constant, mutual and perpetual peace and friendship, union and alliance and a league of sincere affection” (Article I, Treaty of the Alliance, London 16 June 1373) – appealing to the responsibility and commitment of each one.
In the long term, Portugal-UK 650 hopes to contribute to a safer and more fraternal society, with greater knowledge of its historical and cultural heritage, more international solidarity and a strengthened dialogue, cooperation and friendship between the citizens of both countries.
The programme for the commemorations of the 650th anniversary of the British-Portuguese Alliance can be consulted on the website https://portugal-uk650.com
Besides the celebration of the most important dates – the 650th anniversary of the Treaty of Tagilde (July 10, 2022) and the Treaty of London (June 16, 2023) ̶ it includes other initiatives, until mid 2023, in partnership with over 100 Portuguese and British institutions, in the areas of research, education, culture, trade, cooperation and social.
For more information regarding Portugal-UK 650, please contact:
Francisco Mendia: email@example.com (919 780 360);
Maria João Quintela: firstname.lastname@example.org (92 763 89 43).
About the Treaties
The Treaty of Tagilde was signed on 10 July 1372 , in the Church of S. Salvador de Tagilde (municipality of Vizela, district of Braga), between King D. Fernando I of Portugal and the representatives of João de Gante, Duke of Lencastre and fourth son of King Edward III of England. This treaty sealed the alliance between these two pretenders to the Castilian throne and is considered to be the preamble to the alliance that is still in force today .
The background to the Treaty of Tagilde was the Hundred Years’ War and the dispute between two brothers for the throne of Castile. On the one hand, Dom Pedro had been deprived of the Castilian crown by Henry of Trastâmara, an illegitimate brother, and had enlisted English support to regain it. On the other hand, Henry of Trastamara, later Henry II, who had secured the support of France. At the Battle of Montiel (March 1369), Pedro was killed and Ferdinand I of Portugal, who was the legitimate great-grandson of Sancho IV of Castile, declared war on Henry II.
It was in these circumstances that an embassy arrived in Portugal from John of Gante, who had married Constance, daughter of Pedro, in 1371 and therefore had claims to the Castilian throne. The Duke of Lencastre’s ambassadors were João Fernandes Andeiro and Roger Hoor. This treaty essentially stipulated that the King of Portugal and the Duke of Lancaster were true friends and that they would simultaneously wage war against Castile and Aragon on two fronts: the English on the north and the Portuguese on the west .
Shortly after the signing of this treaty, Ferdinand sent two ambassadors, Vasco Domingues and João Fernandes Andeiro, to the Duke of Lencastre, so that he would swear and sign the Treaty of Tagilde . The same ambassadors also carried a power of attorney with powers to make complementary alliances with Edward III of England and the Prince of Wales . The negotiations facilitated by this power of attorney resulted in the Treaty of London of 16 June 1373.
Treaty of London
The Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Alliance agreed upon in perpetuity on June 16th 1373 in St. Paul’s Cathedral, between King Ferdinand I and Queen Leonor of Portugal and King Edward III of England, is considered the main legal foundation of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance . This Treaty cites the Treaty of Tagilde as a precedent. The content of its four clauses includes the declaration of mutual and perpetual peace, friendship, union and alliance between the two parties; the commitment of neither party to establish friendship with the enemies, emulators and persecutors of the other party; the reciprocal obligation of help with military aid or any other kind of aid for the need of defence of the kingdom, provinces, domains and places in case of offence, oppression or invasion by land or sea . Since then this treaty has never been revised and has subsequently been confirmed on several occasions .
Treaty of Windsor
On 9 May 1386, the Treaty of Windsor was signed between John I of Portugal and Richard II of England. This agreement ratifies the “league, friendship and perpetual confederation” between the two monarchs with the obligation of mutual aid, and is also signed in perpetuity . It was a treaty with a greater breadth of content than the two previous ones, as it enshrined in its articles the freedom of trade and transit of the nationals of each party in the territory of the other party .
One of the first practical consequences of this treaty was to lead to the start of diplomatic negotiations for the marriage between João I of Portugal and Filipa de Lencastre, daughter of João de Gante . The marriage, which took place on 2 February 1387, initiated a period of great proximity between the two ruling houses . This alliance became even closer when João de Gante’s son, who was brother-in-law of John I of Portugal, became Henry IV of England.
Santarém tells us that the alliance between England and Portugal was so close during the period between the last half of the 12th century and the end of the 15th century that in sixteen treaties that the English sovereigns concluded with other nations, Portugal was always included as an ally and confederate of England . The fact that João I of Portugal was the first foreign monarch to become a Knight of the Garter (1400) supports the thesis of those who see Portugal as England’s first political ally .
The War of the Roses initiated a new period in the relationship of the parties. However, this pact of “[…] true, faithful, constant, mutual and perpetual friendship, unions, alliances and acts of sincere affection […]”, described in Article I of the Treaty of London, was maintained. Since then, this alliance has been confirmed in a considerable range of Anglo-Poruguese treaties, the last formal confirmation dating from 1914.
With the benefit of hindsight, we agree with the statement of the English historian Richard Lodge when he writes that “there is no state in Europe with which our relations have been on the whole so continuously intimate and friendly”  and also with Winston Churchill when he describes this alliance as being “without parallel in world history” . During its more than six centuries of existence, the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance has overcome the most challenging historical contingencies, including two world wars, the rise and fall of empires, revolutions and decolonisation, multilateralisation of international relations, European integration and the end of the Cold War. Today, we wish the Alliance to continue to inspire new chapters of friendship to be celebrated for another 650 years.
Source regarding the Treaties: Alexandra M. Rodrigues Araújo
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For information about Portugal-UK 650, please contact
Francisco Mendia: firstname.lastname@example.org (919 780 360);
Maria João Quintela: email@example.com (92 763 89 43)
 The National Archives (TNA): DL34/1/30.
 Cf. S. Pinto, Tratado de Tagilde de 10 de julho de 1372, [Scientia Iuridica, Separata, Year II, 6], Braga 1952, pp. 1-18.
 Cf. P. E. Russell, British Intervention in the Iberian Peninsula during the Hundred Years’ War, Lisbon 1955, pp. 221-222.
 Cf. TNA: DL34/1/29.
 Santarém, Quadro elementar das relações políticas e diplomáticas de Portugal com as diversas potencias do mundo: desde ó princípio da monarchia portugueza até aos nossos, v. XIV, Lisbon 1842, p. 55.
 TNA: E30/275.
 Cf. M. Caetano, Aliança Inglesa, [Enciclopédia Luso-Brasileira de Cultura 1], Lisbon 1963, p. 1262.
 Statement by Mr. Anthony Nutting in the House of Commons on May 12, 1952. https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=1952-05-12a.845.1
 TNA: E30/310.
 It should be noted that the trade treaty of 20 October 1353 between King Edward III of England and King Alfonso IV of Portugal already enshrined this free trade clause for people and goods. However, this treaty was valid for 50 years. Cf. T. Viúla de Faria and F. Miranda, Pur Bonne Alliance et Amiste Faire: Diplomacy and Commerce between Portugal and England in the Late Middle Ages, [Cultura, Espaço & Memória 1], Porto 2010, p. 111.
 Cf. Baquero Moreno, H. (1988). The Treaty of Windsor of 1386 in the Context of Anglo-Portuguese Relations: Coloquio Comemorativo do VI Centenário do Tratado de Windsor, 1986. Porto: University of Porto. Faculty of Letters. pp. 213-219: 216-217.
 Cf. H. Baquero Moreno, O Tratado de Windsor de 1386 no conspecto das relações Luso-Inglesas, [Coloquio Comemorativo do VI Centenário do Tratado de Windsor], Oporto 1988, pp. 216-217.
 Cf. Santarém, Quadro elementar das relações políticas e diplomáticas de Portugal com as diversas potencias do mundo: desde ó princípio da monarchia portugueza até aos nossos, V. XIV, 2nd ed.
 Cf. V. Shillington and A. Chapman, The Commercial relations of England and Portugal, London 1907, pp. 18-19.
 Translation by the author; R. Lodge, The English factory at Lisbon: some chapters of its history, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 16] London 1933 p. 211.
 Translation by the author; Cf. Speech, House of Commons Debate, 12 October 1943 http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1943/oct/12/agreement-with-Portugal