Time Line of Anglo-Portuguese Relations

  • 1807

    Secret treaty between the Prince Regent future D. João VI and George III providing for the transfer of Portugal’s capital to Brazil and the British occupation of Madeira.

  • 1807

    The Portuguese royal family and 13800 others depart for Brazil after Portugal’s invasion by Napoleonic troops. The fleet is escorted by four Royal Naval ships commanded by Sir Sidney Smith. Junot arrived the following day and rushed to Carcavelos but all the French could see was sails on the horizon, hence the Portuguese expression “A ver Navios”.

  • 1807

    William Carr Beresford (1768-1854) was a dominant figure in the Peninsular War and commanded (1809) and trained the Portuguese army. He arrived in Madeira on this date as Governor where he learnt his Portuguese. His main battle was Albuera (1811). In 1815 he again commanded the Portuguese army which in peace time caused him great unpopularity (“Este Britânico Odioso”). He was made Marquis of Campo Mayor (1812) and Count of Trancoso (1811). He was still involved in Portuguese politics during the liberal wars (1828-1834).

  • 1808

    Sir Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852) disembarks with his troops at Figueira da Foz (Mondego Bay) and marches down the coast towards Óbidos. He received orders that Gens. Dalrymple (1750-1830) and Burrard (1755-1813) were coming over and would supersede him but until they arrived he was in command. At an outpost of Óbidos the first shots in the Peninsular War were fired.

  • 1808

    Battle of Roliça fought near Óbidos. After a hard fight the French general Delaborde (1764-1833) had to retire.

  • 1808

    On the 21st August an important battle took place at Vimeiro were the French were beaten.

  • 1808

    The controversial Convention of Sintra is signed providing for the return of the French troops to France and allowing them to take their booty. There was a Court of Inquiry but Wellesley held successfully that he had been superseded at the time by Dalrymple and Burrard.

  • 1808

    Loyal Lusitanian Legion raised by the adventurer Sir Robert Wilson who served in Portugal but returned in 1809.

  • 1809

    Byron visits Portugal. He specially loved Sintra but not alas the Portuguese. Parts of his Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage reflect this.

  • 1809

    After the evacuation of Sir John Moore’s (who was killed) (1761-1809) troops from Galicia, Marshall Soult (1769-1851) invades the north of Portugal. It is what is called the 2nd invasion. Soult occupies Oporto but the future Duke of Wellington crosses the Douro upstream and outflanks the French. Soult hurriedly leaves Oporto and Wellington eats the dinner which had been prepared for the French Marshall. Soult then evacuates Portugal.