Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Thursday, 22 March 2012

Timeline: Portugal

A chronology of key events:

1908 - King Carlos and eldest son assassinated in Lisbon. Second son Manuel becomes king.

Waterfront of Alfama district, Lisbon
Lisbon: Port city stands on the slopes of several hills
Occupied by Romans and Moors
Became capital in 13th century
Devastated by 1755 earthquake
Population: 565,000

1910 - King Manuel II abdicates amid revolution; Portugal proclaimed a republic.

1911 - New constitution separates church from state. Manuel Jose de Arriaga elected first president of republic.

1916-18 - Portugal fights World War I on Allied side.

1926 - Military coup. General Antonio de Fragoso Carmona becomes president.

1928 - Carmona appoints Antonio de Oliveira Salazar minister of finance.

Salazar era

1932 - Salazar becomes prime minister.

1933 - "New State" ("Estado Novo") constitution.

1936 - Salazar backs General Franco's nationalists in Spanish Civil War.

long-term leader Salazar
Antonio de Oliveira Salazar: PM for 36 years
Became finance minister in 1928
Premier from 1932; established authoritarian "Estado Novo" political system
Gave up premiership after stroke in 1968; died in 1970

1939-45 - Portugal maintains official neutrality during World War II, but allows UK to use air bases in Azores.

1947 - Government crushes attempted revolt, deports labour leaders and army officers to Cape Verde Islands.

1949 - Portugal becomes founding member of Nato.

1955 - Portugal joins United Nations.

1955 - Indian opposition to Portuguese territory leads to severed diplomatic ties.

1958 - Admiral Americo Tomas appointed president.

1961 - India annexes Portuguese Goa. Rebellion breaks out in Angola, Guinea and Mozambique.

1968 - Salazar succeeded by Marcello Caetano.

1970 - Salazar dies.


Portuguese parliament
Revolution of the Carnations in 1974 ended Europe's longest dictatorship
Military staged bloodless coup on 25 April, now celebrated as a holiday
New regime started programme of rapid decolonisation
Over next decade a stable two-party system emerged

1974 - Caetano government overthrown by group of army officers. General Antonio Ribeiro de Spinola becomes president, succeeded by General Francisco da Costa Gomes.

1974-75 - Independence for Portuguese colonies of Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Cape Verde Islands, Sao Tome and Principe, and Angola.

After more than 450 years in power, Portugal withdraws from Portuguese Timor - now East Timor - which is then occupied by Indonesia.

Huge influx of expatriates from former colonies.

1976 - Parliamentary elections. Mario Soares becomes prime minister. General Antonio Ramalho Eanes wins presidency.

1979 - Centre-right alliance wins elections.

Civilian government

1982 - Military Council of the Revolution abolished, civilian government formally restored.

1983 - Soares returns as prime minister.

1985 - Cavaco Silva becomes prime minister.

1986 January - Portugal becomes EEC (later EU) member.

Mario Soares elected president.

1987 - Cavaco Silva wins absolute majority in parliament.

1991 - Soares re-elected president.

1995 - Antonio Guterres becomes prime minister.

1996 - Jorge Sampaio elected president.

1999 - Last overseas territory, Macau, handed over to Chinese administration.

Firefighters in Santarem, Portugal
Portugal was badly hit by forest fires in 2003

2001 - Jorge Sampaio elected for a second presidential term.

2001 December - Alqueva project on the Guadiana River nears completion as Europe's largest artificial lake, condemned by environmentalists as destructive, grandiose and unnecessary.

2001 December - Prime Minister Guterres resigns after his Socialist Party suffers unexpectedly heavy losses in local elections. Parliament is dissolved, early general election set for March 2002.

2002 January - Euro replaces the escudo.

Barroso government

2002 March - Social Democrat leader Jose Manuel Durao Barroso forms centre-right coalition after general election in which Socialists are defeated.

Grape harvest in Douro valley
Port, a fortified wine, is produced from Douro valley grapes

2003 August - Government declares a national calamity as forest fires sweep across vast areas of woodland. Officials say an area the size of Luxembourg has been lost to the fires. At least 18 people are killed; damage is estimated at one billion euros.

2004 July - Mr Barroso resigns as prime minister to become president of the European Commission. Pedro Santana Lopes, his successor as leader of Social Democratic Party, forms government.

2004 December - Four months into Prime Minister Lopes' government, President Sampaio calls early elections.

2005 February - Socialists sweep to victory in general elections. They usher in economic and social reforms which provoke a series of protest strikes among public sector workers.

2005 August - Portugal calls for outside help as deadly wildfires, exacerbated by drought and said to be the worst in recent times, rage across the country.

2006 January - Anibal Cavaco Silva, centre-right prime minister of 1985-1995, elected president.

Madeira: Portugal's Atlantic Ocean outpost

2007 March - Mass demonstrations - the largest in recent years - against government's economic reforms.

2007 April - President endorses new law permitting abortion in first ten weeks of pregnancy, aligning Portugal with most other EU countries.

2007 July - Portugal takes over EU presidency.

2008 April - Portuguese parliament votes overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying EU's new treaty. European leaders had signed the treaty at a special summit in Lisbon in December 2007.

2008 May - Parliament votes to bring spelling of Portuguese language more in line with Brazilian practice. Opponents of the move say it is a capitulation to Brazilian influence.

2009 September - Governing Socialist Party wins re-election but loses its overall majority.

2009 October - Socialist Party leader Jose Socrates forms minority government.

Economic crisis

2010 March - Tens of thousands of civil servants hold one-day strike in protest against plans to freeze public sector workers' pay.

Government announces package of austerity measures, including cuts in public spending and tax increases, to reduce Portugal's budget deficit.

2010 March-July - As eurozone debt crisis mounts, several leading credit rating agencies downgrade Portugal's government debt, further undermining confidence in the Portuguese economy.

2010 October - Portugal wins non-permanent seat on UN Security Council. Two-year term will begin on 1 January 2011.

2010 November - Parliament passes austerity budget aimed at bringing down high public debt levels.

2011 March - Government resigns after parliament rejects new austerity package. Jose Socrates continues as PM in caretaker capacity.

2011 April - Portugal becomes the third European Union country after Greece and Ireland to apply for EU financial assistance to help it cope with its budget deficit.


2011 May - The European Union and International Monetary Fund agree a 78bn-euro bailout for Portugal, on condition of severe spending cuts.

2011 June - Parliamentary elections. Ruling Socialist Party ousted. Winning Social Democratic Party forms governing coalition with the Popular Party.

2011 July - Credit ratings agency Moody's downgrades Portugal's public debt to junk status.

2011 August - The government plans the country's biggest spending cuts in 50 years. Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar says the centre-right Social Democratic administration intends to reduce public spending from 44.2% of GDP to 43.5% by 2015.

2011 October - Portugal's government submits another package of spending cuts and tax increases to parliament to accommodate the country's 78-billion-euro bailout.


2011 November - Hundreds of thousands of workers go on strike a week before parliament is due to vote on the government's programme of spending cuts and tax rises. It is only the third general strike since Portugal became a democracy in the 1970s.

Credit ratings agency Fitch downgrades Portugal's public debt to junk status.

2012 January - Credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's downgrades Portugal's rating to junk status.

The country's two largest unions, the CGTP and the UGT, split over whether to sign up to the labour law reform proposed by the government under the terms of the international bailout. The more moderate UGT reaches an agreement with the government.

2012 March - Major cities grind to a halt as public sector workers stage 24-hour general strike in protest at the labour law reform and austerity measures agreed by government in return for the international bailout.

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Compiled by BBC Monitoring

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