Portugal and England: one of the oldest alliances in Europe.
Portugal and England have always had a policy of friendship. This “friendship” is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Thus, at the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte threatened the entire European continent, including Portugal. After much debate among the Portuguese rulers, it was decided that the whole royal family and other members of the Court would move to Brazil. This move transformed and marked the destinies of Brazil and Europe. It was the first and only time that a monarch left Europe, i.e. the seat of government and all his subjects, and crossed the ocean to live in his colony. Some experts say that Dom João took this decision as an act of flight and cowardice; others agree that it was a very smart move as he managed to keep his crown by going to America.
In this process, the Portuguese royal family and its entire court, which numbered around 10,000 people, were escorted by English ships. The British did not escort all these people for anything. There was great interest on the part of the British in obtaining some advantages such as permission to trade directly with Brazil, increasing their consumer market. The British were very prejudiced by the so-called Continental Blockade, imposed by Napoleon, and urgently needed to open new markets.
England put a lot of pressure on Dom João to obtain benefits, but he was slow to make a decision, as he knew that the agreements signed with the English government would end up harming the colonists and the prince would lose their political support. But in 1808, as soon as he arrived in Brazil, he signed the first decree benefiting England: he instituted in the Royal Charter the opening of the ports to Friendly Nations, putting an end to the old Colonial Pact, which was the form of trade whereby the Metrópole had exclusive trade with Brazil, i.e. Brazil could only sell to and buy from Portugal. England could buy and sell directly from Brazil with this decree, which became permanent two years later. Smuggling was drastically reduced and there was an increase in British goods in the country.
In 1810, the Treaties of Alliance and Friendship were signed between the two European countries. These treaties ended up making the English advantages clear, stirring up Lusitanian interests. According to the document, the English would pay only 15% tax on goods arriving in Brazilian ports, while the Portuguese would pay 16% and other nations 24%. It was also determined that any Englishman incriminated in Brazil could only be judged in the presence of a British authority and based on the laws of England. Should a Portuguese be incriminated in England, he would have to be judged according to the laws of England and not Portugal.
There was also a commitment to the gradual end of the slave trade, which only really came to an end in 1850, with the Eusébio de Queirós Law.
Therefore, for Brazil, this agreement established access to new goods, ended the colonial pact that was harmful to traders and lowered the cost of living. For the Portuguese, it was the end of large profits, unlike the English, who would have large profits and autonomy in Brazil.
Federico Giannattasio is a conference interpreter and translator working since 2015.
He has worked in Italian television and Radio for the production of information and entertainment TV programs. He has provided interpretation for major events such as TEDx; worked for Italian and foreign NGOs (Amnesty International) and also worked in the religious field.
Furthermore, he is an Adjunct Professor at UNINT Rome University since 2016 where he teaches translation and interpreting from Portuguese into Italian.
As of today, he also published three Portuguese novels translated into Italian.