The Nadir Of Alliance: The British Ultimatum Of 1890 And Its Place In Anglo-Portuguese Relations, 1147- 1945
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As has been stated many times before, the Anglo-Portuguese alliance is the oldest pact still currently in force in the world. It has been the bedrock cornerstone of Lisbon's foreign policy as a means of insuring Portuguese independence against Spanish incursions. Yet, despite the benefit it has given to Portugal, it has often been used by the British to extract unequal economic and political terms from Lisbon, in exchange for a promise of protection. In Portuguese history, the Ultimatum of 1890 - when Britain issued a threat of war to Lisbon over Portugal's attempt to connect its two African colonies via an inland corridor-- is a seminal event that prompted anger at the monarchy in Portugal and hatred toward Lisbon's oldest ally. Through the negotiations that followed the showdown, the British received unofficial license to perform all sorts of shenanigans with its ally's colonies, including trying to give them to Germany. This thesis considers the Ultimatum in a larger context of Anglo-Portuguese relations marked by inequality, which had been standard operating procedure since Portugal's separation from Spain in 1640. This status quo continued until the mid-twentieth century.