The First Republic

The Republic, wanting to give a sign that this was a new period in the history of Portugal, created new symbols – a new anthem, a new flag and a new currency. In reality, the parliamentary system maintained its main characteristics – it was still a regime ruled by few, where only a minority of the “people” voted to choose the rulers (censitary suffrage). Even so, important steps were taken to assure a more secular modern society – the civil registration was created, ending the monopoly of the church regarding this issue; state religion was abolished; religious oaths at trials were terminated; divorce was made possible; the workers were granted labour rights (striking, weekly rest, social bonuses); education was given a new impetus; the press was given wider liberty of speech, etc.

However, the economic weakness and the political immaturity of the system led to a huge social and political instability – between 1910 and 1926 Portugal had eight presidents and 45 parliaments.

Number of primary schools in Portugal, from the advent of the republic to 1925,
the year before the right wing military coup. (A.H. de Oliveira Marques, Histótia de Porttugal, vol. III).

Last monarchic flag(left).
The republican flag(right).

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