The Restoration of Independence and the Brazilian Cycle

The process of independence began on the 1st of December of 1640 and ended in 1668 when a peace treaty was signed. With this treaty Spain recognized the fact that Portugal had regained its independence.

Portugal began concentrating its efforts in the development of the Brazilian economy, as a substitute to the lost eastern empire. The production of sugar was encouraged. By the end of the 17th century gold mines were found in Brazil, causing a gold rush. Portugal's finances improved enormously. The Portuguese state had again large sums of money to spend. This put an end to the efforts that were being made since the end of the 17th century to develop a modern manufacturing industry in Portugal, with the purpose to end the chronic lack of manufactured goods.

Statue of St. Sebastian (left) inserted in the façade of the Convent of Mafra (right), near Lisbon. João V (1689-1750),
had it built to fulfil a vow asking for an heir to the throne. It is the most important work from the Portuguese Baroque,
and its construction was possible thanks to the revenues from Brazilian gold.
The cultural importance of the convent was quite significant – it created its own school of sculpture.



Baroque Church, convent of Salzedas, northern Portugal. The history of this convent goes back to the 12th century,
but in the 18th century, like many other religious buildings, it went through renovation works that gave it the baroque appearance that it presents today.



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