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Monsaraz | Photographer: Jose Manuel

At the end of the 19th century, "A Portuguesa," was written by the republicans, upset over the British ultimatum to Portugal regarding Africa. There were protests everywhere against the monarchy, and, as a result, "A Portuguesa" could be heard anywhere and became extremely popular. The song still echoes the original intent.

"A Portuguesa" (The Portuguese Song) - click here to listen

Words by: Henrique Lopes de Mendonça
Music by: Alfredo Keil
Adopted: 1910

At the end of the 19th century, "A Portuguesa," was written by the Republicans, upset over the British ultimatum to Portugal regarding Africa. There were protests everywhere against the monarchy, and, as a result, "A Portuguesa" could be heard anywhere and became extremely popular. The song still echoes the original intent. The verses and especially the chorus speak of a call to arms, the third verse speaks of "insults" and "embarrassment" (which is how the Portuguese saw the British ultimatum) and the original last line of the chorus read "Contra os bretões marchar, marchar" (Against the British we march, we march!). With the success of the Republicans in ousting the monarchy and replacing them with a democratic government, "A Portuguesa" was approved as a national anthem shortly after 1911.

In 1956, there were a number of variations of the anthem, not just in its melodic line but also in the instrumentation. Recognizing this, the government named a commission charged with determining the official version of "A Portuguesa." This commission prepared a proposal which, approved by the Council of Ministers on 16 July 1957, remains in effect to this day. The one glaring change was the word "bretões" which was replaced by "canhões" (cannons).

English Portuguese
Heroes of the sea, noble race,
Valiant and immortal nation,
Rise up once again
The splendor of Portugal.
Out of the mists of memory,
Oh Homeland, we hear the voices
Of your great forefathers
That shall lead you on to victory!

CHORUS:
To arms, to arms
On land and sea!
To arms, to arms
To fight for our Homeland!
To march against the enemy guns!

Unfurl the unconquerable flag
In the bright light of your sky!
Cry out all Europe and the world
That Portugal has not perished.
Your happy land is kissed
By the Ocean that murmurs with love.
And your conquering arm
Has given new worlds to the world!

CHORUS

Salute the Sun that rises
On a smiling future:
Let the echo of an insult be
The signal for our revival.
The rays of that powerful dawn
Are like a mother's kisses
That protect us and support us
Against the insults of fate.

CHORUS
Heróis do mar, nobre povo,
Naçao valente, imortal,
Levantai hoje de novo
Os esplendor de Portugal
Entre as brumas da memória.
Ó Pátria sente-se a voz
Dos teus egrégios avós
Que há-de guiar-te à vitória.

CHORUS:
Às armas! Às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar!
Às armas! Às armas!
Pela Pátria lutar!
Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!

Desfralda a invicta bandeira
À luz viva do teu céu
Brade à Europa à terra inteira
Portugal não pereceu!
Beija o solo teu jucundo
O oceano a rujir d'amor;
E o teu braço vencedor
Deu mundos novos ao mundo!

CHORUS

Saudai o sol que desponta
Sobre um ridente porvir;
Seja o eco d'uma afronta
O sinal de ressurgir.
Ráios d'essa aurora forte
São como beijos de mãe
Que nos guardam, nos sustêm,
Contra as injúrias da sorte

CHORUS