British participation in the quincentenary commemorations of the death of Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’ (1960)
Keywords:Cultural commemoration, Anglo-Portuguese relations, Infante Dom Henrique of Portugal, Portuguese New State
In 1960, Portugal celebrated the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of Prince Henry, a heroic figure acclaimed for his role in the early maritime dis- coveries. The celebrations lasted several months and were sponsored by the Portuguese state. They included a wide variety of diplomatic, academic and cultural initiatives. These festivities were used as an opportunity to unite the Portuguese populous in the face of various potential threats to the Estado Novo which surfaced during this time. Although they were dismissed by the British foreign office, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force took the opportunity to participate in a heavily publicized naval review as their ‘oldest ally.’ A variety of Anglo-Portuguese exchanges occurred in the academic world through a series of state-sponsored history anthologies, an international con- ference and reciprocal exhibitions on the topic of the Portuguese discoveries. This paper looks at some key individuals that facilitated these exchanges in Britain using the correspondence that they left behind. It shows internatio- nal outreach in the Estado Novo’s official program of celebrations and the pragmatic management of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance.