Portuguese Revolution of 1974

Assess the significance of the Portuguese Revolution of 1974

Word limit 2,000 words. 27%, marked internally/moderated externally

Full first draft to be submitted before Christmas



  • The nature of the Estado Novo
  • Causes of the revolution and rule under Caetano
  • April 25th 1974
  • Consequences of the revolution; social, political and economic


Key issues:

  • The collapse of the Estado Novo and the nature of the revolution – How have historians assessed its significance? Has it been viewed as a popular uprising or a coup d’état? To what extent was it a popular revolution and what do the origins in the army tell us about the nature of the event? Did the revolution accelerate change within Portugal or did it act as a ‘watershed moment’ (a turning point in Portuguese history)? What role does contemporary myth-making play in the way the revolution is viewed today?


  • The emergence of democracy – To what extent did the revolution lead to political and economic reorientation away from ‘empire’ towards European integration? Was the emergence of democracy inevitable? How has the nature and legacy of the revolution shaped Portuguese politics? How did the revolution shape the political institutions and ideas that emerged in the short and long term?


Portugal joins the E.E.C 1st July 1985

Political division post 1974 was significant – An anarcho-populist coup (MFAV 1975) led to a shift to the centre and the emergence of anti-communist policies (Saraiva 1997)

It could be argued that the revolution significantly shaped the nature of the democracy that emerged in the early years of the new Republic.


  • The impact beyond Portugal – What impact did the revolution have on the Portuguese colonies? What happened in Angola and Mozambique? Who were the retornados and how did they shape Portugal post 1974?What was the nature of the economic impact? To what extent was Portugal already integrated within Europe?


The impact in the colonies was significant. The collapse of Portuguese rule created a power vacuum abroad, filled and exploited by rival political groups; “Not only in Angola, but also in Mozambique, independence degenerated into chaos, and protracted civil or tribal warfare followed” (Saraiva 1997: 119). 

The economic significance of the revolution can also be assessed. Portugal was already a member of NATO and the EFTA and the impact of Portuguese migrant workers in mainland Europe had influenced Portugal socially and economically prior to 1974.


  • The social and cultural impact – To what extent did the revolution affect living and working conditions in Portugal? What was the cultural impact? Who were the Three Marias? What impact did the revolution have on women’s rights in Portugal?

Last Updated on February 10, 2019 by EssayPro