OT: Crux Battle England/Portugal vs. Castille launch modernity

In the early 15th Century the medieval world was becoming unstable, and Portugal, Castille, and Aragon were quasi kingdoms of Iberia replacing the Caliphate of Cordoba. Castille had ambitions on taking it all via marriages and force. Lisbon in Portugal and London in England were emerging as ocean going trading centers, and Castille was competing with France for the title as best mounted knights in the world. Then came the little known but crux Battle of Aljubarrota. This is a superbly produced video on that battle. When it was over Portugal had emerged as a truly proud and permanently independent entity separate from Castille, Aragon (including Catalonia), Navarre, and Cordoba, and England and Portugal had signed the longest lasting treaty of alliance in European history, one that endures to the present moment, and holds proud title as the cornerstone of NATO.

History rarely repeats but often rhymes, and I hear a lot of rhyming in Europe from this ancient moment. That smallish trading powers joined forces (English Longbowman making their last great mark before displacement by musketry) is to me especially interesting and significant.

d fb


In WWII, Portugal was neutral, tho leaning British. At that time Goa was a Portuguese enclave on the coast of British ruled India.

There were three Axis merchant ships in Goa harbor, waiting out the war.

At the same time, Axis subs were picking off Allied shipping around India at a concerning rate.

British RDF determined coded messages were coming from Goa harbor, most likely from one of the Axis ships. The Brits decided to launch a commando raid to destroy the ship transmitting the information to the U-Boats. Attacking a ship in a neutral harbor would get the Portuguese upset, but, as they say, the British don’t have allies, only interests.

Thus began “Operation Creek”. I inherited a copy of “Boarding Party”, a few years ago, and read it last winter. First half of the book is a somewhat tedious slog, but picks up once the operation gets underway.

The story of the raid was later made into a film “The Sea Wolves”


What a wonderful cast!

Two legacies remain, Port wine, and railroads running on left side of the tracks (metro on the right side).

If I’m not mistaken London financed Wellington at Waterloo with the help of the Rothschilds who smuggled the gold via Portugal.

The Captain

1 Like