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April 25th The Carnation Revolution

A Revolução dos Cravos (The Carnation Revolution), also known as the 25th of April Revolution, was a peaceful coup d’état that took place in Portugal on April 25, 1974. It marked the end of over four decades of authoritarian rule under the Estado Novo regime led by Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar and, later, Marcelo Caetano.

April 25th symbolizes the Carnation Revolution
Carnation Revolution Soldiers

The revolution was primarily led by the Armed Forces Movement (Movimento das Forças Armadas, MFA), composed of dissident military officers who were opposed to Portugal’s colonial wars in Africa and the authoritarian regime at home. The revolution was named after the widespread use of carnations as a symbol of the peaceful nature of the uprising.

The key events of the Carnation Revolution unfolded as follows:

1. Military Coup:

On the morning of April 25, 1974, military units seized key points in Lisbon, including the radio station and the headquarters of the state police, while the government and the secret police were caught by surprise.

2. Radio Broadcast:

The coup leaders broadcasted the song “E depois do adeus” (“And after the farewell”) by Paulo de Carvalho on the radio, which served as a signal to the conspirators that the revolution was underway.

3. Carnation Revolution

As the military occupation of Lisbon unfolded, civilians took to the streets in support of the military’s actions. Many people placed red carnations in the muzzles of soldiers’ rifles and tanks, symbolizing peace and the end of violence.

4. Overthrow of the Estado Novo:

By the end of the day, Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano surrendered, and the authoritarian Estado Novo regime collapsed. General António de Spínola became the interim head of state.

5. Transition to Democracy:

Following the revolution, Portugal underwent a period of significant political upheaval and transition. The country embarked on a path towards democracy, with free elections held in 1975. This led to the establishment of a democratic government and the drafting of a new constitution in 1976.

The Carnation Revolution not only brought an end to Portugal’s colonial wars in Africa but also ushered in a period of profound social, political, and economic change known as the “Third Republic.” It is celebrated annually in Portugal as a national holiday, commemorating the country’s transition to democracy and the end of dictatorship.

Restauradores Square occupied by the military
Zeca Afonso the author of Grândola Vila Morena a music symbol of the Carnation Revolution

Symbol from the revolution is also the music “Grândola Vila Morena” from the author Zeca Afonso.

This music is many times used during Portuguese protests has a symbol of liberation against the motive of the protest it self.

António Oliveira Salazar

The Prime Minister of the Estado Novo (New Estate) who headed the new state that resulted in a dictatorship between 1917 and 1974.

His well known police PIDE was the most feared by the people by controlling the freedom of speech between other subjects.

António Oliveira Salazar Estado Novo Prime Minister
Salgueiro Maia main Figure from the Carnation Revolution

Salgueiro Maia was one of the captains involved in planning and executing the military coup that ultimately led to the overthrow of the authoritarian Estado Novo regime. On the morning of April 25, 1974, Maia led his troops, including armored vehicles, into the streets of Lisbon as part of the movement to seize key strategic points in the city.

Salgueiro Maia remains a symbol of courage, integrity, and the peaceful transition to democracy in Portugal. He is remembered and honored as one of the heroes of the Carnation Revolution.

Find out more about this and other Portuguese story’s and history on our Lisbon Tour or at any of the historical tours here on our site  

Comercio Square
Carnation Revolution people on one of the tanks that occupied the city to liberate the country
April 25th 2024

The Commission Promoting the Popular Celebrations of the 25th of April will hold the Celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April in Rossio.

The parade starts at Praça Marquês de Pombal, continues along Avenida da Liberdade and ends at Praça D. Pedro IV (Rossio), where there will be 2 interventions and several cultural moments with performances by various groups.

Source Lisboa City Hall

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