HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

From the 19th century onwards, it became common practice to sing anthems that were distinctive of their respective countries, with each State defining both their composition and words and music that were representative and official.

The first official Portuguese anthem is considered to have been "Hymno Patriótico" (Patriotic Hymn, or Anthem) by Marcos Portugal. It was inspired by the final part of the Cantata "La Speranza o sia l`Augurio Felice", which the composer had dedicated to the Prince Regent, Dom João, when the court had withdrawn to Brazil, and which was performed at Lisbon's São Carlos Theatre on 13 May 1809 to celebrate the Prince's birthday.

"Hymno Patriótico" possessed a martial air that inspired the Portuguese people and called on them to continue to fight heroically on the battlefields. When the king returned to Portugal in 1821, Marcos Portugal dedicated a poem to him. The poem was sung to the tune of the hymn, and quickly spread and began to be performed on official occasions.

Following the death of King João VI and the accession of King Pedro IV, the new king signed the Constitutional Charter. He also composed a hymn for the occasion, which became officially known as "Hymno nacional" (National anthem) and became compulsory at all official public occasions from May 1834 onwards.

At the end of the 19th century - marked by the British ultimatum - "A Portuguesa" by Alfredo Keil and Henrique Lopes de Mendonça appeared as a patriotic march. It became widely known and accepted around the country and was sung by the revolutionaries of 31 January 1891.

Complete version:

I
Heróis do mar, nobre povo,
Nação valente, imortal
Levantai hoje de novo
O 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!

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

II
Desfralda a invicta Bandeira,
À luz viva do teu céu!
Brade a Europa à terra inteira:
Portugal não pereceu
Beija o solo teu jucundo
O oceano, a rugir d`amor,
E o teu Braço vencedor
Deu mundos novos ao mundo!

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

III
Saudai o Sol que desponta
Sobre um ridente porvir;
Seja o eco de uma afronta
O sinal de ressurgir.
Raios dessa aurora forte
São como beijos de mãe,
Que nos guardam, nos sustêm,
Contra as injúrias da sorte.

Às armas, às armas!
Sobre aterra, sobre o mar,
Às armas, às armas!
Pela Pátria lutar
Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!

Following the creation of the Republic, the same decree of the Constituent Assembly that approved the new national flag also proclaimed "A Portuguesa" the national anthem.

By 1956 there were several variants of the anthem, not only in terms of the basic melody, but even with regard to the instrumentation, especially for brass bands. The Government therefore appointed a commission to study the official version of "A Portuguesa", and its proposal was approved by the Council of Ministers on 16 July 1957 and remains in effect today.

The anthem is performed officially at national civil and military ceremonies at which homage is paid to the Homeland, the national flag or the President of the Republic. It is also obligatorily performed when a foreign head of state is greeted on Portuguese territory, following the other country's anthem.

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