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about Olivenza

Olivença (Portuguese) or Olivenza (Spanish), population 8,274, is a town (and territory) on the Portuguese-Spanish border which is under Spanish administration but claimed by Portugal on the basis of decisions promulgated at the Congress of Vienna, 1815.

It is situated on the left bank of the River Guadiana, near the city of Elvas, about 24 km south of Badajoz. The territory is triangular, with two of its vertices lying in the river Guadiana and the third one going south-east into Spain. Besides the town, the territory of Olivença includes seven villages: S. Francisco, S. Rafael, Vila Real, S. Domingos de Gusmão, S. Bento da Contenda, S. Jorge de Alor and Táliga. The total area is 750 km2. As the surrounding regions, it has a low population density. Portuguese culture is maintained in the surrounding countryside.

Olivença is currently part of the Spanish province of Badajoz in Extremadura. However, the Portuguese government considers it as part of the Portuguese district of Évora, but normal diplomatic relations within the European Union are maintained between the two countries.

Olivenza history

1297 - Through the Treaty of Alcanizes between Diniz, King of Portugal and Ferdinand IV, King of Castille, Olivença was made part of Portuguese territory.

1298 - Diniz, King of Portugal, granted the town a foral (municipal charter), and new city walls were built.

1510 - Manuel I, King of Portugal, granted a new charter to the town. Fortifications and the Olivença Bridge (later Nossa Senhora da Ajuda Bridge), connecting Olivenza and Elvas, were built. In the reign of King Manuel I, the construction of Madalena's Church started. This church would be the residence of the Bishop of Ceuta for many years.

1580 - Iberian Union of Portugal with Spain. King Philip II of Spain became King Philip I of Portugal.

1640 - Restoration of Portuguese independence. John IV of Portugal proclaimed king.

1668 - Peace treaty between Spain and Portugal, ending the Restoration Wars. This treaty affirmed the borders defined in the Alcanizes Treaty (1297).

1709 - In the aftermath of the War of the Spanish Succession, the Olivença Bridge was destroyed by Spanish forces.

1801, January 29th - Spain issues an ultimatum to Portugal, ordering it to break off relations with Britain.

1801, February 27th - Spain declares war on Portugal.

1801, May 19th - Spanish troops invade southern Portugal and occupy Olivença, Juromenha and, a few days later, Campo Maior.

1801, June 6th - Treaty of Badajoz between Portugal and the French-Spanish alliance. The terms of this treaty included the following:

The Treaty of Badajoz stipulated that the breach of any of its articles would lead to its cancellation, which came to pass in 1807.

1807, October 27th - The Treaty of Fontainebleau, signed between Spain and France, defined the occupation of Portugal and its division into three parts: the Province of Entre Douro-e-Minho for the King of Etrúria; the Principality of the Algarves for Spanish minister D. Manuel Godoy; the remaining provinces and overseas territories would be distributed by a future agreement.

1807, November - the Spanish and French forces started the occupation of Portugal, and the Portuguese royal family under protection of the Dutch navy fled to Brazil. Portugal claims that the Treaty of Fontainebleau and subsequent invasion of Portugal abrogated the Treaty of Peace of Badajoz.

1808 - The Prince Regent of Portugal, D. João, repudiated the Treaty of Badajoz.

1808, May 2nd - A popular uprising in Madrid against French presence is violently quelled by Murat. Popular rebellion would later escalate into the Peninsula War against the French.

1808, May 5th - King Charles IV of Spain abdicates the throne.

1808, June 4th - Joseph Bonaparte proclaimed King of Spain.

1809, July - Portugal presented to the Junta Central, in Seville, an official order of restitution of the Territory of Olivenza.

1810, February 19th - Treaty of alliance and friendship between Portugal and Britain, whereby Great Britain pledged to help Portugal to regain possession of Olivença, receiving in return the exploration of the Portuguese establishments of Bissau and Cacheu for a period of 50 years.

1810 - Portugal negotiated a treaty with the Regency Counsel of Spain, whereby Olivenza should be given back to Portugal.

1811, April 15th - Portuguese military forces occupy Olivença. Beresford, a British marshal who occupied the rank of Head general of the Portuguese army, ordered the restitution of Olivença to the Spanish authorities.

1812 - The Peninsular War ends. The French are expelled from Spain.

1814, May 30th - The Treaty of Paris declared the 1801 treaties of Badajoz and Madrid null and void.

1815, June 9th - According to the Final Minutes of the Congress of Vienna, in article 105, the Portuguese rights to the Territory of Olivença were recognized.

1815, October 27 - Expecting the quick restitution of Olivença, Prince Regent João VI nominated D. Jose Luiz de Sousa as Plenipotentiary.

1817, May 7 - Spain signed the Treaty of Vienna, including a ommitment to return Olivença to Portugal as soon as possible.

1840 - The Portuguese language was forbidden in the Territory of Olivença, including in churches.

1858 - Isabel II of Spain granted the title of City (Ciudad) to Olivença.

1864 September 29th - a covenant between Portugal and Spain was signed, demarcating the border from the estuary of the River Minho to the confluence of the River Caia with the River Guadiana. The definition of the territorial limits was not pursued because of the Question of Olivenza.

1918/19 - With the end of World War I, the Portuguese government studied the possibility of taking the Question of Olivença to the Peace Conference. However, as Spain had not participated in the war, the intervention of the international community in this issue was not possible.

1926, June 29th - Portugal and Spain signed an agreement for the demarcation of the border from the estuary of the River Cuncos to the estuary of the River Guadiana. Owing to the Problem of Olivença, the border between Portugal and Spain from the estuary of the River Caia to the estuary of the River Cuncos has not yet been demarcated.

1936-39 - Spanish Civil War. During the Spanish conflict, Colonel Rodrigo Pereira Botelho offered to occupy Olivença. The Portuguese Regiment 8, stationed in Elvas, was prepared to take Olivença but was ordered not to. Some inhabitants of Olivença who defended Olivença's reintegration into Portugal were eliminated during the turmoil of the Civil War.

1938, August 15th - The Pro-Olivença Society (Sociedade Pró-Olivença) was established.

1944/45 - In Lisbon, the Group of the Friends of Olivença (Grupo dos Amigos de Olivença) was formed.

1952 - In the International Commission of Limits, Portugal claimed ownership of the Territory of Olivença.

1968 - A covenant between Portugal and Spain was signed, guaranteeing the Portuguese ownership of the two banks of the Guadiana, from the confluence of the Caia to Mourão. Portugal kept its claims to the Territory of Olivença.

1974 - A Spanish legal consultant of the International Commission of Limits recognized Portugal's right to claim ownership of Olivença.

1981 - Admiral Pinheiro de Azevedo, a former prime minister of Portugal, assumed leadership of the Group of the Friends of Olivença. He conceived a plan to occupy Olivença in a peaceful way, which did not materialize due to lack of government support and to indifference among the Portuguese people. Pinheiro de Azevedo published a book on the subject of Olivença and visited the town. His trip to Olivença generated great tension, and Spain sent a large contingent of the Civil Guard to prevent problems.

1990 - In the Iberian Summit, the prime ministers of Portugal and Spain signed a covenant for the reconstruction of the Olivença Bridge, a joint project, which put the Portuguese rights to Olivença at risk since it could be understood as a recognition of the border in the Guadiana.

1994, November - In the Iberian Summit of Porto, an agreement was reached that the bridge be reconstructed by Portugal, without Spanish intervention, so that the Portuguese rights to the Territory of Olivença would not be put at stake.

1995, March - the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Environment Ministry sent the Spanish government a detailed study of the effects that the construction of the Alqueva Dam in Portugal would have on Spanish territory. As Portugal did not recognize Spanish sovereignty on Olivença, information on Olivença was not included in the 13 volumes of the study sent to the Spanish authorities. One week later, in deference to the Spaniards and to simplify technical aspects, Portugal sent further information, including data on Olivença. However, the study was entitled "Territory of Spain and Olivença", to assert that the Portuguese administration did not consider Olivença as part of Spain.

2004, June, 25 - The problem of Olivença is debated in the Portuguese parliament, parlamentarians of all parties cheering the patriotism and citizenship of "Grupo dos Amigos de Olivença" in a subject backed by the Portuguese constitution and International laws. Stating that the territory is internationally recognized as Portuguese, though ruled by Spain. Raising the idea for a further debate with the Portuguese minister of foreign affairs to try to solve, in a friendly and cooperative way, the problem with Spain and with the people of Olivença within the European Union.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Olivenza".

This city is also known as: Olivenza (Badajoz).

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