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The Scars of War in the Portuguese Border Zone (1250-1450)
By João Gouveia Monteiro and Miguel Gomes Martins
e-Stratégica, No.2 (2018)
Abstract: In this article we will consider the period between 1250 and 1450 in order to understand the effects of war in the Portuguese lands closest to the border (maritime, but mainly terrestrial) and therefore more exposed to enemy weapons.
But because the effects of war were not only caused by enemy incursions, we will also pay a particular attention to the abuses committed by the Portuguese authorities and forces in the territories they were responsible for defending. We will thus see the immediate and short-term effects of war, but also those which remained long after the departure of the armies; at the same time, we will identify the steps taken by the Portuguese Crown to mitigate those effects.
Introduction: When we use the word “frontier” today, it is easy to forget that this too has a history. The “frontier” has not always been that rigid line of almost mathematical precision; that deep sudden gash in the landscape of language and law; that implacable stroke announcing the transition between two countries, two societies and two administrations clearly demarcated from one another; that gateway into a new world.
Top Image: The Second European Map, depicting Roman Spain and Portugal, from one of Guillaume Fillastre’s manuscript copies of Ptolemy’s Geography.