11 Jul, 2020
What can be considered history? What can we consider a fact in history? Are all events present in the story, or rather, are they all told in the story? Before we even reflect on these issues, let's analyze the science that studies human actions and events over time: history.
For many, history is considered a limited time space. As everyone knows, society over time and from a distance from the past is completely marked by events.
These are political, religious, scientific events, but more importantly: they are all historical. Such events unfold over time and the art of looking at the past and learning from it allows us to compose an enriching present and future. In this text, we will share a little about an event, among countless others present in history. From this text, you will be able to know a little of what the Battle of Aljubarrota was and what its cultural and historical legacies are.
You will also learn a little about the Battle of Aljubarrota Foundation, created with the aim of preserving the movements of time throughout history, even through virtual technologies, in order to expand the cultural relationship of people with historical facts that previously were restricted only to the past, among other information. Follow on!
The Battle of Aljubarrota
Known as one of the great pitched battles of the Middle Ages, the Battle of Aljubarrota is part of one of the most decisive events in the history of Portugal.
On the battlefield, this struggle allowed for innovations in military tactics, making it possible for armed men to overcome a powerful cavalry. In the diplomatic field, it allowed the alliance between Portugal and England, which continues today.
With regard to the political aspect, it resolved the dispute that divided the Kingdom of Portugal from the Kingdom of Leon and Castile, paving the way under the Avis Dynasty for one of the most striking times in the history of Portugal, the Age of Discovery.
One of the most legendary figures of the battle is the heroine Brites de Almeida, better known as "the Aljubarrota Baker", who is told to have killed with her shovel seven Castilians that she found hidden in the oven.
When she saw the enemies hidden in his oven, she not only killed them but also baked them together with the chorizo bread. Even though historians claim that the story of Brites de Almeida is nothing more than a traditional legend of the time, people who believe in the great icon claim that she ended up gathering a group of women and building a kind of enemy-persecuting militia, killing them in cold blood.
Another very important element for this historical fact is São Jorge, a saint known in Catholicism as the patron of soldiers, farmers, among other peoples. The Roman soldier was known about 1700 years ago as the most acclaimed saint by the Portuguese, even in the Middle Ages.
São Jorge is represented as a symbol of the Battle of Aljubarrota, for calling the famous battlefield “Campo de São Jorge” [Saint Jorge's Field] and for expressing their prayers to the patron saint of Portugal during the struggle and resistance of the people.
When we mention Campo de São Jorge, we remember not only a scenario, but the entire physical space in which the battle of Aljubarrota took place. Located in Calvaria de Cima, Campo de São Jorge belongs to a parish (a municipal and administrative subdivision of Portugal), considered the smallest in the municipality.
This whole scenario became a great space for countless events, such as: the journey of Mestre de Avis emissaries to D. Leonor Teles in December 1383, which had already left Lisbon and was in Alenquer. They brought her a marriage proposal between her and the Master of Avis.
According to this proposal, the Mestre de Avis and D. Leonor Teles would assume the regency of the Kingdom, until the son of D. Beatriz reached 14 years and could reign. After that, the Avis Master would be the governor of the Kingdom. D. Leonor Teles refused the proposal. The supporters of the Mestre de Avis then began to prepare the military defense of Lisbon.
The importance of the aid from England, a kingdom with which Portugal had an alliance treaty signed in 1372 (the Treaty of Tagilde), was quickly realized, and particularly the support of the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, who had pretensions to the Castilian throne.
Thus, in December 1383, ambassadors are sent to London, who are received by Ricardo II and the Duke of Lancaster. The King of England's response was favorable to the requests of the Mestre de Avis, allowing the Portuguese ambassadors to recruit men of arms and archers in England. In return, the Mestre de Avis accepted Duke of Lancaster's claims to the throne of Castile.
In December 1383, Mestre, at the request of the people to be called Regedor and Defender of the Kingdom, goes to the Monastery of São Domingos where the people gather. There, he agreed to be “their defender and to put the body on any adventure for the honor of the kingdom and for their defense”.
It is important to note that in this article we present an excerpt on the narrative of the history of the Battle of Aljubarrota. There are still many other facts that preceded and followed the battle. Therefore, it is extremely important that you pay attention to some of the ways to learn about such a historical fact.
Meet the FBA
The Batalha de Aljubarrota Foundation or Interpretation Center of the Batalha de Aljubarrota, is a museum space that aims to preserve and study the 1385 Batalha de Aljubarrota, in addition to, of course, disclosing the history and the facts and fictions elaborated in the 14th century.
The CIBA (Interpretation Center of the Battle of Aljubarrota), as it is also known, is located in Calvaria de Cima, considered a Portuguese parish in the municipality of Porto de Mós.
As seen above, this historical event, in addition to being important for Portugal's independence, is also known for its cultural enrichment and its traditions. The idea of preserving tradition from a museum has only become a reality in 2008; as we can see, the creation of such a Foundation is recent, but its work is already of great value to its visitors.
Despite being only 12 years old with its active work, the Battle of Aljubarrota Foundation stands out for the preservation of history, as well as cultural enrichment in the future.
It is important to note that the Foundation is not only limited to preserving the historical scene and museological activities, but also produces various types of content, such as: books, archaeological research, films, instructional and interactive videos, in order to present the Battle of Aljubarrota to the public, in a rigorous, instructive and engaging way.
The Interpretation Center of the Battle of Aljubarrota consists of an exhibition area with 900m2: two exhibition centers dedicated to the Battle of Aljubarrota, its historical context and the archaeological discoveries on the battlefield; and an auditorium for the projection of a multimedia show that reconstructs the entire Battle and the events that originated it. It also features temporary exhibitions, a shop, cafeteria, eating spaces and the famous Parque de Engenhos Medieval [Medieval Park].
All of this was only possible through the dialogue with the Ministries of Culture and National Defense, at the request of transforming an old Military Museum into the Interpretation Center for the Battle of Aljubarrota (CIBA): an innovative and technological project that reconnects heritage and history with the current reality.
The CIBA also has an interactive tool, which allows its visitors to immerse themselves in the history of the Battle of Aljubarrota, before or after they visit the Foundation. This online tool is Timelinefy, which organizes the historical facts in timelines. Below, we will see more about the tool and how it tells the story of the Battle of Aljubarrota.
The Battle of Aljubarrota contacts Timelinefy
As already mentioned, the Battle of Aljubarrota Interpretation Center has partnered with Timelinefy, a tool that offers a dynamic and interactive way to tell and learn about history, as it allows you to organize historical facts in time through timelines.
With the tool, it is possible to organize and present the information in time, in a chronological way, describing and presenting in several layers the interrelationships between these different events that happened in a certain period, and even relating them. This interaction with the contents totaling in macro and micro events allows an assimilation from audios, images and videos.
Timelinefy and the Battle of Aljubarrota Foundation strongly believe in the potential of this method: the timelines, telling stories and organizing information in time. That is why, even from this partnership, a timeline created to tell all the details of the narrative of the Battle of Aljubarrota came out in full detail. Explore this timeline by clicking here!
From this text, you just had a brief contact with the incredible history of the Battle of Aljubarrota, decisive for the independence of Portugal. The event resulted in the cultural and historical rise of the Calvaria de Cima region. Observing it is like looking at the past in a nostalgic way, analyzing historical events in a thoughtful way in order to acquire knowledge.
The Battle of Aljubarrota became history and also structured traditions in some regions of Portugal. The Battle of Aljubarrota Foundation was born to preserve this history, a way to propagate and consolidate this important event.