Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Coordinates||38° 45' N, 5° 07' W|
|Mayor||Ramón Rocha Maqueda|
| Population |
| 8,274 |
Olivenza (Spanish) or Olivença (Portuguese), 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 Olivenza includes seven villages: S. Francisco, S. Rafael, Vila Real, Santo Domingo de Guzmán/São Domingo 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 and language is maintained in the surrounding countryside. In the town of Olivenza the Portuguese culture is also preserved, but the language is now only spoken by some older people. The younger generations is, in its majority, Spanish speaking. The territory mantains an intense relation with neighbouring Portuguese town of Elvas.
Some monuments include the Santa Maria do Castelo/Santa María del Castillo Church, Holy Ghost Chapel, St Mary Magdalene Church (considered a masterwork of the Portuguese Manuelino architectural style), São João de Deus/San Juan de Dios Monastery, Homage Tower, and the ruins of the Nossa Senhora da Ajuda bridge (Portuguese national heritage).
Olivenza 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.
Claim of sovereignty
Portugal does not recognize Spain's de facto sovereignty over the territory. Therefore, the border between these two countries in the Olivença region has since 1801 been legally defined whereas before the region was common Portuguese land. Portugal's formal claim to the region rests on decisions made at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
In 1815 Congress of Vienna was celebrated and Portugal demanded again the cancellation of the Treaty of Badajoz and the sovereignty of Olivenza, something that finally appeared in article 105 of the Final Act of this congress. In it, it is advised that with international mediation Olivenza should be returned to Portugal. Nevertheless, England, was the only country that could support the return, wasn't interested in that due to British colonies in the West Indies.
A leader of the Group of the Friends of Olivença says that, as Spain requests the United Kingdom to return Gibraltar, though this is not what its inhabitants want, Portugal is requesting that Spain return Olivença, despite the wishes of its current inhabitants . There are no broader studies indicating what the inhabitants think of the situation. A newspaper from Elvas, and inhabitants say that half of the population wants Olivenza to be kept in Spain, the other half wants it returned to be returned to Portugal.
The situations are not entirely parallel, however, as the Portuguese government is not actively pressing its claim to Olivenza. Portugal discussed the Olivenza problem in the Portuguese parliament in June 25th, 2004 and reafirmed the "Portugality" of Olivenza.
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 Olivença 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.
1668 - Peace treaty between Spain and Portugal, ending the Restoration Wars. This treaty affirmed the borders defined in the Alcanizes Treaty (1297).
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:
- Portugal would close its ports to British ships;
- Portugal would pay France an indemnity of 15 million livres tournoises
- Portugal accepted the Guiana borders as far as the mouth of the River Arawani.
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 Etruria; the Principality of the Algarves for Spanish minister 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 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 Olivenza, 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 Olivenza to the Spanish authorities.
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 Olivenza, Prince Regent João VI nominated D. Jose Luiz de Sousa as Plenipotentiary.
1817, May 7 - Spain signed the Treaty of Vienna , including a commitment to return Olivenza to Portugal as soon as possible.
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 Olivenza 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 Olivenza, 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 Olivenza. The Portuguese Regiment 8, stationed in Elvas, was prepared to take Olivença but was ordered not to. Some inhabitants of Olivenza who defended Olivenza'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.
1952 - In the International Commission of Limits, Portugal claimed ownership of the Territory of Olivenza.
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 Olivenza.
1974 - A Spanish legal consultant of the International Commission of Limits recognized Portugal's right to claim ownership of Olivenza.
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 Olivenza 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 Olivenza 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 Olivenza 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 Olivenza, 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 Olivenza. However, the study was entitled "Territory of Spain and Olivença", to assert that the Portuguese administration did not consider Olivenza as part of Spain.
2004, June, 25 - The problem of Olivenza 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 Olivenza within the European Union.
Famous people from Olivenza
Famous people born in Olivenza include:
The Portuguese government today is not actively claiming Olivença, even if it understands it as part of its territory. The Portuguese parliament, in 2004, already prompted the government to restart talks with Spain. Public institutions such as IPPAR reproved the rebuilding of a National Monument in Olivença (the Ajuda Bridge) by Spain. Spain has stopped the rebuilding due to IPPAR's pressures, a court in Elvas and various Portuguese groups, some of them founded by Olivença's refugees in Portugal. These groups are the ones that mostly pursue the claim today, they include:
- Sociedade Pró-Olivença (Pró-Olivença Society) - since 1938
- Grupo dos Amigos de Olivença (Group of the Friends of Olivença) - since 1944
- Comité Olivença Portuguesa (Committee Portuguese Olivença) - since 1988
- Fórum Olivença (Olivença Forum) - since 2002
- Olivença - Portugal Livre (Olivença - Free Portugal)
Olivença is also the name of some places in Brazil: see
- Olivença, Brasil .
- English-language summary of the position of the Grupo dos Amigos de Olivença
- Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Olivença Castle
- Olivença-Portugal Livre: Patriotic Polemic asserting Portugal's claim to Olivença
- Images of Olivença
- Church of St. Mary Magdalene (in Spanish)
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