Overseas province

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Overseas province (Portuguese : província ultramarina) was a designation used by Portugal to describe its non-continental holdings.



In the early the 19th century, Portuguese overseas territories were referred to as "overseas dominions", but administrative reforms made the term "overseas provinces" begin to be used. That was in keeping with the idea of pluricontinentalism, or the idea that Portugal existed as a transcontinental country and that its territories were integral to the Portuguese state. Overseas possessions had already been seen as an element of Portuguese identity.

By the 20th century, most of these territories were referred to as "colonies", but the term "overseas province" continued to be used as well.

The name was made official in 1951 by António de Oliveira Salazar during his Estado Novo regime to retain the remaining colonies and to appease anticolonial demands from the United Nations. [1] The following territories were then reclassified:

The classification lasted until the 1974 Carnation Revolution, which lead to the fall of the Estado Novo regime, the rapid decolonisation of Portuguese Africa and the annexation of Portuguese Timor by Indonesia. [2] [3] The remaining overseas provinces of the Azores and Madeira later had their constitutional status changed to autonomous regions.

In 1976, the territory of Macau became known as a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration" and was granted more administrative, financial and economic autonomy. Three years later, Portugal and China agreed rename Macau once again to as "a Chinese territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration. That classification lasted until the Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau and transfer of sovereignty of Macau from Portugal to the People's Republic of China in 1999.

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  1. G. J. Bender (1978), Angola Under the Portuguese: The Myth and the Reality, Berkeley, University of California Press p.xx. ISBN   0-520-03221-7
  2. "1974: Rebels seize control of Portugal", On This Day, 25 April, BBC, 25 April 1974, retrieved 10 March 2018
  3. "1975: Indonesia invades East Timor", This Day in History, History (U.S. TV network), 7 December 2010, retrieved 10 March 2018