In 1147 King Alfonso of Portugal expelled the Moors, with the help of Christian Crusaders. During the Age of Discovery (1300 û 1500) Portuguese sea-faring explorers were the boldest of the Europeans, being the first to circumnavigate the coast of Africa, eventually establishing a vast empire that stretched from India to Africa to the Americas.
As the capital of Portugal this city was built on the prosperity that came from to it from foreign possessions. But like Spain, Portugal was unable to keep up with the new economic vitality of Northern Europe, and by the 20th century it had lost its most important colonies to other powers. It also was slow to keep up with the Industrial Revolution, and by the 1950's was a relatively poor backwater of Europe, surviving mainly on the export of agricultural commodities like "canned fish, raw and manufactured cork, cotton textiles, and wine" (countrystudies.us).
In the 1970's a number of factors coincided to change the conservative city with the narrow streets that had been laid out in a grid pattern by the Marques de Pombal following the 1755 earthquake that destroyed 85% of the city (en.wikipedia.org). From 1928 to 1968 Antonio de Olivieria Salazar ruled Portugal with an iron hand, emulating his fellow dictator Francisco Franco across the mountains in Spain in his statist control of political and economic activity for the benefit of the oligarchy.
At this time armed resistance by guerrillas in Portugal's African colonies