How Did the Dictatorship of António Salazar Influence Wine Production?

On April 28, 1889, António de Oliveira Salazar was born, who was the central figure of the Estado Novo in Portugal.

Salazar was the Minister of Finance in Portugal, and in 1932 he became Portuguese Prime Minister. During that time, he sustained the country in a dictatorial regime for 41 years.

During this period, Salazar suddenly adopted measures concerning the Portuguese economy, adding taxes and condensing government spending, thereby eliminating the negative financial balance existing in the State. These actions gave Salazar influence and power, so much so that he managed to withdraw the strength they had from the military until that moment.

At the head of the Government, Salazar implemented a new Constitution. The new constitution of 1933 allowed the end of the Military Dictatorship and the beginning of the Salazarist Dictatorship. This attitude had the purpose of changing the Portuguese political powers, and so did it.

Through Salazar’s policy, he immediately affected the loss of freedom of expression, the right to strike, and the restriction of the action of some organs of power, such as the National Assembly.
During the Salazar dictatorship, winemaking in Portugal suffered a lot.

Salazar’s dictatorship isolated Portugal from the rest of the world for over 40 years. It influenced its viticultural landscape, encouraging cooperatives to the detriment of small producers, reducing exports, and favoring consumption in the domestic market.

Exports of Portuguese wine began around 1380, and England has always been one of the main destinations for Portuguese wines.

In 1703, the signing of the Methew Treaty came into force in which Portugal exported wines to England. In return, England supplied fabrics to Portugal.

Salazar’s dictatorship had as its main objective the reduction of exports, and the export of wine was greatly affected.

One of the main wine-producing regions in Portugal, the Alentejo region, had its wine production interrupted during the dictatorship as Salazar launched an initiative known as Campanha do Trigo, created on August 21, 1929, which was a series of measures that sought the expansion and agricultural production that resulted in the substitution of areas of cultivation of grapes for the cultivation of cereals.

The Wheat Campaign directly affected the region’s ecosystem and biodiversity, causing soil erosion to worsen.

Salazar Death

After Salazar died in 1970, and after Portugal acceded to the European Union, the experience of collectivization proposed by the dictator made winemaking in Portugal one of the main ones in the world.

On June 12, 1985, at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, the Treaty of Accession to the European Union was signed, which took effect on January 1, 1986. This date drastically changed the landscape of wine production in Portugal, as the wineries were able to invest in machinery and new technologies for the growth and development of the Portuguese wine sector.

Also read: The Effects of British Tariffs on the French Wine Industry (1700-1860)

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Categories: This Day in Wine History | ArticlesBy Published On: November 2, 2022

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