The Lines of Torres – Portugal

In a beautiful area north of Lisbon these military lines, built by Wellington, are a reminder of the bond between Britain and Portugal, our oldest ally

“The Lines of Torres” constitute the most remarkable set of fortifications of the Napoleonic Wars, constituting a historical reference for the strategic and military architecture of Europe, for its singularity is has become an important symbol of identity and a powerful educational resource.

At the beginning of the 19th century, already forgotten of the egalitarian ideals, that had presided over the French revolution, the Napoleonic armies invaded Europe.

Dominated by the new imperialist feelings, the main goal was to dominate the great opposition power: England. With the British naval superiority landing in England was impossible, Napoleon opted for other battle fronts and decreed in November of 1806 the continental blockade, imposing the closure of the European ports to the British ships.

France dominated all continental Europe, with the exception of the Iberian Peninsula. In the face of the conflict, Portugal sought to achieve a difficult situation of neutrality.

Establishing the French alliance with Spain, the Napoleonic armies invaded Portugal, the only country that had an alliance with England, the oldest alliance in the world. It is in this context that Portugal suffers the three French invasions.

Wellington, ordered the construction of an entrenched field between the Tagus river and the Atlantic that defended by land, the peninsula of Lisbon, taking advantage of the rugged characteristics of the territory.

The main goal was to keep the capital free of French armies, because of the strategic value of its port.

“The Lines of Torres” establish a turning point in the history of the Napoleonic campaigns, assuming great importance for both the History of Portugal and Contemporary World History, with special emphasis on participating nations: Portugal, United Kingdom, France and Spain, that witnessed the self-determination and resistance of the Portuguese people as a sovereign country and the strong contribution that it gave to the restoration of European nationalities.

Since 2006 the six municipalities that constitute the “ Lines of Torres” ( Arruda dos Vinhos, Loures, Mafra, Sobral de Monte Agraço, Torres Vedras e Vila Franca de Xira) have united with a common objective to identity, to recover, to study and to divulge this historical legacy.

The historical route of “The Lines of Torres“ is focussed on the experiences of knowing the Lines of Torres through cultural, leisure and sports routes, through the gastronomy, the wines and the adventure.

In an area of 907.16 km2 (square kilometres) between the Tagus river and the Atlantic, there are mountains, ranges, woods, with a history of centuries, beaches, wine, gastronomy, and authenticity important.

“The Lines of Torress” are only about a 30 minute drive from Lisbon so it would make an ideal two-centre break. Also in the region is the historic city of Mafra. One of the city’s main attractions is the sumptuous, baroque style, Mafra National Palace.

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