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The Carnation Revolution basically saw the move of Portugal from the “New State” as introduced by Salazar, into a modern democracy.
The name Carnation Revolution comes from how famously there were no shots fired in the revolution and when the people came on to the streets to celebrate the end of the dictatorship in Portugal and the colonial wars, they put flowers into the muzzles of the rifles and pinned them onto the uniforms of the military.
Before the peaceful revolution Portugal had been involved in very unpopular Colonial wars which left thousands of Portuguese being sent overseas to fight in wars with many never returning.
The revolution marked the end of the Colonial Wars as well as the end of the Estado Novo, a regime which had repressed the political freedoms of people throughout the country since the 1930s and saw secret police reinforcing the rules of the land.
Portuguese troops were withdrawn from wars all over the world including from Cape Verde, Mozambique and Angola which was popular with many people but also led to many hundreds of thousands of Portuguese people who had lived in the former colonies returning back to Portugal as refugees.
The transition for the Estado Novo to a democracy was never going to be an easy one and with many people impoverished within Portugal and the nearly one million people returning as refugees to Portugal after the end of the wars made the country a very poor prospect for the future.
However, despite the obvious problems for the future there was real hope that life in Portugal could finally be better for the masses who had lived under the longest lived authoritarian regime in Western Europe.
After the revolution there was a new constitution in Portugal drafted while censorship was prohibited leading to the right to free speech and a free press. Meanwhile, political prisoners were released over seas and the overseas territories that had seen so much blood shed over sovereignty, were declared independent immediately.
The celebration of the events of April 25, 1974 take place every year in Portugal with many people proud of what has been achieved in Portugal since that day to restore democracy, a free market and the freedoms of the people and the carnation remains the symbol of this.
When travelling around Portugal you will find many streets, squares and landmarks named after 25 de Abril (April 25) including the imposing red bridge that leads you over the river into Lisbon. These landmarks as well as the public holiday each year help to remind people all around the world about the events of the Carnation Revolution forever.