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The war started in 1640 with the Portuguese revolution and finally ended more than 20 years later with the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon in 1668.
The revolution of 1640 saw the end of more than sixty years of rule in Portugal by the Spanish Habsburgs and saw the Portuguese fighting for their own independence from their large neighbour.
The Restoration War was marked by several small battles and skirmishes between the two sides with a couple of larger engagements, however it was largely overshadowed at the time by the Thirty Years War and the Franco-Spanish War.
It was this war however that ended the Iberian Union between Portugal and Spain and after the war the Spanish were removed from rule in Portugal and replaced by the house of Braganza as the new ruling dynasty – the remnants of this can still be seen today with the current Duke of Braganza who still lives in Portugal.
What prompted the war was the death of Phillip II who was succeeded by his son Phillip III. The new King raised the taxes of the Portuguese and increased the number of Spanish in the Cortes leaving the Portuguese feeling sidelined in their own country while also paying a high price for this.
The war was prompted by the nobility but was widely supported by the people of Portugal who were keen to appoint their own king after several members of the nobility killed the Secretary of State and imprisoned the king’s cousin leaving a space for a new monarch in Portugal.
john, the 8th Duke of Braganza was named as the new king of Portugal and luckily the troops of the Spanish army were far away fighting the Thirty Years war to be able to react quickly to this revolution.
While the Thirty Year War waged Portugal used its political savvy to build alliances against Spain who were a powerful military force while Spain worked to cut off Portugal from the rest of the world.
The following year saw the new king take measures to protect Lisbon, border points and sea ports from invasion by the Spanish while focusing on building relations with the English.
King João looked to make peace quickly with Spain after winning several small victories but it wasn’t until a full 28 years later that the Spanish would acknowledge the ruling monarchs of Portugal as being legitimate.
For the most part of the war there were no major battles and the middle period of the conflict was primarily a prolonged standoff between the two countries.
The war finally ended with the victory of the Portuguese and the Spanish came to finally recognise the Portuguese new rulers in 1668.