Revolt of the Sergeants: A Prelude to First Portuguese Republic

The "Revolt of the Sergeants" that unfolded in Porto on January 31, 1891, marked a pivotal moment in Portugal's history. It was driven by a convergence of socio-economic challenges and external pressures. The attempt to establish a republic was not spontaneous but rooted in discontent caused by an economic crisis and strained Portuguese presence in Africa due to the British Ultimatum.

The recent proclamation of a Republic in Brazil also served as inspiration for the revolt. The sergeants and their followers believed that adopting a republican model could bring positive political and social changes. Despite lacking support from high-ranking officers, the sergeants rallied their fellow soldiers with courage. They aimed to capture strategic locations, particularly the Post Office and Telegraphs, as a symbolic act of proclaiming the republic.

The Pink Map dispute, related to Portugal's colonial aspirations in Africa, added to the complex backdrop. The British Ultimatum of 1890, demanding the withdrawal of Portuguese forces from disputed regions, weakened the monarchy and fueled republican sentiments. The secret Anglo-German agreement on Portuguese Africa in 1898 further complicated Portugal's colonial endeavors.

The 1891 Porto revolt, led by sergeants, involved marches, proclamations, and a passionate quest for a new era. Despite declaring a Republic from the balcony of Porto's City Council, their plans were hindered by the municipal guard near the Church of Santo Ildefonso, which played a pivotal role in suppressing the uprising. The revolt ended with the surrender in City Hall, resulting in casualties and injuries.

Although the revolt was suppressed at the time, its consequences were enduring. It not only highlighted discontent within the military but also fueled growing support for republican ideals. This momentum, sparked by events like the 1891 revolt, eventually led to the official proclamation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910.