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At the beginning of the 1990s, Portugal still retained a special interest in its former colony Brazil, although the Portuguese continued to occasionally look down on Brazilians as "people from the tropics," just as Brazilians had their own jokes about the Portuguese. Relations between the two countries were shaped by Brazil's much greater size and more powerful economy. For this reason, Brazilian investment in Portugal in the 1970s and 1980s was considerably greater than Portuguese investment in Brazil. Brazilian telenovelas (soap operas) also dominated Portuguese television, leading to additional resentments. In general, however, relations between the two countries were good, although as of the beginning of the 1990s, any "special" relationship was now largely historical, cultural, and nostalgic, rather than a reflection of concrete interests.

Portugal also sought to maintain good relations with North African and Middle Eastern countries, in part because of geography and in part because Portugal depended entirely on imported oil. Its "tilt" toward the Islamic countries sometimes produced strains in United States-Portuguese relations, particularly when the Middle East was in turmoil and the United States wished to use its bases in the Azores in pursuit of its own Middle Eastern policies.

East Timor, Portugal's former colony on the eastern half of the island of Timor in Indonesia, remained a concern for Lisbon in the early 1990s. Portuguese settlers first came to the island in 1520, but it was not until the second half of the nineteenth century that Portugal had control of the territory. In 1975 war broke out between rival groups striving for independence from Portugal. Late in the year, Indonesian troops invaded to stop the fighting, and in 1976 East Timor was declared part of Indonesia. As of the early 1990s, continuing resistance on the part of Timorese guerrillas against Indonesian rule had claimed the lives of as many as 100,000 people.

As of the early 1990s, the UN continued to regard Portugal as the administering authority in East Timor. Portuguese officials, for their part, believed that their country had a moral obligation to remain involved in the affairs of its former colony. Through a variety of diplomatic moves, Lisbon attempted to move the Indonesian government to arrange a settlement that could bring peace and even independence to East Timor. Indonesia refused to loosen its hold on the territory because it feared such an action might embolden other areas restive under its control, such as West Irian, to seek independence.

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During the Salazar era, the authoritarian nature of the regime made it difficult to carry out serious, scholarly research; in the immediate aftermath of the Revolution of 1974, some of the research was partisan and ideological. More recently, a wealth of scholarship has begun to emerge.

The Salazar era is covered in António de Figueiredo's Portugal: Fifty Years of Dictatorship; Hugh Kay's Salazar and Modern Portugal; and Howard J. Wiarda's Corporatism and Development. Richard Alan Hodgson Robinson's Contemporary Portugal and Tom Gallagher's Portugal: A Twentieth Century Interpretation are thoughtful and analytical introductions to Portuguese affairs. Especially valuable are the edited volume by Lawrence S. Graham and Harry M. Makler, Contemporary Portugal, and that by Graham and Douglas L. Wheeler, In Search of Modern Portugal, incorporating papers from the meetings of the Conference Group on Modern Portugal.

The revolutionary period of the mid-1970s is covered well in Kenneth Maxwell's articles in Foreign Affairs and the New York Review of Books, and in Douglas Porch's The Portuguese Armed Forces and the Revolution. A more specialized account is Nancy Bermeo's The Revolution Within the Revolution.

Albert P. Blaustein and Gisbert H. Flanz's Constitution of the Countries of the World provides a text and commentary on the constitutional changes of the post-Salazar period. Good treatments of political events and of the main forces involved are in Thomas C. Bruneau's Politics and Nationhood, Bruneau and Alex Macleod's Politics in Contemporary Portugal, Walter C. Opello's Portugal's Political Development, and Portugal in the 1980s, edited by Kenneth Maxwell. A skeptical view of Portuguese developments is provided in Howard J. Wiarda's The Transition to Democracy in Spain and Portugal; a more hopeful perspective by the same author is Politics in Iberia. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of January 1993

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