57 Facts About Portuguese Navy


Portuguese Navy is the naval branch of the Portuguese Armed Forces which, in cooperation and integrated with the other branches of the Portuguese military, is charged with the military defense of Portugal.

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On 12 December 2017, the Portuguese Navy commemorated the 700th anniversary of its official creation by King Denis of Portugal.

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Portuguese Navy played a key role at the beginning and during the great voyages of the Age of Discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries.

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Today, the Portuguese Navy assumes a dual role capacity: Naval combat missions to assure Portugal's sovereignty and international commitments, and coast guard operations in its territorial waters and areas of influence.

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The Portuguese Navy participates in missions related with international commitments assumed by Portugal, as well as missions of civil interest.

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In 1321, the Portuguese Navy successfully attacked Muslim ports in North Africa.

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In Morocco the Portuguese Navy conquests continue and they take over the cities of Safim, Azamor, Mazagao and Mogador.

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Besides the permanent three fleets, the Portuguese Navy continues to organize the ad hoc India armadas, dispatched to India on an annual basis.

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Portuguese Navy was ordered by King Philip to contribute to the Spanish Armada intended to invade England, although England was an old Portuguese ally which now started to be considered an enemy because of the Portuguese alignment with the Spanish policies.

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Portuguese Navy was still involved in several other conflicts and maintained an important role in the fight against pirates.

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At the request of the Republic of Venice and the Pope, in 1716, the Portuguese Navy sends a fleet to deter the Ottoman advance in the Mediterranean.

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In 1793, the Portuguese Navy was tasked with transporting by sea and escorting the Portuguese Expeditionary Army sent to help Spain in the War of the Pyrenees against France.

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Portuguese Navy ended the 18th century with a fleet that included 13 ships of the line, 16 frigates, three corvettes, 17 brigs and eight support ships.

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The new Brazilian Navy is constituted mainly with the Portuguese ships based in Brazil at that time and their respective crews.

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However, the engagements are limited by the fact that the Portuguese Navy that constituted the majority of the crews of the Brazilian ships—although loyal to Peter I—refused to fight against other Portuguese Navy.

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The Miguelite Portuguese Navy tried to retake the island in an amphibious operation, but the assault was repulsed by the defenders in the Battle of Praia da Vitoria in 1829.

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The French fleet blockades Lisbon and tries to attack the rearguard of the Miguelite Portuguese Navy that was blockading Terceira, but obtains limited success.

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In 1880, the Portuguese Navy fleet included an armored corvette, six corvettes, 13 gunships, three training ships and four support ships.

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In 1882, the Portuguese Navy receives its first torpedo boat and, in 1884, it receives the corvette Afonso de Albuquerque, its first unprotected cruiser.

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On 23 February 1916, in an operation led by Commander Leote do Rego from the cruiser Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese Navy captured 38 German ships anchored in the Lisbon harbor.

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One of the main roles of the Portuguese Navy was to defend the ports of Mainland Portugal and of the Portuguese North Atlantic isles, specially against naval mines and U-boat attacks.

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The Portuguese Navy manned some of the coastal defense artillery batteries.

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In 1914, the Portuguese Navy dispatched a naval infantry force and the gunships Beira and Ibo for the islands.

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The Portuguese Navy supported the naval base and air station operated by the United States Navy in Ponta Delgada and the naval air station operated by the French Naval Aviation in Sao Jacinto, Aveiro.

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Portuguese Navy operated in the North Atlantic, escorting merchant vessels and protecting the maritime communication lines between the Mainland and the Portuguese Atlantic isles.

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The Portuguese Navy acquired two British Arabis-class sloops, that were commissioned as cruisers.

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An important investment in the Portuguese Navy was authorized by the Government, with Minister Magalhaes Correia launching a new naval program, partially based in early plans conceived by Admiral Pereira da Silva.

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The Portuguese Navy focused in the defense of the waters and ports of the Azores with patrol boats and destroyers deployed on rotation.

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In February 1942, when the Portuguese Navy reinforcements were still en route, the Japanese used the pretext of the Australian and Dutch invasion to invade Portuguese Navy Timor, catching the Allied forces by surprise and forcing them to withdraw to the mountains.

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The Portuguese Navy built and commissioned a survey ship and the tanker Sam Bras, with this one being critical to ensure the wartime supply of fuel to Portugal.

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Besides the purely military missions, during the conflict, the Portuguese Navy performed a number of humanitarian missions, that included many maritime search and rescue operations.

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Inside NATO, the Portuguese Navy stands out by the development of a high proficiency in the mine and anti-submarine warfares.

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Besides the already existing ships that suffer modernization programs, the Portuguese Navy starts to receive a series of new ships from the late 1940s, including nine frigates, three submarines, 14 patrol ships and 15 mine warfare ships.

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In parallel to developing its fleet, the Portuguese Navy starts to expand its worldwide capacity of command, control and logistics in order to cover all Portuguese Overseas territories and respective waters.

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The Portuguese Navy develops a worldwide communications network, with naval radio stations being established in all Portuguese Overseas territories.

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The Portuguese Navy had to equip itself with a large fleet of small units including patrol boats and landing craft, many of them designed and built in Portugal.

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The interdiction of the Zaire River was so successful that the Portuguese Navy was able to stop the infiltration of the guerrillas, allowing the Portuguese Navy Forces to defeat and almost totality eliminate them from Northern Angola, virtually terminating the war in the region in the early 1970s.

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In 1970, the Naval Forces in the Portuguese Navy Guinea perform the secret Operation Green Sea, a major amphibious raid on Conakry, the capital of the neighboring Republic of Guinea, an open supporter and a sanctuary for the PAIGC.

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The Navy focused in the resupply of the Portuguese Forces operating in Northern Mozambique, connecting them, by sea, with the main logistical centers in Lourenco Marques and Beira.

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Besides combat operations, the Portuguese Navy continued to provide long-range and coastal logistics to the Portuguese Armed Forces stationed in the several overseas territories of Portugal in the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific .

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At 03:00, the two Portuguese Navy corvettes, anchored near Atauro Island, detect on the radar a high number of unidentified air and naval targets approaching.

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The Portuguese Navy had to refocus again its main efforts to the defense of the Atlantic against the naval threat from the Warsaw Pact in the context of the late Cold War.

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The Portuguese Navy focused in its responsibility for the patrol and control of the newly created exclusive economic zone of Portugal, the 10th largest in the world.

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Since 1990, the Portuguese Navy participated in various long-range missions where it has effectively conducted Portugal's foreign policy, using its units solely or integrated in vaster campaigns articulated with the Portuguese Army and the Portuguese Air Force.

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The Portuguese Navy has been especially active in peace-enforcement campaigns using combat ships, helicopter missions and special force marine detachments in amphibious and air evacuation of Portuguese nationals and other foreign civilians from dangerous war zones in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Portuguese Navy has actively participated in several international peace-keeping and peace-enforcing efforts in conjunction with other NATO, United Nations or European Union forces in numerous theatres, distant from Portuguese territory.

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The Portuguese Navy's aviation is reborn with the reception of Westland Lynx helicopters.

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Closer to home, the Portuguese Navy has consistently contributed patrol boats and corvettes to joint-nation EU exercises designed to aid Spain in dealing with its problem of illegal immigration and drug-trafficking off the Southern coast and the Canary Islands.

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On 7 June 1998, a military coup occurring in Guinea-Bissau, would trigger a major naval rescue operation that would demonstrate the capacity of the Portuguese Navy to intervene at thousands of kilometers away from Portugal.

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The Portuguese Navy sent a naval force, under the command of Captain Melo Gomes, composed of the frigate Vasco da Gama, the corvettes Honorio Barreto and Joao Coutinho and the support ship Berrio.

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Since 2004 a smaller detachment of Portuguese Navy Marines is integrated in the Timor Military Liaison Group closely coordinated with the Portuguese Navy National Republican Guard contingent stationed in the capital, Dili, and the Armed Forces of Timor.

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In parallel with its military roles, the Portuguese Navy continued to assume an important scientific role, mainly in the scope of the oceanographic and hidrographic research.

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The scientific missions of the Portuguese Navy are led by the Hydrographic Institute, with the support of the Hydrographic Ships Group.

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Portuguese Navy is under the command of the Chief of Staff of the Navy .

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Besides this, the Portuguese Navy continues to provide naval and other assets to the service of the AMN and continues to staff with its personnel a number of bodies of the AMN.

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Portuguese Navy only has rotary assets, there has been no fixed-wing air support since 1952 when the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver fighters were in use.

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Only the largest of the Portuguese Navy's vessels are capable to support aviation: two frigates classes, four patrol vessels, the largest corvette class and a tanker .

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