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Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington)
Born in May 1769 into an ancient Irish aristocratic family which could trace its dependency back to Norman aristocrats. Although, overall the war with France was not going well from a British perspective, the Peninsula was the one theatre where they with the Portuguese, had provided resistance against France and her allies. Wellesley submitted a memorandum to Lord Castlereagh on the defence of Portugal. He stressed its mountainous frontiers and advocated Lisbon as the main base because the Royal Navy could help to defend it. Castlereagh and the cabinet approved the memo, appointed him head of all British forces in Portugal and raised their number from 10,000 to 26,000 men.

Wellesley arrived in Lisbon on 22 April 1809 onboard HMS Surveillante after narrowly escaping shipwreck. Reinforced, he took to the offensive. In the Second Battle of Porto he crossed the Douro river in a daylight coup de main, and routed Marshal Soult's French troops in Porto. He then combined with a Spanish army under General Cuesta in operations against Madrid. The allies meant to isolate and attack Marshal Victor, but King Joseph Bonaparte reinforced the latter and blunted their offensive at the Battle of Talavera. For this narrow victory, Wellesley was ennobled as "Viscount Wellington of Talavera and of Wellington". Nevertheless, the strategic advantage lay with the French; the allies were unable to manoeuvre as Marshal Soult approached from the north with 50,000 men and severed Wellesley's communications. Gravely underestimating Soult's strength, Wellington marched to challenge the French but forwarded intelligence obtained by Spanish guerrillas, allowing the British to turn around in time. Wellington was compelled to retreat to Portugal and General Cuesta soon followed amid mutual recriminations, souring the Anglo-Spanish alliance.

In 1810 a newly-enlarged French army under Marshal André Masséna invaded Portugal. British opinion both at home and in the army was negative and there were suggestions that they must evacuate Portugal. Instead, Wellington first slowed the French down at Buçaco; he then prevented them from taking the Lisbon Peninsula by his massive earthworks, the Lines of Torres Vedras, which had been assembled in complete secrecy and had flanks guarded by the Royal Navy. The baffled and starving French invasion forces retreated after six months. Wellington's pursuit was frustrated by a series of reverses inflicted by Marshal Ney in a much-lauded rear guard campaign.

In 1811 Masséna turned toward Portugal again to relieve Almeida. Wellington narrowly defeated the French at the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro. Simultaneously, his subordinate, Viscount Beresford, fought Soult's 'Army of the South' to a bloody standstill at the Battle of Albuera. In May Wellington was promoted to general for his services. The French abandoned Almeida, but retained the twin Spanish fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, the 'Keys' guarding the roads through the passes into Portugal.

In 1812 Wellington finally captured Ciudad Rodrigo by a rapid movement as the French went into winter quarters, storming it before they could react. He then moved south quickly, besieged the fortress of Badajoz for a month and captured it during one bloody night. On viewing the aftermath of the storming of Badajoz, Wellington lost his composure, broke down and cried at the sight of the carnage in the breaches.[66]

His army now was a British force reinforced in all divisions by units of the resurgent Portuguese army. Campaigning in Spain, he routed the French at the Battle of Salamanca, taking advantage of a minor French weaknesses. The victory liberated the Spanish capital of Madrid. As reward, he was created "Earl" and then "Marquês de Wellington" and given command of all Allied armies in Spain. He died the 14th of September, 1852.

Dom Afonso Henriques (First King of Portugal)
Born in 1109 and died in Coimbra 1185. Son of Don Henrigue of Burgandy and Dona Teresa, the Condessa and ruler of the County of Portucale. In his youth he fought and was successful in founding  the Country of Portugal. In 1128 at the Battle of São Mamede he defeats the forces of his mother Dona Teresa and her lover Don Fernão Peres de Trava to take control of the County. He was later to invade Galicia many times in his efforts to both enlarge and maintain his power. In 1139, after defeating the combined Moor army at the Battle of Ourique, he is acclaimed as the King of Portugal and is crowned in November of the same year in Bragança.  By 1147 he had expanded his lands southwards from Coimbra to the north bank of the River Tagus taking both the town of Lisbon and Santarém. In 1158 he successfully continued pushing his territory southwards into the Alentejo winging and losing battles against the defending Moors. His most trusted captain assisting in his battles was Geraldo Geraldes (the Fearless). He failed to occupy all the lands including the Algarve which was taken from the Moors under his successor. was a remarkable man of great stature for his time and was recorded in history as being an inspiring fighter, wise in his judgements and a good King to his people.

Bernardo de Sá Nogueira de Figuereido (Visconte Sá Bandeira)
Born in Santarém in 1795 and died in 1876. His town of birth was then the centre of liberal thinking within Portugal which was to have great influence on his path in life. He joined the army at the age of 15 and fought against the invading French. Later, he was to also take an active part in the siege of the northern town of Porto in the "War of the Two Brothers”. In 1823 he was actively involved in the removing of the dictatorial government. Also, in 1836, he was responsible for the passing of a Law forbidding slave trading. His promotion to General led him into a powerful position in the political field being involved in several governments and five times a part of the “Counsel of Ministers”. He became responsible in his mandate for the introduction and installation of many liberal policies during his political lifetime.

Dom João I (Mestre de Avis)
Born in 1357 as the bastard son of King Dom Pedro I and Dona Teresa Lourenço of Galicia. At the early age of six he was granted his title of "Mestre de Avis" as a public recognition of his royal bloodline. In 1363 Dom João was placed under the tutorage of Dom Nuno Friere, Mestre de Ordem de Cristo. At the age of 26 he took part in the muder of the Conde de Andeiro who was the lover of the Queen Dona Leonor Teles (widow of Dom Fernando I), and who was planning to hand over the Portuguese throne to Castile. Being named the "Regent and Defender of the Throne" rewarded this act. In 1385, at Coimbra, he declared himself the rightful heir to the throne and proceeded to do battle with Spain. His important victory at Aljubarrota against Castile(1384), is celebrated by the magnificent construction of the Mosteiro da Batalha. His reign as Dom João I was marked by balanced political and economic measures that kept the knights from fighting between themselves. In 1387 he married Filipa de Lencastre, (daughter of the Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward II of England), and fathered five sons with the most outstanding being "Henry the Navigator". He died in 1433 at the good age of 76.

Geraldo Geraldes
An outstanding soldier of the 12th century who initially gained fame by his ruthless attacks on the Moors in the Alentejo district. He normally chose to mount his attacks at night in the winter months, especially when there was heavy rain. He gained the support of King Afonso 1. He was nicknamed "Geraldo Sem-Pavor" whcih translates as having "no fear". From 1162 to 1167 he was instrumental in capturing form the Moors the castles of Elvas, Juromenha, Moura, Serpa, and Monsaraz, and towns of Mourão, Arronches, Crato, Marvão, Alvito and Barrancos. In October of 1165 he took the important town of Évora and later 1168 was involved at the side of the King when attacking the town of Badajos. In 1173 he apparently changed sides and fought for the Moors in Morocco but was executed when secret correspondence with King Afonso was found in his possession.

João de Castro
Born in 1500 and died in India in 1548. He was the son of Alvaro de Castro the Governor of Lisbon and studied under the famous scholar Pedro Nunes. At the age of eighteen he joined the Portuguese forces in Northern Africa and was knighted in the field of action by Dom Eduardo de Menezes, the Governor of Tangiers. In 1538 he sailed to western India to continue in the Portuguese expansion in the east. He is reputed to have brought back to Portugal the first orange tree.

King João appointed João de Castro as the Governor of all Eastern Territories based in the State of Goa in 1545 as a result of his reorganisation and improvements of the Portuguese army. His forces were successful in defeating the various local Indian enemies. Amongst his various battles he succeeded in breaking the besiegement of the Fortress of Dio by the King of Camboya. King João orders for the Fortress to be rebuilt in a stronger manner and it falls on João de Castro to find the money. João offers the bones of his dead son as a guarantee for the money but when his grave is opened his body is found to be in well preserved state and was not touched. The inhabitants decided to find the necessary funds regardless. Before King João could reward his servant João de Castro fell ill and died.

Luís e Meneses (Conde de Ericeira)
Born in Lisbon on 22nd of July 1623 and died on 26th May 1690. During the 17th Century Dom Luís de Menses distinguished himself by taking a successful role in both the military service and also within the world of Portuguese politics. He was actively involved in all major battles from 1658 until peace was restored in 1673. He was nominated as a member of the “Fazenda” in 1675 and gave an important impulse to the reform of Portuguese currency and the manufacturing industries, besides promoting trade with the East Indies. In 1679 he published his account of the history of Portugal during the “Restauração”. He can be considered as having left his mark on Portugal by his progressive thinking in rebuilding the country and the restoration of its financial position within Europe.

Nuno Álvares Pereira (Condestável do Reino)
Born in Cernache do Bonjardim in 1360 and died on 1st April 1431. At the 13 years of age he was introduced into the court of Dom Fernando I. He was involved with his brother in defending the country against the Castilians invasion in 1381 in the Alentejo, and later in the encirclement of Lisbon. At the latter he distinguished himself to the King and the court by his qualities of leadership. After the death of Dom Fernando I he sided with Dom João de Castro, "Mestre de Avis", in his claim for the Portuguese throne. He played an leading role in the subsequent Battle of Aljubarrota in 1384 against Castile which decided the outcome in favour of Dom João de Castro. To press home the success of the Portuguese after this battle he and his troops temporary invaded Castile territory and and attacked the town of Valverde.

He soon became the most important and one of the richest man in Portugal after Dom João I who he had devotedly supported. However, the King was to lose this support when the King ruled that the ownership of the lands belonging to Nuno Álvares Pereira had to be divided with the crown. Nuno Álvares Pereira then turned to religion and granted some of his remaining wealth to the Order of Carmelites. Upon his death he was considered by many as a sort of Saint and his remains were placed in the Convento de Carmo in Lisbon, a building which had been created with his own donations.

William Carr Beresford (Viscount Beresford)
Born on October the 2nd in 1768 as the illegitimate son of the first Marques of Waterford. He joined the army at the early age of 14 and saw action against the French. By the age of 23 he had risen to to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and at various times sent to do battle in Egypt, France and South America. The later was successful in the occupation of Buenos Aires but had to surrender after three days due lack of supplies.

In 1807 he was sent by the British to occupy the Island of Madeira in the name of Portugal. After six months he was ordered to join Sir Arthur Wellesley in Portugal. He was first employed as commandant of Lisbon but accompanied Sir John Moore on the advance into Spain. He took a conspicuous part in the battle of Corunna in 1808. In February 1809 Beresford was given the task of reorganizing the Portuguese army. By the systematic removal of inefficient officers and men he successfully rebuilt the Portuguese army. By the summer of 1810 he had so far improved the moral and discipline of this force that the Duke of Wellington brigaded some of the Portuguese regiments with English ones, and at the Battle of Buçaco Portuguese and English troops fought side by side. Beresford's services in this battle were rewarded by the British government with a knighthood of the Bath and the Portuguese with a peerage.

In the spring of 1811 Wellington was compelled to detach Beresford from Portuguese service. The latter was next in seniority to General (Lord) Hill who had gone home on sick leave, and onto him the command of Hill's corps was now placed. Unfortunately, Beresford never really gained the confidence of his new troops. At Campo Maior his light cavalry brigade got out of hand, and a regiment of dragoons was practically annihilated. He later attacked Badajoz with insufficient forces and, on the advance of the French army led by Soult, he was compelled to raise the siege and then offer battle at Albuera. Beresford then went back to his work of reorganizing the Portuguese army. He was present at the siege of Badajoz and at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812, where he was severely wounded. In 1813 he was present at the Battle of Vittoria, and at the battles of the Pyrenees, while at the battle of the Nivelle, the Nive and Orthez he commanded the British centre, and later he led a corps at the battle of Toulouse. At the close of the Peninsular War he was created Baron Beresford of Albuera and Cappoquin.

In 1819 the revolution in Portugal led to the dismissal of the British officers in the Portuguese service. Beresford had made powerful Portuguese enemies, notably Gomes Freire de Andrade which he had executed and this made him even more unpopular. Therefore, he left Portugal and placed the question of the arrears of pay of his army before the Portuguese King in Rio Janeiro. On his return the new Portuguese government refused to allow him to land. On arriving back in England he turned his attention to politics, and strongly supported the Duke of Wellington in the House of Lords. In 1823 his Barony was raised to Viscount. He died on the 8th of January 1854. His Portuguese titles included Conde de Trancoso, Marquês de Campo Maior, and Duque de Elvas.