|28 May 1926 coup d'état|
Military procession of General Gomes da Costa and his troops after the 28 May 1926 Revolution
|Commanders and leaders|
António Maria da Silva
Gomes da Costa
Sinel de Cordes
Filomeno da Câmara
Passos e Sousa
The 28 May 1926 coup d'état, sometimes called 28 May Revolution or, during the period of the authoritarian Estado Novo (English: New State), the National Revolution (Portuguese: Revolução Nacional), was a military coup of a nationalist origin, that put an end to the unstable Portuguese First Republic and initiated 48 years of authoritarian rule in Portugal. The regime that immediately resulted from the coup, the Ditadura Nacional (National Dictatorship), would be later refashioned into the Estado Novo (New State), which in turn would last until the Carnation Revolution in 1974.
The chronic political instability and government's neglect of the army created opportunities for military plots. Most historians consider that the coup had vast support, including all political groups except for the Democratic Party, Portuguese Communist Party, Socialist Party, the Seara Nova group, General Confederation of Labour, and the Democratic Leftwing Republican Party.
Already in 1925 there were three failed coup attempts: on 5 March (led by Filomeno da Câmara), 18 April (inspired by Sinel de Cordes and led by Raul Esteves and Filomeno da Câmara) and 19 July (led by Mendes Cabeçadas). The plotters were mostly acquitted by military court.Óscar Carmona, acting as military prosecutor of the 18 April plot, asked that the plotters be absolved. During the trial, Óscar Carmona famously asked:
"Why do these men sit in the defendant bench? Because their homeland is sick and orders its best sons to be judged and tried." - Óscar Carmona
The leaders of the 18 April plot were sent to the Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort, in which they took the opportunity to further the plot, adding the Fort's commander, Passos e Sousa, to the rebel forces. The officers decided on General Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa to lead the movement, who agreed to join the plotters on 25 May.
On 27 May, General Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa arrived at Braga with the purpose of initiating a coup d'état. The First Portuguese Republic and Prime Minister António Maria da Silva, knowing of the forthcoming coup, tried to organize resistance -- believing an eventual coup d'état could be defeated.
The revolution started in Braga, commanded by General Manuel Gomes da Costa, followed immediately in Porto, Lisbon, Évora, Coimbra and Santarém. Generals Sinel de Cordes, Filomeno da Câmara, Passos e Sousa, and Raul Esteves also took part in the coup, leading the provincial military forces. Initially believing he failed, Gomes da Costa announced his surrender.
On 30 May, President Bernardino Machado appoints José Mendes Cabeçadas as head of government and minister of every ministry and on the following day transfers his powers, as president, to Cabeçadas.
On 6 June, General Gomes da Costa marched on Lisbon's Avenida da Liberdade along with 15,000 men, being acclaimed by the people of the city. Five days later, on 11 June, Cabeçadas' units in Santarém demobilize. On 17 June, Gomes da Costa mobilizes his units and demands Cabeçadas' resignation. Cabeçada does resign and transfers his powers to Gomes da Costa. Gomes da Costa then tries to get the ministers associated with Sinel de Cordes to resign. Yet, on 8 June a group of generals and colonels try to get Gomes da Costa to accept a formal position of President, but he declines and is imprisoned on the following day. Two days later he is deported to the Azores. General Óscar Carmona is appointed head of government and the Ditadura Nacional begins.