From Spain to Portugal, there is only the border, a difficult border, so difficult that visitors often take the sea route to go faster. But at the World Fair everyone touches hands.
You admire the proud Spanish hotel, look a little to your right. This Albuquerque building - forgive this horrible neologism - is the Portuguese annex. You feel here from the first, look at the alliance of the arts of the Far East and the West. The discovery of the Indies and the frequentation of Muslim countries have already influenced this conception. It is gallant, bold, adventurous like the Portuguese genius; it resembles no other. What we call the Manoelesque style is here in all its purity. What would not be its effect if the building had all the grandeur it should have!
This King Emmanuel truly deserved his name of fortunate. He was almost a contemporary of our Francis I, since he reigned from 1495 to 1551.
1551 and imbued the whole Portuguese renaissance with his genius, both wise and magnificent. Under him, in Portugal, there were not only the Vasco de Gama, the Cabrai, the Albuquerque, the Corte-Real. The scholars, the stoves, the painters, the architects, illustrate the nation, then great par excellence, the one that pushed back to the east the limits of the world.
What a picture this reign was!
The Portuguese Commission, in order to recall the glory of its country, could not have been better inspired than by borrowing an architectural page from such an era. There is something of the nabob in these elegantly bulging forms. Gold must flow in these flats bathed in light. Life, commerce and bold ideas must have a meeting place here, and one can imagine the illustrious Portuguese adventurers climbing the steps, holding their diamond-studded hats in their hands and clashing their swords in scabbards glittering with gems.
Portugal, too, has only a very small part of her colonies left. But what remains is of unparalleled originality; it is Madeira, the land of the Guanches, it is Porto-Santo, it is the islands of Cape Verde, it is the black settlements of the Congo, Angola and Senegambia, it is Mozambique, it is the islands of Saint-Thomé and the Prince; In Asia, there is Goa, which was once so superb, Diu, Chinese Macao, and beyond, in Oceania, Sabrao, Solor and Timor. Such pearls were well worth highlighting.
The productions of these colonies are indeed as varied as they are numerous. Portugal, already accustomed to Exhibitions, knew how to choose the specimens skilfully. At the last exhibition in Porto, in 1866, there were 3911 exhibitors from all over the world. Portugal sent us, by reciprocity, 1026 exhibitors. They are spread, like those from Spain, in almost all classes. It is in the fifth group that they flock most. Here too, the associations gave their all. The so-called district commissions, the commissions called subsidiaries, the companies, the administrations, the municipal chambers, and above all the Colonial Council, have directed and activated the shipments. The samples of wood from Angola, Mozambique, Thomé and Timor come from this Council. The public works directorates, such as Santarem and others, stood out. The exhibition of navigation equipment will show that the Portuguese do not give up cultivating the art of steering and saving ships. The pottery from Coimbra and a number of other objects of Portuguese industry will support their popular reputation. There are no less than 125 exhibitors in the cereals class, 30 in the fats class, 75 in the vegetables class, 21 in the condiments class, 123 in the fermented beverages class, and this is without counting the colonial products. This is an agricultural and wine exhibition that is off the charts. Maize, rice, sorghum, coffee, Indian cajanus, phaseolus, not to mention the prosaic word bean, cassava, cocoa, Goa cinnamon, saffron, spices, especially pepper, will be displayed with magnificence in the Munoëlian palace.
We have shown in the multiplicity of shipments from Portugal the hand of the commissions, associations and directions; we must also see in them the powerful impulse of a king known for his love of the arts and of progress. The Portuguese Commission showed great taste in its interior installations, which can be classified as original. The consignments of paintings and sculptures also show the encouragement given to the arts. In some of the paintings exhibited, as in some of the Spanish paintings, we find the national genius. However, the exhibitors are few in number. We count only twenty-three painters and twenty-five sculptors or engravers: in this respect, the Porto exhibition was much richer in number.
But Portugal, throughout its history, has always proved that it does not need to be a numerous people to be a great people. Although small, it has found a way to spread considerable swarms throughout the world. Such is Brazil.
©L'Exposition Universelle de 1867 Illustrée