Palmela, Town

Palmela is a Portuguese town in the district of Setúbal, Lisbon region and sub-region of the Setúbal peninsula, with about 19 500 inhabitants.1 Its maximum altitude is 378 m, measured on the hill where the Castle is.

The presence of man in what is now occupied by the city of Palmela dates back to the Neolithic era, where their presence is quite noticeable, especially during the bell culture, and whose testimony left us in the form of the internationally renowned Palmela vase.



Occupied by Celts, Romans and Arabs, all found in this territory a strategic place to settle. In 1147 it was conquered by D. Afonso Henriques, granting it a charter in 1185. But the golden period of Palmela can be found in the early years of the Nationality, when Palmela was the key of the territory between the Sado and Tagus.


This strategic importance due to situational aspects of political and religious nature related to the process of conquest and consolidation of the Portuguese State, and which the Order of Santiago and Sword, (which received Palmela as a gift of D. Afonso Henriques around 1172), can not be separated. The Order of Santiago mark its presence in Portuguese society to be lady of a vast region from the ancient city of Riba Tejo (which includes the current municipalities of Barreiro, Moita, Montijo and Alcochete) to Mértola, in the Alentejo. The Order’s administrative power was centered in Palmela. The importance of this choice is not held only with the proximity of Palmela face to Lisbon, where the congregation held the convent of Santos, among others, but also because  Palmela was the largest Commandery of the Order and the characteristics of its castle that accommodate the monumental complex of the Order – the Convent and the Church. Away from the dangers of invasions – Arab initially and Spanish at a later time – the Order of Santiago begins to lose importance and the power it held. Along with it, Palmela also no longer had the role of advanced guardian, a role previously played by the ancient Order’s headquarters – Mértola and Alcacer do Sal After the extinction of the Military and Religious Orders, Palmela no longer had any importance or strategic, or economic, or political, to the point that the Administrative Reform Mouzinho da Silveira in 1855, extinguished their municipality integrating it in Setúbal, where it will remain until 1926. Taking advantage of the military movement resulting from the May 28, 1926 , local elites press the government to restore access to the city of Palmela, a fact which is consummated in November of that year.




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