Place:Braga, Braga, Braga, Portugal


Alt namesBracarasource: Times Atlas of World History (1993) p 338
Bracara Augustasource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) II, 457; GRI Photo Archive, Authority File (1998) p 12608
Citaniasource: ARLIS/NA: Ancient Site Names (1995)
Coordinates41.55°N 8.433°W
Located inBraga, Braga, Portugal
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Braga is a city and a municipality, capital of the northwestern Portuguese district of Braga and of the historical and cultural Minho Province. Braga Municipality has a resident population of 193,333 inhabitants (in 2021), representing the seventh largest municipality in Portugal (by population). Its area is 183.40 km2. Its agglomerated urban area extends from the Cávado River to the Este River. It is the largest urban area in Portugal outside Lisbon and Porto Metropolitan Areas.

It is host to the oldest Portuguese archdiocese, the Archdiocese of Braga of the Catholic Church and it is the seat of the Primacy of the Spains. During the Roman Empire, then known as Bracara Augusta, the settlement was the capital of the province of Gallaecia and later of the Kingdom of the Suebi that was one of the first to separate from the Roman Empire. Inside of the city there is also a castle tower that can be visited. Nowadays, Braga is a major hub for inland Northern Portugal and it is an important stop on the Portuguese Way path of the Road of St James. The city was also the European Youth Capital in 2012.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia


Human occupation of the region of Braga dates back thousands of years, documented by vestiges of monumental structures starting in the Megalithic era. During the Iron Age, the Castro culture extended into the northwest, characterized by Bracari peoples who occupied the high ground in strategically located fortified settlements (castrum).

The region became the domain of the Callaici Bracarii, a Celtic tribe who occupied what is now northern Portugal, Galicia and Asturias in the northwest of Iberia.

Roman rule

The Romans began their conquest of the region around 136 BC, and finished it, by conquering the northern regions, during the reign of Emperor Augustus. The civitas of Bracara Augusta was founded in 20 BC; in the context of the administrative reorganization of these Roman acquisitions, Bracara was rededicated to the Emperor taking on the name Bracara Augusta. The city of Bracara Augusta developed greatly during the 1st century and reached its maximum extension around the 2nd century.

Towards the end of the 3rd century, the Emperor Diocletian promoted the city to the status of capital of the administrative area Conventus bracarensis, the southwestern area of the newly founded Roman province of Gallaecia.

Braga in Late Antiquity and Middle Ages

The city was described as prosperous by the poet Ausonius, in the 4th century. Between 402 and 470 the Germanic Invasions of the Iberian Peninsula occurred, and the area was conquered by the Suebi, a Germanic people from Central Europe. According to records the city was protected by a wall, still in use since the 3rd century, and the old Roman theatre was repurposed into a fortress.[1] In 410, the Suebi established a Kingdom in northwest Iberia covering what is present-day's Northern half of Portugal, Galicia and Asturias, which they maintained as Gallaecia, and had Bracara as their capital. This kingdom was founded by Hermeric and lasted for over 150 years. However, the departure of the Vandals and the arrival of the Visigoths brought a new instability to the region. Between 419 and 422, Braga was threatened by the Vandals so it prepared itself for a siege, closed its gates and refused to open them; this led to the destruction of the surrounding countryside.[1] Nevertheless, between 429 and 455, the Suebi made a military comeback in Iberia reinforcing their hold in Galeicia and Lusitania.[1] In 455, while the Visigothic king Theodoric II sacked Braga, utterly destroying many historical and archaeological records,[1] the Suebi king Rechiar escaped the city, wounded, to Porto. We still have records of a list of dioceses and parishes of Braga, made in 570, however.[1] By about 584, the Visigoths took permanent control of Gallaecia from the Suebi, and Braga was made a provincial capital.

Because historians are still unsure of the dating of the Chapel of Sâo Pedro de Balsemão, in Lamego, currently Braga can boast that it hosts the oldest chapel in Portugal, the Chapel of São Frutuoso. The chapel was built by the Visigoths on top of a Roman temple to Asclepius and it was made to be a Royal Chapel. In 656 AD, it was consecrated by Saint Fructuosus[1] to be used as his tomb.

Historical records show, so far, that the first known was named Paternus,[1] who famously renounced priscillianism at the First Council of Toledo, in September of 400 AD. We also have records of a bishop named Balconius (415-447), who was also recorded to be present when the Iberian clergy received, in 435, a German priest from Arabia accompanied by several Greeks with news from the Council of Ephesus (431).[1] Balconius was also a contemporary and correspondent of Pope Leo I.[1]

Tradition, however, states that Saint Peter of Rates was the first bishop of Braga, a Jew personally elevated to the role by Saint James. Another bishop, Saint Ovidius (d. 135 AD) is also sometimes considered one of the first bishops of this city.

Braga had an important role in the Christianization of the Iberian Peninsula. In the early 5th century, Paulus Orosius (a friend of Augustine of Hippo) wrote several theological works that expounded the Christian faith. While thanks to the work of Saint Martin of Braga the Suebi in Iberia renounced the Arian and Priscillianist heresies during two synods held here in the 6th century.[1] It is also worth noting that Rechiar, the suebi king, was also the first Germanic king in Europe to convert to Chalcedonian Christianism, predating Clovis of the Franks. At the time, Martin also founded an important monastery in Dumio (Dume), and it was in Braga that the Archbishopric of Braga held their councils.

As a consequence, the Archbishops of Braga later claimed the title of Primatus Totus Hispania, claiming supremacy over the entire Hispanic church. Yet, their authority was never accepted throughout Hispania, and today they only retain the title of Primate of Portugal. The bishop Balconius, who was later elevated to become the first Archbishop of Braga, and according to later sources, was also the first to be given said title.

The transition from Visigothic reigns to the Muslim conquest of Iberia was very obscure, representing a period of decline for the city. The Moors briefly captured Braga early in the 8th century, but were repelled by Christian forces under Alfonso III of Asturias in 868 with intermittent attacks until 1040 when they were definitively ousted by Ferdinand I of León and Castile. As a consequence, the bishopric was restored in 1070 and elevated to new heights. The first new Archbishop, Peter of Braga (?-1096), immediately started rebuilding the Cathedral (which was modified many times during the following centuries). According to historical records and oral tradition, the Archbishop Diego Gelmírez of Santiago de Compostela, fearing the rise of the Cathedral of Braga, stole the relics of Braga's saints in an attempt to diminish the religious importance of the city,[2] the relics only returned to Braga in the 1990s.

When, after his death, Alfonso III the Great of the Kingdom of Asturias divided his kingdom among his sons in 908, he assigned the Kingdom of Galicia to Ordoño of Galicia, who established his capital in Braga. Between 1093 and 1147, Braga became the residential seat of the Portuguese court. In the early 12th century, Count Henry of Portugal and bishop Geraldo de Moissac reclaimed the archbishopric seat for Braga, with power over a large area in Iberia. The medieval city developed around the cathedral, with the maximum authority in the city retained by the archbishop.

Braga in the Kingdom of Portugal

Braga as the main center of Christianity in Iberia, during the Reconquista (until the emergence of Santiago de Compostela and, later, the conquest of Toledo from the Muslims, in 1085), held a prominent stage in medieval politics, being a major contributor to the Independence of Portugal with the intervention of the Archbishop D. Paio Mendes in the Vatican, with Pope Alexander III, which lead to the promulgation of the Bula Manifestis Probatum, in 1179, recognizing Portugal as an independent Kingdom under D. Afonso I Henriques. It is traditionally told that the future king was baptized by Saint Gerald of Braga, although the exact location is still being debated. Because of this support for D. Afonso Henriques, the new king gave large privileges to the city of Braga handing it over to direct control of the Church, basically making it a personal fiefdom of the Archbishop. This legal particularism continued all throughout history until the instauration of the Republic giving the city and its surrounding area the nickname of "Paiz Bracarense" (roughly translated as "Country of Braga").

In the 16th century, due to its distance from the coast and provincial status, Braga did not profit from the adventures associated with the Age of Portuguese Discoveries (which favoured cities like Lisbon, Évora and Coimbra, new seats for the Portuguese court). Yet, Archbishop Diogo de Sousa, who sponsored several urban improvements in the city, including the enlargement of streets, the creation of public squares and the foundation of hospitals and new churches managed to modernize the community. He expanded and remodelled the cathedral by adding a new chapel in the Manueline style, and generally turning the mediaeval town into a Renaissance city.

A similar period of rejuvenation occurred during the 18th century, when the archbishops of the House of Braganza contracted architects like André Soares and Carlos Amarante, to modernize and rejuvenate the city; they began a series of architectural transformations to churches and civic institutions in the Baroque style, including the municipal hall, public library, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte and many urban palaces. The old fortress built on top of the Roman theatre still stood in the 18th century, in the southern part of Maximinos,[1] but in search of the Roman foundations it was eventually torn down and it is now an .

In 1758, Braga, like many other places, was included in the census requested by the monarchy, under the 1st Marquis of Pombal. These records are known as the Parochial Memories (Memórias Paroquiais) which can be consulted through various sources.

In March 1809 it was the scene of the Battle of Braga, when French troops under Marshal Soult took the town from its Portuguese garrison. With the invasion of French troops, during the Peninsular Wars the city was relegated, once again, to a provincial status. But, by the second half of that century, with influence from Portuguese immigrants living in Brazil, new money and tastes resulted in improvements to architecture and infrastructures.


In the 20th century Braga faced similar periods of growth and decline; demographic and urban pressures, from urban-to-rural migration meant that the city's infrastructures had to be improved in order to satisfy greater demands.