Resources: Litoralias – The coastalization of mainland Portugal based on the evolution of municipalities (from Portucalense County to 2021)

Understanding the littoralization of mainland Portugal, i.e. the rate of permanent population occupation in the Portuguese coastal zone in relation to the interior, over eleven centuries, is not an easy challenge, but it seems necessary.

– It’s not easy because it involves handling sources that are diverse in their purpose and origin, as well as using vast and dispersed scientific support and an interdisciplinary methodology.

– It seems necessary because, as Portugal is a country with a vast coastline, it is never too much to understand how its people have related to the sea.

The state of the art on the subject states that sheltered coastlines (estuaries and lagoons) were occupied by humans from a very early age, unlike coastlines directly exposed to oceanic sea waves, which were only occupied later. In theory, this makes sense, if only because exposed coastlines tend to be more dangerous and have less advantageous natural conditions. However, when we want to concretize and punctuate the above statements, we can’t find any consolidated studies to this effect.

Especially if we want a long-term analysis, as we believe is the most pertinent to achieve the objectives of this study.

As this is an exploratory project, in the full sense of the term, we have chosen to highlight four synchronic sections for an analysis that is intended to be long diachronic. They are:

– The old charters and their geographical distribution, in correlation with the population size indicators of the municipalities listed. To this end, we will make use of the works already published on the Portuguese inquiries of 1220 and 1258 and the list of besteiros do conto (13th to 15th centuries).

– The new or Manueline charters are concatenated with the population data obtained from the analysis of the 1527-31 numbering, which is less sparse and more quantifiable than the medieval ones.

– The first Portuguese population census, carried out in 1864, which inaugurated modern censuses based on the international guidelines established in Brussels (1853). Here, the population data for each municipality is collected directly.

– The latest 2021 census, which although it is still being worked on, already gives us data on the absolute population of the 278 municipalities in mainland Portugal, giving us an overview of the current rate of coastalization.

Related Projects:
Research Group:
People, Markets and Policies
Territories Landscapes and Environment