Regicide

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Anecdote / Travel
Commerce Square, Lisbon, Portugal

Commerce Square, Lisbon, Portugal

February the 1st, 1908. King Carlos I of Portugal was returning to Lisbon after a winter hunting season in Alentejo, a province in the southern part of the country. This was an early return triggered by the escalation of the turmoil in between monarch and republican factions. Three days before a republican coup d’état attempt had been frustrated. The royal family (in this instance the King, Queen Amélia and Prince Luís Filipe, heir to the throne), travelled by train to Barreiro, a city on the south bank of the river Tagus and right opposite to Lisbon, and from there took the steam boat “D. Luís” towards the capital city.

They disembarked in the Commercial Square around 5pm. In spite of the underlying tension the King decided to carry on in an open carriage to convey a message of normality, with just the protocol escort and an officer on horse, Francisco Freire, next to the carriage.

Not many people were at the square. When the carriage reaches the west side of the square a gunshot is heard which starts a shoot-out. Taking advantage of the chaos, a beard man (Manuel Buíça, elementary school teacher, dishonourably expelled from the army), heads to the middle of the street, takes a Winchester rifle from under his coat and, with a knee down on the pavement, aims and shoots the King, killing him instantly.

Other shooters, from different points in the square, riddled the carriage with bullets. A second revolutionary, Alfredo Costa (salesmen and scandal news editor [the Portuguese equivalent to “The Sun”, I guess]…), climbs the carriage. The Queen is now standing and strikes him with the only weapon at hand, a bunch of roses, whilst crying “Infamous!…”. Prince Filipe takes advantage of this distraction and shoots him 4 times with his army officer revolver. But, by also standing, the Prince places himself in the line of fire of Buíça that shots him dead with his Winchester.

Buíça was stooped from a third shot by Henrique Valente, a simple infantry soldier that was passing by the square. Freire, the officer on horse, after striking Costa with a blow from his sabre, chases and immobilizes Buíça with a stab.

The carriage driver had been wounded but was able to whip the horses to get cover and escape other attempts.
The statue of King José I, in the photo, great, great gran-father of the royal family helplessly saw everything.

In 1910 the monarch regime was replaced by the republican.

The Author

Ordinary office buffoon or, alternately, rock'n'roll soul trapped in a IT project manager body. When not fighting to deliver on time, on budget and on specification, will be chilling out with wife and daughter, enjoying a good meal accompanied with a nice wine or using his sense of aesthetic and photography training to snap some shots. And so here we are...

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