Definitions

Oporto

Oporto

[oh-pawr-toh, oh-pohr-]
Oporto, Port. Pôrto, city (1991 pop. 310,600), capital of Porto dist. and Douro Litoral, NW Portugal, near the mouth of the Douro River. It is Portugal's second largest city, after Lisbon, and an important Atlantic port. Its outer harbor is at Leixões. Oporto's most famous export is port wine, to which the city gives its name. Cork, fruits, olive oil, and building materials are also exported. Cotton, silk, and wool textiles are milled, wood and leather goods are made, and there are other manufactures.

The ancient settlement, probably of pre-Roman origin, was known as Cale and later as Portus Cale. Oporto was captured by the Moors in 716 and retaken in 1092. The centuries of war depopulated the town. Henry of Burgundy secured the title of duke of Portucalense in the 11th cent., and Oporto thus gave its name to the state that became a kingdom. It was for some time the chief city, although not the capital, of little Portugal.

Wine exports increased after the Methuen Treaty (1703) with England. The creation by the marquěs de Pombal of a wine monopoly brought the "tipplers' revolt" (1757) in Oporto. After the French conquest of Portugal in the Peninsular War, Oporto was the first city to revolt (1808). It was retaken by the French but liberated (1809) by Wellington. In 1832, in the Miguelist Wars, Dom Pedro I of Brazil long withstood a siege of the city by his brother, Dom Miguel. Oporto was later a center of republican thought, and in 1891 an abortive republican government was set up there.

The city's most conspicuous landmark is the Torre dos Clérigos, a baroque tower; also noteworthy are the Romanesque cathedral, the two-storied Dom Luis bridge across the Douro (1881-87), the Crystal Palace (1865), the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (1999), and Rem Koolhaas's celebrated Casa de Música (2005). Oporto is the site of a public university and several private institutions of higher education.

City (pop. 2004 est.: 234,300), seaport, and capital of Benin, on the Gulf of Guinea, western Africa. Situated on a coastal lagoon in the southeastern part of the country, it was probably founded in the late 16th century as the centre of the kingdom of Porto-Novo. The Portuguese established a trading post in the 17th century, and it became a centre of the Atlantic slave trade. It became a short-lived French protectorate in 1863 and attained that status again in 1882. The ruins of old African palaces remain, and there are many colonial-style buildings, including the old Portuguese cathedral. Porto-Novo was established as the official capital of the country by the constitution, but only the legislature is found there; the president, most government ministers, and the judiciary reside in Cotonou.

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Portuguese Oporto

Seaport city (pop., 2001 prelim.: 262,928), northwestern Portugal. On the right (north) bank of the Douro River, Porto was called Portus Cale in Roman times and was earlier a flourishing settlement on the Douro's south bank. Held successively by the Alani, Visigoths, Moors, and Christians, it became an important port in the 14th century. Henry the Navigator was born there in 1394. It was the site of a British victory over the French in the 1809 Peninsular War. World-famous for its port wine, Porto is Portugal's second largest city and the region's commercial and industrial centre.

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