Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday in History: Best Friends FOREVER

If you haven’t experienced one yourself, you've at least heard of the style of friendship that most elementary age girls refer to as “BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!111” At that age, it’s a lot of talking about which boys are cute and which are gross, standing next to one another in line and picking one another as a partner for class projects, and spending the night over at one another’s houses, giggling into the night.
But then you hit junior high or high school, and one decides to switch to another clique, and then it’s glancing across the room at each other, wondering if the other wants to hang out and giggle again, but being too scared and peer pressured to just go and ask.
And then during the summer or after they graduate, they end up going to the same camp or the same freshman initiation and they remember what good friends they were. After that, they are a constant support to one another for the rest of their lives, a shoulder to cry on after being dumped, someone to complain to about an unfair employer, and the maid of honor at one another’s weddings.
England and Portugal have just such a relationship. On this day in history in 1386, Portugal was spending the night at England’s house (also known as the Treaty of Windsor), and they wrote up the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, swearing that they would be “BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!111” and then buried it in a time capsule (ratified it).
England spending the night at Portugal's house shortly after
they decided to be "BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!111"
They then proceeded to solidify their alliance: they gossiped about whether France or Spain was cuter, maneuvered their desks next to one another in the new seating chart, and signed up to write a book report together, and giggled into the night (also, Phillipa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, married the Portuguese King, John I).
Unfortunately, when they hit puberty, Portugal made a new friend, and Spain didn't much like England, so Portugal ended up watching England from across the sea, wondering if they could ever be friends again. After about sixty years of following Spain around, Portugal got kind of annoyed about the taxes Spain was imposing on Portuguese merchants, so it apologized to England and the reunited friends agreed never to speak their brief separation.
Since then, England has aided Portugal when it was bullied by Napoleon, and when it couldn't decide which ruling faction to wear to the prom (during its civil war in the late 1820s and early 1830s). Portugal helped England out, too, listening patiently (and allowing England’s Royal Navy to dock in its harbors) when England needed to vent about its disagreements with Germany (World War II) and Argentina (Falklands War).
It isn't always been smooth sailing with them, especially when England totally blows off Portugal when they've made plans to hang out at the mall, or when it borrows that adorable outfit from Portugal and forgets to return it for like three months (or when they have a spat about who owns what territory in Africa). Today, they still talk on the phone a lot and hang out as often as they can. It helps that they’re both members of the same clubs (NATO and the European Union).
Portugal and England have come a long way since they first met in kindergarten (and passing Anglo crusaders aided Portugal at the Siege of Lisbon in 1147). They've had their rough patches, but a 1373 year old relationship like this is worth celebrating.
Congratulations, Portugal and England, on the anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, and on being “BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!111”

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