28 May 1926 coup d'état

The 28 May 1926 coup d'état, sometimes called 28 May Revolution or, during the period of the authoritarian Estado Novo (English: New State), the National Revolution (Portuguese: Revolução Nacional), was a military coup of a nationalist origin, that put an end to the unstable Portuguese First Republic and initiated 48 years of authoritarian rule in Portugal. The regime that immediately resulted from the coup, the Ditadura Nacional (National Dictatorship), would be later refashioned into the Estado Novo (New State), which in turn would last until the Carnation Revolution in 1974.

28 May 1926 coup d'état
Gomes da Costa and his troops march victorious into Lisbon on 6 June 1926
Date28 May 1926
ParticipantsPortuguese military

The chronic political instability and government's neglect of the army created opportunities for military plots. Already in 1925 there were two failed coup attempts on 18 April and 19 July. The plotters were acquitted by military court. During winter of 1925 and spring 1926 a group of junior officers planned a new coup and were looking for a senior officer to be the figurehead of their movement. They decided on General Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa, who agreed to join the plotters on 25 May.[1]

The revolution started in Braga, commanded by General Manuel Gomes da Costa, followed immediately in Porto, Lisbon, Évora, Coimbra and Santarém. The revolution triumphed when General Gomes da Costa marched on Lisbon along with 15,000 men, being acclaimed by the people of the city.[2]

Timeline of events

  • 27 May:
    • General Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa arrived at Braga with the purpose of initiating a coup d'état.
    • The First Portuguese Republic and Prime Minister António Maria da Silva, knowing of the forthcoming coup, tried to organize resistance -- believing an eventual coup d'état could be defeated.
  • 28 May:
    • A military coup d'état (hereinafter "the 28.5.26 coup d'état") began in Braga led by Gomes da Costa. Initially believing he failed, Gomes da Costa announced his surrender.
  • 29 May:
  • 30 May:
  • 3 June: António de Oliveira Salazar became Minister of Finance; however, he resigned 16 days after.
  • 3 June: A dictatorial decree dissolved the Congress of the Republic of Portugal (National Assembly).
  • In addition, by dictatorial decree, the leaders of all the Municipalities were sacked.
  • The Ditadura Militar banned the Carbonária.
  • The Ditadura Militar banned all Political parties.
  • 17 June: General Gomes da Costa provoked a second coup d'état.
  • 19 June: General Gomes da Costa became Prime Minister.
  • 22 June: The Ditadura Militar instituted Censorship.
  • 29 June: General Gomes da Costa became President of the Republic.
  • 9 July:
    • The Ditadura Militar forced General Gomes da Costa to resign -- allowing him to go into exile.
    • General António Óscar de Fragoso Carmona, of the conservative military wing of the Ditadura Militar, became Prime Minister.
  • 15 September: A military coup d'état failed.
  • 18 September: Another military coup d'état failed.
  • 29 November: General António Óscar Carmona became President of the Republic.
  • 16 December: The Ditadura Militar created a political police called Police of Information of Lisbon.


  1. Tom Gallagher, Portugal: A Twentieth-century Interpretation, 1983, p. 62.
  2. Laidlar, John (1 January 2000). Portugal. Clio. ISBN 9781851093311.
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