Two Americans currently investing in the Algarve were surprised recently to discover that one of the Europe’s most popular holiday resort areas may actually still be a Kingdom. The now disclosed discovery was actually made last year when they decided to give their 45 foot Catamaran a Portugese and Catholic name. The yacht is docked in Lagos. In researching historical documents for a name they discovered an omition in the law.

Pictures of Catamaran

What they discovered is that the Kingdom of the Algarve was never annexed to Portugal and is still a Monarchy. To them it is just fun and nothing more and so they named the vessel "The Kingdom of the Algarve".

The Moorish Kingdom of the Algarve was not originally conquered by the first King of Portugal, but was later taken through raids conducted by his direct descendants, and with several failed attempts to conquer it permanently.

That a vessel named "Kingdom of the Algarve" is stationed now in Lagos Marina is becoming an historic curiosity to those who live here. It was Lagos that on January 23rd, 1573 was raised to the dignity of Capital of the Algarvian Kingdom by decree of King Sebastian of Portugal and the Algarve. Lagos had already by then become an important port after Prince Henry the Navigator chose it in the XV Century as a port of departure for the Caravels that discovered much of the new world. Henry the Navigator himself lived in Lagos for a while in order to oversee the first expedition of Africa. The spices, silks, gold, ivory, diamonds and other exotic treasures brought regularly from the new world contributed to the establishment of the first banking institutions in the Algarvian Kingdom. The navigator Gil Eanes who passed the Cabo Bojador in West Africa was also born in Lagos and is the Algarvian Kingdom’s most famous son.

Lagos also became a popular center of the slave trade with its slave market, but this was under the Phillip’s during the 80 years of Spanish rule of Portugal. This period according to some historian was a time when the Algarve was occupied but although never declared part of Portugal, the King of which the Spanish Emperors claimed to be.

They (the Phillip’s) never did declare the Algarve part of Portugal or Spain, nor did they ever extinguish the Algarvian Kingdom or declare themselves Kings of the Algarve. The Dukes of Braganša, on the other hand, were regarded by the people of the Algarve, and especially Lagos, as the pretenders to the Algarvian Throne.

The conquest of Lagos and the Algarve in 1189 by King Sancho was unsuccessful and it was taken back by the Moors who ruled it for sixty more years until it was again reconquered by Alphonsus III in 1249.

This is the reason why the coat of arms of the Kingdom of the Algarve bears the alternated images of two Christian Kings and two Moorish Kings and why the Kingdom was regarded as the unconqurable Algarve or Al Gharb, meaning "The West"; (west of Morroco and Mecca) and was such a prize to the King of Portugal Alphonsus III and his decendants, that rather than anexing it to the Portuguese Kingdom, they decided to rule it as a separate Kingdom, thus giving them Emperor –like status as King of two Kingdoms.

It also must be stated however that in 1773, the Algarve was anexated to Portugal following the November 1st, 1755 earthquake when it became necessary to tranfer large sums of monies from the Royal Treasury of Portugal to the Algarvian Kingdom in order to rebuild the cities which were greatly affected with by the quake.

Since the Algarve was a separate Kingdom, the Portuguese Priminister, Sebastian De Mello, Marquis of Pombal, had the King, Joseph I of Portugal and the Algarve, sign a decree formerly annexing the Algarve to Portugal in order to make the transfer of money legally possible.

This decree however is apparently declared void by a decree of Queen Mary the First, who revoked and declared Null and Void all of the laws and decrees which the Marquis of Pombal had passed during his term as Prime Minister. The fact that Queen Mary the First put Pombal on trail for this and many other doings which she considered acts of treason, leads us to believe in the legitimacy of the dis-annexation of the Kingdom of the Algarve which in fact Queen Mary I and all subsequent monarchs (with the exception of Carlos I) prove by having used the title King or Queen of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Kingdom of the Algarve.

If this is the case, which in fact it appears to be, the Algarve may today still be a legitimate Kingdom and not part of the Portuguese Republic at all since at the 1910 revolution, it was neither annexed, invaded nor declared to be a republic. No documents were discovered in the Torre do Tombo archive to this effect."

In fact something else the Americans discovered is that the last coins minted in 1910 under the monarchy rule, like those minted previously in 1908 and 1909, depicted King Manuel II entitled King of Portugal and the Algarve clearly proclaiming for all that the Algarve was still a separate Kingdom.

The republican coins, issued after the October 5th revolution, rather than stating Republic of Portugal and the Algarve, simply proclaim the Republic of Portugal making no reference at all to the Kingdom of the Algarve, its anexation or extinction.

"However", said Rick Salbato, "what is legally and morally true may not mean it is a tangible reality. I do not see Republican Portugal about to allow the Algarvian Kingdom to declare its independence without any objections or a military intervention, but what would be nice is if it allowed the Algarve to maintain its name as Kingdom of the Algarve and if it gave it a sort of regional autonomy under its rightful King, the Duke of Braganša.

"What I know of the Duke of Braganca is that he is first a Catholic and family man. I do not think he would want the responsibility of ruling the Algarve. He thinks of the Portuguese people as his children which is the proper attitude of a Catholic King and not political terminology. To Catholics he is still king by divine right. The fact that he does not govern means nothing to a Catholic.

"Nonetheless, far from being a separatist idea, which in the past, some movements had promoted, the idea of the Kingdom of the Algarve being an autonomous region of Iberia, administrated much like the Azores or Madeira, would perhaps be an acceptable idea and comparable to the Principality of the Asturias, Principality of Monaco or Grand Duchy of Luxemburg.

"I do not think Portugal should be divided. In fact I believe Brazil should still be united to Portugal in some way. But the idea of the Algarve being an autonomously administrated Kingdom would be very good for the tourist industry here and would bring in much more revenue to the rest of Portugal.

"I am sure that the legal status of the Kingdom can be easily proven with the evidence and documentation at hand in order to be recognized by the EEC and UN authorities. But this is not why we named our boat. Ours is just an expression of our love of the Catholic Church and the Portugese People. I have come here to live for the rest of my life. These are God's favorite people."

In commemoration of the discovery, which was made late last year, the prestigious, Coimbra based, coin and medal making firm" Lusatenas" has already minted a special commemorative coin – like medal in bronze, with the Coast of Arms of the Algarvian Kingdom on one side and on the other side, the effigy of the Pretender to the throne of the Kingdom of the Algarve, Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganša, 36th titular King of Portugal and of the Algarve.

The limited edition coin-like medal promises to be a valuable collector’s item in the near future and was made to resemble the thick and high relief coins of the reign of King Sebastian I, the well – loved mystical figure whose return the Portuguese had romaticized about for centuries.

Young King Sebastian who attended Mass from the window of the Gornor’s palace in Lagos in 1578, departed with an expedition to conquer Alcacer Quibir in North Africa. The attempt was a disaster and the King dissapeared in that battle, presumed killed. The loss of the King brought about the take over of Portugal by the Spanish Monarch after the short reign of the Cardinal King Henry.

The medal also has the year 2000 struck upon it and a symbolic value of 100 Reis, (Kings), the denomination of currency in use before the 1910 republic established the Escudo. There are also plans for extremely limited edition in silver and to be struck this year with the same motiff."

Dom Duarte, the Duke of Braganša, has already been presented with news of this discovery. He found it quite amusing and stated that it is just another one of the things that was overlooked by the republicans at the time of the hurried declaration of the republic in 1910. His Royal Highness also pointed out two other curiosities; the first being the fact that the current national anthem which is claimed to be a republican creation, was in fact an absolutist monarchist tune dedicated by the composer to Dom Duarte’s grandfather Michael II, son of exiled King Michael.

The original manuscript by the composer is in the Royal family collection. The other curiosity involves the fact that October 5th which is each year celebrated as the Republican declaration was in fact celebrated for many centuries as the Portuguese Kingdom’s establishment or Independence Day since it was on that date that Portugal’s sovereignty as a Kingdom was officially recognized.

What if the people of the Algarve want to be a separate Kingdom?" we asked Salbato.

"I think they would be better off." He said. "Areas like the Algarve whose primary income is tourism have a constant influx of money without much money leaving the area. The economy here is so good that they could operate the government very well on 6% flat tax as is done in Hong Kong. Also the visible presence of a King and Queen would be good for the tourist industry. The draw back is that the rest of Portugal is in great need of the taxes coming out of this area and is in fact being forced to cut back on some programs.

"However, unlike us Americans, I think the Portuguese people care more about their country and their people than they do about money. Whatever they decide to do it would be the best thing for all of Portugal. Nevertheless, we do not even know what the King thinks of all of this. Personally, I would like to see it a Monarchy because this is God's choice of governments and since the fall of Monarchies in the first years of the 20th century, more people have been killed by their own governments than in all the rest of the history of the world put together. In fact there have been more wars where more people died than in all the rest of history of the world put together.

"People living today do not even know what it is like living under a Monarchy, but what they do not know in Portugal is that they already live in a form of Monarchy as the President has unlimited veto power over any law and can remove any office holder. The only difference is that he also is elected every four years and is subject to corruption. He must get in bed with even those he does not agree with in order to win an election.

"A king can not be corrupted for he has nothing to gain or loose by doing the wrong thing. His right comes from God, and only the Holy Father can remove that right. In simple logic, his only interest would then be the love of the people and of God.

"My interest is in the Kingdom of God on Earth (the Catholic Church) and not in politics. The Kingdom of God is my home and its peoples are my brothers and sisters in real fact as we all have Christ's body and blood in us making us blood brothers. This is why I came to live in Portugal as these are the best Catholics in the world. This is a Catholic nation and I wish those in power would admit it"