The Fort of Peniche

Square-strong Peniche is located in the city of the same name, in the district of Leiria, Portugal.

It is a fortress located on the southern slopes, above the cliffs, between the fishing port in the east, and the Cave of Furninha west.

It is assumed that the origin of the place name derives from Peniche Phoenix, name of an ancient village on the island of Crete, whose geographical setting was similar to the primitive island of Peniche, which became peninsula. At its end lies the Cape Carvoeiro. The village is about eight meters above sea level, occupying nowadays one peninsular area 2,750 meters long from west to east.

At the time of independence from Portugal, the island of Peniche stood about a hundred steps from the mainland, near the mouth of the São Domingos river. The action of ocean currents and winds, over the centuries, led to the silting of that river, from the sands to form progressively a string of dunes, consolidating, joined the island to the mainland of Peniche, making disappear Port of Atouguia.

The ancient site of Ribeira d’Atouguia at the mouth of the river, was one of the most important Portuguese ports of the Middle Ages, privileged access point to the country’s central locations (Lisbon, Obidos, Torres Vedras, Santarém and Leiria), being implicadada important episodes in the history of Portugal. Being a constant target of attacks of English privateers, French and Barbary Pirates, King Manuel I of Portugal (1495-1521) instructed the Atouguia Earl of drawing up a plan for the defense of that stretch of coast, which was presented to her successor, John III of Portugal (1521-1557). Work began the construction in 1557, the so-called castle of the town, bastion structure, under the supervision of D. Luis de Ataide, completed around 1570, to the reign of King Sebastian of time (1557-1578). During the Philippine Dynasty, it was in Peniche that British troops, courtesy of Elizabeth I of England, under the command of Antonio I of Portugal, began their march on Lisbon (July 1589), in attempting to restore Portuguese sovereignty.

The fishing village was elevated to town (1609), having been made some repairs on their walls.

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