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THE first formal treaty of alliance between Great Britain and Portugal was signed in 1386. But coöperation between the two countries had begun at an even earlier period. Many of the Crusaders who helped Portugal gain her independence were English, and afterwards the Portuguese maintained their rule only as far inland as they could secure ready assistance from the sea. The treaty of 1386 was directed especially against the danger of Spanish aggression. In later years, defense of the Portuguese colonies became the central and permanent object; and today Portugal regards the ancient alliance as primarily useful in case aggression should threaten her relatively large and vulnerable empire.
From the legal point of view, and to a large extent from the practical point of view as well, the central feature of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance was defined most clearly in the so-called Secret Article of the Treaty of 1661: "The King of Great