Border disputes in southern Portugal and Spain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Articles uri icon



publication date

  • January 2022

start page

  • 23

end page

  • 44


  • 120


  • 57

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0430-5027


  • This article focuses on the construction of the border between Portugal and Spain on the Iberian Peninsula in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the subsequent appearance of cross border conflicts in the southern part of the two countries. A base typology is created by observing that most disputes, especially in Europe, have common characteristics. Against that background, the article unfolds in two directions. First, it focuses on border theory and the concepts that define border disputes. Second, by extension, it addresses the case of the Portuguese-Spanish border and the actors involved in making the boundary between Portugal and Spain. Border disputes arising in light of the border's historical context are examined as are their resolution. On the one hand, the article highlights how nineteenth century borders resulted from the emergence of governments' concern for sovereignty. On the other, governments sought not only to define linear borders but also to end illegitimate activities intensified on the border and to ensure power over their territories.


  • Geography
  • History


  • border studies; historical studies; boundary delimitation; conflicts; olivenza; estudos de fronteira; estudos históricos; delimitação de fronteiras; conflitos; olivença