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The Methuen Treaty

December 27th, 1703

Port wine played the same role in Portugal that whisky did in Scotland, as a profitable export to England from a struggling economy. English merchants were already established in Lisbon and Oporto, shipping in English cloth and taking payment in wine when they had to, though they preferred cash because English consumers were far fonder of Bordeaux claret than of the rough wines of Portugal. When England and France were at war, however, as they were in 1703, French wine was not readily available. With the War of the Spanish Succession in progress, a military alliance between England and Portugal against France and Spain was negotiated in Lisbon by John Methuen and his son Paul in May. It was followed at the end of the year by a commercial treaty, which John Methuen arranged between Queen Anne’s government and the Portuguese regime of Pedro II.

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