1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Abrantes
ABRANTES, a town of central Portugal, in the district of Santarem, formerly included in the province of Estremadura; on the right bank of the river Tagus, at the junction of the Madrid-Badajoz-Lisbon railway with the Guarda-Abrantes line. Pop. (1900) 7255. Abrantes, which occupies the crest of a hill covered with olive woods, gardens and vines, is a fortified town, with a thriving trade in fruit, olive oil and grain. As it commands the highway down the Tagus valley to Lisbon, it has usually been regarded as an important military position. Originally an Iberian settlement, founded about 300 B.C., it received the name Aurantes from the Romans; perhaps owing to the alluvial gold (aurum) found along the Tagus. Roman mosaics, coins, the remains of an aqueduct, and other antiquities have been discovered in the neighbourhood. Abrantes was captured on the 24th of November 1807 by the French under General Junot, who for this achievement was created duke of Abrantes. By the Convention of Cintra (22nd of August 1808) the town was restored to the British and Portuguese.