Category Archives: Portugal

The Original Camouflage: Khaki Part V – Khaki in Colonial Africa and the Middle East


Portuguese soldiers in Africa during World War I wearing the newly introduced khaki 1900 pattern uniform

Khaki was used throughout the colonial world by most of the major powers, and in many ways the First World War was the first conflict where the parties fought with virtually the same colored uniforms. While khaki, as we noted in part I of this feature on The Original Camouflage, was introduced in India, other powers including France and Germany – as noted in previous posts – also opted for the dust-colored fabric. Other armies, including the Belgians, Portuguese, Spanish and Turks would don khaki colored uniforms. Continue reading

The Sun Helmets of the Portuguese Royal Navy, 1894-1910


Officers of the Portuguese Gunship “Diu” photographed in Goa (Portuguese India) circa 1900. Both wear peaked caps with white covers.

By the end of the 19th Century, officers of the Portuguese “Armada Real” (Royal Navy) were in great need of some sort of tropical headdress. Unlike other ranks, which were supplied with large brim straw hats for tropical climates, officers had nothing to wear but their peaked caps, made hotter and heavier by the regulation white covers. Continue reading

The Portuguese 1913 Helmet

Fig.1: A group of Portuguese officers, c. 1912, wearing the 1911 helmets (Jaime Regalado).

Fig.1: A group of Portuguese officers, c. 1912, wearing the 1911 helmets (Jaime Regalado).

The fall of the Portuguese Monarchy, on October the 5th 1910, brought about deep changes in Portuguese military uniforms. The very first measure, taken as early as October the 8th, was the abolishment of the use of royal crowns on the uniforms. In most uniform items, the royal crowns could simply be disassembled, but that was not always so. In buttons, the crowns had to be filed and in helmet front plates, they had to be cut. Most of the surviving helmets keep their front plates complete, so it is likely that this type of headdress was scarcely worn in the early days of the Republic. Continue reading

Pith vs. Cork – Not One and the Same


While the term “pith helmet” is commonly used to describe any sun or summer helmet, it isn’t exactly accurate. Pith has entered the lexicon much as “Xerox” means “photocopy” or “Kleenex” means “facial tissue” – at least in English. The difference is that while some corporate brands have become generic terms, pith is not a brand but a material. Continue reading