Term for a contract between England and Portugal which was completed in Lisbon on December 27, 1703. It is named after the English politician and Lord Chancellor John Methuen (1650-1706), who negotiated this historically important agreement as an extraordinary ambassador to Portugal. The main issue was tariff reductions for Portuguese wine imports into England. Specifically, the treaty provided that England could freely export textiles to Portugal (and its colonies) while Portugal port wine exported to England. It was particularly advantageous for England because it acquired a market for its products during the beginning of the industrial revolution and made Portugal economically dependent on England.
Sales for Portuguese wines were at the expense of all other European wines, in particular France, promoted. England got the wine at a third cheaper price than French or European wines. The contract was the cause of a boom in port wine production and displaced the wines from the Bordeaux and Burgundy to the rear seats. The treaty was a great disadvantage for Portugal because its textile industry was destroyed and as a result the industrial revolution took place much later and to a lesser extent. See also under Factory house,
Image: By Adrien Carpentiers, public domain, link