In 1974, Portugal's Carnation Revolution, initiated by the military, received huge popular support. Army officers, mostly of the rank of captain, started the Revolution, but then the politicians took over. While it was largely a ‘top down’ revolution, at the local government level ordinary people assumed control. In this article we consider those who made up the local elites before the Revolution, during the transition period that followed, and thereafter. We compare the local elites in Portugal during Salazar's dictatorship with those under the Democratic regime, using a database of 6,000 entries containing details of 3,102 mayors and deputy mayors and 402 civil governors who held office between 1936 and 2013. Our main conclusions are that during the transition period the elite who had ruled under Salazar were almost completely replaced. A new group, from different professions and social backgrounds, took up the reins of local government. The Revolution produced a population willing to participate in the new order and take on roles within local government, but they did not always retain their seats after the first democratic elections.