Almeida Garrett

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The Viscount of Almeida Garrett

Almeida Garrett por Guglielmi.jpg
A lithograph of Garrett, by Pedro Augusto Guglielmi
BornJoão Baptista da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett
(1799-02-04)4 February 1799
Porto, Kingdom of Portugal
Died9 December 1854(1854-12-09) (aged 55)
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Occupation Poet, playwright, novelist, politician, journalist
Literary movement Romanticism
Notable works Viagens na Minha Terra , Camões, Frei Luís de Sousa

Signature AlmeidaGarrettAutografo.png
Minister and Secretary of State
of Foreign Affairs
In office
4 March 1852 17 August 1852
Prime Minister The Duke of Saldanha
Preceded byAntónio Jervis de Atouguia
Succeeded byAntónio Jervis de Atouguia
Chief Chronicler of the Kingdom of Portugal
In office
20 December 1838 16 July 1841
Prime Minister The Viscount of Sá da Bandeira
Preceded byJoão Bernardo da Rocha Loureiro
Succeeded byThe Viscount of Santarém
(as Guardian of the Royal Archives)
Inspector-General of the National Theatres and Shows
In office
22 November 1836 16 July 1841
Prime Minister The Viscount of Sá da Bandeira
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJoaquim Larcher

João Baptista da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett, 1st Viscount of Almeida Garrett (Portuguese pronunciation:  [aɫˈmɐjdɐ ɡɐˈʁɛt(ɨ)] ; 4 February 1799 – 9 December 1854) was a Portuguese poet, orator, playwright, novelist, journalist, politician, and a peer of the realm. A major promoter of theater in Portugal he is considered the greatest figure of Portuguese Romanticism and a true revolutionary and humanist. He proposed the construction of the D. Maria II National Theatre and the creation of the Conservatory of Dramatic Art.

Portuguese people ethnic group

Portuguese people are a Romance ethnic group indigenous to Portugal that share a common Portuguese culture and speak Portuguese. Their predominant religion is Christianity, mainly Roman Catholicism, though vast segments of the population, especially the younger generations, have no religious affiliation. Historically, the Portuguese people's heritage largely includes the pre-Celts and Celts, who became culturally Romanized during the conquest of the region by the ancient Romans. A number of Portuguese also can trace descent from Germanic tribes who arrived after the Roman period as ruling elites, including the Suebi and Visigoths in northern Portugal and central Portugal. Finally, also limited converted Jewish and Berbers as a result of the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, especially in the Algarve region of southern Portugal.

Poet Person who writes and publishes poetry

A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience.

An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled.



Garrett was born in Porto, the son of António Bernardo da Silva Garrett (1739–1834), a fidalgo of the Royal Household and knight of the Order of Christ, and his wife (they were married in 1796) Ana Augusta de Almeida Leitão (b. Porto, c. 1770), the daughter of an Irish father born in exile in France and an Italian mother born in Spain. At an early age, around 4 or 5 years old, Garrett changed his name to João Baptista da Silva Leitão, adding a name from his godfather and altering the order of his surnames.

Porto Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Porto, also known as Oporto in some languages, is the second-largest city in Portugal, one of the Iberian Peninsula's major urban areas, famous for Port wine and football team FC Porto. Porto city has a population of 287,591 and a metropolitan area with 2.3 million people (2011) in an area of 2,395 km2 (925 sq mi), making it the second-largest urban area in Portugal. It is recognized as a gamma-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group, the only Portuguese city besides Lisbon to be recognised as a global city.


Fidalgo, from Galician fillo de algo and Portuguese filho de algo—equivalent to nobleman, but sometimes literally translated into English as "son of somebody" or "son of some "—is a traditional title of Portuguese nobility that refers to a member of the titled or untitled nobility. A fidalgo is comparable in some ways to the French gentilhomme and to the Italian nobile. The title was abolished after the overthrow of the Monarchy in 1910. It is also a family surname.

Knight An award of an honorary title for past or future service with its roots in chivalry in the Middle Ages

A knight is a man granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch, bishop or other political or religious leader for service to the monarch or a Christian church, especially in a military capacity.

In 1809, his family fled the second French invasion carried out by Soult's troops, seeking refuge in Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira Island, Azores. While in the Azores, he was taught by his uncle, Dom Frei Alexandre da Sagrada Família (Faial, Horta, 22 May 1737 Terceira, Angra do Heroísmo, 22 April 1818), also a freemason, then the 25th Bishop of Angra (1816–1818) and former Bishop of Malacca and Timor; his two other uncles were Manuel Inácio da Silva Garrett, Archdeacon of Angra, and Inácio da Silva Garrett, also a clergyman of Angra. In childhood, his mulatto Brazilian nanny Rosa de Lima taught him some traditional stories that later influenced his work.

Peninsular War War by Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom against the French Empire (1807–1814)

The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.

Angra do Heroísmo Municipality in Azores, Portugal

Angra do Heroísmo, or simply Angra, is a city and municipality on Terceira Island, Portugal, and one of the three capital cities of the Azores. Founded in 1478, Angra was historically the most important city in the Azores, as seat of the Bishop of the Azores, government entities, and having previously served as the capital city of Portugal, during the Liberal Wars. The population in 2011 was 35,402, in an area of 239.00 km². It was classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1983.

Terceira Island Island in Azores, Portugal

Terceira is a volcanic island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, with a population of 56,000 inhabitants in an area of approximately 396.75 square kilometres. It is the location of the Azores' oldest city, Angra do Heroísmo, the historical capital of the archipelago and UNESCO World Heritage Site; the seat of the judicial system ; and the main base of the Azores Air Zone Command, Base Aérea nº 4, and a United States Air Force detachment.

In 1818, he moved to Coimbra to study at the University law school. In 1818, he published O Retrato de Vénus , a work for which was soon to be prosecuted, as it was considered "materialist, atheist, and immoral"; it was during this period that he adopted and added his pen name de Almeida Garrett, who was seen as more aristocratic.

Coimbra Municipality in Centro, Portugal

Coimbra is a city and a municipality in Portugal. The population at the 2011 census was 143,397, in an area of 319.40 square kilometres (123.3 sq mi). The fourth-largest urban centre in Portugal, it is the largest city of the district of Coimbra and the Centro Region. About 460,000 people live in the Região de Coimbra, comprising 19 municipalities and extending into an area of 4,336 square kilometres (1,674 sq mi).

University of Coimbra public university in Coimbra, Portugal

The University of Coimbra is a Portuguese public university in Coimbra, Portugal. Established in 1290 in Lisbon, it went through a number of relocations until it was moved permanently to its current city in 1537, being one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, the oldest university of Portugal, and one of the country's largest museums of higher education and research institutions.

A pen name is a pseudonym adopted by an author and printed on the title page or by-line of their works in place of their real name. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise the author's gender, to distance the author from their other works, to protect the author from retribution for their writings, to combine more than one author into a single author, or for any of a number of reasons related to the marketing or aesthetic presentation of the work. The author's name may be known only to the publisher or may come to be common knowledge.

Although he did not take active part in the Liberal Revolution that broke out in Porto in 1820, he contributed with two patriotic verses, the Hymno Constitucional and the Hymno Patriótico, which his friends copied and distributed in the streets of Porto. After the "Vilafrancada", a reactionary coup d'état led by the Infante Dom Miguel in 1823, he was forced to seek exile in England. He had just married the beautiful Luísa Cândida Midosi who was only 12 or 13 years old at the time and was the sister of his friend Luís Frederico Midosi, later married to Maria Teresa Achemon, both related to theatre and children of José Midosi (son of an Italian father and an Irish mother) and wife Ana Cândida de Ataíde Lobo. While in England, in Edgbaston, Warwickshire, he began his association with Romanticism, being subject to the first-hand influences of William Shakespeare and Walter Scott, as well as to that of Gothic aesthetics. In the beginning of 1825, Garrett left for France where he wrote Camões (1825) and Dona Branca (1826), poems that are usually considered the first Romantic works in Portuguese literature. In 1826, he returned to Portugal, where he settled for two years and founded the newspapers O Portuguez and O Chronista. In 1828, under the rule of King Miguel of Portugal, he was again forced to settle in England, publishing Adozinda and performing his tragedy Catão at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth.

Together with Alexandre Herculano and Joaquim António de Aguiar, he took part in the Landing of Mindelo, carried out during the Liberal Wars. When a constitutional monarchy was established, he briefly served as its Consul General to Brussels; upon his return, he was acclaimed as one of the major orators of Liberalism, and took initiative in the creation of a new Portuguese theatre (during the period, he wrote his historical plays Gil Vicente, D. Filipa de Vilhena, and O Alfageme de Santarém).

Alexandre Herculano Portuguese writer, poet, journalist

Alexandre Herculano de Carvalho e Araújo was a Portuguese novelist and historian.

Joaquim António de Aguiar Prime minister of Portugal

Joaquim António de Aguiar was a Portuguese politician. He held several relevant political posts during the Portuguese constitutional monarchy, namely as leader of the Cartists and later of the Partido Regenerador. He was three times prime minister of Portugal: between 1841 and 1842, in 1860 and finally from 1865 to 1868, when he entered a coalition with the Partido Progressista, in what became known as the Governo de Fusão.

Liberal Wars 1828-1834 civil war in Portugal

The Liberal Wars, also known as the Portuguese Civil War, the War of the Two Brothers or Miguelite War, was a war between liberal constitutionalists and conservative absolutists in Portugal over royal succession that lasted from 1828 to 1834. Embroiled parties included the Kingdom of Portugal, Portuguese rebels, the United Kingdom, France, the Catholic Church, and Spain.

In 1843, Garrett published Romanceiro e Cancioneiro Geral, a collection of folklore; two years later, he wrote the first volume of his historical novel O Arco de Santana (fully published in 1850, it took inspiration from Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame ). O Arco de Santana signified a change in Garrett's style, leading to a more complex and subjective prose with which he experimented at length in Viagens na Minha Terra (Travels in My Homeland, 1846). His innovative manner was also felt in his poem collections Flores sem Fruto (Flowers without Fruit, 1844) and Folhas Caídas (Fallen Leaves) 1853).

Nobled by Dona Maria II of Portugal in 1852 with the title of 1st Viscount of Almeida Garrett, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs for only a few days in the same year (in the cabinet of the Duke of Saldanha).

Almeida Garrett ended his relationship with Luísa Midosi and divorced in 1835 (who later remarried Alexandre Desiré Létrillard) to join 17-year-old Adelaide Deville Pastor in 1836 – she was to remain his partner until her early death in 1839, leaving a daughter named Maria Adelaide, whose early life tragedy and illegitimacy inspired her father to write the play Frei Luís de Sousa .

Later in his life he became the lover of Rosa de Montúfar y Infante, a Spanish noblewoman daughter of the 3rd Marques de Selva Alegre, wife of Joaquim António Velez Barreiros, 1st Baron and 1st Viscount de Nossa Senhora da Luz and twice (277th and 286th) Commander of the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa, and Minister and Governor of Cape Verde, whom he celebrated at his last and probably best poetry book Folhas Caídas.

Garrett died of cancer in Lisbon at 6:30 in the afternoon of 9 December 1854. He was buried at the Cemetery of Prazeres and, on 3 May 1903, his remains were transferred to the national pantheon in the Jerónimos Monastery, where they rest near to those of Alexandre Herculano and Luís Vaz de Camões.

Despite the wish that it went to his natural daughter, one of the reasons why he accepted it, his title passed on to the descendants of his brother Alexandre José da Silva de Almeida Garrett (7 August 1797 24 October 1847), fidalgo of the Royal Household, who was a partisan of King Miguel I of Portugal for all his life, and wife (m. 16 June 1822) Angélica Isabel Cardoso Guimarães (2 February 1803 ). He also had a sister Maria Amália de Almeida Garrett, who married in the Azores where they were then living with Francisco de Meneses de Lemos e Carvalho (Terceira, Angra do Heroísmo, 20 September 1786 ) and had female issue.

Honour: Portugal issued a set of 4 postage stamps in honor of Joao Baptista da Silva Leitao de Almeida Garrett on 7 March 1957.

List of works

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