Born in Lisbon on 31 October 1838, Luís I, nicknamed ‘The Popular’ (Portuguese: O Popular), was King of Portugal and Algarves between 1861 and 1889. He was the second son of Queen Maria II and Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and held the title Duke of Porto and Viseu before his succession to the throne.
A cultured man who wrote vernacular poetry, he had no distinguishing gifts in the political arena, into which he was thrust by the deaths of his brothers, Pedro V and Dom Ferdinand in 1861. His reign was a tedious and ineffective series of transitional governments formed at various times by the Progressives (Liberals) and the Regenerators (the Conservative party generally favoured by the King, who secured their lengthy term in office after 1881). Despite a flirtation with the Spanish succession prior to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, King Luís’s reign was otherwise one of domestic stagnation, during which Portugal fell ever further behind the other nations of western Europe in terms of public education, technological progress and economic prosperity.
In colonial affairs, Delgoa Bay was confirmed as a Portuguese possession in 1875, whilst Belgian activists in the Congo during the 1880’s and a British ultimatum denied Portugal a land link between Angola and Mozambique at the peak of the ‘Scramble for Africa.’
Luís was primarily a man of science, with a passion for oceanography. He invested vast amounts of his fortune in funding ships to collect specimens in the oceans of the world. He was responsible for the establishment of one of the world’s first aquariums, the Aquário Vasco da Gama in Lisbon, still open to the public, with its vast collection of maritime life forms. His passed on his love of science to his two sons.
King Luís died on 19 October 1889 at Cascais.
price: not for sale
|Back to list...