History OnThisDay 13 May 1699 Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo 1st Marquis de Pombal

One of the most important politicians of Portugal was born on 13 May 1699
in Lisbon. His name was Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo.


Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo was born as the son of
Manuel de Carvalho e Ataide and Terese Luise de Mendonça e Melo.

Marquis of Pombal and his brothers
Source picture: Wikipedia

Early life

During his youth Sebastião studied at the University of Coimbra, then
he served briefly in the army.

Love and Marriage

He married Teresa de Mendonça e Almada, the niece of the Count of Arcos.
The marriage was a wild one, as she had married him against her family's 

Her parents made life unbearable for the young couple and they moved to 
Melo properties near Pombal. 

Pombal - Source picture: Wikipedia

Political carreer

In 1738, Pombal became the Portuguese ambassador to Great Britain.

In 1745 he served as ambassador of Austria. The Queen Consort of Portugal,
Archduchess Mary Anne Josepha of Austria was fond of him. After the death
of his first wife she arranged a marriage for him. Pombal married the daughter
of the Austrian Field Marshal Leopold Josef, Count von Daun. The girl named:
Eleonora ernestina von Daun. 

However King John V was not pleased about this marriage and he recalled
Pombal in 1749. John V died the following year and was succeeded by his son
Joseph I of Portugal. Joseph I was fond of Pombal together with the 
Queen Mother's approval he appointed him as Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

Pombal - Source picture: Wikipedia

In 1755 the King appointed Pombal as Prime Minister, impressed by the
English economic success which he had witnessed as ambassador, Pombal
successfully implemented similar economic policies in Portugal. He 
abolished slavery in Portugal and the Portuguese colonies in India.

Pombal created the Douro Wine Company for production of Port to
ensure the wine's quality. 

Pombal ruled with a heavy hand, imposing strict laws upon all classes of
Portuguese society from the high nobility to the poorest working class, via
a widespread review of the country's tax system. These reforms gained him
enemies in the upper classes. 

On 1 November 1755, disaster came over Portugal, Lisbon was awakened 
by a violent earthquake. The city was razed by the earthquake and the ensuing
Tsunami and fires. Pombal survived by a stroke of luck and
immediately he took the task of rebuilding the city. The new buildings were
the world's first earthquake-resistant buildings. Pombal also made a big
contribution to the study of seismology. 

In 1759 he expelled the Jesuits from Portugal, which made a part of his
education reforms. He created hundreds of new teaching posts and added 
departments of mathematics and natural sciences to the University of Coimbra.
For these reforms he introduced new taxes. 

In 1761, Spain made an alliance with France and they entered the 
Seven Years' War. Spanish and French envoys were sent to Lisbon to demand 
that the King and Pombal agreed to cease all trade or co-operation with
Britain or face war. The King and Pombal rejected the Bourbon ultimatum. 

On 5 May 1762, Spanish troops crossed the border, but they were repelled by 
the guerrillas and forced them to abandon all their conquest.

In a second invasion in July 1762, a combined Franco-Spanish army was more
successful in the beginning. They captured Almeida and several undefended
fortresses, but they were soon halted by a Anglo-Portuguese force. 

In November 1762 Spain launched a third  offensive. The invaders again
were chased back. 

King Joseph's successor, Queen Maria I of Portugal  detested Pombal. 
She was a devout woman and was influenced by the Jesuits and upon her
ascension to the throne she withdrew all Pombal's political offices. She also
commanded that Pombal was not allowed to come closer than 20 miles to
her presence. 

Marquis de Pombal square in Lisbon, own picture taken in 2017


Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal, 1st. Count of
Oeiras died on 8 May 1782 at the age of 82. Today one of the most busiest
squares of Lisbon is named in his honour (see own picture above).

One of the hotels in Lisbon - Hotel Marques de Pombal,
also is named in his honour. 

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