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Bonifacio de Andrada, the world that Portugal forgot and that Brazil celebrates |  History of science

Bonifacio de Andrada, the world that Portugal forgot and that Brazil celebrates | History of science

Isabel Correa da Silva, a research assistant at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lisbon, is set to launch a biography of José Bonifacio de Andrada, the scientist who was “forgotten” by Portugal and whom Brazil hails as an independent figure.

In the year in which the bicentenary of the first constitution (in 1824) of Brazil is celebrated, the Portuguese historian and researcher, in an interview with the Lusa Agency, recalled the “unknown” Portuguese figure, who was alongside Emperor Dr. Pedro, was a hero of the events that led to Brazilian independence in 1822, and is therefore the subject of more than just a biography by Brazilian authors.

The impetus for this research work arose specifically due to the celebrations of the bicentenary of the South American country's independence, which will be celebrated by Brazil and Portugal in 2022.

It was then that Isabel Correa da Silva realized how little-known this figure was in Portugal, “even within the academic world,” even though D’Andrada, as he was known in European circles, had lived for 30 years on this side of Portugal. Atlantic Ocean.

The author believes that this is precisely because Bonifacio de Andrada was “politically important and famous for his political participation in the independence of Brazil, which somehow led the Portuguese to forget about him.”

“Therefore, he has not remained in history,” said Isabel Correa da Silva regarding the launch of this biography, which is scheduled to be presented at the beginning of May, so much so that “very little has been written about him.”

For the historian, the biography she wrote was “essential,” recalling that the man who was a central figure in Brazil’s independence “lived in Portugal most of his life, was a scientist and then a public servant (…) during his rule.” A long time ago, three decades.”

In Brazil, Bonifacio D'Andrada “is the patriarch of independence, so he shares with Emperor D. Pedro the leading role in the events that led to independence, and then to its consolidation in the immediate following moments,” with his presence there and the investigator added that there is much that has been written about him.

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José Bonifacio de Andrada was “a man of Portuguese and Brazilian lights”, at a time when the great figures of society and royalty were Atlantic, says the author of the first Portuguese biography of this figure since Brazilian independence.

“He was a man of lights and a very important figure in the Portuguese and Portuguese-Brazilian lights. This is also interesting and another factor to highlight” in the biography, says Isabel Correa da Silva, stressing that these are “figures from the late 18th and early 9th centuries “Ten is Brazilian Portuguese.”

José Bonifacio de Andrada was born in Brazil, studied in Coimbra and then went to Europe. After that, he worked for two decades in Portugal and then returned to Brazil, all in the context of “the Portuguese monarchy, at that time, which was an Atlantic monarchy,” which means, in the author’s opinion, that it was a monarchy that had “several poles.” “.

We cannot think only of the European center and the Iberian Peninsula. This movement, as well as the expansion of the circulation of these political, intellectual and social figures, is an element that must be highlighted.” In that period of history, Isabel Correa da Silva highlights.

What made José Bonifacio de Andrada famous “was the fleeting role he played later, almost at the end of his life, when he returned to Brazil and participated very intensely in the events of independence,” as the biographer highlights.

In Portugal, he emerged as a scientist and a public figure, because, according to Isabel Correa, “at the end of the eighteenth century, intellectuals like Bonifacio de Andrada were everything, scientists, but they also thought and wrote a lot about solutions for the development of the country. Therefore, they were popular intellectuals, they had Policy proposals. They have not separated their work from science to applied science, in the sense of promoting the development of the country and this is where it really stands out.

Dissociative science policy

From the biography she wrote, the author stands out as the most interesting aspect, the fact that Bonifacio de Andrada was “an example of what might be called a scientific policy, in which the Portuguese Crown began to bet on the end of the reign of Doña Maria.” I and the end of the eighteenth century.

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“He received a scholarship from the Portuguese Crown, and spent ten years traveling around Europe, working and learning in the main centers of his field of research, mineralogy and metallurgy. “And he was not the only one,” says Isabel Correa da Silva. With him, he knew there were at least three other classmates.

He concludes that this means that during the transitional period from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century there was in Portugal “an incentive to invest in highly relevant sciences.”

After his return from this ten-year journey through Europe, Bonifacio de Andrada was considered “a kind of rising star, a recognized scientist, who put Portugal’s name in the main European scientific circles,” the researcher asserts.

However, it did not take many years for their experience to be erased by the Portuguese. “He was quickly forgotten,” it was “the pinnacle,” and the scientist “spent more than 20 years in Portugal trying to become a civil servant and trying to apply what he had learned in Europe” to no avail. The historian and researcher says: “It is as if the rug has been pulled out.” “The Crown invested in it, but then did not give it the resources to implement and enforce these matters,” he asserts.

For Isabel Correa da Silva, it is still “interesting” to realize that “a kind of schizophrenia is not new.” They have been around for 200 years or more, which he considers “a kind of paradox in science policy management of which Andrada is a great example.”

Assuming that she does not like to take the lessons of history and transfer them to the contemporary era, the writer asserts that “there are patterns” that are repeated. He noted that during the reign of José Bonifacio, the Portuguese Crown was paying other scholars to undertake what were called “philosophical voyages,” where they would go to Brazil, collect specimens of nature, animals, and vegetables, and bring and make very rich collections. Whether for the Crown or for the Lisbon Academy of Sciences.”

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But these collections, for the most part, ended up “abandoned, in boxes, until they were destroyed.” “Then the French took over some of them during the French invasions at the beginning of the nineteenth century,” recalls Isabel Correa da Silva.

Foundations of modernity

This character lived in a period of Portuguese history that was “completely neglected, throughout the nineteenth century, in a certain way,” which Isabel Correa laments, because “the first decades of the nineteenth century were the foundations of our modernity.”

“The legal and even ideological framework of the principles of equality before the law is inherited from this shift that occurred from the ancien régime to liberalism, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, which, however, is a period that has not been very well studied,” he also says.

He said that thinking about the Portuguese liberal revolution implied a transition to liberalism and meant thinking about Brazil. “This is very difficult to say in the abstract, but it is easier to understand if we focus on the people. This person somehow embodies this horizon of political and geographical possibilities that existed at that time,” he emphasizes.

“[Pelo que] He seemed to me as a figure who embodies very well all the political complexities that were at stake in this period, a foundational figure for Brazil, because he is the origin of a new nation, but also foundational for Portugal. It is a time in which there is a transformation of the Portugal that we have today. “We are the inheritors of this transformation.”

“This book aims to recover the history of the Portuguese scholar and humanitarian known as the Patriarch of Brazilian Independence, who also emerged as one of the first public voices to advocate the necessity of linking the reform of the Portuguese-Brazilian Empire.” And the abolition of the slave trade,” says the book’s publisher, Tinta da China.