Pombal, Marquis of

Pombal, Marquis of

 

(Sebastiâo José de Carvalho e Mello). Born May 13, 1699, in Soure; died May 8, 1782, in Pombal. Portuguese statesman.

Having risen from the ranks in the diplomatic service, Pombal became minister of foreign affairs when Joseph (José) I became king in 1750. In 1756, Pombal became prime minister and virtually the head of government. He promoted trade and industry and built a number of enterprises that enjoyed government subsidies and privileges. He was also a strong supporter of secular education—more than 800 secular schools were opened. In the course of Pombal’s reforms, a number of aristocrats, accused of conspiratorial activity, were exiled or executed, and some monasteries were closed and their lands taken over by the state. The Jesuits were expelled from Portugal in 1759.

Pombal’s reforms, which were accompanied by brutal repressions, provoked not only the aristocracy and the clergy but also part of the middle and petite bourgeoisie, disgruntled because of pressure from the big trading companies. After the death of Joseph I in 1777, Pombal was relieved of his post, put on trial, and sentenced to death in 1781. His sentence was later commuted to perpetual exile from the capital. Almost all of Pombal’s reforms were abolished.

References in periodicals archive ?
Pombal, Marquis of. "Relacao dos Gravames," Colecao Pombalina, Codices 635 and 687, National Library, Lisbon, 1741.