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The Pombaline Era In Portugal

"marquis of pombal"The first Marquis of Pombal was Sebastião João Carvalho e Melo who lived between 1699 and 1782 and was considered to be a very important figure in Portuguese history thanks to his sweeping reforms and his swift actions taken after the earthquake of 1755.

The Marquis first began his political career in Portugal when he worked as the Portuguese Ambassador to Great Britain in 1738 but his career quickly developed and he then became ambassador to Austria in 1745 where he found favour with the Queen Consort of Portugal who arranged for him to marry the daughter of an Austrian field marshal following the death of his wife.

It was after the death of John V in 1750 that his career really started to pick up thanks to him carrying favour with Joseph I of Portugal who made him the minister of foreign affairs for Portugal and as the new Kings trust increased in him he was then appointed as Prime Minister of Portugal in 1755.

The Marquis had learnt a lot while being ambassador in Great Britain and he managed to successfully implement a series of economic reforms in Portugal following the British model of operation.

One of his greatest successes in Portugal has to be the abolition of slavery in Portugal and in the colonies overseas while he was also responsible for reorganising the army and the navy in Portugal making the country a more successful and well received country on the international arena.

The changes that the Marquis brought in are broadly known as the Pombaline Reforms and they has large effects on the entire country.

His goal was always to make Portugal a self sufficient country and commercially strong through economic reforms both home and abroad in the colonies.

For years Portugal had been seen as lagging behind other European nations and with so few inhabitants it was proving difficult for Portugal to push itself up the international rankings so he turned to the manufacturing sector of industry and creating commercial guidelines to create certain standards for exports.

His methods were aimed at improving the economy but they were tough to follow and he imposed strict laws across the board and many new tax regimes for the people of Portugal to adhere to.

Not only did the Marquis bring in economic reform and raise the taxes he also made huge changes to the education system in Portugal and the new taxes were used to pay for primary and secondary schools and to pay for science and mathematics courses at the university of Coimbra.

While he is known for his many sweeping reforms in Portugal, with the evidence of these reforms still possible to see today – he is best known for his swift actions and rebuilding of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake.

Through acting quickly he managed to prevent and widespread epidemics following the devastating earthquake and tsunami and he managed to rebuild all of Lisbon within a year with the very first ever earthquake proof buildings.  The architecture of Lisbon is now a massive tourist attraction with the buildings and squares in the city reflecting this time and lasting as a constant reminder to the 1st Marquis of Pombal.