The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Portugal

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This page contains a list of the greatest Portuguese Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,710 Politicians, 110 of which were born in Portugal. This makes Portugal the birth place of the 26th most number of Politicians behind Czechia and Netherlands.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Portuguese Politicians of all time. This list of famous Portuguese Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Portuguese Politicians.

Photo of António de Oliveira Salazar

1. António de Oliveira Salazar (1889 - 1970)

With an HPI of 81.87, António de Oliveira Salazar is the most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 73 different languages on wikipedia.

António de Oliveira Salazar (; Portuguese: [ɐ̃ˈtɔniu dɨ oliˈvɐjɾɐ sɐlɐˈzaɾ]; 28 April 1889 – 27 July 1970) was a Portuguese statesman and economist who served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. He was responsible for the Estado Novo ("New State"), the corporatist authoritarian government that ruled Portugal until 1974. A trained economist, Salazar entered public life as finance minister with the support of President Óscar Carmona after the Portuguese coup d'état of 28 May 1926. The military of 1926 saw themselves as the guardians of the nation, but they had no clue how to address the critical challenges of the hour. Within one year, armed with special powers, Salazar balanced the budget and stabilized Portugal's currency. Restoring order to the national accounts, enforcing austerity and red-penciling waste, Salazar produced the first of many budgetary surpluses, an unparalleled novelty in Portugal. In four years he showed himself to be even more skilled in politics than in economics. He civilianized the authoritarian regime when the politics of more and more countries were becoming militarized. Salazar's aim was the depoliticization of society, rather than the mobilization of the populace.Opposed to democracy, communism, socialism, anarchism and liberalism, Salazar's rule was conservative and nationalist in nature. Salazar distanced himself from fascism and Nazism, which he criticized as a "pagan Caesarism" that recognised neither legal, religious nor moral limits. Unlike Mussolini or Hitler, throughout his life Salazar shrank from releasing popular energies and he never had the intention to create a party-state. Salazar was against the whole-party concept and in 1930 he created the National Union, a single-party which he marketed as a "non-party", announcing that the National Union would be the antithesis of a political party. Salazar promoted Catholicism, but argued that the role of the Church was social, not political, and negotiated the Concordat of 1940 that kept the church at arm's length. One of the mottos of the Salazar regime was "Deus, Pátria e Família" (meaning 'God, Fatherland and Family') but he never turned Portugal into a confessional state. While Hitler and Mussolini militarized and fanaticized the masses, Salazar demilitarized the country and depoliticized men.With the Estado Novo enabling him to exercise vast political powers, Salazar used censorship and the secret police to quell opposition, especially any that related to the Communist movement. He supported Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War and played a key role in keeping Portugal and Spain neutral during World War II while still providing aid and assistance to the Allies. Despite not being a democracy, Portugal under his rule took part in the founding of important international organizations. Portugal was one of the 12 founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 1949, joined the European Payments Union in 1950 and was one of the founding members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1960, and a founding member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 1961. Under his rule, Portugal also joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1962 and began the Portuguese Colonial War. The doctrine of Pluricontinentalism was the basis of his territorial policy, a conception of the Portuguese Empire as a unified state that spanned multiple continents. The Estado Novo collapsed during the Carnation Revolution of 1974, four years after Salazar's death. Evaluations of his regime have varied, with supporters praising its outcomes and critics denouncing its methods. However, there is a general consensus that Salazar was one of the most influential figures in Portuguese history. In recent decades, "new sources and methods are being employed by Portuguese historians in an attempt to come to grips with the dictatorship which lasted 48 years."

Photo of António Guterres

2. António Guterres (1949 - )

With an HPI of 79.36, António Guterres is the 2nd most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 101 different languages.

António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres (; European Portuguese: [ɐ̃ˈtɔnju ɡuˈtɛʁɨʃ]; born 30 April 1949) is a Portuguese politician and diplomat serving as the ninth secretary-general of the United Nations. A member of the Portuguese Socialist Party, he served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. Guterres served as secretary-general of the Socialist Party from 1992 to 2002. He was elected prime minister of Portugal in 1995 and resigned in 2002 after the Socialist Party was defeated in the 2001 Portuguese local elections. After six years governing without an absolute majority and with a bad economy, the Socialist Party did worse than expected because of losses in Lisbon and Porto, where polls indicated they had a solid lead. Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues assumed the Socialist Party leadership, but the general election was lost to the Social Democratic Party, led by José Manuel Barroso. Guterres served as president of the Socialist International from 1999 to 2005. He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015. In both a 2012 and 2014 poll, the Portuguese public ranked him the best prime minister of the previous 30 years.

Photo of Manuel I of Portugal

3. Manuel I of Portugal (1469 - 1521)

With an HPI of 78.35, Manuel I of Portugal is the 3rd most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.

Manuel I (European Portuguese: [mɐnuˈɛɫ]; 31 May 1469 – 13 December 1521), known as the Fortunate (Portuguese: O Venturoso), was King of Portugal from 1495 to 1521. A member of the House of Aviz, Manuel was Duke of Beja and Viseu prior to succeeding his cousin, John II of Portugal, as monarch. Manuel ruled over a period of intensive expansion of the Portuguese Empire owing to the numerous Portuguese discoveries made during his reign. His sponsorship of Vasco da Gama led to the Portuguese discovery of the sea route to India in 1498, resulting in the creation of the Portuguese India Armadas, which guaranteed Portugal's monopoly on the spice trade. Manuel began the Portuguese colonization of the Americas and Portuguese India, and oversaw the establishment of a vast trade empire across Africa and Asia. Manuel established the Casa da Índia, a royal institution that managed Portugal's monopolies and its imperial expansion He financed numerous famed Portuguese navigators, including Pedro Álvares Cabral (who discovered Brazil), Afonso de Albuquerque (who established Portuguese hegemony in the Indian Ocean), and João Vaz Corte-Real (who discovered Newfoundland in Canada), among numerous others. The income from Portuguese trade monopolies and colonized lands made Manuel the wealthiest monarch in Europe, allowing him to be one of the great patrons of the Portuguese Renaissance, which produced many significant artistic and literary achievements. Manuel patronized numerous Portuguese intellectuals, including playwright Gil Vicente (called the father of Portuguese and Spanish theatre), physician Garcia de Orta (who pioneered tropical medicine), and mathematician Pedro Nunes (who developed the nonius and the rhumb line). The Manueline style, considered Portugal's national architecture, is named for the king.

Photo of Afonso I of Portugal

4. Afonso I of Portugal (1109 - 1185)

With an HPI of 77.90, Afonso I of Portugal is the 4th most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 61 different languages.

Afonso I (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]; 1106 / 25 July 1109 / August 1109 / 1111 – 6 December 1185), also called Afonso Henriques, nicknamed the Conqueror (Portuguese: O Conquistador), the Founder (O Fundador) or the Great (O Grande) by the Portuguese, and El-Bortukali ([in Arabic البرتقالي] "the Portuguese") and Ibn-Arrink or Ibn Arrinq ([in Arabic ابن الرَّنك or ابن الرَنْق] "son of Henry", "Henriques") by the Moors whom he fought, was the first king of Portugal. He achieved the independence of the County of Portugal, establishing a new kingdom and doubling its area with the Reconquista, an objective that he pursued until his death. Afonso was the son of Teresa of León and Henry of Burgundy, rulers of the County of Portugal. Henry died in 1112, leaving Theresa to rule alone. Unhappy with Theresa's romantic relationship with Galician Fernando Pérez de Traba and his political influence, the Portuguese nobility rallied around Afonso, who revolted and defeated his mother at the Battle of São Mamede in 1128 and became Count of Portugal soon afterwards. In 1139, Afonso renounced the suzerainty of the Kingdom of León and established the independent Kingdom of Portugal. Afonso actively campaigned against the Moors in the south. In 1139 he won a decisive victory at the Battle of Ourique, and in 1147 he conquered Santarém and Lisbon from the Moors. He secured the independence of Portugal following a victory over León at Valdevez and received papal approval through Manifestis Probatum. Afonso died in 1185 and was succeeded by his son, Sancho I.

Photo of John II of Portugal

5. John II of Portugal (1455 - 1495)

With an HPI of 76.51, John II of Portugal is the 5th most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

John II (Portuguese: João II; [ʒuˈɐ̃w̃]; 3 March 1455 – 25 October 1495), called the Perfect Prince (Portuguese: o Príncipe Perfeito), was King of Portugal from 1481 until his death in 1495, and also for a brief time in 1477. He is known for re-establishing the power of the Portuguese monarchy, reinvigorating the Portuguese economy, and renewing his country's exploration of Africa and the Orient.

Photo of John I of Portugal

6. John I of Portugal (1358 - 1433)

With an HPI of 76.34, John I of Portugal is the 6th most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

John I (Portuguese: João [ʒuˈɐ̃w̃]; 11 April 1357 – 14 August 1433), also called John of Aviz, was King of Portugal from 1385 until his death in 1433. He is recognized chiefly for his role in Portugal's victory in a succession war with Castile, preserving his country's independence and establishing the Aviz (or Joanine) dynasty on the Portuguese throne. His long reign of 48 years, the most extensive of all Portuguese monarchs, saw the beginning of Portugal's overseas expansion. John's well-remembered reign in his country earned him the epithet of Fond Memory (de Boa Memória); he was also referred to as "the Good" (o Bom), sometimes "the Great" (o Grande), and more rarely, especially in Spain, as "the Bastard" (Bastardo).

Photo of Sebastian of Portugal

7. Sebastian of Portugal (1554 - 1578)

With an HPI of 76.29, Sebastian of Portugal is the 7th most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Sebastian (Portuguese: Sebastião I Portuguese pronunciation: [sɨbɐʃˈti.ɐ̃w̃]; 20 January 1554 – 4 August 1578) was King of Portugal from 11 June 1557 to 4 August 1578 and the penultimate Portuguese monarch of the House of Aviz. He was the son of João Manuel, Prince of Portugal, and his wife, Joanna of Austria. He was the grandson of King John III of Portugal and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. He disappeared (presumably killed in action) in the battle of Alcácer Quibir, against the Saadians of Morocco. Sebastian I is often referred to as The Desired (Portuguese: o Desejado) or The Asleep (Portuguese: o Adormecido), as the Portuguese people longed for his return to end the decline of Portugal that began after his death. He is considered to be the Portuguese example of the King asleep in mountain legend as Portuguese tradition states his return, in a foggy dawn, on Portugal's greatest hour of need.

Photo of Afonso V of Portugal

8. Afonso V of Portugal (1432 - 1481)

With an HPI of 75.72, Afonso V of Portugal is the 8th most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

Afonso V (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]) (15 January 1432 – 28 August 1481), known by the sobriquet the African (Portuguese: o Africano), was a King of Portugal. His sobriquet refers to his military conquests in Northern Africa. As of 1471, Afonso V was the first king of Portugal to claim dominion over a plural "Kingdom of the Algarves", instead of the singular "Kingdom of the Algarve". Territories added to the Portuguese crown lands in North Africa during the 15th century came to be referred to as possessions of the Kingdom of the Algarve (now a region of southern Portugal), not the Kingdom of Portugal. The "Algarves" then were considered to be the southern Portuguese territories on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Photo of John III of Portugal

9. John III of Portugal (1502 - 1557)

With an HPI of 75.66, John III of Portugal is the 9th most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

John III (Portuguese: João III Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈɐ̃w̃]; 7 June 1502 – 11 June 1557) nicknamed The Pious (Portuguese: "o Piedoso") was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 13 December 1521 to 11 June 1557. He was the son of King Manuel I and Maria of Aragon, the third daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile. John succeeded his father in 1521, at the age of nineteen. During his rule, Portuguese possessions were extended in Asia and in the New World through the Portuguese colonization of Brazil. John III's policy of reinforcing Portugal's bases in India (such as Goa) secured Portugal's monopoly over the spice trade of cloves and nutmeg from the Maluku Islands, as a result of which John III has been called the "Grocer King". On the eve of his death in 1557, the Portuguese empire had a global dimension and spanned almost 4 million square kilometres (1.5 million square miles). During his reign, the Portuguese became the first Europeans to make contact with both China, under the Ming dynasty, and Japan, during the Muromachi period. He abandoned Muslim territories in North Africa in favor of trade with India and investment in Brazil. In Europe, he improved relations with the Baltic region and the Rhineland, hoping that this would bolster Portuguese trade.

Photo of Pedro I of Brazil

10. Pedro I of Brazil (1798 - 1834)

With an HPI of 75.61, Pedro I of Brazil is the 10th most famous Portuguese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 64 different languages.

Dom Pedro I (English: Peter I; 12 October 1798 – 24 September 1834), nicknamed "the Liberator", was the founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil. As King Dom Pedro IV, he reigned briefly over Portugal, where he also became known as "the Liberator" as well as "the Soldier King". Born in Lisbon, Pedro I was the fourth child of King Dom João VI of Portugal and Queen Carlota Joaquina, and thus a member of the House of Braganza. When the country was invaded by French troops in 1807, he and his family fled to Portugal's largest and wealthiest colony, Brazil. The outbreak of the Liberal Revolution of 1820 in Lisbon compelled Pedro I's father to return to Portugal in April 1821, leaving him to rule Brazil as regent. He had to deal with challenges from revolutionaries and insubordination by Portuguese troops, all of which he subdued. The Portuguese government's threat to revoke the political autonomy that Brazil had enjoyed since 1808 was met with widespread discontent in Brazil. Pedro I chose the Brazilian side and declared Brazil's independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822. On 12 October, he was acclaimed Brazilian emperor and by March 1824 had defeated all armies loyal to Portugal. A few months later, Pedro I crushed the short-lived Confederation of the Equator, a failed secession attempt by provincial rebels in Brazil's northeast. A secessionist rebellion in the southern province of Cisplatina in early 1825, and the subsequent attempt by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata to annex it, led the Empire into the Cisplatine War. In March 1826, Pedro I briefly became king of Portugal before abdicating in favor of his eldest daughter, Dona Maria II. The situation worsened in 1828 when the war in the south resulted in Brazil's loss of Cisplatina. During the same year in Lisbon, Maria II's throne was usurped by Prince Dom Miguel, Pedro I's younger brother. The Emperor's concurrent and scandalous sexual affair with a female courtier tarnished his reputation. Other difficulties arose in the Brazilian parliament, where a struggle over whether the government would be chosen by the monarch or by the legislature dominated political debates from 1826 to 1831. Unable to deal with problems in both Brazil and Portugal simultaneously, on 7 April 1831 Pedro I abdicated in favor of his son Dom Pedro II, and sailed for Europe. Pedro I invaded Portugal at the head of an army in July 1832. Faced at first with what seemed a national civil war, he soon became involved in a wider conflict that enveloped the Iberian Peninsula in a struggle between proponents of liberalism and those seeking a return to absolutism. Pedro I died of tuberculosis on 24 September 1834, just a few months after he and the liberals had emerged victorious. He was hailed by both contemporaries and posterity as a key figure who helped spread the liberal ideals that allowed Brazil and Portugal to move from absolutist regimes to representative forms of government.

Pantheon has 110 people classified as politicians born between 180 BC and 1964. Of these 110, 16 (14.55%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include António Guterres, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Aníbal Cavaco Silva. The most famous deceased politicians include António de Oliveira Salazar, Manuel I of Portugal, and Afonso I of Portugal. As of October 2020, 5 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Gracia Mendes Nasi, Luís of Portugal, Duke of Beja, and Guilhermina Suggia.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2020)

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