António de Oliveira Salazar Biography

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Who is António de Oliveira Salazar? Information on biography, life story, works and political career.

António de Oliveira SalazarAntónio de Oliveira Salazar; (1889-1970), prime minister of Portugal. He was born on April 28, 1889, in Vimieiro, near Santa Comba Dâo in the province of Beira Alta. His parents were Antonio de Oliveira and Maria do Resgate Salazar, small landowners. In his youth Salazar attended the village school. In 1900 his strong religious inclinations led him to enter the seminary at Viseu, but after eight years he left to teach school in Viseu. In 1910 he entered the University of Coimbra, where he was an outstanding student in economics. He graduated in 1914 and joined the teaching staff of the university. In 1918 he obtained a chair as professor of economic sciences, and soon became well known for his writings on finance and economic matters.

In January 1921, Salazar was one of three Catholic Center deputies elected to Parliament. He attended only one session and returned in disgust to his teaching duties at Coimbra, where he continued to study and write. In May 1926, when the parliamentary regime was replaced by a military dictatorship, Salazar was offered the post of finance minister. He accepted but resigned five days later because of the confusion he found in the government. On April 27, 1928, Gen. Antönio Carmona became provisional president, and Salazar was again asked to serve as finance minister. He accepted, but only on the condition that he receive broad powers. The result was that he was in virtual control of the government. On July 5, 1932, he became prime minister, retaining the post of finance minister as well until 1940.

In 1933 a constitution was written that reflected Salazar’s ideas of government, combining authoritarianism with the ethical principles embodied in the 19th century papal encyclical Renim novarum. The constitution declared Portugal to be a unitary and corporative state. The new order came to be known as the Estado Novo (New State).

Salazar was friendly with Gen. Francisco Franco, the leader of the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, and recognized his regime in 19.38. In 1942, Spain and Portugal signed an alliance, called the Iberian Pact. During World War II, Salazar kept Portugal neutral, although in 1943 he made concessions to Britain and the United States in the Azores. In 1949 he brought Portugal into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Salazar’s austere regime was not unopposed. In 1935 there was a revolt in the armed forces, and in 1937 an attempt was made against his life. He was later faced with new internal opposition, as well as an armcd revolt in the Portuguese African colony of Angola, the loss of the enclave of Goa to India, and Chinese hostility to Portuguese possession of Macao. Salazar was always self-effacing and austere, remote from the people.

In September 1968, after being incapacitated by a brain hemorrhage, he was succeeded as prime minister by Marcelo Caetano. Salazar died in Lisbon on July 27, 1970.

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