Saldanha da Gama, Luís Felipe de (1846–1895)

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Saldanha da Gama, Luís Felipe de (1846–1895)

Luís Felipe de Saldanha da Gama (b. 7 April 1846; d. 24 June 1895), Brazilian admiral and principal figure in a revolt of the fleet during the civil war of 1893. Gama had been the navy's chief representative in the court of Dom Pedro I because he was cultured, brave, well traveled, and of noble ancestry. Although a monarchist by preference, he acknowledged the republic as an accomplished fact.

Gama and two other Brazilian admirals, Custódio José de Melo and Eduardo Wandenkolk, became unhappy over the way that the new government had placed the army over the navy in terms of prestige and material benefits. Wandenkolk wasted his prestige in aborted political adventures. Melo, having successfully led a naval revolt against President Deodoro da Fonseca, then tried the same maneuver against Vice President Floriano Peixoto, but without success. Gama opposed Melo's revolt and declared his neutrality. Then head of the Naval Academy, Gama was offered the vacated position of minister of the navy, which he refused. He felt that once the fighting was over his mission would be to rebuild the navy using the Naval Academy. His position of neutrality eventually became unbearable since he could not declare loyalty to Peixoto. Finally, despite the evidence that the Federalist and naval revolts would fail, Gama joined the losing cause, and, along with Federalist leader Gaspar da Silveira Martins, called for a plebiscite on the issue of the restoration of the monarchy. That stand ensured their defeat, since the pro-Republican forces by then were strong enough to win the war. Gama was killed in fighting while trying to reach neutral territory (Uruguay).

See alsoBrazil: 1808–1889.


Raul Oliveria Rodrigues, Um militar contra o militarismo: A vida de Saldanha da Gama (1959).

José Maria Bello, A History of Modern Brazil, translated by James L. Taylor (1966), pp. 119-129, 134-145.

June E. Hahner, Civilian-Military Relations in Brazil, 1889–1898 (1969), pp. 63-66, 71-72.

Additional Bibliography

Corrêa da Costa, Sérgio. A diplomacia no Marechal: Intervenção estrangeira na revolta da Armada. 2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro: Tempo Brasileiro, 1979.

                                      Robert A. Hayes

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Saldanha da Gama, Luís Felipe de (1846–1895)

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