Silva Lisboa, José da (1756–1835)

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Silva Lisboa, José da (1756–1835)

José da Silva Lisboa (Visconde de Cairú; b. 16 July 1756; d. 20 August 1835), Brazilian political economist and politician. Born in Brazil of a Portuguese father and Bahian mother, Silva Lisboa, completed his education at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, then taught Greek, Hebrew, and moral philosophy at Coimbra and in Bahia. Influenced especially by Adam Smith, he published Princípios de direito mercantil (1798, 1801) and Princípios de economia política (1804), the first major works in Portuguese about liberal political economic theory.

When the Portuguese court, fleeing Napoleon's invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, arrived in Bahia in 1808, Silva Lisboa inspired Emperor João VI's first decree in Brazil, which opened Brazilian ports to direct commerce with foreign nations. Serving as government spokesman, he argued in Observações sobre o comércio franco do Brasil (1808) that his free-trade measure would increase government revenues and revive Portuguese manufacturing by forcing it to compete with other nations' industries. Although it did not remove all monopolies and special privileges, the decree that opened Brazil's ports represented a major shift away from mercantilist colonial policies.

In the last years before independence, Silva Lisboa defended the idea of constitutional monarchy and opposed the reimposition of mercantilism but did not call for Brazil's separation from Portugal. After that separation came to pass, his loyalty to the first emperor of independent Brazil marked him as a political conservative. Through his career, Silva Lisboa held high political offices, including member of the 1823 Constituent Assembly and senator from Bahia (1826–1835).

See alsoBrazil: 1808–1889; Brazil, The Empire (First).


João Soares Dutra, Cairú (1943, 1964).

Pinto De Aguiar, A abertura dos portos: Cairú e os ingleses (1960).

Emília Viotti Da Costa, "The Political Emancipation of Brazil," in From Colony to Nation: Essays on the Independence of Brazil, edited by A. J. R. Russell-Wood (1975), pp. 43-88.

Additional Bibliography

Barman, Roderick J. Citizen Emperor: Pedro II and the Making of Brazil, 1825–9. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Ramos, Luís A de Oliveira. D. Pedro, imperador e rei: Experiências de um príncipe (1798–1834). Lisboa: Edições Inapa, 2002.

Rocha, Antonio Penalves. José da Silva Lisboa, Visconde de Cairu. São Paulo: Editora 34, 2001.

Silva, Paulo Napoleão Nogueira da. Pedro I, o português brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Gryphus, 2000.

                                   Roger A. Kittleson

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Silva Lisboa, José da (1756–1835)

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