500 Years of Brazil
Divisão de Bibliotecas e Documentação

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The Works

SANTAREM, Manuel Francisco de Barros, Visconde de.     Recherches historiques, critiques et     bibliographiques sur Améric Vespuce et ses     Voyages, par M. de Le Viconte de Santarem, membre     de plusieurs Académies et de la Societé de Géographie     de Paris, et de la Sociéte Royale de Géographie de     Londres. Paris: Arthur Bertrand, Libraire de la Sociéte de     Geographie, [1842].

Manuel Francisco de Barros Santarem, 2nd Viscount of Santarem, was born in Lisbon in 1791 and died in Paris in 1856.

While still a young student, he came to Rio de Janeiro in the company of the Portuguese royal family. In the new seat of the Portuguese Empire he immediately set to work on gathering and classifying Portuguese diplomatic documents. This work proved to be so important that he was allowed to stay in the city; in 1814 he was appointed Councillor of the Embassy to accompany Antônio Saldanha da Gama to the Congress of Vienna. On that same occasion he was encharged with writing the memoranda to guide the Portuguese representatives in the litigation against the Spanish monarchy with regard to its possessions in South America.

After being appointed Councillor of the Portuguese Embassy in Paris, he returned once more to Brazil and then went to Denmark as business attaché. He then returned to Lisbon to pursue his research of diplomatic documents at the Torre do Tombo. Being against the constitutional regime established by the revolutionary movement of 1820, he returned to Paris, only going back to Portugal upon the return of Dom João VI a Lisboa.  

A pertinacious researcher and scholar, the Viscount is credited by Armando Cortesão with the creation of the word cartography. Through the study of cartography, the Viscount of Santarem demonstrated that it was only after 1548 that maps presented South America as a continent; cosmographers consequently abandoned the theories of Strabo and Macrobius.

His work Recherches historiques, critiques et bibliographiques sur Améric Vespuce et ses Voyages is included in the discussions with regard to the controversy over the Descoberta do Brasil.