Professor Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão died (1925-2020)

Author of one of the most complete works on the History of Portugal, Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão died this Friday in Santarém, aged 95. Academic and pedagogue, he published many studies on notable Portuguese, from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth centuries and was one of the great connoisseurs of Marcello Caetano's thought, of whom he was a personal friend for several decades.

The 19 volumes of the History of Portugal, written by Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão - resulting from a long work, only completed in 2011 -, are just one of the multiple works of the historian who died Friday, at the age of 95. He left two children, Vitor and Adriana, both professors at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Lisbon. On the Facebook social network page, Vítor Serrão reported: “I can't find the right words to express the feeling of loss and the pain of absence, I just share the news of my Father's death, Prof. Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão (1925-2020), historian, essayist, academic and man of culture, which took place in Santarém at the end of today, July 31, a Friday with such a sad memory ”.

Sick for several years, Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão, in addition to being a historian, was a pedagogue and researcher - and contributed to the training of many generations of young Portuguese researchers -, maintaining as a focus of his historical research the participation of Portuguese humanists in XNUMXth century European culture , the local history of Santarém, the formation of Brazil, and the main characters who stood out in Portuguese political life in the last decades of the Old Regime, in the XNUMXth century, and in the beginning of Liberalism, in the XNUMXth century.

Ribatejano, born in Tremês and July 8, 1925, graduated in Historical-Philosophical Sciences from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra in 1948, although he was referred to in academic circles in 1947 because of his outstanding work that year - before having completed the degree - entitled “Historical Essay on the Meaning of the Taking of Santarém to the Moors in 1147”. In 1948 he gave his first conference, under the theme “The worldview in the poetry of Guilherme de Azevedo”.

In 1950, he started the period when he was a reader of Portuguese Culture at the University of Toulouse, in France, as a member of the Instituto de Alta Cultura, having then collaborated with prestigious “Lusitanists” such as Jean Roche, Leon Bourdon and Paul Teyssier, standing out with the study “The Infanta D. Maria (1521-1570) and her Fortune in the South of France” and with the dissemination of research on the Portuguese who attended the University of Toulouse, namely, António de Gouveia, Francisco Sanches, Diogo de Teive , Manuel Álvares.

Veríssimo Serrão truly stood out as a historian in 1957, for defending his doctoral thesis, made at the University of Coimbra, with the work “The Reign of D. António Prior do Crato: 1580-88”. Shortly afterwards, he began his teaching career at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Lisbon.

He remains for the history of the national academy as one of the Portuguese historians who most stood out in the dissemination of the greatest Portuguese humanists, publishing works and giving lectures at the universities of Salamanca, Montpellier and Toulouse, as well as studies on the external relations between Portugal and the European courts in the XNUMXth century, Brazil in the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries and the dynastic crisis of the late XNUMXth century.

Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão was part of the group of collaborators of the Great Portuguese and Brazilian Encyclopedia and of the Dictionary of Portuguese History, coordinated by Professor Joel Serrão.

Between 1967 and 1972 he was director of the Centro Cultural Português, of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Paris, located in the mansion of Calouste Gulbenkian, of the Place de L'Etoile, in the avenue of Iena, being responsible for the promotion of Portuguese studies and for the publication of “ Archives of the Portuguese Cultural Center ”.

He returned to Portugal in 1973 to occupy the chair of History at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, where he was dean until 1974, the year in which he was dismissed after the revolution of 25 April.

Veríssimo Serrão gave testimony of his long-standing friendship with the last president of the Council of Ministers of the Corporate regime, Marcello Caetano. He wrote “Confidences in Exile” (published in 1985) and “Correspondence with Marcello Caetano 1974-1980” (published in 1994).

From 1975 to 2006 he chaired the Portuguese Academy of History. Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão was an honorary member of several scientific societies, Portuguese and foreign, for which he was decorated and awarded prizes. He also had “honoris causa” doctorates from French, Spanish and Portuguese universities.

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