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Os Grandes Portugueses

Os Grandes Portugueses
Genre Documentary
Developed by Rádio e Televisão de Portugal
Presented by Maria Elisa
Country of origin  Portugal
Original language(s) Portuguese
No. of episodes 24
Production company(s) Rádio e Televisão de Portugal
Original channel RTP 1
Original run 15 October 2006 – 25 March 2007
External links

Os Grandes Portugueses (English: The Greatest Portuguese) was a public poll contest organized by the Portuguese public broadcasting station RTP and hosted by Maria Elisa. Based on BBC's 100 Greatest Britons, it featured individual documentaries advocating the top ten candidates. The final vote took place on 25 March 2007, the winner being António de Oliveira Salazar, Portugal's dictator between 1932 and 1968.


  • The top ten 1
  • The other 90 2
  • Os Piores Portugueses 3
  • References 4

The top ten

Dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, whose programme was presented by Jaime Nogueira Pinto, polled the most (41%); his lifelong communist political opponent Álvaro Cunhal was second (19%), and the diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes third (13%).

Salazar is often described, from a right-wing viewpoint, as a model of competence, conservatism, rigor, and public service devotion, despite the authoritarianism of his regime, its suppression of political dissent, and repressive state police. A simultaneous opinion poll conducted by Marktest showed that, given the choice of the finalists, Salazar was the favourite of only 11%.[1] RTP itself commissioned a simultaneous poll, conducted by Eurosondagem, which ranked Salazar 7th, with 6.6% of the vote, and Afonso I 1st with 21%.[2] The difference of these statiscally representative polls to the final result suggest that the voting, consisting of voluntary telephone calls, may have been skewed by groups with vested interests.

The 10 most voted-for personalities were revealed on 14 January 2007. All of the 10 finalists are deceased. The highest placed living Portuguese was former president Mário Soares (12th). On 25 March the final results were announced:

  1. António de Oliveira Salazar – Dictator between 1932 and 1968 (41.0%)
  2. Álvaro Cunhal – Politician (19.1%)
  3. Aristides de Sousa Mendes – Diplomat (13.0%)
  4. Afonso I – King (12.4%)
  5. Luís Vaz de Camões – Poet (4.0%)
  6. John II – King (3%)
  7. Henry the Navigator – Prince (2.7%)
  8. Fernando Pessoa – Poet (2.4%)
  9. Marquês de Pombal – Politician (1.7%)
  10. Vasco da Gama – Explorer (0.7%)
Name Birth Death Occupation Name Birth Death Occupation
Afonso I of Portugal Afonso I 1109 1185 Founder and first king of Portugal Henry the Navigator Henry the Navigator 1394 1460 Infante and fomenter of the Portuguese discoveries
Álvaro Cunhal 1913 2005 Communist leader during the Estado Novo regime and during the post-Carnation Revolution political scene John II of Portugal John II 1455 1495 Thirteenth king of Portugal and restorer of the Atlantic ocean and African-coast explorations
António de Oliveira Salazar 1889 1970 President of the Council of Ministers for 48 years during the authoritarian period of the Estado Novo Luís de Camões Luís de Camões 1524 1580 Epic and lyrical poet, author of the national epic Os Lusíadas
Aristides de Sousa Mendes Aristides de Sousa Mendes 1885 1954 Diplomat who fought against his own government for the safety of Jews living in Europe, during World War II, saving thousands of people. Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquês de Pombal Marquês de Pombal 1699 1782 Minister of Kingdom of José I and responsible for the reconstruction of Lisbon after the 1755 Earthquake
Fernando Pessoa 1888 1935 Modernist poet and writer widely known for the employment of multiple heteronyms Vasco da Gama Vasco da Gama 1469 1524 First explorer to discover the sea route from Europe to India

The other 90

Position Name Lived
11 Salgueiro Maia 1944–1992 soldier, a key figure in the Carnation Revolution of 1974
12 Mário Soares born 1924 former President of the Republic
13 Saint Anthony of Lisbon 1195–1231 saint
14 Amália Rodrigues 1920–1999 fado singer
15 Eusébio 1942-2014 football player
16 Francisco Sá Carneiro 1934–1980 politician
17 Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa born 1937 president of Futebol Clube do Porto
18 Nuno Álvares Pereira 1360–1431 strategist and general
19 João Ferreira Annes de Almeida 1628–1691 missionary
20 José Mourinho born 1963 football team manager
21 Agostinho da Silva 1906–1994 philosopher
22 Eça de Queiroz 1845–1900 realist writer
23 Egas Moniz 1874–1955 doctor, first Portuguese to win a Nobel Prize
24 Denis of Portugal 1261–1325 6th king of Portugal
25 Fernando Nobre born 1951 president of the AMI foundation
26 José Hermano Saraiva 1919-2012 historian, TV host
27 Cavaco Silva born 1939 President of the Portuguese Republic, former Prime Minister
28 Humberto Delgado 1906–1965 military officer and politician
29 Zeca Afonso 1929–1987 singer-songwriter
30 Luís Figo born 1972 football player
31 Marcelo Caetano 1906–1980 politician and professor
32 Pedro Nunes 1502–1578 scientist and mathematician
33 Father António Vieira 1608–1697 writer and preacher
34 Florbela Espanca 1894–1930 poet
35 Ferdinand Magellan c. 1480–1521 navigator
36 Maria de Lurdes Pintasilgo 1930–2004 the only female prime-minister of Portugal
37 John I of Portugal 1357–1433 10th king of Portugal
38 Sophia de Mello Breyner 1919–2004 writer and poet
39 Antonia Ferreira 1811–1896 businesswoman
40 Father Américo 1887–1953 philanthroper
41 António Damásio born 1944 scientist
42 Afonso de Albuquerque 1462–1515 military strategist and governor of India
43 Manuel I of Portugal 1469–1521 14th king of Portugal
44 José Saramago 1922–2010* Nobel-laureate writer
45 Elizabeth of Portugal 1271–1336 The Saint Queen, queen consort of Portugal
46 Catarina Eufémia 1928–1954 popular heroine
47 Carlos Paredes 1925–2004 Portuguese guitarra player and composer
48 José Sócrates born 1957 former Prime Minister of Portugal
49 Pedro Álvares Cabral 1467–1520 navigator who discovered Brazil
50 Ruy de Carvalho born 1927 actor
51 Brites de Almeida, The Baker of Aljubarrota 14th century popular heroine
52 Alberto João Jardim born 1943 president of the Autonomous Region of Madeira
53 Almada Negreiros 1893–1970 modern painter and writer
54 Vasco Gonçalves 1921–2005 military officer and politician
55 Álvaro Siza Vieira born 1933 architect
56 Belmiro de Azevedo born 1938 businessman
57 Sousa Martins 1843–1897 doctor
58 Maria do Carmo Seabra born 1955 former minister of Education
59 Father António Andrade 1580–1624 missionary explorer
60 Charles I of Portugal 1860–1908 32nd king of Portugal
61 Mariza born 1973 fado singer
62 Eleanor of Portugal 1458–1525 queen consort of Portugal
63 Rosa Mota born 1958 athlete
64 António Teixeira Rebelo 1748–1825 founder of the military school
65 Afonso III of Portugal 1210–1279 5th king of Portugal
66 Vítor Baía born 1969 football goalkeeper
67 Bartolomeu Dias c. 1450–1500 navigator
68 Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho born 1936 military officer and politician
69 Cristiano Ronaldo born 1985 football player
70 Herman José born 1954 actor and comedian
71 Mary II of Portugal 1819–1853 queen of Portugal
72 Carlos Lopes born 1947 athlete
73 Afonso Costa 1871–1937 politician
74 Fontes Pereira de Melo 1819–1887 politician
75 Gago Coutinho 1869–1959 geographer – first to cross the South Atlantic by plane
76 Ricardo de Araújo Pereira born 1974 comedian
77 Manuel Sobrinho Simões born 1947 doctor and scientist
78 Bocage 1765–1805 poet
79 Hélio Pestana born 1985 actor, teenage idol
80 Jorge Sampaio born 1939 former President of the Portuguese Republic
81 António Champalimaud 1918–2004 businessman
82 António Lobo Antunes born 1942 writer
83 Gil Vicente c. 1465–1536 playwright
84 Maria Helena Vieira da Silva 1908–1992 painter
85 Miguel Torga 1907–1995 writer
86 Natália Correia 1923–1993 poet and writer
87 Edgar Cardoso 1913–2000 engineer
88 Fernão Mendes Pinto c. 1510–1583 explorer and writer
89 Sister Lúcia 1907–2005 nun
90 Alfredo da Silva 1871–1942 industrialist
91 Pedro Hispano c. 1205–1277 Pope John XXI
92 Damião de Góis 1502–1574 humanist writer and humanist
93 John IV of Portugal 1604–1656 20th king of Portugal
94 Joaquim Agostinho 1943–1984 cyclist
95 Adelaide Cabete 1867–1935 doctor
96 Almeida Garrett 1799–1854 romanticist writer
97 António Gentil Martins born 1930 doctor
98 António Variações 1944–1984 singer-songwriter
99 Paula Rego born 1935 painter
100 Maria João Pires born 1944 pianist
  • There are 19 women in the top 100.
  • There were 33 living persons in the top 100. A further 33 are predominantly 20th century figures.
  • Brites de Almeida (51) is the only (likely) fictional person listed in top 100.

Os Piores Portugueses

The SIC Notícias programme Eixo do Mal (Axis of Evil) held a parallel vote for Os Piores Portugueses (The Worst Portuguese), also won by António de Oliveira Salazar.


  1. ^ "O melhor Português de sempre". Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "SondagemGrandesPortugueses.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
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