Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Viscount of Porto Seguro

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Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen
Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen.jpg
Born (1816-02-17)17 February 1816
Iperó, São Paulo, United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves
Died 26 June 1878(1878-06-26) (aged 62)
Vienna, Austria
Occupation Military, diplomat, historian
Nationality Brazil Brazilian
Ethnicity White
Alma mater Colégio Militar
Notable works História Geral do Brasil
Spouse Carmen Ovalle
Relatives Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm Varnhagen

Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Viscount of Porto Seguro (February 17, 1816 — June 26, 1878) was a Brazilian military,[ambiguous] diplomat and historian. He is the patron of the 39th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.


Varnhagen was born in 1816, in the city of Iperó, Brazil. He was the son of Maria Flávia de Sá Magalhães and Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm Varnhagen, a German-born military engineer. He received his primary education in Rio de Janeiro. At an early age, he was sent to Lisbon, where he studied at the Colégio Militar, and in the future, he would serve as a volunteer in the 1831-1834 Portuguese Liberal Wars.

His first History work would be Notícia do Brasil, written between 1835 and 1838. His research would lead him to find Pedro Álvares Cabral's long-lost grave at the Igreja da Graça, in Santarém. He was admitted at the Sciences Academy of Lisbon and graduated in military engineering at the Academia Real de Fortificação, Artilharia e Desenho.

He returned to Brazil in 1840, entering at the Brazilian Historic and Geographic Institute in 1841. In 1844 he obtained Brazilian citizenship, and could apply to a diplomatic career. He would serve in Paraguay, Venezuela, the Republic of New Granada (nowadays Colombia), Ecuador, Chile (where he met his wife, Carmen Ovalle, marrying her in 1864), Peru and the Netherlands. He would publish the first volume of his masterpiece, História Geral do Brasil, in 1854. Its second volume was published in 1857.

In 1872, Emperor Pedro II would give him the title of Baron of Porto Seguro, being elevated to Viscount two years later. His final diplomatic service was in Vienna, Austria, where he was serving as a minister when he died in 1878.

His remains were transported to Santiago, Chile, but would be years later removed to a monument erected in honor of him at the city of Sorocaba. Part of his library was acquired by bibliophile José Mindlin.


  • Notícia do Brasil (1835–1838)
  • Épicos Brasileiros (1843)
  • Amador Bueno (1847)
  • Trovas e Cantares de um Códice do Século XVI (1849)
  • Florilégio da Poesia Brasileira (1850)
  • História Geral do Brasil (1854–1857)
  • Sumé (1855)


External links[edit]

Preceded by
New creation
Baron of Porto Seguro
1872 — 1874
Succeeded by
None (title abolished)
Preceded by
New creation
Viscount of Porto Seguro
1874 — 1878
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New creation
Brazilian Academy of Letters - Patron of the 39th chair
Succeeded by
Oliveira Lima (founder)