José Bonifácio de Andrada

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José Bonifácio de Andrada
Jose bonifacio de andrada.png
Secretary of State of the Empire Affairs
Administrator of Rio de Janeiro
In office
30 October 1822 – 17 July 1823
Monarch Pedro I
Preceded by Marquess of Santo Amaro
Succeeded by Marquess of Caravelas
In office
7 September – 28 October 1822
Monarch Pedro I
Preceded by Himself
as Secretary of State of the (...)
Succeeded by Marquess of Santo Amaro
Secretary of State of the Kingdom Affairs
In office
16 January – 7 September 1822
Monarch João VI
Preceded by Earl of Arcos
Succeeded by Himself
as Secretary of State of the (...)
Minister of External Relations
In office
16 January 1822 – 16 July 1823
Monarch João VI
Pedro I
Preceded by First to hold office
Succeeded by Marquess of Caravelas
Personal details
Born (1763-06-13)13 June 1763
Santos, São Paulo, Portuguese Colony of Brazil
Died 6 April 1838(1838-04-06) (aged 74)
Niterói, Empire of Brazil
Parents Bonifácio José Ribeiro de Andrada
Maria Bárbara da Silva

José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva (June 13, 1763 – April 6, 1838), was a Brazilian statesman, naturalist, professor and poet, born in Santos, São Paulo, then part of the Portuguese Empire. He was one of the most important mentors of Brazilian independence, and his actions were decisive for the success of Emperor Pedro I. He supported public education, was an abolitionist and suggested that a new national capital be created in Brazil's underdeveloped interior (effected over a century later as Brasília). His career as naturalist was marked by the discovery of four new minerals.

In 1800, Andrada e Silva was appointed professor of geology at Coimbra, and soon after inspector-general of the Portuguese mines; and in 1812 he was made perpetual secretary of the Sciences Academy of Lisbon (Academia das Ciências de Lisboa). Returning to the colony in 1819, he urged Dom Pedro I to resist the recall of the Lisbon court, and was appointed one of his ministers in 1821. When the independence of Brazil was declared, Andrada e Silva was made minister of the interior and of foreign affairs; and when it was established, he was again elected by the Constituent Assembly, but his democratic principles resulted in his dismissal from office, July 1823.

On the dissolution of the Assembly in November (the Night of Agony), he was arrested and banished to France, where he lived in exile near Bordeaux till, in 1829, he was permitted to return to Brazil. But being again arrested in 1833, and tried for intriguing on behalf of Dom Pedro I, he passed the rest of his days in retirement at the city of Niterói. He was also the author of the abolition project in Brazil presented to the Constituent Assembly in 1823. José Bonifácio spent part of his life in Europe. Graduated in Law and Natural Philosophy in Coimbra, he joined the Academia das Ciências de Lisboa (Science Academy of Lisbon).

In his trips around Europe he studied chemistry and mineralogy with other scientists. He collected data, made scientific experiences and discovered 4 new minerals and 8 types of unknown species. The mineral andradite is named after him. Among his other discoveries was Petalite, a lithium-containing material, first discovered by Andrada toward the end of the 18th century on a trip to Sweden, and it was in this mineral Swedish chemists first discovered lithium. He also was the first to discover another important lithium-containing mineral spodumene from the same source, an island near Stockholm.

He taught Geognosy at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. Knowing twelve languages he could speak four.

José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, the Patriarch of the Independence of Brazil, by Benedito Calixto

In 1819, he travelled back to Brazil where he continued to conduct scientific research. A talented man having an unquiet temperament, he was also appointed Minister for Kingdom and Overseas Affairs and became the de facto prime minister.

His relationship with the prince became incompatible and he decided to join the opposition. In 1823 he was exiled and went to live in Bordeaux where, in 1825, come out his "Poesias Avulsas" (Sundry Poetries). To publish them he used the pseudonym Américo Elísio. José Bonifácio came back to Brazil in 1829. In 1831 when Dom Pedro I abdicated from the throne, he was appointed by the former Emperor to be the tutor of the Emperor's sons. Since he did not agree with the Regent's government he tried to reestablish the Empire. In 1833 he lost his duties of tutor and was accused of being a traitor, but he was eventually pardoned. In December 1836, he contracted tuberculosis. He died of the disease on April 6, 1838 in Niterói.

José Bonifácio had also been engaged in Literature. His work Poesias Avulsas that come out in Bordeaux were republished in Brazil, in 1861, by the publisher Laemmert. In Brazil it received the title "Poesias" (Poetries) and the publication had the coordination of Joaquim Norberto de Sousa. In 1942 Afrânio Peixoto prepared another issue through the Brazilian Academy of Letters. This work, prefaced with a text by Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, was also published in a collection, as Volume I, idealized by the "Instituto Nacional do Livro" (The National Book Institute), appearing in 1946 with the title Poesias de Américo Elísio [Américo Elísio's Poetry]. His poetry shows a naturalistic pantheism that expresses his intellectual character and scientific curiosity.

His scientific, political and social works are published in Volume III, compiled and reproduced by Edgar Cerqueira Falcão with the title Obras científicas, politicas e sociais de José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva. Its third edition came out in 1963 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Patriarch of the Independence.

In 1797, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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