Bento de Moura Portugal

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Bento de Moura Portugal (21 March 1702 – 27 January 1766)[1] was a Portuguese aristocrat, a Knight of the Order of Christ, and a scientist best known for his improvements to Thomas Savery's steam engine. He was an early supporter of Newtonian science and became known as the Portuguese Newton.


Moura Portugal was born in Moimenta da Serra, Portugal.[2] In 1741 he was elected to the Royal Society in London.[3]

In 1742 he demonstrated his improved steam engine, based on that of Thomas Savery, to the Portuguese court in Lisbon. In 1747 he was tried and found guilty of proposições heréticas e escandalosas for the assembly of such "fire machines" [4] by the Inquisition,[5] and spent the rest of his life going gradually insane in Junqueira Prison in Lisbon.


  1. ^ José Joaquim Simões de Paiva e Figueiredo (ed.), Inventos e vários planos de melhoramento para este reino: escriptos nas prisões da junqueira por Bento de Moura Portugal, Coimbra, 1821, accessed on Google Books 2015-12-20
  2. ^ Diccionario Aristocratico, Vol.1, A–E, Lisbon, 1840, accessed at Google Books 2015-12-20, p.320
  3. ^ List of Fellows of the Royal Society 1660 – 2007 A - J, The Royal Society, as "Portuga, Benito de Moura"; accessed 2015-12-20
  4. ^ Processo de Bento de Moura, Arquivo Nacional, accessed 2015-12-20
  5. ^ António Baiño, Episódios dramáticos da inquisião portuguesa, ISBN 5880703460, accessed at Google Books 2015-12-20