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Costa, Afonso Augusto da (1871–1937)

Sam Hitchmough


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A lawyer and politician, Afonso Augusto da Costa was an important political figure in Portugal's revolutionary transition from monarchy to republic. He was leader of the Portuguese Republican Party (PRP), later becoming the Partido Democratico (Democratic Party), and went on to become a prime minister in the Portuguese First Republic. During the final stages of the monarchy Costa served as republican deputy in the Chamber of Deputies. After the republic was declared he served as justice minister in Terfilo Braga's provisional government (October 1910-September 1911), becoming prime minister and finance minister in 1913 (January 9-February 9, 1914). He held both offices on two subsequent occasions, from November 29, 1915 to March 16, 1916 and from April 25, 1917 to December 8, 1917, as leader of the national unity government, the Sacred Union. An influential and skillful politician, and an effective political organizer, he was idolized by followers as an idealistic radical and despised by opponents who regarded him as a ruthless sectarian dictator. Costa operated in a highly volatile and unstable context when the young republic of Portugal struggled to forge a new identity, contended with deep divisions among new political factions, and faced uprisings from monarchists seeking to restore the crown. Political instability was further set against the outbreak of World War I, with significant ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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