Godinho, Vitorino Magalhães

(1918- )
   Historian, academic, political figure. Internationally, Portugal's most celebrated historian of the 20th century. Born into a family with strong republican and antidictatorial tendencies, Godinho chose an academic career following his graduation (1940) in history and philosophy from the Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon. He taught history at the same institution until 1944, when his academic career was cut short by the Estado Novo's orders. He resumed his academic career in France, where he taught history and received his doctorate in history at the Sorbonne (1959). He returned briefly to Portugal but, during the academic/political crisis of 1962, he was fired from his faculty position at the Instituto Superior de Estudos Ultramarinos in Lisbon.
   In the 1960s and early 1970s, Godinho's scholarly publications on the social and economic history of the Portuguese overseas empire (1400-1700) first made a lasting impact both in Portuguese historiography and world historiography regarding the Age of Discoveries. His notion of a world system or economy, with ample quantitative data on prices, money, and trade in the style and spirit of the French Annales School of History, had an important influence on social scientists outside Portugal, including on American scholar Immanuel Wallerstein and his world system studies. Godinho's work emphasized social and economic history before 1750, and his most notable works included Prix et monnaies au Portugal (1955), A Economia dos Descobrimentos Henriquinos (1962), and, in three volumes, Os Descobrimentos e a Economia Mundial (1963-71).
   As a staunch opponent of the Estado Novo who had been dismissed yet again from 1962 to 1971, Godinho concentrated on his research and publications, as well as continuing activity in oppositionist parties, rallies, and elections. Disillusioned by the false "Spring" of freedom under Prime Minister Marcello Caetano (1968-74), he returned to France to teach. Following the Revolution of 25 April 1974, Godinho returned to newly democratic Portugal. During several provisional governments (1974-75), he was appointed minister of education and initiated reforms. The confusing political maelstrom of revolutionary Portugal, however, discouraged his continuation in public office. He returned to university teaching and scholarship, and then helped establish a new institution of higher learning, the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (New University of Lisbon), where he retired, loaded with honors and acclaim, at age 70 in 1988.
   See also Education.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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