Sebastianism

   Popular creed or belief, a messianism, after the loss of King Sebastião I in Morocco in 1578, that Portugal would be saved and made great again by a returning hero who would appear on a misty morning. Until the early 19th century, various personalities who were imposters posed as a returning Sebastian and sought to be recognized as conquering heroes. Forms of Sebastianist belief have captured the imagination in northeast Brazil as well. According to some historians, Sebastianism was not limited to the 16th century or to presumed royalty, but could find a popular following that could attach to recent political figures in the 19th and 20th centuries as well. There is a vast literature about Sebastianism and its history. One of Portugal's most distinguished historians, Dr. José Hermano Saraiva, suggests that even today a Sebastiani st feeling exists in a common tendency of persons who believe that what one wants cannot happen, but at the same time hope that it will happen and will happen independently of those persons' efforts. Such a state of mind is related to the common mood of Lisbon fado, as well as to the notion of saudade.

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

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