Serra, José Francisco Correa da

(1750-1823)
   Known in history by the name "the Abbé Correa da Serra," this famous Portuguese figure of the Enlightenment, man of letters, diplomat, traveler, botanist, and intellectual spent many years abroad in Great Britain, Italy, and the young republic of the United States. Patronized by the powerful, rich Duke of Lafões and ordained as a priest at age 25, Correa da Serra received a doctorate in Italy two years later and soon undertook diplomatic missions abroad for Portugal. Minister for Portugal in the United States of America from 1816 to 1820, he became a close friend and longtime correspondent of Thomas Jefferson. In historic Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's stately home, in recent restorations one bedroom has been officially designated as Correa da Serra's room. Correa da Serra was one of the founders of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences and had a wide correspondence with the scientific minds of the French Enlightenment. He was honored for his contributions to the field of botany in a number of other countries as well. In 1822, at the end of his life, he was elected to the new Constitutional Cortes in Lisbon.

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

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