The work “Arthur d’Oliveira Santos, the career of the life of a republican idealist (1884-1955)”, by José Poças das Neves, won the Villa Portela Prize, today announced the Municipality of Leiria.
According to the minutes of the jury’s deliberation, he understood that the work is “a biography, innovative within the context of the historical research on the Leiria Region and the Municipality of Ourém, with strict respect for all scientific methodologies proper to writing of History “.
Born in Vila Nova de Ourém, Arthur d’Oliveira Santos was born in 1884 and was a member of the Portuguese Republican Party. Locally, he held the position of mayor of the municipality and administrator of the county. In Lisbon, he was the founder of the House of the Municipality of Ourém.
As a journalist, Arthur d’Oliveira Santos was interested in social issues, general politics and, also, historical and ethnographic themes of Alta Estremadura, having founded and directed the “People of Ourém”.
Between 1929 and 1940, he was forced to exile himself in Spain. He died at the age of 71 on June 27, 1955.
The approach of José Poças das Neves to Oliveira Santos is able, according to the jury’s verdict, to open “new, highly informed and documented perspectives on the life of one of the protagonists of the Republic in this region”, as well as on “the events of Fatima, in 1917 and following years. ”
The work helps, therefore, to “the knowledge and understanding of a period and problems of major importance in the History of the Region of Leiria and Ourém.”
As administrator of the municipality of Ourem, Arthur d’Oliveira Santos was accused in the context of the Fatima process of kidnapping and threatening the little shepherds Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco, which marked him until the end of his life.
“The work in question constitutes a distanced and historically solid view of the issues addressed and is an in-depth investigation of the life of Arthur d’Oliveira Santos,” added jurors Isabel Brás, a graduate in History, in the variant of Archeology, Fernando Magalhães, professor at the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, and the historian and professor at the University of Coimbra, Saul António Gomes.
The winner will receive a prize of two thousand euros, and the jury recommended the publication of the work to the Villa Portela Prize organization, created in 2010 by Ricardo Charters d’Azevedo, former owner of the historic villa with the same name in Leiria. Currently, the prize is supported and organized in a partnership between the Câmara de Leiria and CEPAE – Center of Heritage of Extremadura.