During these three centuries the University of Coimbra evolved amidst the political instability that Portugal went through. The University consolidated its position as a fundamental cultural and scientific institution in the country.
A number of remarkable personalities who were part of the history of the University during this period confirmed its role as a vital institution for Portugal and the Empire.
1597-1605 – D. Afonso Furtado de Mendonça
1605-11 – D. Francisco de Castro
1611-18 – D. João Coutinho, under whom the main chapel of St Michael’s Chapel was decorated with tiles, and the retable was added.
1618 - D. Vasco de Sousa
1618-24 – D. Francisco de Meneses
1624-31 – D. Francisco de Brito de Meneses
1633-37 – D. Álvaro da Costa
1638-39 – D. André de Almada
1638-59 – D. Manuel de Saldanha. It was during this period that John IV was acclaimed king of Portugal. The Full Cloister, assembled on December 13, 1640, and on behalf on the University, acclaimed the king who restored the independence. Six years on, on July 28, the rector Manuel de Saldanha and the university professors made a solemn oath to Our Lady of Conception. A commemorative stone plaque was placed in St Michael’s Chapel, by the altar dedicated to Our Lady of Light, on the same day that Our Lady of Immaculate Conception was proclaimed the kingdom’s patron saint. It was also during this period that the Room of the Throne was converted into the Large Room of Acts (known as Sala dos Capelos).
1661-62 – D. Manuel de Noronha
1662 – Rodrigo de Miranda Henriques. On November 25, 1663, the University commemorated St Catherine’s day, as usual. The sermon was preached by Father António Vieira in St Michael’s Chapel.
1664-66 – Manuel Corte-Real de Abranches
1667-73 – André Furtado de Mendonça
1673-75 – Manuel Pereira de Melo
1675-79 – D. José de Meneses
1679-85 – D. Simão da Gama
1685-90 – Manuel de Moura Manuel
1690-94 – Rodrigo de Moura Teles
1694-1702 – Nuno da Silva Teles. The university facilities were extended. New “Gerais” were built; and the House of Private Examination was added. The library was to move permanently to the “Gerais” (currently, Room I in the Faculty of Law).
1703-09 – D. Nuno Álvares Pereira de Melo
1710-15 – D. Gaspar de Moscoso e Silva
1715-18 – Nuno da Silva Teles. He served as rector when, on October 31, 1716, the authorization for the construction of a new building for the Library came through. It was to be the baroque library (“Joanina”), and D. Nuno placed the foundation stone on July 17, 1717.
1719-22 – Pedro Sanches Farinha de Baena
1722-22 – Francisco Carneiro de Figueiroa
1745-57 – D. Francisco da Anunciação (con. Regr. S. Agostinho)
1758-67 – Gaspar de Saldanha e Albuquerque
1770-79 – D. Francisco de Lemos de Faria Pereira Coutinho. Under this rector, the Pombaline Reform (after the Prime Minister’s name) began. The University consisted of six faculties: Theology, Canons, Laws, and Medicine, in addition to the new ones of Mathematics and Philosophy. In order to accommodate the newly created studies and consequent research, a number of buildings were constructed.
1779-85 – D. Francisco Rafael Miguel António de Mendonça
1786-99 – D. Francisco Rafael de Castro
1799-1821 – D. Friar Francisco de Lemos Faria Pereira Coutinho
1821-23 – D. Friar Francisco de S. Luís (O.S. Benedict)
1823-27 – D. Diogo de Castro do Rio Furtado de Mendonça. After D. Diogo de Castro’s death, the University was governed by the vice-rectors.
1841-48 – Sebastião Correia de Sá (Count of Terena). After the Pombaline Reform, he was the first rector not to have attended the University.
1850-53 – José Machado de Abreu
1859-63 – Basílio Alberto de Sousa Pinto (Viscount of St Hieronymus)
1863-64 – Vicente Ferrer de Neto Paiva
1866-68 – António Luís de Seabra (Viscount of Seabra). His name was linked to the first Portuguese Civil Code, whose original is kept in the University’s Archives (1867). It was in force for over a century.
1869-84 – Júlio Máximo de Oliveira Pimentel (Viscount of Vila Maior)
1886-90 – Adriano de Abreu Cardoso Machado. Under this rector, in 1887, the “Theatrical Academy of Coimbra” received new statutes on November 3, and was renamed Associação Académica de Coimbra (the Students Association).
1890-92 – António dos Santos Viegas.
1892-98 – António Augusto da Costa Simões.
Private Exam Room