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José Norton de Matos

He was born in Ponte de Lima and is both a Portuguese soldier and politician. After attending the University of Coimbra, he attended the Army School in Lisbon and became a Second Lieutenant (“alferes”) in the 4th Calvary Regiment and went to India (1898), where he organized the land registry. He returned to Portugal when it became a Republic and he joined the new Regime. In 1911 he became Chief of Staff and 1912 he was named the Governador of Angola. Thanks to his colonial experience, in 1915 he became Minister for the Colonies. At the time of the coup led by Sidónio Pais he sought exile in London and after Sidónio’s death he returned to the country and his positions. He was the Portuguese delegate at the Paris Peace Conference in 1921. Afterwards he was promoted to General and nominated Angola’s High Commissioner and tried to better the region with new structures. Between 1924 and 1926 he was the Portuguese ambassador in London but the Revolution of 28 May 1926 took him away from his brilliant work. He opposed Salazar’s Regime and ran for President of the Republic in 1948, gathering a group of people that were against the dictatorship. He lost the election and retired from political life. He was the Grand Master of the Portuguese Masons and published many works, such as A província de Angola [“The Province of Angola”] (1926) and Memórias e trabalhos da minha vida [“Memoirs and my life work”] (1943-46), 2 volumes.