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Sunday, April 27, 2014

QUICK RESEARCH VI - Rua do Salitre

Street sign of the Rua do Salitre, photo taken by me.

Rua do Salitre is the name of a street in the heart of Lisbon and which had always caught my attention because of it's name (being Salitre saltpeter). And having always wanted to visit that street and having had many opportunities to do so, I finally took my camera and did it.
Besides knowing a bit of the history of the street's name, I also found out that a very famous person linked to Portuguese History of the French Invasions lived there.
So, here's a quick info on it and the relation to where I live – Oeiras.

The name:
Rua do Salitre, was initially named Rua da Plameira or Rua dos Cartuxos, because of the kitchen garden (Horta da Plameira) or Carthusian Order, also called the Order of Saint Bruno.
This order had established there at the beginning of the 17th century, after the death of the Earl of Castanheira (the 2nd?), D. Jorge de Ataíde. He had left part of his estate (Horta da Palmeira) to this religious order, so they could established a hospice there, the Hospice of Monte Olivete.
From 1665 on, the name of the street changes to what it is today because of the existing nitre (saltpeter) pits in the surrounding areas of the Hospice.

The famous dweller:
Gomes Freire de Andrade was a Portuguese General who always has risen controversy.
He was one of many that incorporated the Loyal Portuguese Legion, created in 1808 by Junot, under the command of the Marquis of Alorna and fought in the Russian campaign.
The Portuguese Legion was, like in so many other occupied countries in that time-period, a way to control the loosing side and forming new military ranks. Although there were many Portuguese who favored the Republican way and joined Napoleon's armies willfully, there were also those who were forced to join, rather then facing immediate death. The story of this “Loyal” Legion is also wrapped in controversy, as you can see.
After Napoleon’s defeat, Freire de Andrade returns to Portugal and is accused, in 1817, of treason against the Portuguese Crown and the provisional government of Beresford, then took from his home (see photo below) and brought to the Fort of São Julião da Barra (Oeiras) to be hanged.
His death, like his life, was filled with mystery, since it is followed by many tales of legend. It is said that he didn't died the 1st time around and that his body was then washed up on the beach and then it to be burned. By then, the very religious people of this country started to treat him like a martyr and when rumors started that he was innocent of the accusations he was considered a hero.
Still today, his figure is one that divides the national opinion and most of the information one can find is always written in a very diplomatically and politically correct fashion and I am sure that my brief word will make people turn their brows.

I hope to be able to extend this subjects in future posts, but for now it will remain a quick research.

The house of Gomes Freire de Andrade, photo taken by me.

Commemorative plaque set of the house which says: «House of Gomes Freire de Andrade from where his inprisonment took place in the early hours of May 26th of 1817, having been sent to the Tower of São Julião da Barra where he suffered degrading torture in October 18th for having loved liberty and his homeland.
This headstone was set to be placed by the town hall of Lisbon to commemorate the centenary of the death of the hero on October 18th of 1917.»

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