Onésimo T. Almeida was born in São Miguel, in the Azores. He graduated from the Portuguese Catholic University, Lisbon, in 1972. He received his MA (1977) and PhD (1980), both in Philosophy, at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, where he has been teaching Portuguese Cultural and Intellectual History since 1975. He also teaches interdisciplinary courses in the Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and in the Wayland Collegium for Liberal Learning, at Brown. He was Department Chair for more than a decade.
Author of more than two dozen books of essays as well as of creative writing, Professor Almeida has more than a hundred articles in collective books and journals. He was the founder, and continues to serve as director, of Gávea-Brown Publications, which publishes English translations of Portuguese literary works and of studies in Portuguese culture. Elected member of the Academia Internacional de Cultura Portuguesa and of the Academia da Marinha, both of Lisbon, he recently received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Aveiro.
In episode six of History Hub’s podcast series – ‘Kingdom, Empire and Plus Ultra: conversations on the history of Portugal and Spain, 1415-1898‘ – Professor Almeida discusses Portugal and the dawn of modern science, from 1419 to 1620, with series host Dr Edward Collins.
In spite of establishing itself as a leader of scientific endeavour in the 15th and 16th centuries – in particular in navigation and nautical science – the role of Portugal in the development of modern science has generally been overlooked in favour of a more Anglo- and Franco-centric narrative.
Professor Almeida argues that we must nonetheless look at the writings by Portuguese navigators and travellers of the 15th and 16th centuries in order to understand how the 17th century scientific revolution took a few centuries to develop. The writings of the trials and errors of these navigators and scholars (most of them not very well known outside the Portuguese-speaking world) reveal how those travels contributed to the slow transformation of the medieval worldview into the modern.
‘Portugal and the Dawn of Modernity, 1419-1620’ with Professor Onésimo T. Almeida (Brown).
This History Hub podcast series features interviews with experts in the areas of Portuguese and Spanish history, from the beginning of the Portuguese discoveries in 1415 to the end of Spanish dominion in America in 1898. The interviews, conducted by historian Dr. Edward Collins, cover a range of topics on the domestic and overseas histories of both nations, which include, among others: the Portuguese explorations of Africa and Asia, Spanish navigation and settlement in America, the church in Portugal and Spain, monarchy and intermarriage in the Iberian kingdoms, natural science and mapping in America, the role of nautical science, Irish historical relations with Portugal and Spain, and imperial competition in Europe and overseas.
The interviewees comprise a number of established and renowned academics, as well as up-and-coming researchers from universities and institutions worldwide. This History Hub series is funded by UCD Seed Funding and supported by UCD School of History. Series editor is Mike Liffey (Real Smart Media).
Download series episodes on iTunes or listen via Soundcloud. historyhub.ie/kingdom-empire-and-plus-ultra
Image: Armada Portugaise, Livre de Lisuarte de Abreu, 1565. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.