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Abstract

Henrique Galvão (1895-1970) was a Portuguese soldier, writer, colonial theoretician and administrator, politician, Africanist, humanist and self-proclaimed man of action. Following his maiden voyage toAngolain 1927-29 Galvão became a decided colonial idealist whose deep seated personal attachment to the Portuguese African territories was to determine the course of his life and career. The African colonies, their administration and significance to Portugal provided the main motivation for Galvão’s adherence to and break from the New State regime (1932-1974) headed by António de Oliveira Salazar (1889-1970) as well as his subsequent dissident activism during the last two decades of his life. The predominance of African and colonial matters is clearly discernible in Galvão’s trajectory from chief colonialist-Africanist and administrator for theNewState(1932-45) to dissident (1945-49) and finally fierce anti-Salazarist and critic of what he perceived as premature decolonisation (1950-70). Unwavering commitment to an idealised Portuguese Africa and refusal to join the prevailing general condemnation of colonialism ultimately turned Henrique Galvão into an ostracised oddity whose last years were spent in Brazilian exile.

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