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Abreu e Lima (general)

Date Born.:

Military, Writer, Politician, Historian


Abreu e Lima (general)

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 15/10/2013

By: Maria do Carmo Gomes de Andrade - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

José Inácio de Abreu e Lima, military officer, politician and historian, participated under the command of Simon Bolívar of the Venezuelan and Colombian independence wars and actively took part in the political development of Brazil. He was a free thinker, republican and defender of socialist ideas. 

Abreu e Lima was born in Recife, Pernambuco, on April 6th, 1794, son of José Inácio Ribeiro de Abreu e Lima, also a revolutionary; known as Padre Roma, he was leader of the Pernambuco Revolution of 1817, was arrested and sentenced to death.

Abreu e Lima attended the Royal Military Academy of Rio de Janeiro, and in 1816, already as Artillery Captain, was arrested in Recife for insubordination and disorderly conduct and sent to Bahia to serve prison time. While in prison, on March 29 of the following year, he witnessed his father’s death, as he had been sentenced to death for being one of the most active conspirators of the 1817 Revolution, fact which had the effect of strengthening Abreu e Lima’s defense of liberal ideas.

After fleeing to the United States helped by members of the Masonry, Abreu e Lima enlisted in Simon Bolívar’s army and took part in the struggle for independence of both Venezuela and Colombia, where he was promoted to General, and later nominated Chief of Staff of the liberator army. His name is inscribed on the monument honoring those who fought for the Venezuelan independence.

Before returning to Brazil, Abreu e Lima traveled through Europe and while in Paris met D. Pedro I, who had abdicated the throne. He arrived in Brazil in 1832, during the Regency, staying in Rio de Janeiro until 1840.
He was reinstated to the army, and his rank as general was recognized. From that moment on, he produced his work as historian and publicist. He became a member of the Restauration Party and advocated through the press the return of D. Pedro I.

In 1843, he published the Compendium of History of Brazil and, in 1844, the Summary or Chronological Review of the most Notorious Events in Brazilian History. On that same year, he returns to Recife and works as collaborator of the newspapers Diário Novo and A Barca de São Pedro, which were favorable to the Praieiros. On the following year, he was candidate to the house of representatives but was not elected.
Even though Abreu e Lima was in favor of the return of D. Pedro I, he also supported the Praieiro movement led by Nunes Machado and Pedro Ivo, disseminating through newspaper articles the ideas of the Praieira Revolution.

He was accused of being the leader of the Revolution, was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment, to be served at Fernando de Noronha island.

After spending a few months on the island he was released, due to the work of his lawyer Thomaz Nabuco de Araújo, Joaquim Nabuco’s father.

Abreu e Lima continued with his writing activity, and published a book in 1855, Socialism, where he exposed his ideas.
His last controversy was fought with Monsignor Joaquim Pinto Campos regarding falsified Bibles, issue that was addressed in his works The Counterfeit Bibles and The Christian God, both published in 1867.

Abreu e Lima died in Recife on March 8th, 1869. As a result of the controversy with Monsignor Joaquim Pinto Campos, he was banned from the Santo Amaro Cemitery by influence of Bishop D. Francisco Cardoso Ayres, and thereafter buried in the British Cemetery, in the borough of Santo Amaro.

Recife, 1 February 2006.
( Updated 9 September 2009.)

sources consulted

ABREU e Lima (Text this photo).Available at: <>. Accessed: 6 April. 2011. 

ANDRADE, Manoel Correia de. Pernambuco imortal:evolução histórica e social de Pernambuco. Recife: CEPE, 1997.

______. A trajetóriado general das massas. Diario de Pernambuco, Recife, 16 December. 2005.

GRANDE Enciclopédia Barsa. 3.ed. São Paulo: Barsa Planeta, 2005.

how to quote this text

Source: ANDRADE, Maria do Carmo. Abreu e Lima. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <>. Accessed: Day month year. Example: 6 August. 2009.