Anthroponyms seta LEITÃO, Dr. Francisco de Andrade (1585-?)

Conspired for the Restoration, and was ambassador to London and The Hague and full ambassador to the Munster Congress. He was born circa 1585 in Condeixa or Pedrógão Grande. He was the son of Manuel Fernandes de Almeida and Antónia de Andrade, and grandson of the noble knight Belchior de Andrade. He was married to Dona Ana Leitão Coutinho. They had an only daughter, Antónia de Andrade, who would marry Francisco Machado de Bito, treasurer of the House of India.

He studied at the College of São Pedro; he completed the Bachelor?s degree in 1611 and, in 1618, he received a doctoral degree in Law from the University of Coimbra. The year before, he had been admitted to the College of São Paulo. He was a lecturer until 1616 and a professor until 1626, when he became judge in the Court of Appeals and, two years later, in the High Court. He was also an official in the royal chancellery and in the cavalry of the Order of Christ, which awarded him the insignia of São Martinho de Freixedas. He received other benefits, such as the administration of the chapel in the church of São Pedro in Óbidos, an opening for a nun in a convent for a descendent appointed by him, and an annual pension of twenty-thousand réis for a grandson wearing the habit of the Order of Christ. He was the official preacher at the coronation of King João IV on 15 December 1640. Before he left for London in 1641, the king named him special judge within the Royal Dispatch services.

He was appointed Portuguese ambassador (along with Dom Antão de Almada) for the first mission of the new Crown to London, where he remained until 1642. The objectives were to make the United Kingdom aware of the Portuguese campaign to restore its independence from Spain and to request support from the British crown for the Portuguese monarchy and dynasty. Charles I delayed about a month in receiving the Portuguese ambassadors because of the pressure exerted by Spain. After lengthy negotiations, the monarchs reached an accord and a peace treaty was signed in January of 1642, granting numerous commercial privileges to British merchants. For Portugal, the importance of this agreement was relative. Although Britain recognized the change in Portugal?s political situation, it did not want to antagonize the Spanish crown and upset their 1630 peace agreement, so Britain was reticent in accepting the restoration movement in Portugal.

Upon his return from this mission in 1642, Andrade de Leitão was soon named special ambassador to The Hague. He left Portugal on 20 March of that same year and remained until the following year. His main objective was to restore to Portuguese rule Luanda and São Tomé, which the Dutch had occupied in 1641. Holland rebutted Portuguese demands by arguing that the Portuguese-Dutch treaty of 1641 did not apply to those African territories. The Portuguese envoy also defended that Holland give up Maranhão and presented other complaints against VOC. The Dutch did not concede and, in 1643, officially declared its conquests legitimate and outside the realm of the treaty of 1641.

In 1644, (along with Dr. Luís Pereira de Castro), Francisco Leitão was appointed full ambassador to the Munster Congress, where the main powers of Europe were participating in peace negotiations, after the 30 Years War. He worked to have Portugal integrated into the accord, but failed since the Portuguese Crown was not included in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which resulted from the Munster and Innsbruck Congresses. He died in Lisbon on 17 March 1655 and was buried in the Church of São Domingos.


FARIA, Ana Maria Homem Leal, O Tempo dos Diplomatas ? estudo sobre o processo de formação da diplomacia moderna portuguesa e o seu contributo na tomada de decisão política (1640/1 ? 1736/50), tese de doutoramento em História Moderna apresentada à Faculdade de Letras da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, 2004; MACHADO, Digo Barbosa, Biblioteca Lusitana, II, Lisboa, pp. 104-106; PRESTAGE, Edgar, A embaixada de Francisco de Andrade de Leitão à Holanda, 1642-1644, Porto, 1923; Ministros Portugueses nas cortes estrangeiras no reinado de D. João IV e a sua correspondência, Porto, Tip. da Empresa Literária e Tipográfica, 1915; SANTOS, Carlos Ary dos, ?Francisco de Andrade Leitão. Um Diplomata Restaurador da Independência?, in A Diplomacia na História de Portugal. Actas de Colóquio, Lisboa, 1990.

Author: Pedro Nobre
Translated by: Rosa Simas

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