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Adelaide Cabete
Born in Elvas in 1867 and died in 1935. Her background was from a poor family and worked hard until she married a man senior in years. She then sought to improve her education and at the age of 33 she graduated in Medicine. She proposed many improvements to the rights of pregnant women notably suggesting that they were to be allowed rest from work in their last month of pregnancy and at the same time receive financial compensation. She also proposed the creation of maternity hospitals, nurseries, rights of children and animal rights.

Teresa de Leão
Daughter of Afonso VI of Leon and Ximena Muniz, born in 1080 and died in 1130 she was married as a minor to her husband Dom Henrique of Burgundy, the 9th Count of Portacalis. She was the mother of three daughters and her son Afonso who was later to become the first king of Portugal. She was also the fifth grandchild of Mumadona Dias who was the first Countess of Portucale, the county which was later to become Portugal. Afonso was also the great-grandson of the King of France. Upon the act of marriage she received as a gift the counties of of Portucale and Coimbra.

She soon found herself as a widow and crowned herself as a Queen of the County of Portocale and continued the fight of her husband to conquer further lands to enlarge her kingdom with the wish to make the north-west Iberian Peninsular as one. She ruled for 16 years until defeated by her rebel son's army. She died two years later and is buried in Braga cathedral.

Amália Rodrigues
Born in 1920 in Lisbon and died in 1999. Amália de Piedade Rebordão Rodrigues has become in her lifetime an internationally known star as a popular singer of "Fado" and Portuguese folk music. The word "Fado" refers to a distinct Portuguese style of lyric that is sung in a special manner and accompanied on a viola and guitar. There are two recognized schools of these sonnets, one from Lisbon and the other from the University town of Coimbra. The artist in early years appeared in theatrical reviews and also in one or two films. She has appeared in New York and at the Olympia in Paris. In 1997 she published a series of poems under the name "Versos".

Antónia Ferreira
Born in 1811 in Gondim and died in 1897 in Porto. Commonly known as "Ferrerinha" due to her vast property in the wine and port estate in the district of the Douro. She was dominant figure in the wine trade and was at the same time a philanthropic lady who was constantly assisting the poor and needy. Her business ability was such that she accumulated 30 vineyards, warehouses and palaces, besides her personal effects.

Antónia Pusich
Born in 1805 in Cape Verde and died in 1883 in Lisbon. She was a writer, composer, and the first woman to openly publish a newspaper. She was a Monarchist, and a strong defender of the rights of women to be educated.

Antónia Rodrigues
Born in 1580 in Aveiro and of unknown date of death. She is renown in Portuguese folklore as the "Portuguese Knight" because she disguised herself as a male warrior and fought in North Africa with valour and distinction. She had to flee home when the daughter of a high ranking officer fell in love with her in the disguise of being a man. Upon her return her outstanding courage was rewarded with an annual income.

Carmen Dolores
Carmen Dolores Cohen Sarmento was born in Lisbon in 1924. In her twenties she had already appeared in films and made herself a name in stage productions. In 1959 she gained an award for her outstanding performance in the play "Seis Personagens à procura de um Autor". The range of her artistic ability has taken her into classical plays by Dostoievski, Steinbeck, Shakespeare, Strindberg, and others. In 1969 she appeared with the Casa da Comédia in Strindberg's "Dança da Morte". This took her to Paris where she lived until 1983. Now living back in Portugal she continues to be actively involved in theatre, TV and radio.

Cesina Bermudes
Born in 1908 and died in 2001. She became an outstanding medical doctor but made her name mainly in the political arena fighting for women´s rights against the control of the Salazar authorities.

Dona Maria II
Born in 1819 in Rio de Janeiro and died in 1853 giving birth to her tenth son. Daughter of Dom Pedro IV the first Emperor of Brazil. She was married three times the last being to Prince Fernando of Saxe-Coburgo-Gota-Koháry. She inherited the throne at the tender age of seven but was subject to a a Regent until reaching the age of fifteen. She became know as "The Educator" as she took it upon herself the education of her children. She had a difficult reign due to her Uncle Dom Miguel who wished to take the throne for himself. She suffered popular rebellions and at one time a Civil War. However, regardless of the pressures of State she was successful in introducing a Constitutional Charter.

Edmée Marques
Born in 1899 and died in 1986. She became an outstanding scientist in research work in scientific fields. At an early age her ability was recognised by being granted a scholarship to work under the famous scientist Madame Marie Curie. Her research work in nuclear physics for peaceful means was finally recognised by the Portuguese State at the age of 67.

Josef d'Óbidos
Born in 1630 in Seville and died in 1684 in Óbidos. Her father brought her and her mother back to his home town Óbidos where she grew up and was educated in the arts by her father also a painter. Her many works that remain are outstandingly feminine for their tonal values. Compared to other painters in Portugal of the same period her style is distinctive even when she depicts religious subjects typical of that time.

Filipa de Lencastre
Born in 1360 in England and died in 1415 in Odivelas. She was the granddaughter of the King Edward III of England and the daughter of John of Gaunt. She arrived in Portugal at Porto at the age of 27 to marry King Dom João I of the Avis Dynasty. She was a strong personality who helped to develop and modernise Portugal. She had five sons and one daughter, all of which were to play important roles in the history of the country, particularly the Infante Dom Henrique known as the "Navigator".

Florbela Espanca
This lady writer of strong poetic feelings was born in 1894 in Vila Viçosa, and died in 1930 in Matosinhos. Her poems and sonnets express the state of a woman with very strong emotions, internally tortured and fundamentally unsatisfied. It would be safe to suggest that she represented a segment of educated Portuguese women of that period. Very little of her work was published during her lifetime and her real recognition came tragically after she ended her life out of despair.

Irene Lisboa
Born in Arruda dos Vinhos in 1892 and died in 1958. As a journalist, poet and writer, Irene Lisboa made a name for herself during her lifetime with her vocal and written words for the emancipation and equality of women. Her political views were unaccepted by the authorities and her books and articles were strongly censured and were published at her own personal expense. Thirty-one years after her death she was awarded the "Ordem de Liberdade".

Juliana Dias da Costa
Born in 1657 in Bengal and died in 1734. Daughter of a Portuguese soldier and a slave in the harem of the Princess of Agra. She had an exceptional ability for languages and played the role of negotiator and ambassador for Portugal in their many dealing with Indian Princes and other Kingdoms in Asia. She was also later called upon to use her skills in diplomatic negotiation with the Dutch, French and Italians. She was outstanding in her diplomatic skills and was at the same time "out of the norm" as a women in this role. She was responsible for the expansion of the Jesuit faith in Portuguese dominated territories.

Lourdes Pintasilgo
Born in 1930 in Lisbon and died in 2004. She was the first woman to become prominent in the post revolution period and in 1979 she was selected as Prime Minister. She only held this position for 149 days before she was replaced but in this time period she managed to introduce improved social security conditions for all workers.

Luísa Holstein
Born in 1841 and died in 1909. She was the daughter of one of the richest families at that time in Portugal. She became known as the first woman sculptress of note and won awards for her works in Portugal and in the Paris Salon. She was very active in social and political matters and founded with friends the "Cozinhas Económicas" which were canteens giving decent free meals to the poor people of Lisbon.

Luísa Todi
Born in Setúbal in 1753, and died in 1833. A very popular opera singer who married the Italian violinist Francisco Todi. She had a rich strong voice and the demand for her talent came mainly from the royal courts of Europe although she made many other public performances. Amongst these she was invited to perform before Frederic II of Prussia and Catarina II of Russia. After many years touring Europe she eventually settled in Lisbon in 1811. The invasion of the Napoleon’s troops into her beloved country affected her to such an extent that her health declined and she died shortly afterwards.

Maria Lamas
Maria Lamas was born in 1893 in Torres Vedras and died in 1983. She was a strong supporter of female rights and open democracy which was in stark contrast to the ruling António Salazar. At one stage she was placed in prison for her views and then later exiled. At the advanced age of 81 years of age she joined the Portuguese Communist Party and was adopted as a symbol of their feminine emancipation.

Natália Correia
Born in 1923 on the Island of São Miguel in the Azores and died in 1993. After studying in Lisbon she made a career as a poet, novelist and writer. After the 1974 Revolution she became actively involved in right-wing politics and was elected as a deputy to parliament. Her strong personality kept her in the forefront of the news for many years.

Paula Rego
Paula Figueiroa Rego was born in 1935 in Lisbon. On her decision to make her career in Art she departed in 1954 to attend the Slade School of Art in London. She married an Englishman and made her permanent home in that country. However, her roots have constantly brought her back to exhibit in Portugal where she is highly respected. Her name today is renowned in the art world and she has been placed amongst the four best living painters within England today. Exhibitions of her figurative style of painting are constantly being held in leading galleries.

Sophia de Mello Breyner
Born in 1919 and died in 2004, this lady poet commenced composing poetry at the age of 16. As a classical style poet she first published some works in 1941 under the title of “Poesia”. Later works include “Geografia” (1967), “Ilhas” (1990), “Musa” (1994), and “Signo” in 1994. She also published a collection of children’s stories that brought her more popular appeal. In 1999 she was awarded the laureate “Camões Prize for her outstanding contribution to Portuguese culture.

Vieira da Silva
Maria Helena Vieira da Silva was born in Lisbon in 1908 and died in 1992. She commenced her studies in Lisbon. In 1928 she moved to Paris to frequent the Academy La Grande Chaumiére and also initially the studio of the sculptor Bourdelle. In 1929 she turned to painting and was to meet the famous painter Arpad Szénes whom she married in 1924. It was only in 1933 that the artist held her first individual exhibition that was in Paris. To her lasting regret, due to the regulations by this act she forfeited her Portuguese nationality. This was only returned to her much later in life and caused her to live outside Portugal. Firstly in Paris, then Brazil before returning to Paris. Her talent and unique style in painting took her to the very top of the ladder in world acclaim. In 1956 she was given French citizenship but after the Portuguese Revolution of 1974 she returned to Portugal to receive a warm and official welcome. In 1990, two years before her death, she had the pleasure of attended the inaugural meeting of the "Szénes-Vieira da Silva Foundation". The building in Lisbon that houses the sizeable collection of both hers and her late husbands work was opened in 1993.