Óscar Carmona

Óscar Carmona
President of Portugal
In office
29 November 1926 – 18 April 1951
Prime MinisterHimself
José Vicente de Freitas
Artur Ivens Ferraz
Domingos Oliveira
António de Oliveira Salazar
Preceded byManuel Gomes da Costa
Succeeded byFrancisco Craveiro Lopes
Prime Minister of Portugal
In office
9 July 1926 – 18 April 1928
DeputyAbílio Passos e Sousa
Preceded byManuel Gomes da Costa
Succeeded byJosé Vicente de Freitas
Ministerial portfolios
1926–1926Foreign Affairs
Sep 1926Foreign Affairs (acting)
Personal details
António Óscar de Fragoso Carmona

(1869-11-24)24 November 1869
Lisbon, Portugal
Died18 April 1951(1951-04-18) (aged 81)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political partyNational Union (1932–1951)
SpouseMaria do Carmo da Silva
Alma materMilitary Academy
ProfessionArmy officer
AwardsOrder of Christ
Order of Aviz
Order of St. James of the Sword
Military service
Allegiance Kingdom of Portugal
Branch/service Portuguese Army
Years of service1889–1951

António Óscar de Fragoso Carmona ComC GCA ComSE (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ̃ˈtɔniu ˈɔʃkaɾ fɾɐˈɣozu kaɾˈmonɐ]; 24 November 1869 – 18 April 1951) was a Portuguese Army officer and politician who served as prime minister of Portugal from 1926 to 1928 and as the 11th president of Portugal from 1926 until his death in 1951. He also served as the Minister of War, in late 1923 and in 1926, and as a Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1926.

Political origin

Carmona was a republican and a freemason and was a quick adherent to the proclamation of the Portuguese First Republic on 5 October 1910. He was, however, never a sympathizer of the democratic form of government, and – as he would later confess in an interview to António Ferro – he only voted for the first time at the 1933 constitutional referendum. During the First Republic, he briefly served as Minister of War in the cabinet of António Ginestal Machado in 1923. Unlike the popular marshal Gomes da Costa, Carmona had not seen action in World War I.


Carmona was very active in the 28 May 1926 coup d'état that overthrew the First Republic. The first Council President, the commandant José Mendes Cabeçadas, a democratic sympathizer supported by the last republican president, Bernardino Machado, was succeeded in June by Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa. Carmona, who had been the Minister for Foreign Affairs between 3 June and 6 July, was the leader of the most conservative and authoritarian wing of the military regime, which considered the more moderate Gomes da Costa a liability. On 9 July, he led a countercoup together with general João José Sinel de Cordes, named himself President, and immediately assumed dictatorial powers. He was formally elected to the office in 1928, as the only candidate.

In 1928 Carmona appointed António de Oliveira Salazar as Minister of Finance. Impressed by Salazar's charisma and qualities, Carmona nominated Salazar as Prime Minister in 1932, and largely turned over control of the government to him.

In 1933, a new constitution officially established the "Estado Novo". On paper, the new document codified the dictatorial powers Carmona had exercised since 1928. However, in practice he left most of the day-to-day work of governing to Salazar. For all practical purposes, Carmona was now little more than a figurehead; Salazar held the real power. On paper, the president's power to dismiss Salazar was the only check on his power. However, Carmona mostly allowed Salazar a free hand. He was re-elected without opposition in 1935 and 1942 for seven-year terms. In 1935, he signed the law that forbade Freemasonry in Portugal reluctantly, due to his own Freemason past.

Although the democratic opposition was allowed to contest elections after World War II, Carmona was not on friendly terms with it. When the opposition demanded that the elections be delayed in order to give them more time to organize, Carmona turned them down.

However, there were widespread rumors that Carmona supported the failed military uprising in 1947, which was led by general José Marques Godinho to overthrow Salazar, under the condition that he would remain as President of the Republic. Probably to end these rumors, Carmona finally accepted the title of Marshal.

In 1949, Carmona, 79 years old, sought his fourth term as president. For the first time, he actually faced an opponent in General José Norton de Matos. However, it soon became apparent that Salazar would not allow Matos to actually run a campaign. The persecution grew so severe that Matos pulled out of the race on 12 February, handing Carmona another term.

Carmona died two years later, in 1951, after 24 years as the President of the Republic. He was buried in the Church of Santa Engrácia, National Pantheon, in Lisbon.

Personal life

He was born to Maria Inês Côrte-Real de Melo Fragoso and Alvaro Rosario Teixeira Carmona, a Portuguese Naval officer from Felgueiras, based in Brazil and part of the Portuguese Military Attache's staff in Brazil. In January 1914, Carmona married Maria do Carmo Ferreira da Silva (Chaves, 28 September 1878 – 13 March 1956), daughter of Germano da Silva and wife Engrácia de Jesus. With this marriage, he legitimized their three children.

He was the grand-uncle of the former Mayor of Lisbon Carmona Rodrigues (2004–2007). He was also the cousin of Brazilian President Augusto Tasso Fragoso.

His personal library was purchased by the National Library of Australia in 1967/8.



Carmona wrote a book of rules for the Cavalry School in 1913.


The town of Uíge, Angola, used to be called Carmona after him. It had that name until 1975 when the Portuguese Overseas Province of Angola became independent. He was also portrayed in the Angolan escudo banknote issue of 1972.

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