José Hermano Saraiva

Lived between

1919 – 2012 (92 years old)




Jurist, high school and university professor, historical disseminator, politician, diplomat, television communicator

José Hermano Saraiva was born in 1919 in Leiria, where he lived and studied until he was 12 years old.

In Lisbon, he attended Liceu Passos Manuel and after high school he went to the University of Lisbon, where he graduated in Historical-Philosophical Sciences at the Faculty of Letters and in Legal Sciences at the Faculty of Law.

Besides being a Jurist, he lectured in the Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Política Utramarina at the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa and in some private teaching institutes.

From 1968 to 1970 he was the Portuguese Minister of Education.

From 1971 to 1974, he served as Portugal’s ambassador to Brazil.

After the Portuguese revolution of 25 April 1974, he became most famous in Portugal, but also among Portuguese communities around the world, on account of his television programs on the History of Portugal, broadcast by RTP.

José Hermano Saraiva published numerous pedagogical, legal and, above all, historical works, including a Concise History of Portugal, the biggest best seller of Portuguese historiography translated in several languages. The History of Portugal in 3 volumes, which he directed and which he was co-author.

Less known, but very significant, is his connection to the insurance activity, especially in works of historical scope.

He is the author of “Companhia de Seguros Bonança – 150 years of history”, published in 1958, commemorating the 150 years of Bonança.

In 1988, he prefaces the edition of the Treaty of Pedro Santerna, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Mundial Confiança.

In 1992, in the book “A Bonança – Notícias Histórica / 1808-1992”, he resumed and updated the history of Companhia de Seguros Bonança after its nationalization, merger with “Comércio e Indústria” “Ultramarina” and “União” and later reprivatization.

In this book, as in the previous one, the history of insurance in Portugal is discussed in depth. Due to the quality and interest of the information, this is a work frequently consulted and quoted.

From 1992 to 1994, he cooperates with the magazine Bonança Notícias, with interesting articles that link History to Insurance Activity, with themes as suggestive as “Insurance and Romanticism”, “It spent more than a year and day…”, “A Bonança in Macau”,“Corsairs and Insurance”.