Tag Archives: Ribeira Grande

The Chemist: Roberto Duarte Silva

Roberto Duarte Silva 1837-1889

Roberto D. Silva 1837-1889

On the 56th day of 1837, which was Saturday February 25th,  a son was born to Francisco José Duarte and Mathilde da Rosa Silva and they named him Roberto Duarte Silva. By the age of fourteen Roberto started working as an apprentice at an apothecary, a few years after he migrates to the capital of Portugal where he begins working at Azevedo and Son’s Pharmacy [Farmácia Azevedo e Filhos] while attending the School of Pharmacy [Escola de Farmácia].

Roberto Duarte Silva later moves from Lisbon to the Portuguese Colony of Macau and later to the English Colony of Hong Kong in China, where he opened his own Pharmacy. I was unable to find any other information pertaining to the pharmacies that were opened by Roberto Duarte Silva in Hong Kong and Macau. By 1863, he was living in Paris, France, where he worked in several different Pharmacies and received his bachelors’ degree in Organic Chemistry. By 1867, while working in the laboratory of one of his professors and renowned French chemist Charles-Adolphe Wurtz, Roberto Duarte Silva published his first of many works. Roberto Duarte Silva also taught at École des Mines de Paris, Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, and École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrial de la Ville de Paris and one of his many pupils was the acclaimed french chemist Paul Charles Lepierre.

Roberto Duarte Silva’s face graces one of the bank notes

Roberto Duarte Silva later became the President of the Chemistry Society of Paris, also received the Jecker prize from the French Academy of Science and he would also be honored with the Legion of Honor [highest honor bestowed by the French Govt.] by the French Government for his many contributions to Science. He was also Commander of the Order of São Tiago of Portugal [Comendador da Ordem de São Tiago de Portugal].

sepultura_roberto_duarte_silva Tomb of Roberto Duarte Silva

While at his house located on Rue Thenard in Paris, France the renowned Cabo Verdean Chemist Roberto Duarte Silva passed away. The date was February 9th, 1889 a few days before his fifty-third birthday. Roberto Duarte Silva is buried at Petit Parnasse cemetery in Paris, France.



Faria, Luis António, Suzana Abreu, and Américo C. Araújo. Cabo Verde Terra de Morabeza: Uma Viagem Atraves de Sua Historia e Cultura. Valrico: LAF Enterprises, 2012.

A Semana http://asemana.publ.cv/spip.php?article73551&ak=1


Esquina do Tempo: Magazine Cultural Online – http://brito-semedo.blogs.sapo.cv/58374.html