Tag Archives: Santiago

The First Captain of Sport Lisboa e Benfica was a CaboVerdeano

In the kingdom of Morocco in 1825 a young Jewish boy by the name of Fortunato Levy was born, he would later marry a young woman by the name of Victoria. The records are silent of the year of her birth, but it is known that she was also born in Morocco. The two would later emigrate to Portugal and settle in Faro, while in Faro a son would be born to Fortunato and Victoria Levy and he is named Bento.

Bento Levy was born on November 11th, 1851 in Lagos, Faro, Portugal.  Around 1869 at the age of 18, Bento Levy will emigrate to the then colony of Cabo Verde and establishes himself on the island of Santiago. Ten years later, Bento Levy is baptized on July 7th, 1879 at São Nicolau Tolentino, São Domingos, Cabo Verde. He will later marry the daughter of Paulo José Monteiro dos Mosquitos de Santa Maria and Josefa Rodrigues de Carvalho both from the island of Santiago, their daughter was Paula Conceição Monteiro.

Bento and Paula Levy will have 5 sons and there names were José Monteiro Levy [b. 1.14.1877], Álvaro Monteiro Levy, Fortunato Monteiro Levy [b. 4.21.1888 – d. 12.31.1969], Simão Monteiro Levy, and Jayme Monteiro Levy [b. 7.2.1982]. All 5 sons were born in São Lourenço dos Órgãos, Santiago, Cabo Verde. All 5 sons will have some impact in the future development of Cabo Verde, but the one that we will be focusing on is Fortunato Monteiro Levy.

By 1903, we find Fortunato M. Levy studying Business Administration at the Escola Académica located in Lisbon, Portugal. Founded in 1847, the Escola Académica was active until 1976, the year that the doors were permanently closed. There were almost 130 years of prestigious formative training offered during the lifetime of this institution.

Fencing Lesson from Professor Câmara Leme. Escola Académica, September 1903. Source: Tiro Civil, nº 267, of September 15, 1903.

In the picture above the two students appear before the camera in an attitude of great aesthetic beauty. They would certainly be the most outstanding of this class, displaying their virtuosity to their colleagues and reporters.

Now, if we look more closely at the photograph we see that the student who is ready to make touché is one of our acquaintances. This is Fortunato Monteiro Levy, the Cabo Verdean who would take part on the first team of Sport Lisboa e Benfica on January 1, 1905.

We know that Fortunato was not among the 24 men who officiated the founding of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica club. But he did take part in the trainings with other future players at Salésias in 1903, or months before the very founding of Sport Lisboa e Benfica. He participated in 10 of the 24 training sessions of Sport Lisboa organized by Manuel Gourlade and Daniel Santos Brito from February 28, 1904, the day of the Club’s foundation, until January 1, 1905 [Date of the first official meeting against Campo de Ourique].

On January 1st between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. the team started training and this is the morning of the scheduled day for the club’s debut game.

In the field of Salésias, eight athletes were present: Cândido Rosa Rodrigues , António Rosa Rodrigues, Carlos França, Daniel dos Santos Brito, Eduardo Corga Joaquim Ribeiro, José Cruz Viegas and Manuel Gourlade. It was the last training session of an intense eleven month preparation, involving 29 drills, a very high number in a time in football where you played more than you trained!  Of these eight footballers only three would participate in the first game: António Rosa Rodrigues, Carlos França and José Cruz Viegas.

Later that same day, at noon the game begins and by the end of the game Sport Lisboa e Benfica had won their debut match 1-0. Sport Lisboa e Benfica fielded a team with the following players: Pedro Guedes, José Cruz Viegas, Emílio de Carvalho, Fortunato Levy, César de Melo, António Couto, António Rosa Rodrigues, Silvestre Silva, Raul Empis, José Rosa Rodrigues and Carlos França.

Team from the season of 1904/05, in reality the picture dates from the last game of the season (June 29, 1905): From left to right. From top to bottom. Defensive midfielder José Cruz Viegas (right-back), Manuel Mora (goalkeeper), Fortunato Levy (right-back), Albano dos Santos (center midfielder) ), António Couto (left half defense) and Emílio de Carvalho (left defender); In the front, the line of five forwards, from the right-hand to the left-hand side: António Rosa Rodrigues, Silvestre da Silva, Cândido Rosa Rodrigues, José Rosa Rodrigues and Carlos França

Fortunato Levy played as a Defensive Right Midfielder, he showed great promise and had an amazing development and eventually making his debut as a professional footballer [soccer player] at the age of 16.

Sport de Lisboa e Benfica. Circled is Fortunato Monteiro Levy.

Fortunato Monteiro Levy, was also the first cyclist of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica, having debuted on June 11, 1906 in a 1000m race in Palhavã, coming in second place. Still on the same day he finished third in another event, in the process winning the first two trophies in the Club’s history.

We now know that Fortunato Monteiro Levy spent at least  4 years in the capital of Portugal. Between the ages of 15 and 19. By April of 1907, he has returned to the city of Praia, on the island of Santiago in Cabo Verde. He was in Lisbon only during a small window of his long life. A passage that was decisive for his future professional and social life. He acquired knowledge and values that would essential for his success in his homeland.

Once he was back in Santiago, Fortunato put to good use what he had learned at the Escola Académica in the commercial house of Levy & Irmãos founded by his father. There he dedicated to family business and eventually reaching the position of prominence in business and in social associations throughout Cabo Verde.

Six years after his return to Cabo Verde, Fortunato Monteiro Levy in February of 1913 is appointed the Administrator of the Municipality of Praia.

from the newspaper “O Independente” nº 30 from 02.27.1913 -“Nomeação. O nosso prezado amigo, sr. Fortunato Levy, foi nomeado administrador do concelho da Praia. As nossas felicitações.” -English: “Appointment. Our dear friend, Mr. Fortunato Levy, has been appointed administrator of the municipality of Praia.

On February 19, 1914 in the city of São Filipe, Fogo Fortunato Monteiro Levy marries a young lady by the name of Maria Júlia de Medeiros Gomes Barbosa [b. 11.12.1887-d. 2.7.1966]. She was the daughter of António Gomes Barbosa [b. 5.26.1862-d. 1966] and Ana Roiz Barbosa [b. 9.14.1861 d. ???]. On December 29th, 1915 in the capital city of Praia a son is born to Fortunato and Maria Levy and he is named Orlando Barbosa Levy. Fortunato Monteiro Levy would also have a daughter by the name of Tinita Vieira de Andrade, but the name of the mother is not known to me.

Fortunato Monteiro Levy also belonged to a few commercial associations. On the 3rd of November 1918 in Praia, he was elected Secretary of  Associação Comercial e Agrícola. By 1944, He also belonged to the Associação Comercial de Sotavento with other elite businessmen such as Solomão Benoliel, António M. Sousa Lobo, Carlos Pinto Wahnon, Abilio Monteiro de Macedo and many others.

On December 31st, 1969 in the city of Praia, Fortunato Monteiro Levy passes away at the age of 81. During our research we were not able to find any official records that stated that Fortunato Monteiro Levy was the first captain of Sport Lisboa e Benfica during their first game of their inaugural season 1904/05. But we game across many blog posts that states that he was voted as the team captain, which in itself is an amazing feat as he was just 16 years old when he made his debut for the team.

Fortunato Monteiro Levy
Fortunato Monteiro Levy as a young man
Maria Júlia de Medeiros Gomes Barbosa (1887-1966), Wife of Fortunato Monteiro Levy
Orlando Barbosa Levy [1915- ], Son of Fortunato and Maria Levy
Tinita Vieira de Andrade, Daughter of Fortunato Monteiro Levy
(A) announcement of the commercial house “Levy & Irmãos” in the newspaper “O Caboverdiano” from April 1918; (B) List of the governing bodies of the association “Commercial and Agricultural Association” 3 November 1918. Fortunato was elected Secretary of the General Assembly; (C) Obituary notice in the newspaper “O Arquipélago” nº 386 of 01 Jan 1970


Works Cited

Abecassis, José Maria. Genealogia Hebraica: Portugal E Gibraltar: Séculos XVII a XX. Vol. III. Lisboa: J.M. Abecassis, 1991. Print.

Almeida Santos, Luis. Wahnon: Contribution for a Genealogy – Contributo Para Uma Genealogia. Charleston, SC, USA: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2011. Print.

Barbosa, Antero J. Famílias Da Ilha Do Fogo (Portuguese Edition). San Bernadino, CA, USA: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2014. Print.

“Benfica História I – 1904-1916 (Fundação Do Glorioso E Primeiros Titulos).” Benfica HD. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 30 Dec. 2016. <https://benficahd.blogspot.com/2010/02/benfica-historia-i-1904-1916-fundacao.html>.

Correia, Claudia. Presença De Judeus Em Cabo Verde: Inventariação Na Documentação Do Arquivo Histórico Nacional (1840-1927). Praia (Cape Verde): Arquivo Historico Nacional, 1998. Print.

Correia, Cláudia. A Questão Do Cemitério Israelita Na Ilha Da BoaVista [1915/1923]. N.p.: Fundação Eng. António De Almeida, 1999. Print. Africana Studia N.2.

“Decifrando Imagens Do Passado – Page 27 – Memórias – SerBenfiquista.com – Fórum De Adeptos Do Sport Lisboa E Benfica.” Decifrando Imagens Do Passado – Page 27 – Memórias – SerBenfiquista.com – Fórum De Adeptos Do Sport Lisboa E Benfica. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2016. <http://serbenfiquista.com/forum/index.php?topic=53816.390>.

“Fortunato Levy.” Serbenfiquista.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2016. <http://serbenfiquista.com/jogador/fortunato-levy>.

“Fortunato Monteiro LEVY, ®.” Fortunato Monteiro LEVY, ®. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. <http://www.barrosbrito.com/7976.html>.

Oliveira, Mario Fernando De., Carlos Rebelo Da. Silva, and Ribeiro Dos. Reis. Historia Do Sport Lisboa E Benfica, 1904-1954. Lisboa: “Os Ridiculos”, 1954. Print.

“Um Minuto De Silêncio.” Em Defesa Do Benfica. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2016. <http://em-defesa-do-benfica.blogspot.com/2015/01/um-minuto-de-silencio.html>.


Manuel António Martins: Napoleon of the Islands

The story of Manuel António Martins [1771?-1845]  in Cabo Verde begins in 1793, when at the age of twenty-one as master of a vessel laden with casks of wine from Faial in the Azores. The vessel was the Sumaca, she was a sloop which is a small one-masted ship. The Sumaca was owned by a Mr. Borralho, allegedly the vessel was damaged in a storm off the Canary Islands and blown southward to Cabo Verde. Martins made a quick getaway with the vessel and cargo and used his gains to commence an inter-island commerce in the archipelago, an enterprise in which he was remarkably successful.

Manuel António Martins

In 1793, Martins married a daughter of Aniceto António Ferreira, the Azorean Capitão-mor [commandant] of Boa Vista. The couple had sixteen children, seven sons and nine daughters. Their sons became involved in their father’s multifarious shipping, slave-trading, and political activities. Meanwhile, the sons of the archipelago’s morgados competed to marry Martins’s daughters and female relatives.

Manuel António Martins was born in the city of Braga, Portugal to João António Martinez Cosqueiro [from Spain] and Bernarda de Autrello [Italian], they migrated from Asturias, Spain to Braga where Manuel António Martins was born.

Manuel António Martins was Governor of Cabo Verde [1834-1835], Archeiro-Mor of the Royal House, Consul and Vice-Consul of the United States, owner of the Salinas [Salt beds], monopoly on the export of Urzella. He ordered the construction of the tunnel to access the Salinas and the first railway line in Portuguese Africa on the Island of Sal. As Governor he established the piping of fresh water to the City of Praia and also to the village of Nova Sintra, Brava. He became the wealthiest and most prominent man in Cabo Verde. He was the founder of Pedra de Lume and the town of Santa Maria and also populated the islands of Sal and São Vicente. He also built the Fort of Duke of Bragança  that is located in the islet in front of the City of Sal Rei in Boa Vista.  What is written above is not the entire story of Manuel António Martins, there are a lot more details to how this man came to dominate the economic and political system of Cabo Verde.

Portugal emerged from the Napoleonic Wars virtually bankrupt, with its ruler and court living in exile in Brazil. During the decades following, Portugal experienced chronic economic and political crises that distracted attention from colonial affairs, especially regarding such unprofitable colonies as the province of Cabo Verde. Once Britain closed the Senegal and Gambia rivers to slave vessels, slave caravans from the interior of western Africa rerouted south to the Casamance, Cacheu, Geba, and Grande rivers, where Portuguese, Luso-Africans, and Cabo Verdeans prospered as middlemen supplying slave vessels of many nations. Everywhere in western Africa, legitimate traders colluded with slavers. Cabo Verde became the advance base for illicit commerce with western Africa, both for slavers and for legitimate traders engaged in smuggling goods at colonial settlements. Notoriously prominent in the slave trade, legitimate trade, and other lucrative enterprises was Manuel António Martins.

In  Sal Rei, Martins dispensed fabricated Portuguese vessel registries and other documents to slavers seeking to avoid capture by the Royal Navy. He colluded with colonial officials and with merchants and political influentials in Portugal.  The illegal slave trade flourished to the profit of Martins and corrupt colonial officials, while the province was starved of revenues to support the colony’s civil, military, and ecclesiastical establishments and maintain and repair public buildings, forts, and other government properties.

During the 1810s and 1820s, São Tiago had adequate rainfall, and Praia’s convenient location and inexpensive provisions made it a popular revictualing port of call for merchantmen, whalers, and other vessels plying the South Atlantic and for slavers, legitimate traders, and men-of-war bound for West Africa. American seafarers were prominent among the slavers and legitimate traders who visited Cabo Verde in growing numbers.

In December 1818, another player arrives in Cabo Verde Samuel Hodges Jr., of Stoughton, Massachusetts, settled at Praia as a commission merchant and U.S. consul, and except for brief visits back to the United States, he stayed there with his family until his death in 1827.

Soon after arriving in Cabo Verde, Hodges became associated with Martins as a business partner and invaluable mediator with Portuguese officials. As the U.S. Consul he began to exercise the functions of U.S. consul, including appointing vice-consuls for several islands. Foremost among them was Manuel A. Martins, whom Hodges made the U.S. vice-consul for Boa Vista. With Martins and Hodges working together, European and Eurafrican traders living in western Africa dispatched vessels to Praia to obtain American tobacco, lumber, and other products and arrange for American vessels to deliver cargoes at French and British colonial ports in collusion with local officials or at places of rendezvous; later, these goods would be smuggled into colonial settlements or carried up rivers aboard the schooners, sloops, and canoes that linked western Africa’s markets.

The Portuguese government’s lack of commitment and capability to suppress the slave trade or punish corrupt colonial officials was especially manifested in the governorship of António Pusich (1818–1821) of Italian nationality, born in the “Republic of Ragusa,”  who exceeded most governors of Cabo Verde in enterprise and initiative. Pusich married Mrs.  Anna Maria Isabel Nunes, a Portuguese aristocrat, and secured Portuguese citizenship and an officer’s commission in the Portuguese navy. From 1801 to 1811, he and his family resided at Ribeira Brava on the island of São Nicolau in a post especially created for him: naval superintendent for Cabo Verde, independent of the authority of governors and colonial officials.

In May 1819, five months after assuming the governorship, Pusich established a fishing enterprise, with Manuel António Martins and some of his associates on Boa Vista. The funds, however, were soon squandered, promoting hostility between Governor Pusich and Martins. Hostilities between Pusich and Martins escalated again in 1820 when the governor accused Martins of scheming to sell the islands of Sal and São Vicente to three Englishmen trading at Bathurst: Thomas Barber, William Waterman, and Edward Bocock. Likewise allegedly interested was a Frenchman named Dèves whose trading establishment at Saint-Louis developed into the firm of Maison Dèves-Chaumet.  Manuel António Martins retaliated the following year by exploiting to his advantage the political transformations in Portugal: in May 1821, he incited a mob action in Praia, joined by soldiers in the garrison, that removed Pusich from the governorship. Pusich’s downfall was a delayed consequence of the 1820 liberal revolution in Portugal that had been galvanized by economic, political, and nationalistic grievances.

Always poised to seize an opportunity for self-advancement, on March 21, 1821—seven months after the Porto garrison mutinied- Manuel António Martins organized a demonstration at Sal Rei on behalf of liberals and against Governor Pusich’s “despotic rule.” João Cabral da Cunha Goodolphim joined in the demonstration despite having been appointed Boa Vista’s commandant by Pusich in May 1820 following the retirement of Martins’s father-in-law, Aniceto António Ferreira. In appointing Goodolphim the commandant of Boa Vista, Pusich doubtless expected him to curtail Martins’s influence. Goodolphim had previously served as interim commander of Cacheu from 1815 to 1818, and during that time, he probably collaborated with Martins in slaving ventures, just as he would do while commandant of Cacheu from 1823 to 1826.

The unprecedented political activism at Boa Vista orchestrated by Martins encouraged similar initiatives by the inhabitants of other islands. Growing unrest culminated on May 1, 1821, when a mass turnout of Praia’s population, joined by soldiers in the garrison, deposed Governor Pusich. With his family, he took refuge on the island of Maio. Pusich was supplanted by a junta provisoria (provisional council), which administered the archipelago for the next year and a half (from May 1821 to January 1823). Martins joined the junta and skillfully increased his influence.

Over decades, Manuel António Martins increased the salt production of Ilha do Sal. In 1796, he dispatched slaves to create salinas and dig wells to sustain themselves and goatherds on the waterless, windswept wasteland. In 1805, Governor António Coutinho de Lencastre appointed Martins as Sal’s administrator, and in 1808, he granted him the privilege of collecting customs duties. During the 1820s, Martins undertook to exploit the salt-producing potential of Pedra Lume, Sal’s extinct 406-meter-high volcanic cone.

The salt was transported in carts propelled by sails along rail tracks to be loaded on vessels at a pier several kilometers away. Donkeys pulled the empty rail carts back to Pedra Lume. In September 1829, Martins received authorization to transport 100 to 150 slaves from Bissau and Cacheu to labor at Sal’s salinas and to engage in fishing to feed the workers. In 1834, he founded the settlement of Santa Maria das Dores (Saint Mary of Sorrows) which was also known as Porto Martins on the southern tip of the island.

In December 1833, Martins’s close friend Francisco Simões Margiochi, the minister of marine, appointed him prefect [prefeito] of the province of Cabo Verde and Guiné, the civilian title being a liberal innovation replacing military governorships. Martins also benefited from lobbying on his behalf by other individuals whose influence he had cultivated for years.  Manuel António Martins was the only person to serve as a prefeito, while the prefect Manuel António Martins attempted to move the capital from Praia to Sal Rei but he was not successful. The government abolished the title in April 1835, instead dispatching governors-general who exercised both military and civil authority. Martins continued to prosper in numerous enterprises, including slave trading, and he maintained surpassing influence and powers of intimidation concerning Cabo Verde’s inhabitants. After his death in July 1845, his business affairs were carried on by his widow, children, and proliferating descendants.



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.

George E. Brooks (2010-12-10). Western Africa and Cabo Verde, 1790s-1830s: Symbiosis of Slave and Legitimate Trades. Authorhouse. Kindle Edition.



Battle of Porto Praya 4.16.1781

Battle of Porto Praya

The connection between Cape Verde and the U.S goes back many years, but not many people know that the connection goes back to a time before what today are the United States of America existed.
One of the hundreds of battles that took place during the War for American independence, when 13 fledgling colonies were battling the mighty British empire for independence took place in the waters surrounding Cape Verde Islands.

On April 16th, 1781 a British Naval squadron under the command of Commodore George Johnstone stopped over in Porto Praya (now Praia), Cape Verde on the way to the Cape of Good hope to attack and take it away from under Dutch control came under attack by a French Naval squadron under command of the French Admiral Bailli de Suffren that was headed towards the Cape of Good Hope to assist the Dutch in the defense of the colony against the British.

The French surprised the British and they were able to come out victorious. The British had 183 casualties of which, 36 were killed and 147 wounded.

This naval encounter became known as the Battle of Porto Praya.


ImageDuring the War of the Spanish Succession [1701-1714] which was fought between the European powers, including a divided Spain, over who had the right to succeed Charles II as the King of Spain. The Portuguese had sided with the English during the War of Spanish Succession and in retaliation the French sent a Navy fleet to Cape Verde to attack and sack the islands.[1]

During this conflict, a sea voyage was taken by French Navy Captain Jacques Cassard in 1712 this would be known as the Cassard Expedition. Departing from the port of Toulon [France] with a fleet of eight ships, 3,000 seamen and 1,200 soldiers. This is the fleet that on the 4th of May of 1712 he disembarked his soldiers at Praia Negra, Vila da Praia, Santiago [located in the bay of the city of Praia]. The French arrested the Captain-General and spread throughout the island of Santiago pillaging and burning the homes and the farms of the citizens of the villages and the city of Ribeira Grande [Cidade Velha][2].

The French soldiers arrested women and children and used them as hostages to keep the male residents from retaliating, while they continued burning and pillaging the city of Ribeira Grande and stole everything from slaves, gold, silver and also church chalices and even church bells. After sacking and pillaging Praia and Ribeira Grande, the French turned their attention to Santo Antão [1712][3]; with these successful attacks the French briefly wrangled control of Cape Verde from the Portuguese.

This attack by the French Corsair Jacques Cassard on Ribeira Grande led to the decline of the city and prompted the residents to move the capital to the Praia Plateau, which was easier to defend.

In 1798, the French return and attack the island of Brava in their unsuccessful effort to dislodge the Portuguese influence there and on the coast.[4]Image

[1] Stanhope, Philip Henry, C. Walker, J. Walker, Saint James, John Murray, A. Spottiswoode, and R. Spottiswoode. History of the War of the Succession in Spain. London: John Murray …, 1832. Pg.36. Print.

[2] Carreira, António. Cabo Verde, Formaçao E Extinçao De Uma Sociedade Escravocrata. S.l.: Centro De Estudos Da Guiné Portuguesa, 1972. Pg. 337-338. Print.

[3] Carreira, António. Cabo Verde, Formaçao E Extinçao De Uma Sociedade Escravocrata. S.l.: Centro De Estudos Da Guiné Portuguesa, 1972. Pg. 338 Print.

[4] Lobban, Richard Andrew, and Marlene Lopes. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cape Verde. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1995. Pg. XXX.  Print.