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Abreu, Aleixo de

1. Dates
Born: Portugal, 1568
Died: Portugal, 1630
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 62
2. Father
Occupation: Aristocrat
Abreu is said to have been from a noble family.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Portuguese
Career: Portuguese
Death: Portuguese
4. Education
Schooling: Evora, M.A.; Coimbra, M.D.
Evora University, 1577-c.83. I assume B.A.; M.A. c. 1583.
Coimbra Univ., Licentiate in medicine--list this as M.D.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine
Abreu's book on tropical diseases was the first in this field.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Governmental Office
Secondary: Patronage, Medical Practice
Initially practiced with little success in Lisbon.
Through his father's friendship with Count Duarte de Castelo Branco (of Portuguese government) appointed physician to the governor of Angola in 1594, with annual salary of 24,000 reis.
Apparently in Angola until 1603.
In Brazil, 1603-6 as physician to governor; served as military surgeon during a Dutch attack.
Returned to Portugal, ill, in 1606.
In 1612, Physician to the treasury officials with a salary of 10,000 reis, a position he held until 1629. In 1616 Philip III granted him pension of 16,000 reis for services to the crown in Angola and Brazil, and made him physician of his chamber.
Abreu also ran a private practice in Lisbon.
Dedicated his book to Fray Antonio de Sotomayor, who had been his patient in Lisbon and who was confessor to Philip IV. Sotomayor is described as Abreu's maecenas. Abreu's book is written in Spanish for him.
8. Patronage
Types: Court, Aristocracy, Ecclesiastical Official, Governmental Official
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Main source is the autobiographical passage at the beginning of his book, Tratado de las siete enfermedades, (Lisbon, 1632).
  2. F. Guerra, "Aleixo de Abreu . . . ," Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 71 (1968), 55-69.
  3. Dictionary of Brazilian Biography.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Francisco Sousa Viterbo, O licenciado Aleixo d'Abreu, (Porto, 1912). I cannot find this in any library catalogue; I do find reference to Noticia sobre alguno medicos portugueses, 5 vols. (Lisboa, 1895-1915) by Sousa Viterbo.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University
Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.
1995 Al Van Helden
Last updated
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