Sidónio Pais, portrait
Sidónio Pais (1872-1918), a military captain, joined the Republican ranks of the University of Coimbra after the revolution of 5 October 1910, having been named vice-rector and councillor of the Administrative Commission of Coimbra City Council. Elected as a deputy of the National Constituent Assembly by the Portuguese Republican Party, he replaced Brito Camacho as Minister of Public Works. Stationed as a diplomat in Berlin when the First World War broke out, he returned to Portugal to prepare a military coup, which he brought to fruition on 8 December 1917.
Increasingly important to the workings of State, he assumed the presidency of the Republic on 17 December 1917 and was elected President of the Republic on 28 April of the following year. Known as President -King thanks to his habit of encouraging ‘meet and greets’ with the public, he established a dictatorship that imposed press censorship and limited parliamentary powers. He died on the way to St José Hospital, on the night of 14 December 1918, after having been shot by the Republican José Júlio da Costa (1893-1946), who felt that the president had betrayed the Republican ideals. He was the only Portuguese president ever to be assassinated.
© Museu de Lisboa