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António de Spínola
President of the National Salvation Junta
Order: 1st
Term of Office April 25, 1974 (with powers of head of state and government) - May 15, 1974 (just with powers of head of government) - May 16, 1974 (just president of the NSJ) - September 30, 1974
Predecessor: Américo Thomaz (as head of state)
Marcello Caetano (as head of government)
Successor: Himself (as President of the Republic)
Adelino da Palma Carlos (as Prime Minister)
Francisco da Costa Gomes (as President of the NSJ)
President of Portugal
Order: 14th (1st since the Carnation revolution)
Term of Office May 15, 1974 - September 30, 1974
Predecessor: Américo Thomaz (effective)
Himself (interim, as President of the NSJ)
Successor: Francisco da Costa Gomes
Date of Birth April 11, 1910
Place of Birth: Estremoz
Date of Death August 13, 1996
Place of Death: Lisbon
Wife: Maria Helena Martin Monteiro de Barros
Occupation: Military officer (Marshal)
Political Party: Independent
Religion: Roman Catholicism

António Sebastião Ribeiro Spínola (generally called de Spínola, though this particular surname never had a particle), GCTE, ComA (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ̃ˈtɔniu dɨ ˈspinulɐ]; Estremoz, Santo André, 11 April 1910[1]Lisbon, 13 August 1996) was a Portuguese soldier and politician. He was a son of António Sebastião Spínola and first wife Maria Gabriela Alves Ribeiro.

Spínola entered the Colégio Militar in 1920, beginning what would be a very successful military career. By 1928 he joined Portugal's Military Academy where he stood out as a young and promising cavalry officer.

In Lisbon, Anjos, in August 1932 he married Maria Helena Martin Monteiro de Barros (14 January 1913 - 23 May 2002), daughter of João de Azevedo Monteiro de Barros and wife German Gertrud Elisabete Martin, by whom he had no issue.

Spinola served in several positions in Portugal's rebellious colonies in Africa. In 1961 Spínola was sent to Angola, and in 1968 Spinola was appointed as the 42nd Governor of Portuguese Guinea and Chief of the Army Forces there. In 1973 he was invited to be the Minister of the Colonies, but he refused. A year later Spínola became Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, but was dismissed after difficulties with the government.

On 25 April 1974, the authoritarian regime in Portugal was overthrown by the Carnation Revolution in which General Spinola did not play an important role. However Prime-Minister Marcelo Caetano insisted he would only surrender power to Spínola. The general negotiated the surrender and seized this opportunity to present himself as the leader of the revolution, subsequently becoming President of the Republic on May 15. As a conservative he disliked the leftist direction of the revolution and tried to avoid the independence of the colonies.

Spínola met with Mobutu Sese Seko, the President of Zaire, on 15 September 1974 on Sal Island in the Cape Verde, crafting a plan to empower Holden Roberto of the National Liberation Front of Angola, Jonas Savimbi of UNITA, and Daniel Chipenda of the MPLA's eastern faction at MPLA leader Agostinho Neto's expense while retaining the facade of national unity. Mobutu and Spínola wanted to diminish Neto's standing and present Chipenda as the MPLA head, Mobutu particularly preferring Chipenda to Neto because Chipenda supported autonomy for Cabinda and Neto did not. The Angolan exclave has immense petroleum reserves estimated at around 300 million tons which Zaire, and thus the Mobutu government, depended on for economic survival.[2] He resigned fifteen days later on 30 September 1974, after just 4 months in power, when he realized he would not be able to block the application of the MFA program.[3]

Spínola became involved in a right-wing coup attempt in 11 March 1975 and fled the country after its failure.[4] He was eventually rehabilitated after the 25 November 1975 coup. In 1981 Spínola was promoted to the highest rank in the Army, Field Marshal.


  1. ^ Baptised in Lisbon, Santa Justa, on 18 August 1910
  2. ^ Erik P. Hoffmann amd Frederic J. Fleron. The Conduct of Soviet Foreign Policy, 1980. Page 524.
  3. ^ Nataf, Daniel. Democratization and Social Settlements: The Politics of Change in Contemporary Portugal, 1995. Page 14.
  4. ^ Yossi Shain and Juan José Linz. Between States: Interim Governments and Democratic Transitions, 1995. Page 149.
  • Fotobiografias do Século XX, Photobiography of António de Spínola, Círculo de Leitores.
Political offices
Preceded by
Américo Thomaz
(as President)
Marcelo Caetano
(as Prime Minister)
President of the National Salvation Junta
Succeeded by
(as President of the Republic)
Adelino da Palma Carlos
(as Prime Minister)
Francisco da Costa Gomes (as President of the NSJ)
Preceded by
Américo Thomaz (effective)
(interim, as President of the NSJ)
President of Portugal
Succeeded by
Francisco da Costa Gomes


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