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Salgueiro Maia: Wikis


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Fernando José Salgueiro Maia, GOTE, GCL (*July 1, 1944 in Castelo de Vide, Portugal; †April 4, 1992 in Santarém), commonly known just by Salgueiro Maia (Portuguese pronunciation: [saɫˈɡɐiɾu ˈmaiɐ]) was a captain of the Portuguese army. He made a significant contribution to the Carnation Revolution, which resulted in the fall of the then ruling dictatorship.



Salgueiro Maia was one of the captains of the Portuguese Army who led the revolutionary forces during the Carnation Revolution. He was a son of Francisco da Luz Maia, a railway worker, and Francisca Silvéria Salgueiro. He attended the Primary School in São Torcato, Coruche, and would later relocate to Tomar where he studied at Colégio Nun'Álvares, but would finish his Secondary School education in the National Liceu of Leiria. Maia later graduated in Social and Political Sciences and Ethnological and Anthropological Sciences.

In 1983 he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty; in 1992, posthumously, the degree of Grand Officer of the Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword of Valour, Loyalty and Merit; and in 2007, the Gold Medal of the city of Santarém.

Carnation Revolution

Salgueiro Maia, a young captain who drilled officers-in-training and sergeants-in-training, was informed about the plans of the Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA) to bring down the dictatorship. The moment (10.55 pm) the signal for the uprising was played on the radio (E depois do adeus), Maia and his cadets grabbed their weapons and, against the will and even resistance of several regular officers (among them the commandant who was simply arrested by Maia) marched out, toward Lisbon.

The other signal used was Grândola Vila Morena, a folk song (later translated to other languages) by the great Portuguese singer and composer Zeca Afonso, which was the signal for the coup leaders to announce that they had taken control of strategic parts of the country. This song's theme is fraternity, equality, friendship and wisdom in the fidelity to those intemporal values.

Salgueiro Maia and his troops peacefully forced the then ruling dictatorship to resign and it is in a large part due to his brave intelligence, humble and sensible character and strategic/social genius that bloodshed was avoided at all cost during the Revolution and there were "only" four dead people during the Carnation Revolution — these were not killed by the revolutionaries nor Maia's troops, but by the political police of the regime (PIDE) itself, when civilians were peacefully demonstrating in front of its headquarters in Lisbon. The red carnations became the beautiful symbol of the peaceful revolution because, besides having happened in the beginning of Spring, some of the soldiers and civilians asked to a flower seller who was passing by for some flowers to put on the tip of their guns and tanks, as a sign that there would be no bloodshed. It was a celebration of life and Peace.

After the Revolution

Salgueiro Maia never wanted to assume any political power position after the Portuguese 1974 coup d'état. In 1981 he became a major.

He later adopted 2 children. In 1989 he was diagnosed with a cancer and, after surgeries and a long painful process, Maia would die on the 4th of April 1992, only 48 years old.

Quotes of Salgueiro Maia

  • "I came to see a mass of people, all raising their voices, placing flowers in the muzzles of the rifles. No one needed to kill or to be killed. No one needed to order an assault, or even the arrest of the king and his vassals."
  • "When I became involved in the planning of this mission, I swore on my honour that I would see it through to its end. For this I would give my soul—my life."
  • "There are three kinds of states: capitalist states, socialist states, and the state we're in" (on the eve of the Carnation Revolution, to the assembled soldiers who would march into Lisbon).

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