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In his personal life, Louis was a man of many interests.

When I do tours in the city hall al always see the portrait of multiple kings in the old ballroom. Most of them are pretty well known like Carlos, who was the first king to go arrive at Madeira, or Manuel II, for being the last king. However there is one king I never knew much about, except that his name was Louis I ‘the popular’, was king from 1861 to 1889 and the father of Carlos I. So I used this text as a chance for me to inform myself about him.

King Louis I was born as the second son of Queen Maria II and King Fernando II, making him not the original heir to the throne. His older brother Pedro became king before him, but he died of chorea after ruling for only a decade. Since he had no heirs his younger brother became next in line for succession, making Louis the new king of Portugal.

He was an amateur painter, spoke several languages, composed music and translated Shakespeare into Portuguese. One of his major interests was actually oceanic science. He spends a great deal of his own money on oceanographic research vessels and even making one of the first aquariums in the world, which can still be viewed today.

However, for all the talents that he had, politics were something he was not very good at. During his reign, there was an ongoing power struggle between the liberal ‘Progressistas’ and the conservative ‘Regeneradores’. As the king, he was automatically partial towards the ‘Regeneradores’, but the more popular ‘Progressistas’ were very vocal about any hint of partiality from the King. This volatile political situation was worsened by the fact that at the time Portugal was in a big economic crisis, and the consumption tax that was made to soften the impact was met with great dissatisfaction and even riots in 1867. the situation became so bad that there was even a failed military uprising in 1870.

In international politics the situation was not much better. Brazil was pretty much split of Portugal because of ‘the war of two brothers’, all the political infighting and the economic crisis hampered the progress and advancement of the colonial empire while giving Portugal a great disadvantage to other countries. Even their old alliance with England gave them trouble because of their conflicting interests in Africa. Because of the loss of Brazil, Portugal needed another big colony to improve their economy and the only continent left was Africa. They already had some colonies in east and west Africa along the coast, and after the abolishment of the slave trade, they wanted to expand them. The plan was to connect the east- and west-coast to create a ‘rose coloured map’ of Portuguese. territory. This however put them in direct conflict with the English who went from north to south to control everything from ‘the cape to Cairo’.

In the end, it is mostly said that Louis’s reign is mostly that of domestic stagnation in terms of public education, political stability, technological progress and economic prosperity during which ineffective governments (called Rotativism) were constantly made between the liberals and conservatives. In colonial affairs it was also slowly going worse and worse, culminating to the famous ‘British ultimatum’ a year after his death in which Portugal was denied the chance to connect its two colonial territories.

In my personal opinion, Louis was more of a victim of the circumstances than anything else. He was less of a king and more of a ‘renaissance man’, loving science and the arts and not wanting to deal with politics. And it should have OK since his brother was supposed to become king. Unfortunately, he had to become the king of a divided country in bad circumstances, while being blamed for everything that went wrong. Still, he did make a lot small and bad political decisions during a time where Portugal could not afford those. I think that in the end, he would have been a pretty good constitutional monarch if he had a good government to make political decisions for him, while he tried to make Portugal popular for scientists and artists by inviting them to his Portugal and help his country that way. That way he would really have been ‘Louis the popular’

Short bio of the volunteer:

David Spoor, a 20 years old Dutchman wanting to live above sea level for a while. Likes traveling, nature, food and buildings over 300 years old.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.