Portuguese Colonial Legislation, 1910-1970

Portuguese Colonial Legislation, 1910-1970
Digital Archive Legal Pluralism

The Digital Archive is made up of two sets of information:


In this database the user can search through 88 volumes containing legislation relating to Portugal’s colonial territories between 1910 and 1970, searchable on a “free search” basis.

The collection was made up of three collections of printed legislation: the Collecção da Legislação colonial da República Portugueza (1910-1933, 34 volumes), the Boletim de Legislação Ultramarina Portuguesa (1934-1946, 24 volumes), and the Nova Legislação Ultramarina (1953-1970, 30 volumes). It offers around 67,5000 digitised pages, covering the period from 1910 to 1970, with few chronological gaps.

This database complements the database of colonial legislation already available on the website “The Government of Others. Imaginários Políticos no Império Português (1496-1961)”, also funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, which covers the immediately preceding chronological period (1496-1961), (http://www.governodosoutros.ics.ul.pt/). With this, researchers, regardless of where they are, now have access to a documentary corpus of great relevance and chronological scope for a deeper understanding of the themes explored within the scope of these two projects.

This database was made possible thanks to the collections being made available at the Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino, where they were fully digitised. Thanks are due to its Director, Professor Dr. Anna Canas, and the generous collaboration of the Archive’s staff, namely Isabel Amado, Manuela Portugal, Jorge Nascimento and Zélia Goia, who made this work possible in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Equally indispensable was the work carried out by the project’s doctoral fellow, Professor Dr. Yamê Paiva, at every stage of the process of creating this database. Without their collaboration and persistence, it wouldn’t exist.

II) In addition to the database, the site also includes a set of INDEXES, still under construction, with information relevant to the theme of the project:

i) An index of registers, collections and codifications of “uses and customs”;
ii) An index of doctrinal texts and case law;
iii) An index of collections, repositories and indexes of colonial legislation.

This project was coordinated by Ana Cristina Nogueira da Silva, a researcher at CEDIS and associate professor at NOVA School of Law.

The construction of this archive is one of the main outputs of the project Legal Pluralism in the Portuguese Empire, 18th-20th centuries (LEGALP), funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/DIR-OUT/30873/2017) and developed at CEDIS – Centre for Research & Development on Law and Society of NOVA School of Law, Faculty of Law of Universidade Nova de Lisboa/Nova School of Law and ICS-Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon.