Lisbon Geographic Society

Lisbon, Portugal | C.1875

Photo Credit: André Sand

The Lisbon Geographic Society was established to “promote and assist the study and progress of geography and related sciences in Portugal,” and has successfully done so on a global scale. Upon opening, the Society embarked on an expeditious journey to explore the world, then share their findings. Over a century later, the Society is still active in its original headquarters.

Seventy-four petitioners came together to urge King Luís I of Portugal to grant the Society’s creation. Counted among these persuasive, influential men were intellectuals, journalists, politicians, and members of Lisbon’s elite–brought together and driven by their collective curiosity to attain knowledge of lands beyond their borders.

During its early years, the Society focused on positioning Portugal as a major player within the then-competitive world of exploration and subsequent colonization. In the years to follow, the Society evolved in its motivations, and set forth programs that would provide means of connection for many Portuguese already living in locales across the world. In 1932, the Society created an exchange program for students from the Portuguese Metropolis and overseas schools; later expanding to place students in Brazil and North America.

By the 1960s, the Society used its global reach for good. They created another international outreach program, which served to connect Portuguese citizens with their descendants who had relocated from home. The General Congregation of Portuguese Communities brought together Portuguese people living all over the world, inviting them to attend Congresses that celebrate their culture.

Today, those who are aware of the Society’s headquarters—or are lucky to discover this hidden gem within Lisbon’s Pombaline Downtown district—are welcomed into a haven of shared knowledge, curiosity, and appreciation for the vast world upon which we all Adventure.

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