Fort D. Luís I.

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The Forte de D. Luís I , best known as the Fort of Caxias or the Prison of Caxias , is a former fort of the Lisbon fortifications . The fort has been used as a prison since 1916 and gained fame during the Estado Novo period as the main prison of the state secret police PIDE / DGS , which detained the majority of political prisoners there .


Front page of the communist newspaper Avante! dated December 5, 1961 with the headline "A heróica fuga de Caxias" ( The heroic escape from Caxias )

Work on the fort began in 1879 as part of the Lisbon fortifications and defenses ( Campo Entrincheirado de Lisboa ) and was completed in 1886. The fort was initially called "Forte de Caxias" (Fort of Caxias). In 1901 the Portuguese state renamed the fort in honor of King D. Luís I, who died in 1889 .

From 1916 the fort lost its function as a base of the Lisbon defense line and was used by the state as a prison from then on. Initially, mostly disobedient soldiers of the 1st Infantry Regiment (1916) were imprisoned, later also market robbers, striking construction workers and 63 employees of the state post, who went on strike in September 1917 in solidarity with 900 colleagues detained on the boat Lourenço Marques .

With the transition to a fascist state ( Estado Novo ), the northern part of the fort was used as a political prison from January 1935 , and from 1960 it was used as a maximum security prison. It became known as the largest PIDE prison in Portugal and was particularly notorious for its PIDE cruelty and torture methods. Numerous resistance fighters were imprisoned there, and it was practically impossible to escape. Only in December 1961 eight imprisoned communists managed to escape. During the events of the Carnation Revolution in April 1974, the Caxias prison was a deliberate target of the demonstrators. On the morning of April 26th, all inmates were released.

After a long period of inactivity , the General Directorate for Correctional Services ( Direcção-Geral dos Serviços Prisionais ) got the building back in December 1988 and from then on used the northern part again as a high-security prison. The southern part was used again in 1995 as an infirmary for employees and prisoners alike. In recent times, the prison has become known primarily through numerous escape attempts, most recently in 2017 three prisoners escaped from the prison through a window. In addition, the prison is said to be one of the ten most heavily used correctional facilities in the country and is constantly overcrowded - in 2017, 518 people were incarcerated in the prison, although the maximum occupancy is only given as 334.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Património. Roteiro das prisões do Estado Novo . In: PÚBLICO . ( [accessed July 4, 2018]).
  2. Caxias Prison - Torture and Resistance in the Estado Novo . In: Feminisbon . July 15, 2013 ( [accessed July 4, 2018]).
  3. PORTUGAL / SALAZAR: Either way . In: Der Spiegel . tape 39 , September 23, 1968 ( [accessed July 4, 2018]).
  4. A Fuga de Caxias foi há 45 anos - Dedicação à prova de bala. Partido Comunista Português, 2006, accessed July 4, 2018 (European Portuguese).
  5. Nos últimos cinco anos 52 reclusos fugiram das cadeias . In: DN . February 19, 2017 ( [accessed July 4, 2018]).
  6. Marta Cerqueira: Prisão de Caxias é uma das mais lotadas do país . In: Semanario SOL . ( [accessed July 4, 2018]).

Coordinates: 38 ° 42 ′ 16.2 ″  N , 9 ° 16 ′ 2 ″  W.