Torre do Tombo

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The Castelo de São Jorge, whose main tower was the Torre do Tombo
Main entrance of today's Torre do Tombo

The Torre do Tombo is the Portuguese national archive in the Castelo de São Jorge in Lisbon and is one of the oldest continuously existing institutions in Portugal.


Since at least 1378 the most important documents of the Portuguese royal family have been housed in the Torre do Tombo , the main tower of the Castelo de São Jorge. Fernão Lopes and Damião de Góis were important archivists at this time .

The tower was destroyed in the great Lisbon earthquake in 1755 . But since no fire had broken out, most of the documents could be saved. In 1757 they found a new home in the monastery of São Bento in Porto .

In the context of the Liberal Revolution in the 1820s, relations with the Holy See were broken off, the monasteries dissolved and the monastery archives confiscated. The documents kept there were transferred to Lisbon, provided they were not lost during this time, which increased the size of the archive considerably. In 1823, new user regulations were passed for the archive, in which the institution was again named after the medieval Torre do Tombo. A law of 1911 gave it the name Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo , but the documents were still distributed across different locations in Lisbon.

Since 1991 the Torre do Tombo has been located in a modern building on the Lisbon University campus . It has three building sections with an area of ​​54,900 square meters. One is the actual archive, a second is where cultural activities take place and a third houses the administration. Between 1997 and 2006, the institution was subordinate to the Ministry of Culture, was officially called Instituto dos Arquivos Nacionais / Torre do Tombo (IANTT) and, in addition to its actual archiving function, also supervised the Portuguese district archives. By law of October 27, 2006, the Torre do Tombo was given extensive autonomy and the Portuguese Center for Photography was incorporated.

The oldest documents of the Torre do Tombo, beginning with a document from the year 882, date back to the Moorish period . The Torre do Tombo has an extensive collection of medieval documents. Among the more than four hundred papal documents in the archive is also the papal bull Manifestis probatum of May 23, 1179, in which Pope Alexander III. confirmed the independence of Portugal. The archive also holds the oldest Portuguese-language document, the will of Alfonso II from the early 13th century. In addition, over 36,000 files of the Inquisition are stored there .

Publication on the history of Oman

In 2012, 7,680 facsimile pages of the archive materials were published. The project was funded by the Sultanate of Oman . A translation of the Portuguese-language documents into English and Arabic is planned. Associate editor is Abdulrahman Al-Salimi from the Omani Ministry of Religious Affairs .

  • Abdulrahman Al Salimi and Michael Jansen : Portugal in the Sea of ​​Oman. Religion and Politics , Research on Documents; 16 volumes in 3 slip cases. Philipp von Zabern, Darmstadt 2012, ISBN 978-3-8053-4374-9 .

See also


  • Pedro A. de Azevedo, António Baião: O Arquivo da Torre do Tombo. Sua historia, corpos que o compõem e organisação. Imprensa Commercial, Lisbon 1905 (digitized) .
  • Maria do Carmo Dias Farinha (ed.): A Torre do Tombo na viragem do milénio. Edições Colibri, Lisbon 2001, ISBN 972-8107-61-7 (exhibition catalog).
  • Gerhard Sailer: Papal documents in Portugal from 1198–1304. A contribution to the Censimento. Dissertation, University of Vienna, 2008, p. 13 f. and more often (PDF; 1.83 MB) .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Battle for the oceans. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , April 18, 2013, p. 30.