|Ezequiel de Campos
Engineer and professor
Ezequiel de Campos was born in Beiriz, Póvoa de Varzim, of a poor family. His father, Albino José Pereira de Campos, was a tailor, and his mother, Carolina Custódia de Azevedo, was a seamstress; both were born and lived in Beiriz. He was an orphan since his mother died, when he was very young; he was given shelter by his uncle, a merchant from Póvoa de Varzim, where Ezequiel attended primary school. He later attended secondary school in Porto, which he accomplished in 1892. In Porto, he lived at another of his uncle's home, who had returned from Brazil and established in the city as a merchant. Since his family did not have the financial means to support his higher education, his studies were funded by a friend and meritorious man named José António Sousa Bastos. In the academic year 1892/93 he entered the degree in Civil Engineering at the Porto Polytechnic Academy, which he accomplished in 1898.
In 1899, as he lacked work opportunities in Portugal, he signed a contract to work on the public works in São Tomé and Prince, thus starting his professional life as an engineer. He has done an extraordinary work there, for the benefit of the islands: he planned reforms in the fields of agriculture and railways, and developed an educational programme aimed at the local inhabitants.
In 1911, upon the establishment of the Republic, he was elected a member of the national assembly, the Assembleia Constituinte, for Santo Tirso. In the meantime, on 1st March 1917, Ezequiel de Campos married to Isolina Gonçalves Mendes, who was born in Beiriz. In 1918 he was appointed by the Minister Francisco Xavier Esteves the director of the hydraulic studies of the Douro, the Cávado and the Tejo. Between 1922 and 1939 he worked as the director of the local gas and electricity company in Porto, the Serviços Municipalizados de Gás e Electricidade do Porto. He was the Minister of Agriculture for several months in 1924, in the short government lead by José Domingues dos Santos. During the Estado Novo, he was the Procurer to the Câmara Corporativa. Between 1957 and 1964, he was part of the Council for the Presidency. Ezequiel de Campos has also undertaken teaching activities in Higher Education: at the Porto Higher Institute of Commerce, between 1925 and 1927; at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, between 1928 and 1944. He taught his last lesson on 12th December 1944, entitled "A Ideia, a Produção mais Valiosa do Mundo" ("The Idea: the most precious production in the World").
Ezequiel de Campos was part of the group Renascença Portuguesa and, in 1921, was one of the founders of the Grupo Seara Nova, the first issue of which was published on 16th October 1921.
Ezequiel de Campos left an extensive range of works. Besides his studies on the natural resources of Portugal – the hydroelectric optimisation (the Carrapatelo was one of his projects) and several other projects in the field of agriculture, Engineer Ezequiel de Campos proposed solutions for several other problems in the country.
He wrote an extensive bibliography, and wrote extensively in the press of that time, namely in the newspaper "O Comércio do Porto" and the "Jornal de Notícias".
Ezequiel de Campos spent the last years of his life in Casa do Mosteiro, in Leça do Balio, a property that he had bought in the 1930s. He died at this house in a hot August Summer afternoon, at the age of 91. His body lies in the cemetery of Beiriz, his hometown.
(Text by Noémia Maria Ferreira de Castro, 2008)