Article ID: CBB462720640

The sphere and the dome: The Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium in Lisbon and the imperial myth of the Estado Novo (2021)


Inaugurated in 1965, the Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium (CGP) was the first institution of its kind in Portugal. The CGP was established in the context of the relocation of the Maritime Museum of Lisbon (Museu de Marinha) to Belém, an area of the Portuguese capital highly symbolic of Portuguese maritime and imperial history. The dictatorial regime known as Estado Novo used Belém as a ground for major events that affirmed the legitimacy of Portugal’s overseas empire by celebrating the maritime deeds of erstwhile sovereigns and navigators, in a mythical narrative of a glorious imperial destiny. Given the close association between astronomy and nautical science, the CGP was certain to gain a prominent place in the tapestry of Belém’s symbolic inscriptions. This paper addresses the inception of the CGP in its urban context, showing how this area of Lisbon provided an ideal backdrop for this institution, and how its foundation was promoted and steered by a naval officer and amateur astronomer who maintained an ambivalent relation with the regime: Eugénio da Conceição Silva (1903–69).

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Authors & Contributors
Nieto-Galan, Agustí
Foss-Mollan, Kate
Fan, Fa-ti
Diogo, Maria Paula
Burr, Christina Ann
Brett, Annabel S
Scientia Canadensis: Journal of the History of Canadian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Geographia antiqua
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Technology and Culture
History and Anthropology
Environmental History
Purdue University Press
McGill-Queen's University Press
Princeton University Press
Yale University Press
Urban history
Science and politics
Science and society
Science and culture
Smith, Alfred Emanuel
Deventer, Jacob van
Thomas Aquinas, Saint
Blasco, Michel Angelo de
Lisbon (Portugal)
Barcelona (Spain)
United States
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
20th century, late
16th century
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)
Habsburg, House of

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