Manoel Vaz Pereira

Place of birth: Lisbon.

Major Physician in Bahia. Physician in Olinda.

Link to BRASILHIS Database:

Physician of Portuguese origin. He studied at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Évora and at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Salamanca. Bachelor of Medicine in 1600, by de University of Salamanca. Major Physician of the Bahia’s Prison and Physician of the city of Olinda.

The physician Manoel Vaz Pereira was born in the city of Lisbon, but there isn’t information in which year. However, if we consider the years in which he attended in the Faculties of Arts and Medicine, as well as the fact that the minimum age to study the higher courses was 14 years old, we can estimate that he could have been born around 1580 (generally when a student was younger than 14 years old or too old for the entrance exam, this information was mentioned in the matriculation document[1].

He studied the former three years of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Évora. His first year’s matriculation of the course of Medicine was on October 21, 1596, at the University of Salamanca[2]. He received the title of Bachelor in Medicine, on March 2, 1600, after attending the four years of this course[3] in the Faculty of Medicine in Salamanca[4].

On January 24, 1605, he was still a resident of the city of Lisbon and was examined by the royal Major Physician, Dr. Fernão Roiz Cardoso, and received his Medicine License that allowed him to practice the medical profession, as well being able to act in all the Kingdoms and Lordships of Portugal[5].

From this date there isn’t information about when he went to Brazil, but in 1609 he appears in the Salary Sheet of the city of Bahia and of the Captaincy as Major Physician of the Prison. He received an annual order of 40.000 réis to “cure all the soldiers” of the Prison of Bahia and fortresses of this city. He is the only health professional who appears in this document, so he could also have exercised the professional functions related to the surgeons and apothecaries[6]. Or, could be that the professionals of these areas may have been hired on a temporary way, not fixed, so they would not appear on the payroll. It could occur, for example, that the medicines came from outside the prison, from an apothecary in the urban area, or from surroundings areas, a quite usual practice in this period.

It is not possible to estimate how long he practiced medicine in the Bahia’s Prison, but on November 2, 1618, a Medicine License was issued to Dr. Manoel Vaz Pereira (Physician of the city of Olinda[7]), to treat all the sick persons, including soldiers, with the annual order of 20.000 réis, at the expense of the Chamber of Olinda[8].

The medicos de partido or médicos camarários were doctors hired and suffused by the town councils. This system of hiring physicians was not only restricted to them, but also to apothecaries. Its origin came from a scholarship scheme financed by the town councils, for the training of these professionals at University of Coimbra (and in the case of apothecaries, under their tutelage). It was instituted by the Portuguese crown, since 1568, as a way to provide for this growing labor market in health area in Portugal. According to Laurinda Abreu, it was a way to redistribute the resources, the financiers, the Town Council, were the beneficiaries themselves, with their services. The surgeons, on the other hand, who were outside this scholarship scheme, ended up benefiting from these articulations between the Crown and the municipal powers[9].

The request to fill this position and to hire the physician and surgeon Manoel Vaz Pereira, came from the Town Council of Olinda itself, due to their need of a resident physician[10]. Since 1618 wasn’t found more information about this physician in the documentation.

Even though very little is known about this physician and surgeon, the reduced documental information about Manoel Vaz Pereira highlights a quite usual professional trajectory. Many health professionals, especially from the 17th century on, sought to add more skills as a way to better serve the available labor market[11].

Many university-trained physicians, such as the Portuguese Manoel Vaz Pereira, were also active in arts of surgery. As was common in the period of the Hispanic Monarchy, many Portuguese undertook part or all of their studies at the University of Coimbra, but also at the University of Salamanca (the second favorite)[12].

During their training at the Faculty of Medicine, the medical students were trained in the area of surgery, having anatomy and surgery classes, from the 16th century on, both in the universities of Coimbra and Salamanca. Thus, in the practical part, they ended up having experience and knowledge not only in the theoretical area[13].

Therefore, the few contracted employees ended up, necessarily, adding professional activities of on more area. In Manoel Vaz Pereira’s case, we can also add the fact that he worked in both the military and the civilian sphere during his professional career, another recurring practice of the period[14].

[1] Marcos de Dios, 1975.

[2] Registration Books (matriculation): AUS 306, fl. 144v, in 21/10/1596; AUSA 307, fl. 140, in 13/11/1597; AUSA 308, fl. 141v, in 02/12/1598 and AUSA 309, fl. 140, in 15/11/1599.

[3] Registration Books (titles): AUSA 741, fl. 152v.

[4] Marcos de Dios, 1975.

[5] ANTT, Chancelaria de D. Filipe II, liv. 22, fl. 340.

[6] AHU, AHU_CU_BAHIA-LF, Cx. 1, D. 9

[7] In Spain, there was also a type of professional like the Portuguese Médico de Partido, with hires made from the municipalities, especially rural ones, of physicians, surgeons, apothecaries and veterinarians. In the territory of Aragon, they begin to appear from the 17th century on, receiving the denomination of la conducta or conducción. According to Fernández Doctor y Arcarazo García, this term would have derived from equivalent systems in Italy, which since the medieval period, had de medici condotti or in the German-speaking cities, of Startdtzärzte, which meant “the contract or act of pay salaries from the municipality that made to a doctor or other public jobs” (free translation). These authors state that this type of contracting also existed in the territories of Castella, where they were called Partido or Medicatura, since the 16th century (Fernández Doctor y Arcarazo García, 2002:19).

[8] ANTT, Chancelaria de D. Filipe II, liv. 41, fl. 203.

[9] Abreu, 2018.

[10] ANTT, Chancelaria de D. Filipe II, liv. 41, fl. 203.

[11] Abreu, 2018.

[12] To a lesser extent, also studied medicine in French and Italian universities (Marcos de Dios, 1975).

[13] It was also part of the medical course, the visits that the medical students made to the sick in hospitals, or even those on the streets, always accompanied by a professor, a graduate or a master in this area (Marcos de Dios, 1975; Abreu, 2018; Silva, 2002).

[14] Abreu, 2018.


– AHU, Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino, AHU_CU_BAHIA-LF, Cx. 1, D. 9.

– ANTT, Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Chancelaria de D. Filipe II, liv. 22, fl. 340.

– ANTT, Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Chancelaria de D. Filipe II, liv. 41, fl. 203.

– AUSA, Archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca, Libro 306, fl. 144v.

– AUSA, Archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca, Libro 307, fl. 140.

– AUSA, Archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca, Libro 308, fl. 141v.

– AUSA, Archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca, Libro 309, fl. 140.

– AUSA, Archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca, Libro 741, fl. 152v.


– Abreu, L. (2018). A institucionalização do saber médico e suas implicações sobre a rede de curadores oficiais na América portuguesa. Tempo, Niterói, vol. 24, n. 3, p. 493-524. Recuperado em:

– Fernández Doctor, A. y Arcarazo García, L. A. (2002). Asistencia rural en los siglos XVII y XVIII: Los tipos de “conducción” de los profesionales sanitários en Aragón. Dynamis. Acta Hisp. Med. Hist. Illus. n. 22, p. 189-208. Recuperado em:

– Marcos de Dios, A. (1975). Portugueses en la Universidad de Salamanca (1580-1640). (Tese de Doutoramento). Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca.

– Silva, J. M. (2002). Anotações sobre a história do ensino da Medicina em Lisboa, desde a criação da Universidade Portuguesa até 1911 – 1ª parte. RFML, Serie III; 7 (5): 237-249. Recuperado em:


Zeli Teresinha Company (Universidad de Salamanca)

How to quote this entry:

Zeli Teresinha Company. “Manoel Vaz Pereira“. In: BRASILHIS Dictionary: Biographic and Thematic Dictionary of Brazil in the Spanish Monarch (1580-1640). Available in: Date of access: 29/05/2024.

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