In this exhibition, it is intended to deepen the knowledge about the life and work of this Navy Officer who made such important contributions to our homeland.
Carlos Viegas de Gago Coutinho was born in Lisbon in 1869. He joined the Escola Naval in 1886, having distinguished himself for his aplomb and intelligence. From an early age, he became interested in the study of warships, namely wireless telegraphy, artillery, shipbuilding, magnetism, technical problems of navigation, in general.
From 1898 Gago Coutinho started his activity as a geographer. His work in this field, where he put into practice all his knowledge of geodesy, astronomy and mathematical geography, which are among those of greatest scientific value produced by the Portuguese in Asia and Africa. One of its most emblematic campaigns takes place on the islands of S. Tomé. Traditionally, cartography has indicated that the Equator line ran between the island of S. Tomé and the Ilhéu das Rolas. The then Commander Gago Coutinho came to demonstrate that this line actually cut the islet, which remained for history as a scientific landmark in the area of geodesy. So much so that, the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe, published in Portaria on June 16, 1923, recognition for the discovery wanting to give the islander the name of Gago Coutinho.
In 1922, he led the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic, together with Commander Sacadura Cabral, whom he had met in Mozambique. This landmark in the history of Portugal and International, was successful in the invention of Gago Coutinho in the adaptation of the sextant (instrument used by maritime navigators) and a route corrector, which contributed a lot to the success of the air navigation of the trip and whose concepts currently are still used for the construction of the most modern instruments.
In the last phase of his life, Gago Coutinho dedicated himself to the History of Nautical, from the period of the Discoveries. His contribution was notable, to clarify some matters, of a technical nature for sailing sailings of the 15th and 16th centuries, with Jaime Cortesão arguing that Gago Coutinho was the introducer of the nautical-geographic method in the analysis of the History of Navigation.
By decision of the National Assembly Gago Coutinho was promoted to Admiral in 1958, having died on February 18, 1959, the day after his 90th birthday. Without ever failing to occupy himself with his research work, and at no time have he forgotten who helps him in his achievements:
“And they obeyed me blindly, although we did not impose ourselves by the brightness of uniforms or swords, nor by the bayonets of soldiers. Okay, I had guns, but they came in their hands. We were not respected for strength, but for the prestige of our persistent work, symbolized by the peaceful compass, which we carried in our hands. ”