Around 1500, a boy was born in Castelo de Vide: he was called Garcia de Orta. He had no roots in the Alentejo because his parents had fled there, escaping from Castille. Fleeing poverty, justice, war? Not at all! Fleeing religious persecution. Although Portugal allowed many jewish Castilian refuges into the country, but not for long.
Quick and eager to learn, he headed to the great universities of the Iberian Peninsula, studying Arts and Medicine at Alcalá and Salamanca. He often thinks that the word was too narrow for him, and he let Lisbon, attracted by the idea of a great adventure travelling to the Orient, as a private physician of Martim Afonso de Sousa, the Captain General of the Indian Seas.
In Goa he was a renowed physician and important figure of society.
He wrote the most notable book Colloquies, made up of 58 numbered dialogues, (with an extra one added).
We can wander around exotic, aromatic gardens, among the plants he described.
His ashes were scattered to be lost in oblivion. In contrast, however, his knowledge and way of looking at the word aroused scientific curiosity, tolerance, love of truth, the courage to confront traditions and to say no to what is wrong.
We invited you all to read the book, already available.
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