Inventory of the Real Companhia Velha Archive

This project had as main goals the survey, inventorying and publishing of the Real Companhia Velha Archive, a unique heritage in the World, as it concerns the Alto Douro Region, classified as World Heritage Site.

Funded by CCDR-N (Operational Program of the Portuguese Northern Region) and by FCT, it counted with a team of fifteen specialized researchers and with the technical support of Porto District Archive.

The project had as main goals the survey, inventorying and publishing of the Real Companhia Velha Archive; the acknowledgment and dissemination of a heritage that due to its nature, unity, homogeneity and continuity, is unique in Portugal and even in the world; and the publishing of the History of the Institution.

The Real Companhia Velha Archive reflects the history, structure and functioning of the Institution, its legal background, the production and trade of Douro wines, as well as brandies and vinegars, the inquiries and representations to the Government and to the Parliament, the functions and powers delegated from the State, etc. It is a wide and very rich Archive, which due to its dimension surprised even the members of the Government and the directors of the National Archive, who had the chance to see it. It is not by chance that, in the last 25 years, several professors studied it with their teams, but none was even capable of organizing its documentary funds. Few have an exact idea of the work we carried out, which even forced us to expand the original team, as the inexhaustible fund of unsorted documentation was in such an indescribable confusion.

All the goals proposed were fully accomplished, the Real Companhia Velha Archive was fully organized and inventoried, and its inventory was published in book and CD-ROM, in 2003. Many sources were already studied, which originated the publishing of the History of Real Companhia Velha (1756-2006), in 2006; and currently the archive is finally available to all researchers.

Coordinator - Fernando de Sousa