Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Female Heads and Government Members of The Azores - The Região Autónoma dos Açores

External Territory of Portugal with self-rule since 1976

A Donatorio - Donatary - was a private person (often a nobleman) who was bestowed by the crown with a considerable piece of land, called a donátaria, which was handed over at his discretion, exempt form normal colonial administration trough some royal governor etc., so de facto equivalent to a British Lord Proprietor. Smaller possessions could be under an officer simply styled Capitão (captain) The captains and captains-donatary were like governors who had full control over their domain. They held the office of judge. They could make land grants. They monopolized the gristmills, public baking ovens, and salt sales. The land they granted was subdivided for tenant farming. This way the lands
were farmed by peasants who had no ownership and had to pay high rent and tax. This system lasted for centuries and was one key reason for the high Azorean emigration

1474 Acting Captain-Donatary Antonia de Burges of the Island of Terceira
She reigned in the absence of her father, Jacome de Burges, who had evidently disappeared during a sea voyage, and in spite of the fact that  the captaincy was originally granted with a stipulation that if there were no male heir, she would inherit it, the King of Portugal gave it in part to  Joao Vaz Corte-Real.

1477-1500 Captain-Donatary Maria de Vilhena of Flores e Corvo
Acted in the name of her oldest son, Capitão do donatário
Rui Teles. In 1500 she sold the islands to João da Fonseca, de Évora.

1581-1610 Captain-Donatary Margarida Côrte-Real of The Island of Terceira, Praia and São Jorge and the Capitania of Agria
She held office jointly with her husband, Cristovão de Moura, 1 marquês de Castelo Rodrigo (1538-1613). Daughter of her predecessor, Vasco Anes Corte-Real (1530-77-81). She was mother of 3 children, and lived (1570-1610).

1646-before 1654 Captain-Donatary Branca da Gama Freire of Santa Maria
She was daughter of Luis da Gama Pereira and Violante Freire, married to Vasco da Gama, capitão de Chaul, and mother of 2 sons and 2 daughters, one of whom was Joana de Menzeses, who succeeded to the Captainship in 1665.

1650-57 Captain-Donatary (Dame) Beatriz de Mascarenhas of the Islands of Flores and Corvo
She was III. Countess of Santa Cruz and She married a distant cousin, João de Mascarenhas (1600-1668), who became 3rd Count of Santa Cruz by marriage. They had 9 children.

1665-circa 67 Captain-Donatary Joana de Menezes of Santa Maria
She was daughter of
Branca da Gama Freire and married to Jorge Mascarenhas. She was mother of 2 children. Luís de Vasconcelos e Sousa, Conde de Castelho Melhor was Captain-Donatary from 23rd of May 1667 until 1720.

1757-66 Joana Tomásia da Câmara of São Miguel
Succeeded  her father, José da Câmara Teles, 13. capitão do donatário, to  the title of the capitania and married to Guido Augusto da Câmara and they executed the office jointly until it was abolished by the king. Also Countess of
da Ribeira Grande, mother of several children and lived (1730-?)


1979-80 Regional Secretary of Social Affairs Maria Fátima Oliveira

1995-96 Deputy President of the Regional Government and Regional Secretary of Finance, Planning and Public Administration Berta María Correíra de Almeida de Melo Cabral
Vice-President of the Regional Assembly from 2012.

2000-04 Regional Secretary of Social Affairs Maria Fernanda da Silva Mendes

2002-04 Adjunct Regional Secretary of the Presidency of the Government Cláudia Alexandra Coelho Cardoso Meneses da Costa
2011- Regional Secretary of Education

2004-08 Regional Secretary of Environment and the Sea Ana Paula Pereira Marques
2008- Regional Secretary of Labour and Social Solidarity

2008-11 Regional Secretary of Education Maria Lina Pires Sousa Mendes

2012- Regional Secretary for the Economy Luisa Schanderl


Last update 10.11.12