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José Frederico Laranjo was born of humble background in Castelo de Vide, son of Possidónio Mateus Laranjo and Maria José Correxana. He began ecclesiastical studies, quickly abandoned, and then went instead to the Faculty of Law at Coimbra University, where he graduated and started an academic career. He taught various courses, distinguishing himself for his lecturing on Political Economy and Constitutional Law. However, his academic activity was interrupted by politics, spending many years as a deputy in the National Assembly for the Progressive Party, and later as a peer of the realm. He sat on various parliamentary commissions, particularly those relating to banking matters, but he never held a position in government. As a member of many scientific societies, both national and foreign, he made a lasting contribution to the press, as well as giving firm support to the promotion of cooperativism and popular education. He had a long-standing commitment to local and regional ways of life, and in the university he promoted the study of local history (cf. A. Ventura, José Frederico Laranjo (1846-1910), 1996, and J. C. Graça, As Ideias Económicas…, 2002).