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After the disastrous closure of the Faculty of Letters of Porto by the Military Dictatorship, Damião Peres decided to apply to the Faculty of Letters of the University of Coimbra, and submitted himself to public examination with a paper entitled A diplomacia portuguesa e a sucessão de Espanha (1700-1704) (Portuguese diplomacy and the Spanish succession, 1700-1704). This was based on research he had done in various archives, not only Portuguese ones. Above all, he used unpublished documental evidence analysing the different positions adopted and rejected over the years. He described apparently unstable situations, ranging from the alliance with Louis XIV and Philip V to the attempt at neutrality in the neighbouring conflict so that integration of the British, the Dutch and the Germans within the Great Alliance might finally come about. These were situations in which figures at the forefront of Portuguese representations abroad moved: D. Luís da Cunha (London), José da Cunha Brochado (Paris) and Francisco de Sousa Pacheco (the Low Countries). He talked with an understanding of the international moves made in the game, trying to satisfy a policy that lacked firmness on the part of its protagonists at the court in Lisbon during the negotiations which led to the treaties of 16 May 1703. With these treaties, Portugal began its participation in the conflict that would last for some ten years.