In the kingdom of Morocco in 1825 a young Jewish boy by the name of Fortunato Levy was born, he would later marry a young woman by the name of Victoria. The records are silent of the year of her birth, but it is known that she was also born in Morocco. The two would later emigrate to Portugal and settle in Faro, while in Faro a son would be born to Fortunato and Victoria Levy and he is named Bento.
Bento Levy was born on November 11th, 1851 in Lagos, Faro, Portugal. Around 1869 at the age of 18, Bento Levy will emigrate to the then colony of Cabo Verde and establishes himself on the island of Santiago. Ten years later, Bento Levy is baptized on July 7th, 1879 at São Nicolau Tolentino, São Domingos, Cabo Verde. He will later marry the daughter of Paulo José Monteiro dos Mosquitos de Santa Maria and Josefa Rodrigues de Carvalho both from the island of Santiago, their daughter was Paula Conceição Monteiro.
Bento and Paula Levy will have 5 sons and there names were José Monteiro Levy [b. 1.14.1877], Álvaro Monteiro Levy, Fortunato Monteiro Levy [b. 4.21.1888 – d. 12.31.1969], Simão Monteiro Levy, and Jayme Monteiro Levy [b. 7.2.1982]. All 5 sons were born in São Lourenço dos Órgãos, Santiago, Cabo Verde. All 5 sons will have some impact in the future development of Cabo Verde, but the one that we will be focusing on is Fortunato Monteiro Levy.
By 1903, we find Fortunato M. Levy studying Business Administration at the Escola Académica located in Lisbon, Portugal. Founded in 1847, the Escola Académica was active until 1976, the year that the doors were permanently closed. There were almost 130 years of prestigious formative training offered during the lifetime of this institution.
In the picture above the two students appear before the camera in an attitude of great aesthetic beauty. They would certainly be the most outstanding of this class, displaying their virtuosity to their colleagues and reporters.
Now, if we look more closely at the photograph we see that the student who is ready to make touché is one of our acquaintances. This is Fortunato Monteiro Levy, the Cabo Verdean who would take part on the first team of Sport Lisboa e Benfica on January 1, 1905.
We know that Fortunato was not among the 24 men who officiated the founding of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica club. But he did take part in the trainings with other future players at Salésias in 1903, or months before the very founding of Sport Lisboa e Benfica. He participated in 10 of the 24 training sessions of Sport Lisboa organized by Manuel Gourlade and Daniel Santos Brito from February 28, 1904, the day of the Club’s foundation, until January 1, 1905 [Date of the first official meeting against Campo de Ourique].
On January 1st between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. the team started training and this is the morning of the scheduled day for the club’s debut game.
In the field of Salésias, eight athletes were present: Cândido Rosa Rodrigues , António Rosa Rodrigues, Carlos França, Daniel dos Santos Brito, Eduardo Corga Joaquim Ribeiro, José Cruz Viegas and Manuel Gourlade. It was the last training session of an intense eleven month preparation, involving 29 drills, a very high number in a time in football where you played more than you trained! Of these eight footballers only three would participate in the first game: António Rosa Rodrigues, Carlos França and José Cruz Viegas.
Later that same day, at noon the game begins and by the end of the game Sport Lisboa e Benfica had won their debut match 1-0. Sport Lisboa e Benfica fielded a team with the following players: Pedro Guedes, José Cruz Viegas, Emílio de Carvalho, Fortunato Levy, César de Melo, António Couto, António Rosa Rodrigues, Silvestre Silva, Raul Empis, José Rosa Rodrigues and Carlos França.
Fortunato Levy played as a Defensive Right Midfielder, he showed great promise and had an amazing development and eventually making his debut as a professional footballer [soccer player] at the age of 16.
Fortunato Monteiro Levy, was also the first cyclist of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica, having debuted on June 11, 1906 in a 1000m race in Palhavã, coming in second place. Still on the same day he finished third in another event, in the process winning the first two trophies in the Club’s history.
We now know that Fortunato Monteiro Levy spent at least 4 years in the capital of Portugal. Between the ages of 15 and 19. By April of 1907, he has returned to the city of Praia, on the island of Santiago in Cabo Verde. He was in Lisbon only during a small window of his long life. A passage that was decisive for his future professional and social life. He acquired knowledge and values that would essential for his success in his homeland.
Once he was back in Santiago, Fortunato put to good use what he had learned at the Escola Académica in the commercial house of Levy & Irmãos founded by his father. There he dedicated to family business and eventually reaching the position of prominence in business and in social associations throughout Cabo Verde.
Six years after his return to Cabo Verde, Fortunato Monteiro Levy in February of 1913 is appointed the Administrator of the Municipality of Praia.
On February 19, 1914 in the city of São Filipe, Fogo Fortunato Monteiro Levy marries a young lady by the name of Maria Júlia de Medeiros Gomes Barbosa [b. 11.12.1887-d. 2.7.1966]. She was the daughter of António Gomes Barbosa [b. 5.26.1862-d. 1966] and Ana Roiz Barbosa [b. 9.14.1861 d. ???]. On December 29th, 1915 in the capital city of Praia a son is born to Fortunato and Maria Levy and he is named Orlando Barbosa Levy. Fortunato Monteiro Levy would also have a daughter by the name of Tinita Vieira de Andrade, but the name of the mother is not known to me.
Fortunato Monteiro Levy also belonged to a few commercial associations. On the 3rd of November 1918 in Praia, he was elected Secretary of Associação Comercial e Agrícola. By 1944, He also belonged to the Associação Comercial de Sotavento with other elite businessmen such as Solomão Benoliel, António M. Sousa Lobo, Carlos Pinto Wahnon, Abilio Monteiro de Macedo and many others.
On December 31st, 1969 in the city of Praia, Fortunato Monteiro Levy passes away at the age of 81. During our research we were not able to find any official records that stated that Fortunato Monteiro Levy was the first captain of Sport Lisboa e Benfica during their first game of their inaugural season 1904/05. But we game across many blog posts that states that he was voted as the team captain, which in itself is an amazing feat as he was just 16 years old when he made his debut for the team.
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