Milton Santos

Milton Santos bigraphy, stories - Brazilian geographer

Milton Santos : biography

May 3, 1926 – June 24, 2001

Milton Almeida dos Santos (born May 3, 1926 – June 24, 2001) was a Brazilian geographer who had a degree in law. He became known for pioneer works in various fields in geography, notably urban development in developing countries.


Santos was born in Brotas de Macaúbas, Bahia, Brazil on May 3, 1926. Revista Scripta Nova – University of Barcelona Santos’ parents were elementary school teachers and taught him at home how to read and write. By the time he was eight, he had already completed the equivalent of an elementary school education. Milton’s father was a descendant from slaves, which gave Santos motivation to study. From 1934 to 1936, he lived in Alcobaça, learning French and good manners.

Santos taught geography to high school students to finance university classes in Salvador. He graduated majoring in law yet, he did not practice it. He instead took and passed a public examination for secondary teacher and went to teach geography in Ilhéus. Revista Scripta Nova – University of Barcelona

Santos went on to study and teach in Europe, America, and Africa. Revista Scripta Nova – University of Barcelona He turned the painful exile that the military dictatorship had imposed on him for thirteen years into benefits. Milton Santos wrote more than forty books in several languages. These works became a reference for all those who intended to understand the world in a critical way. Revista Scripta Nova – University of Barcelona

A serious and combative geographer, he didn’t spare anyone of severe criticism. Politicians, intellectuals, department friends, and even the more faithful students received criticism alike. Though gray hair appeared in his last years, the professor would always appear in long-sleeve shirts and red tie, dressed with the same seriousness that he had worked with knowledge.

Some of his works include "Por Uma Geografia Nova" (1978) and "A Natureza do Espaço" (1996). His work "O Espaço Dividido", in which Santos develops a theory on urban development in underdeveloped countries, is considered a geography classic.

Milton Santos went on to win the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize- the highest award that can be gained in the field of geography. The award is modeled after the Nobel Prize and is considered and colloquially called the Nobel Prize for geography.