Bartolomeu de Gusmão was a Luso-Brazilian priest who, among other things, made the first serious attempt to create a hot air balloon in 1709, more than seventy years before the Montgolfier brothers' successful experiments. Unfortunately, not only did his demonstrations fail to impress the Portuguese king, John V (his first three prototypes all caught fire, which definitely didn't help), but he was, several years later, persecuted by the Inquisition because of his friendship with some New Christians, dying in exile at the age of thirty-eight.

What if Gusmão persuaded the king to support his experiments and eventually created a manned hot air balloon sometime in the 1710s? How would that affect the development of aeronautics and technology in general, as well as Portuguese politics?
 
Two things: First, John V's reign was a time of great prosperity and splendor, thanks to the gold and diamonds found in Brazil. Sadly, most of the revenues were spent on huge architectural projects, the most famous of which was the Palace-Convent of Mafra, and plugging Portugal's huge trade deficit with Great Britain. Could some of that money instead be funneled into science and development if the king is sufficiently impressed with Gusmão's achievements?

Second, one of Bartolomeu's brothers, Alexandre de Gusmão, was a close advisor of the king as well as the father of most of Brazil's modern borders, thanks to his role in the elaboration of the Treaty of Madrid. Could their combined prestige help lead to the employment of a greater number of Brazilians in the Portuguese central government?

@Guilherme Loureiro @Gukpard @Lusitania @RedAquilla @Prince di Corsica
 
Bartolomeu de Gusmão was a Luso-Brazilian priest who, among other things, made the first serious attempt to create a hot air balloon in 1709, more than seventy years before the Montgolfier brothers' successful experiments. Unfortunately, not only did his demonstrations fail to impress the Portuguese king, John V (his first three prototypes all caught fire, which definitely didn't help), but he was, several years later, persecuted by the Inquisition because of his friendship with some New Christians, dying in exile at the age of thirty-eight.

What if Gusmão persuaded the king to support his experiments and eventually created a manned hot air balloon sometime in the 1710s? How would that affect the development of aeronautics and technology in general, as well as Portuguese politics?
Friend, I gonna throw the cards on the table, come clean, spill the beans, tell you the whole, unrestrictable truth about my knowledge on this subject without saving any fact whatsoever from being exposed:

I have no idea!

Like, at the most I can make a baseless suposition that he might reach the best technology of ballons possible with pre industrial technology, and maybe develop some nice wooden gliders that can be thrown from cliffs or mountains and make a steady and safe travel, but I don't know how this could be possible or not

@Mad Missouri you have showed in the past to make some pretty well accurate descriptions of tech in some different scenarios, so let me bring you into this, basically Brazil had this bishop who was making air vehicles like the one

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How far could he go with 1700s tech?
 
I have been toying with Gusmão's inventions for the future of my TL but my best guess is that balloons could be made earlier than OTL, meaning it would be the first way of aerial transportation but as we know it, it's nowhere near the efficiency of a plane. Still, it would be better than nothing.

For my TL, I thought about the potential balloons could have as air scouts, meaning watching army positions in the field, counting them, and perhaps even noticing fires which could certainly happen.

The Inquisition or any other sort of religious backlash could be prevented should the King wish it. In terms of politics, I don't see anything changing much unless information gathered by balloons in the battlefield is game-changing for some sort of war. Brazilians had some participation in the Empire's life, you have people like Padre António Vieira, Matias de Albuquerque, Viscount of Alegrete but I don't think that Gusmão creating air balloons would change much from OTL, yet.
 
I have been toying with Gusmão's inventions for the future of my TL but my best guess is that balloons could be made earlier than OTL, meaning it would be the first way of aerial transportation but as we know it, it's nowhere near the efficiency of a plane. Still, it would be better than nothing.

For my TL, I thought about the potential balloons could have as air scouts, meaning watching army positions in the field, counting them, and perhaps even noticing fires which could certainly happen.

The Inquisition or any other sort of religious backlash could be prevented should the King wish it. In terms of politics, I don't see anything changing much unless information gathered by balloons in the battlefield is game-changing for some sort of war. Brazilians had some participation in the Empire's life, you have people like Padre António Vieira, Matias de Albuquerque, Viscount of Alegrete but I don't think that Gusmão creating air balloons would change much from OTL, yet.
Portugal had plenty of territorial disputes with Spain in the Platine basin, complete with skirmishes and all, so maybe these could go better for Lisbon if its troops get better reconnaissance thanks to the use of balloons.
 

Lusitania

Donor
The only way that this technology could of survived inquisition would be the to demonstrate its use in military setting. The crucial point though would be ability of those in the balloon to relay information to ground forces.
 
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