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Luís de Vasconcelos e Sousa
Luiz Vasconcellos e Souza.jpg
Secretary of State of the Kingdom of Portugal

In office
12 July 1662 – 9 September 1667
Monarch Afonso VI
Preceded by Gaspar Severim de Faria
Succeeded by Manuel Pereira
Captain-major of Santa Maria Island

In office
Monarch Afonso VI
Peter II
John V
Preceded by Joana de Meneses
Succeeded by Afonso de Vasconcelos
Personal details
Born 1636
Kingdom of Portugal
Died 1720 (aged 83–84)
Santa Maria, Azores, Kingdom of Portugal
Military service
Allegiance Kingdom of Portugal
Years of service 1657-1659
Battles/wars Portuguese Restoration War

Dom Luís de Vasconcelos e Sousa, 3rd Count of Castelo Melhor (1636 – August 15, 1720) was a Portuguese politician and prime minister.

Portuguese royal favourite who, as effective governor of Portugal from 1662 to 1667 during the reign of Afonso VI, was responsible for the successful prosecution of the war against Spain, which led, in 1668, to Spanish recognition of Portugal's new ruling dynasty.

Shortly after Afonso VI's coming-of-age in 1662, Castelo Melhor saw an opportunity to gain power at court by befriending the mentally unstable king. He managed to convince the king that his mother, Luisa of Medina-Sidonia, was out to steal his throne and exile him from Portugal. As a result, Afonso took control of the throne and his mother was sent to a convent.

The King appointed Castelo Melhor his secret notary (escrivão da puridade), a position in which the favourite was able to exercise the functions of first minister.

Castelo Melhor overcame the difficulties which had hitherto beset Portugal in the war against Spain, reorganizing the troops (now reinforced by an English contingent by virtue of the English king Charles II's marriage to Catherine of Braganza) and entrusting their command to competent generals. Consequently the Portuguese Restoration War entered a victorious phase for Portugal (1663–65) and Spain began peace negotiations.

Agreement proved difficult to attain and meanwhile the internal political situation in Portugal deteriorated. Castelo Melhor and his Francophile party were losing ground to the Anglophile party. The King was obliged to dismiss Castelo Melhor on September 9, 1667, in a palace coup organized by the king's wife Maria Francisca of Nemours and brother Pedro . Shortly afterwards, the king himself was also deprived of power.

Castelo Melhor went into exile in Paris and then London, but in 1685 he was permitted to return to Portugal and, two years after that, to court. On the accession of John V (1706), he was appointed a councillor of state and he continued to occupy a position of distinction until his death in 1720.

He was also the 12th captain-major of Santa Maria Island in the Azores from 1667 to 1720.

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