D. Luis da Cunha ([luˈiʒ ða ˈkuna]; 25 January 1662 in Lisbon – 9 October 1749 in Paris) was a Portuguese diplomat that served under D. Joao V of Portugal. He was Knight Commander of the Order of Christ, Judge of the Royal Household, Envoy Extraordinary of Portuguese Cortes to London, Madrid and Paris, and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Congress of Utrecht. He also was part of the Portuguese Royal Academy of History.
D. Luis da Cunha was considered an "Estrangeirado", a Portuguese that has been influenced greatly by foreign ideas.
D. Luis da Cunha was born on 25 January 1662, in Lisbon, to D. Antonio Alvares da Cunha, 18th Lord of Tabua, head of the House of Cunha and a member of the Forty Conspirators, and Maria Manoel de Vilhena, daughter of Cristovao Manoel de Vilhena.
He studied at the University of Coimbra, after which he was appointed as Judge to the Relation of Porto, and later to Royal Household the Lisbon.
In 1696, he was appointed envoy extraordinary to London, where he participated in important negotiations related to the Portuguese intervention in the War of Spanish Succession, the most complex political event of the time. In 1712, along with the Count of Tarouca, he represented Portuguese interests in the Congress of Utrecht.
After the signing of the Treaty of Utecht, 1715, he returned to London as envoy extraordinary, by request of the newly crowned King George I of Great Britain.
Then he was sent to Madrid, then ruled by Giulio Alberoni, with whom he had several disputes.
Subsequently, he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the Congress of Cambray, which ended up not taking place. Cunha remained in Paris, where he was forced to retire due to a disagreement with Ambassador Livry, envoy of France to Lisbon. Cunha went to Brussels, where he reached an agreement with the Marquis of Fenelon, French minister to The Hague, and returned to Paris, where he remained as envoy extraordinary of Portugal to French court, until his death.
D. Luis da Cunha had early ideas of pluricontinentalism, proposing the idea of moving the capital of the Portuguese monarchy from metropolitan Portugal to Brazil. By establishing himself in the "immense continent of Brazil", the King of Portugal would take the title of "Emperor of the Occident."
This idea was already presented by Father Antonio Vieira, during the emergency period of the Portuguese Restoration War, but was reiterated by Dom Luis da Cunha when no imminent threat hung over Portuguese sovereignty.
The idea was proposed as a means of affirmation and advancement of the Kingdom of Portugal, while at the same time guaranteeing its security from European powers.