He served as Prime Minister of Portugal for five times. He was the most prominent Portuguese defender of the abolition of slavery in Portugal and its domains. Bernardo was Prime Minister of Portugal from 5 November 1836 to 2 June 1837.
He became their universal heir.
The city of Lubango, Angola, was called Sá de Bandeira when the Angolan territory was under Portuguese rule. He was also a freemason.