Pedro Brazil
Emperor of Brazil from 12 October 1822 until 7 April 1831 and King of Portugal (as Pedro IV) from 10 March 1826 until 28 May 1826, Pedro I established Brazilian independence and was the first ruler of the Empire of Brazil
Pedro Brazil
Dom Pedro I, nicknamed "the Liberator", was the founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil. As King Dom Pedro IV, he reigned briefly over Portugal, where he also became known as "the Liberator" as well as "the Soldier King". Born in Lisbon, Pedro I was the fourth child of King Dom João VI of Portugal and Queen Carlota Joaquina and thus a member of the House of Braganza.
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  • 1834
    Age 35
    After a long and painful illness, Pedro died at 14:30 on 24 September 1834.
    More Details Hide Details As he had requested, his heart was placed in Porto's Lapa Church and his body was interred in the Royal Pantheon of the House of Braganza. The news of his death arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 20 November, but his children were informed only after 2 December. Bonifácio, who had been removed from his position as their guardian, wrote to Pedro II and his sisters: "Dom Pedro did not die. Only ordinary men die, not heroes." Upon the death of Pedro I, the then-powerful Restorationist Party vanished overnight. A fair assessment of the former monarch became possible once the threat of his return to power was removed. Evaristo da Veiga, one of his worst critics as well as a leader in the Liberal Party, left a statement which, according to historian Otávio Tarquínio de Sousa, became the prevailing view thereafter: "the former emperor of Brazil was not a prince of ordinary measure... and Providence has made him a powerful instrument of liberation, both in Brazil and in Portugal. If we Brazilians exist as a body in a free Nation, if our land was not ripped apart into small enemy republics, where only anarchy and military spirit predominated, we owe much to the resolution he took in remaining among us, in making the first shout for our Independence." He continued: "Portugal, if it was freed from the darkest and demeaning tyranny... if it enjoys the benefits brought by representative government to learned peoples, it owes it to Dom.
    Except for bouts of epilepsy that manifested in seizures every few years, Pedro had always enjoyed robust health. The war, however, undermined his constitution and by 1834 he was dying of tuberculosis.
    More Details Hide Details He was confined to his bed in Queluz Royal Palace from 10 September. Pedro dictated an open letter to the Brazilians, in which he begged that a gradual abolition of slavery be adopted. He warned them: "Slavery is an evil, and an attack against the rights and dignity of the human species, but its consequences are less harmful to those who suffer in captivity than to the Nation whose laws allow slavery. It is a cancer that devours its morality."
  • 1833
    Age 34
    Severely outnumbered, Pedro's army of liberals was besieged in Porto for more than a year. There, in early 1833, he received news from Brazil of his daughter Paula's impending death.
    More Details Hide Details Months later, in September, he met with Antônio Carlos de Andrada, a brother of Bonifácio who had come from Brazil. As a representative of the Restorationist Party, Antônio Carlos asked the Duke of Braganza to return to Brazil and rule his former empire as regent during his son's minority. Pedro realized that the Restorationists wanted to use him as a tool to facilitate their own rise to power, and frustrated Antônio Carlos by making almost impossible demands, to ascertain whether the Brazilian people, and not merely a faction, truly wanted him back. He insisted that any request to return as regent be constitutionally valid. The people's will would have to be conveyed through their local representatives and his appointment approved by the General Assembly. Only then, and "upon the presentation of a petition to him in Portugal by an official delegation of the Brazilian parliament" would he consider accepting.
  • 1832
    Age 33
    While in Paris, the Duke of Braganza met and befriended Gilbert du Motier, Marquis of Lafayette, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War who became one of his staunchest supporters. Pedro bade farewell to his family, Lafayette and around two hundred well-wishers on 25 January 1832.
    More Details Hide Details He knelt before Maria II and said: "My lady, here is a Portuguese general who will uphold your rights and restore your crown." In tears, his daughter embraced him. Pedro sailed to the Atlantic archipelago of the Azores, the only Portuguese territory that had remained loyal to his daughter. After a few months of final preparations he embarked for mainland Portugal, entering the city of Porto unopposed on 9 July. He came at the head of a small army composed of Portuguese liberals, such as Almeida Garrett and Alexandre Herculano, as well as foreign mercenaries and volunteers such as Lafayette's grandson, Adrien Jules de Lasteyrie.
  • 1829
    Age 30
    The idea of abdicating and returning to Portugal took root in his mind, and, beginning in early 1829, he talked about it frequently.
    More Details Hide Details An opportunity soon appeared to act upon the notion. Radicals within the Liberal Party rallied street gangs to harass the Portuguese community in Rio de Janeiro. On 11 March 1831, in what became known as the "noite das garrafadas" (night of the broken bottles), the Portuguese retaliated and turmoil gripped the streets of the national capital. On 5 April, Pedro I fired the Liberal cabinet, which had only been in power since 19 March, for its incompetence in restoring order. A large crowd, incited by the radicals, gathered in Rio de Janeiro downtown on the afternoon of 6 April and demanded the immediate restoration of the fallen cabinet. The Emperor's reply was: "I will do everything for the people and nothing compelled by the people." Sometime after nightfall, army troops, including his guard, deserted him and joined the protests. Only then did he realize how isolated and detached from Brazilian affairs he had become, and to everyone's surprise, he abdicated at approximately 03:00 on 7 April. Upon delivering the abdication document to a messenger, he said: "Here you have my act of abdication, I'm returning to Europe and leaving a country that I loved very much, and still love."
    His pride thus wounded, he allowed his mistress to return, which she did on 29 April 1829 after having been away nearly a year.
    More Details Hide Details However, once he learned that a betrothal had finally been arranged, the Emperor ended his relationship to Domitila. She returned to her native province of São Paulo on 27 August, where she remained. Days earlier, on 2 August, the Emperor had been married by proxy to Amélie of Leuchtenberg. He was stunned by her beauty after meeting her in person. The vows previously made by proxy were ratified in a Nuptial Mass on 17 October. Amélie was kind and loving to his children and provided a much needed sense of normalcy to both his family and the general public. After Domitila's banishment from court, the vow the Emperor made to alter his behavior proved to be sincere. He had no more affairs and remained faithful to his spouse. In an attempt to mitigate and move beyond other past misdeeds, he made peace with José Bonifácio, his former minister and mentor.
  • 1828
    Age 29
    Pedro I relinquished Cisplatina in August 1828, and the province became the independent nation of Uruguay.
    More Details Hide Details After his wife's death, Pedro I realized how miserably he had treated her, and his relationship with Domitila began to crumble. Maria Leopoldina, unlike his mistress, was popular, honest and loved him without expecting anything in return. The Emperor greatly missed her, and even his obsession with Domitila failed to overcome his sense of loss and regret. One day Domitila found him weeping on the floor and embracing a portrait of his deceased wife, whose sad-looking ghost Pedro I claimed to have seen. Later on, the Emperor left the bed he shared with Domitila and shouted: "Get off of me! I know I live an unworthy life of a sovereign. The thought of the Empress does not leave me." He did not forget his children, orphaned of their mother, and was observed on more than one occasion holding his son, the young Pedro, in his arms and saying: "Poor boy, you are the most unhappy prince in the world."
    At the insistence of Pedro I, Domitila departed from Rio de Janeiro on 27 June 1828.
    More Details Hide Details He had resolved to marry again and to become a better person. He even tried to persuade his father-in-law of his sincerity, by claiming in a letter "that all my wickedness is over, that I shall not again fall into those errors into which I have fallen, which I regret and have asked God for forgiveness". Franz I was less than convinced. The Austrian emperor, deeply offended by the conduct his daughter endured, withdrew his support for Brazilian concerns and frustrated Pedro I's Portuguese interests. Because of Pedro I's bad reputation in Europe, owing to his past behavior, princesses from several nations declined his proposals of marriage one after another.
  • 1826
    Age 27
    A few months later, the Emperor received word that his father had died on 10 March 1826, and that he had succeeded his father on the Portuguese throne as King Dom Pedro IV.
    More Details Hide Details Aware that a reunion of Brazil and Portugal would be unacceptable to the people of both nations, he hastily abdicated the crown of Portugal on 2 May in favor of his eldest daughter, who became Queen Dona Maria II. His abdication was conditional: Portugal was required to accept the Constitution which he had drafted and Maria II was to marry his brother Miguel. Regardless of the abdication, Pedro I continued to act as an absentee king of Portugal and interceded in its diplomatic matters, as well as in internal affairs, such as making appointments. He found it difficult, at the very least, to keep his position as Brazilian emperor separate from his obligations to protect his daughter's interests in Portugal.
    On 24 November 1826, Pedro I sailed from Rio de Janeiro to São José in the province of Santa Catarina.
    More Details Hide Details From there he rode to Porto Alegre, capital of the province of Rio Grande do Sul, where the main army was stationed. Upon his arrival on 7 December, the Emperor found the military conditions to be much worse than previous reports had led him to expect. He "reacted with his customary energy: he passed a flurry of orders, fired reputed grafters and incompetents, fraternized with the troops, and generally shook up military and civilian administration." He was already on his way back to Rio de Janeiro when he was told that Maria Leopoldina had died following a miscarriage. Unfounded rumors soon spread that purported that she had died after being physically assaulted by Pedro I. Meanwhile, the war continued on with no conclusion in sight.
    The Emperor traveled to Bahia province (located in northeastern Brazil) in February 1826, taking along his wife and daughter Maria.
    More Details Hide Details The Emperor was warmly welcomed by the inhabitants of Bahia. The trip was planned to generate support for the war-effort. The imperial entourage included Domitila de Castro (then-Viscountess and later Marchioness of Santos), who had been Pedro I's mistress since their first meeting in 1822. Although he had never been faithful to Maria Leopoldina, he had previously been careful to conceal his sexual escapades with other women. However, his infatuation for his new lover "had become both blatant and limitless", while his wife endured slights and became the object of gossip. Pedro I was increasingly rude and mean toward Maria Leopoldina, left her short of funds, prohibited her from leaving the palace and forced her to endure Domitila's presence as her lady-in-waiting. In the meantime, his lover took advantage by advancing her interests, as well as those of her family and friends. Those seeking favors or to promote projects increasingly sought her help, bypassing the normal, legal channels.
  • 1823
    Age 24
    On 12 November 1823, Pedro I ordered the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and called for new elections.
    More Details Hide Details On the following day, he placed a newly established native Council of State in charge of composing a constitutional draft. Copies of the draft were sent to all town councils, and the vast majority voted in favor of its instant adoption as the Constitution of the Empire. As a result of the highly centralized State created by the Constitution, rebellious elements in Ceará, Paraíba and Pernambuco attempted to secede from Brazil and unite in what became known as the Confederation of the Equator. Pedro I unsuccessfully sought to avoid bloodshed by offering to placate the rebels. Angry, he said: "What did the insults from Pernambuco require? Surely a punishment, and such a punishment that it will serve as an example for the future." The rebels were never able to secure control over their provinces, and were easily suppressed. By late 1824, the rebellion was over. Sixteen rebels were tried and executed, while all others were pardoned by the Emperor.
  • 1822
    Age 23
    While Pedro I was still Prince Regent, they had given him the title "Perpetual Defender of Brazil" on 13 May 1822.
    More Details Hide Details They also inducted him into Freemasonry on 2 August and later made him grand master on 7 October, replacing Bonifácio in that position. The crisis between the monarch and his former minister was felt immediately within the Constituent and Legislative General Assembly, which had been elected for the purpose of drafting a Constitution. A member of the Constituent Assembly, Bonifácio resorted to demagoguery, alleging the existence of a major Portuguese conspiracy against Brazilian interests—insinuating that Pedro I, who had been born in Portugal, was implicated. The Emperor became outraged by the invective directed at the loyalty of citizens who were of Portuguese birth and the hints that he was himself conflicted in his allegiance to Brazil.
    On 9 January 1822, Pedro was presented with a petition containing 8,000 signatures that begged him not to leave.
    More Details Hide Details He replied, "Since it is for the good of all and the general happiness of the Nation, I am willing. Tell the people that I am staying." Avilez again mutinied and tried to force Pedro's return to Portugal. This time the prince fought back, rallying the Brazilian troops (which had not joined the Portuguese in previous mutinies), militia units and armed civilians. Outnumbered, Avilez surrendered and was expelled from Brazil along with his troops. During the next few months, Pedro attempted to maintain a semblance of unity with Portugal, but the final rupture was impending. Aided by an able minister, José Bonifácio de Andrada, he searched for support outside Rio de Janeiro. The prince traveled to Minas Gerais in April and on to São Paulo in August. He was welcomed warmly in both Brazilian provinces, and the visits reinforced his authority. While returning from São Paulo, he received news sent on 7 September that the Cortes would not accept self-governance in Brazil and would punish all who disobeyed its orders. "Never one to eschew the most dramatic action on the immediate impulse", said Barman about the prince, he "required no more time for decision than the reading of the letters demanded." Pedro mounted his bay mare and, in front of his entourage and his Guard of Honor, said: "Friends, the Portuguese Cortes wished to enslave and persecute us. As of today our bonds are ended.
  • 1821
    Age 22
    On 5 June 1821, army troops under Portuguese lieutenant general Jorge Avilez (later Count of Avilez) mutinied, demanding that Pedro should take an oath to uphold the Portuguese Constitution after it was enacted.
    More Details Hide Details The prince rode out alone to intervene with the mutineers. He calmly and resourcefully negotiated, winning the respect of the troops and succeeding in reducing the impact of their more unacceptable demands. The mutiny was a thinly veiled military coup d'état that sought to turn Pedro into a mere figurehead and transfer power to Avilez. The prince accepted the unsatisfactory outcome, but he also warned that it was the last time he would yield under pressure. The continuing crisis reached a point of no return when the Cortes dissolved the central government in Rio de Janeiro and ordered Pedro's return. This was perceived by Brazilians as an attempt to subordinate their country again to Portugal—Brazil had not been a colony since 1815 and had the status of a kingdom.
  • 1817
    Age 18
    On 13 May 1817, Pedro was married by proxy to Maria Leopoldina.
    More Details Hide Details When she arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 5 November, she immediately fell in love with Pedro, who was far more charming and attractive than she had been led to expect. After "years under a tropical sun, his complexion was still light, his cheeks rosy." The 19-year-old prince was handsome and a little above average in height, with bright dark eyes and dark brown hair. "His good appearance", said historian Neill Macaulay, "owed much to his bearing, proud and erect even at an awkward age, and his grooming, which was impeccable. Habitually neat and clean, he had taken to the Brazilian custom of bathing often." The Nuptial Mass, with the ratification of the vows previously taken by proxy, occurred the following day. Seven children resulted from this marriage: Maria (later Queen Dona Maria II of Portugal), Miguel, João, Januária, Paula, Francisca and Pedro (later Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil).
  • 1808
    Age 9
    Pedro and his family arrived in Rio de Janeiro, capital of Brazil, then Portugal's largest and wealthiest colony, in March 1808.
    More Details Hide Details During the voyage, Pedro read Virgil's Aeneid and conversed with the ship's crew, picking up navigational skills. In Brazil, after a brief stay in the City Palace, Pedro settled with his younger brother Miguel and their father in the Palace of São Cristóvão (Saint Christopher). Although never on intimate terms with his father, Pedro loved him and resented the constant humiliation his father suffered at the hands of Carlota Joaquina due to her extramarital affairs. As an adult, Pedro would openly call his mother, for whom he held only feelings of contempt, a "bitch". The early experiences of betrayal, coldness and neglect had a great impact on the formation of Pedro's character. A modicum of stability during his childhood was provided by his aia (governess), Maria Genoveva do Rêgo e Matos, whom he loved as a mother, and by his aio (supervisor) friar António de Arrábida, who became his mentor. Both were in charge of Pedro's upbringing and attempted to furnish him with a suitable education. His instruction encompassed a broad array of subjects that included mathematics, political economy, logic, history and geography. He learned to speak and write not only in Portuguese, but also Latin and French. He could translate from English and understood German. Even later on, as an emperor, Pedro would devote at least two hours of each day to study and reading.
  • 1807
    Age 8
    In late November 1807, when Pedro was nine, the royal family escaped from Portugal as an invading French army sent by Napoleon approached Lisbon.
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  • 1802
    Age 3
    By 1802, Pedro's parents were estranged; João lived in the Mafra National Palace and Carlota Joaquina in Ramalhão Palace.
    More Details Hide Details Pedro and his siblings resided in the Queluz Palace with their grandmother Maria I, far from their parents, whom they saw only during state occasions at Queluz.
  • 1801
    Age 2
    As the second eldest son (though the fourth child), Pedro became his father's heir apparent and Prince of Beira upon the death of his elder brother Francisco António in 1801.
    More Details Hide Details Prince Dom João had been acting as regent on behalf of his mother, Queen Maria I, after she was declared incurably insane in 1792.
  • 1798
    Pedro was born at 08:00 on 12 October 1798 in the Queluz Royal Palace near Lisbon, Portugal.
    More Details Hide Details He was named after St. Peter of Alcantara, and his full name was Pedro de Alcântara Francisco António João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquim José Gonzaga Pascoal Cipriano Serafim. He was referred to using the honorific "Dom" (Lord) from birth. Through his father, Prince Dom João (later King Dom João VI), Pedro was a member of the House of Braganza (Portuguese: Bragança) and a grandson of King Dom Pedro III and Queen Dona (Lady) Maria I of Portugal, who were uncle and niece as well as husband and wife. His mother, Doña Carlota Joaquina, was the daughter of King Don Carlos IV of Spain. Pedro's parents had an unhappy marriage. Carlota Joaquina was an ambitious woman, who always sought to advance Spain's interests, even to the detriment of Portugal's. Reputedly unfaithful to her husband, she went as far as to plot his overthrow in league with dissatisfied Portuguese nobles.
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