Pedro I of Brazil

From Academic Kids

Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil; Pedro IV of Portugal
Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil; Pedro IV of Portugal

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Pedro I of Brazil (English: Peter), known as "Dom Pedro" (October 12, 1798 - September 24, 1834), proclaimed Brazil independent from Portugal and became Brazil's first Emperor. He also held the Portuguese throne briefly as Pedro IV of Portugal, the Soldier-King (Port. o Rei-Soldado), 28th (or 29th according to some historians) king of Portugal.


Early years

Pedro I was born in the Queluz Palace, near Lisbon. His father was the regent prince at the time but would soon become King John VI of Portugal (João VI); his mother was Carlota Joaquina, Princess of Spain, daughter of Charles IV of Spain. His full name was Pedro de Alcântara Francisco António João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquim José Gonzaga Pascoal Cipriano Serafim de Bragança e Bourbon.

In 1807, when he was nine, the royal family moved to Brazil in order to escape the Napoleonic Wars. The family would remain in Brazil for 13 years. Their presence made Rio de Janeiro the de facto capital of the Portuguese Empire, and led to Brazil being elevated to the status of a kingdom co-equal with Portugal. It was in Rio, on November 5, 1817, that Pedro married his first wife, Maria Leopoldina, Archduchess of Austria.

Brazilian independence

When King João VI finally returned to Portugal, in the early 1820s, most of the privileges that had been accorded to Brazil were rescinded, sparking the ire of local nationalists. Pedro, who had remained in the country as regent, sided with the nationalist element and even supported the Portuguese Constitutionalist movement that led to the revolt in Oporto, 1820. When pressed by the Portuguese court to return, he refused. For that, he was demoted from regent to a mere representative of the Lisbon court in Brazil. These news reached him on September 7, 1822, when he had just arrived in São Paulo, from a visit to the port of Santos. On the banks of the Ipiranga River, he unsheathed his sword, and declared "Independence or death!" He was proclaimed Emperor of Brazil on October 12 and crowned on December 1.

Troubled reign

The early years of Brazilian independence were very difficult ones. Dom Pedro I assumed the title of Emperor instead of King, both to underline the diversity of the Brazilian provinces and to emulate Napoleon, who linked the idea of Empire – as opposed to that of Kingdom – to the French Revolution and modernity. Nevertheless, Dom Pedro I had to navigate between the relatively cosmopolitan society of Rio de Janeiro and the more conservative and patriarchal rest of the country. He soon appeared to forget his liberal ideals by enacting a Constitution (proclaimed on February 24, 1824) that gave him substantial power, although this was seen as necessary to keep control of the interior, particularly in the yet-feudal North. Many provinces, particularly in the North, favored continued association with Portugal, republican sentiment soared, and in 1825, during a war with Argentina, the Cisplatine province seceded to become Uruguay. Furthermore, Pedro had a number of illicit affairs, which cost him some popularity.

On the death of his father, Pedro chose to inherit his title as King of Portugal (Pedro IV) on March 10, 1826, ignoring the restrictions of his own Constitution. He promulgated the Portuguese liberal constitution of April 26, but was forced to abdicate on May 28 from the Portuguese crown in favor of his daughter Maria II. Since she was then only 7 years old, he nominated his brother Dom Miguel as steward, on the promise that he would marry her. Meanwhile, his apparent indecision between Brazil and Portugal further damaged his waning popularity.

On October 17, 1829 he married his second wife, Princess Amélie de Beauharnais von Leuchtenberg, in Rio de Janeiro. Amélie was the daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais, and the granddaughter of the Empress Josephine. She was also the sister of Charles Auguste Eugène Napoléon de Beauharnais, who married his (Pedro's) daughter Maria II.

Return to Portugal

In the aftermath of a political crisis that followed the dismissal of his ministers, Pedro abdicated his throne in Brazil in favor of his son Pedro II on April 7, 1831, who was only 5 at the time. He then returned to Portugal to fight against his brother King Miguel, who meanwhile had usurped the Portuguese crown (the War of the Two Brothers). In 1834 he overthrew the usurper and restored his daughter Maria II to her title.

He died in Queluz, the palace of his birth, at the age of 36 of tuberculosis. In 1972, his remains were returned to Brazil and reinterred in the present Ipiranga Museum.


By his first wife, Maria Leopoldina, Archduchess of Austria:

  • Maria II of Portugal
  • Miguel de Bragança, Prince of Brazil (1820, stillborn)
  • Joao Carlos de Bragança, Prince of Brazil (1821-1822)
  • Januária de Bragança, Princess Imperial of Brazil (1822-1901). Married Luigi Prince of the Two Sicilies, Count di Aquila, son of Francis I of the Two Sicilies, and had issue.
  • Paula de Bragança, Princess of Brazil (1823-1833).
  • Francisca de Bragança, Princess of Brazil (1824-1898). Married Francis d'Orleans, Prince de Joinville, son of Louis-Philippe of France, and had issue.
  • Pedro II of Brazil

By his second wife, Amélie de Beauharnais von Leuchtenberg:

  • Maria Amélia de Bragança, Princess of Brazil (1831-1853).

He had also nine illegitimate ones, including five with his best-known lover Domitila, Marchioness of Santos, one with her sister, and one with a nun in Portugal.

See also

Preceded by:
John VI
King of Portugal
Succeeded by:
Maria II
Preceded by:
Emperor of Brazil
Succeeded by:
Pedro II

Template:End boxde:Peter IV. (Portugal) nl:Peter I van Brazilië ja:ペドロ1世 no:Pedro I av Brasil pt:Pedro I do Brasil sv:Peter I av Brasilien


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