History of Portugal #4 – The Final Dynasty
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History of Portugal #4 – The Final Dynasty

August 23, 2019


The last episode ended at the beginning of
the reign of D. Afonso VI and the subsequent end of the war for the restoration of independence. This new king was, however, incapable of reigning
and his leadership was dominated by the regency of his mother Luisa de Gusmão and his younger
brother, Infant D. Pedro, with the latter becoming king in 1683 after his death. This king promoted the exploration of Brazil
and got Portugal involved in the war of the Spanish succession. D. Pedro ended up dying during the war and
his son, D. João V, the Magnanimous, became king. He was also known as the Portuguese sun-king,
as a reference to the French king Louis XIV, who had massive amounts of wealth. The Portuguese king emulated this with the
arrival of huge amounts of gold and diamonds from Brazil, thanks to his father’s policy. In the continuation of the war of the Spanish
succession, one of his generals, Antonio Luis de Sousa, who was in control of a joint Portuguese,
Dutch and British army, conquered Madrid. Nonetheless, in the next year the city was
conquered back by the joint French and Spanish forces. With such wealth, the king also aimed to project
the power of the nation by building huge architectural feats such as the Igreja do Menino Jesus in
Lisbon, the Joanina Library in the University of Coimbra, and, the most important, the Palace-monastery
of Mafra, in the outskirts of Lisbon. The latter was of such magnitude that even
a novel was written about its construction by the literature Nobel Prize winner José
Saramago. After the king’s death, in 1750, his son,
D. José, the reformer, came into power. However, by this time the amount of gold and
diamonds coming from Brazil decreased substantially, and as there were no big reserves since his
father spent almost everything in luxury, the country was running low on money and things
only got worse with the disastrous earthquake of 1755, which destroyed Lisbon almost entirely
as well as the costal regions of the provinces of Setubal and Algarve. As it happened before precise values could
be measured, it is estimated that the earthquake had a magnitude from 8.7 to 9 in the Richter
scale. This earthquake lead the Portuguese prime
minister at the time, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, also known as the Marquis
of Pombal, to focus all the powers on himself, rebuilding Lisbon and other cities along the
coast that were destroyed, introducing many reforms and illuminist ideas as well as making
Portugal the first European country to abolish slavery in the process. After D. José’s death in 1777, his daughter,
D. Maria I, came into power and proved herself as a capable queen by developing the economy
of the country. Nevertheless, her reign went through the Napoleonic
wars and this drove her crazy, which was regarded in her cognomen. As such, her son assumed the regency of the
country. Due to the fact that Maria was *shockingly*
a woman, Portugal had its first consort-king, D. Pedro III, who reigned until the death
of his spouse. Their son came into power after her death
in 1816, although he had been regent since 1799, making him the king that oversaw the
Napoleonic wars. As a consequence of siding with Britain, Portugal
was invaded by France, which forced the court to move to Brazil between 1808 and 1821, making
Rio de Janeiro the capital of the empire at the time. This was the first and only time in European
History where a European court was hosted in a colony. This period saw a huge development in the
colony, with numerous infrastructures being built, which raised its status from colony
to kingdom within the empire. The king returned to Portugal after the Liberal
revolution, which made him implement a constitution in 1822. After his death 1826, the crown should have
passed to his eldest son, D. Pedro IV. As he was already Emperor of Brazil and wanted
to avoid the reunification of the crowns, he abdicated almost instantly in favor of
his daughter, D.Maria II, with his brother and sister as her regents. However, his brother had other plans: after
deposing his sister, he crowned himself king as, D. Miguel I, usurping his niece’s title
and receiving the cognomen of the absolutist. As expected, this didn’t make his brother
very happy. By invading in order to support his daughter’s
claim to the throne, he started the Portuguese civil war between the Liberals and the Miguelites,
which only ended with D. Miguel I defeated and him and his family exiled from both the
crown and Portugal in 1834, crowning D. Maria II as Queen. D. Maria received the cognomen of the good
mother due to her 11 pregnancies, with the last one killing her in 1853. The king-consort during her reign was D. Fernando
II, the artist-king, who ordered the construction of the Pena Palace, in Sintra, which is one
the Seven Wonders of Portugal and a UNESCO world heritage site. He was also regent for his son until 1855,
when the latter assumed power as D. Pedro V. This king closely oversaw both cholera and
yellow fever epidemics and helped the treatment of such diseases. As a consequence, he died young in 1861, leaving
the crown to his brother D. Luis I, the good, which became a model king for any constitutional
monarchy. With the king’s death in 1889, his son,
D. Carlos I, took charge and tried both to make Portugal more prestigious in the eyes
of the other European countries and to expand the kingdom’s colonies in Africa with the
pink map. However, the British had other plans and wanted
to build a railroad from Cairo to Cape Town and such Portuguese holding would cut right
through their railroad. As a result, the British issued an ultimatum
that Portugal needed to obey in order to avoid war. This lead to the rise of several republican
movements during his reign and, as a way of contradicting these ideas, he allowed an authoritarian
government by his prime minister. Consequently, in 1908, he was victim of a
regicide alongside his son and heir to the throne Luis Filipe, awarding him the cognomen
of the martyr. This unexpected event lead the crown to his
other son, D. Manuel II, the unfortunate, as he was severely unprepared to be a king
and the social turmoil just continued to increase. All of this lead to his abdication in 1910
and subsequently proclamation of the first Portuguese republic.

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  1. A few brief things to bridge the gap between going to Brazil and the death of D. João VI:

    1. In Europe, the British disembarked in Portugal and drove out the French, although the French did try to invade twice again.

    2. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Portugal was devastated and extremely poor, being governed by a council subordinated to a British General.

    3. After the Liberal Revolution, when the King returned to Portugal, he left his heir, future D. Pedro IV, as regent of Brazil, and after the King returned, the revolutionaries demanded that the heir returned to Portugal as well. D. Pedro, however, didn't, and declared the independence of Brazil.

  2. Not even France at it's full power could defeat the might of Portugal, of course, with help of the British, but nonetheless, that just shows that Portugal is nothing to be messed with! Long live Portugal! :3

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