United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves
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United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves

October 13, 2019


The United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil
and the Algarves was a pluricontinental monarchy formed by the elevation of the
Portuguese colony named State of Brazil to the status of a kingdom and by the
simultaneous union of that Kingdom of Brazil with the Kingdom of Portugal and
the Kingdom of the Algarves, constituting a single state consisting
of three kingdoms. The United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil
and the Algarves was formed in 1815, following the transfer of the Portuguese
Court to Brazil during the Napoleonic invasions of Portugal, and it continued
to exist for about one year after the return of the Court to Europe, being de
facto dissolved in 1822, when Brazil proclaimed its independence. The
dissolution of the United Kingdom was accepted by Portugal and formalized de
jure in 1825, when Portugal recognized the independent Empire of Brazil.
During its period of existence the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and
the Algarves did not correspond to the whole of the Portuguese Empire: rather,
the united kingdom was the transatlantic metropolis that controlled the
Portuguese colonial empire, with its overseas possessions in Africa and Asia.
Thus, from the point of view of Brazil, the elevation to the rank of a kingdom
and the creation of the United Kingdom represented a change in status, from
that of a colony to that of an equal member of a political union. In the wake
of the Liberal Revolution of 1820 in Portugal, attempts to compromise the
autonomy and even the unity of Brazil, led to the breakdown of the union.
History =Establishment=
The United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves came into being in the
wake of Portugal’s war with Napoleonic France. The Portuguese Prince Regent,
the future King John VI, with his incapacitated mother, Queen Maria I of
Portugal and the Royal Court, fled to the colony of Brazil in 1808.
With the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, there were calls for the return of the
Portuguese Monarch to Lisbon; the Portuguese Prince Regent enjoyed life in
Rio de Janeiro, where the monarchy was at the time more popular and where he
enjoyed more freedom, and he was thus unwilling to return to Europe. However,
those advocating the return of the Court to Lisbon argued that Brazil was only a
colony and that it was not right for Portugal to be governed from a colony.
On the other hand, leading Brazilian courtiers pressed for the elevation of
Brazil from the rank of a colony, so that they could enjoy the full status of
being nationals of the mother-country. Brazilian nationalists also supported
the move, because it indicated that Brazil would no longer be submissive to
the interests of Portugal, but would be of equal status within a transatlantic
monarchy. By a law issued by the Prince Regent on
December 16, 1815, the colony of Brazil was thus elevated to the rank of a
Kingdom and by the same law the separate kingdoms of Portugal, Brazil and the
Algarves were united as a single State under the title of The United Kingdom of
Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. This united kingdom included the
historical Kingdom of the Algarves, which included the present-day
Portuguese region of Algarve – always administered as a de facto province of
Portugal – and the Overseas Algarve – the former Portuguese territories in
what is now Morocco. The titles of the Portuguese royalty
were changed to reflect the creation of this transatlantic united kingdom. The
styles of the Queen and of the Prince Regent were changed accordingly to Queen
and Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.
The title “Prince of Brazil”, a title that used to pertain to the heir
apparent of the Portuguese Crown, was dropped shortly afterwards, in 1817,
being replaced by the title of “Prince Royal of the United Kingdom of Portugal,
Brazil and the Algarves”, or Prince Royal, for short. A new flag and coat of
arms were also adopted for the new State.
=Succession of John VI=On March 20, 1816, Queen Maria I died in
Rio de Janeiro. The Prince John, the Prince Regent, then became King John VI,
the second monarch of the United Kingdom, retaining the numbering of
Portuguese Sovereigns. After a period of mourning and several delays, the
festivities of the acclamation of the new King were held in Rio de Janeiro on
6 February 1818. On the date of his Acclamation, King
John VI created the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa,
the only order of knighthood to be created during the United Kingdom era.
This Order existed in the United Kingdom alongside the old Portuguese Orders of
chivalry and the Order of the Tower and Sword, an ancient Order that had been
dormant and that was revived by the Portuguese monarchy in November 1808,
when the Royal Court was already in Brazil. After the dissolution of the
United Kingdom, while Brazilian branches of the old Orders of chivalry were
created, resulting in Brazilian and Portuguese Orders Saint James of the
Sword, of Saint Benedict of Aviz, and of Christ, paradoxically, the newer Orders
remained in existence as Portuguese Orders only.
=John VI’s return to Europe=After the Liberal Revolution of 1820 in
Portugal, the King left Brazil and returned to the European portion of the
United Kingdom. Before his departure, the King, acceding to requests made by
Brazilian courtiers, decided to leave behind his heir apparent, Prince Pedro,
the Prince Royal of the United Kingdom. By a decree issued on 22 April 1821, the
King invested Pedro with the title of “Regent of Brazil”, and granted him
delegated powers to discharge the “general government and entire
administration of the Kingdom of Brazil” as the King’s placeholder, thus granting
the Kingdom of Brazil a devolved administration within the United
Kingdom. Accordingly, with the appointment of
Prince Royal Pedro as Regent of Brazil, the Brazilian provinces – that in the
colonial period were united under a vice-regal administration, and that
during the stay of Queen Maria I and King John VI in the American Continent
remained united directly under the royal Government – continued, after the return
of the King and of the Portuguese Court to Europe, united under a central
Brazilian Government based in Rio de Janeiro.
Prince Pedro’s Regency not only assured the unity of the Brazilian people under
one government, but it also enjoyed a high degree of autonomy vis-à-vis the
Government of the United Kingdom. Attempts by the Government of the United
Kingdom to terminate Brazilian home rule and to undermine Brazilian unity would
lead to the proclamation of the independence of Brazil and the
dissolution of the United Kingdom.=Dissolution of the United Kingdom=
Lead-up to the Dissolution The Cortes assembled in Lisbon in the
wake of the Constitutional Revolution of 1820 to draft a Constitution for the
United Kingdom was composed of mostly Portuguese delegates. This was so
because the Revolution was Portuguese in origin, so that the members of the
Cortes were elected in Portugal, and only later a Brazilian delegation was
elected and the Brazilian delegates crossed the Atlantic to join the ongoing
deliberations. Also, Brazilian representatives were often mistreated
and persecuted in the streets by Portuguese citizens who resented the end
of colonial rule. On top of that, Brazilians were under-represented in the
Cortes. As for the King, upon his arrival in
Lisbon, he behaved as though he accepted the new political settlement that
resulted from the Liberal Revolution, but the powers of the Crown were
severely limited. A Council of Regency that had been elected by the Cortes to
govern Portugal in the wake of the Revolution – and that replaced by force
the previous governors that administered the European portion of the United
Kingdom by royal appointment – handed back the reins of government to the
Monarch on his arrival in Lisbon, but the King was now limited to the
discharge of the Executive branch, and had no influence over the drafting of
the Constitution or over the actions of the Cortes.
The Constituent Cortes, dominated by a Portuguese majority, included provisions
in the Constitution being drafted that referred to the people of the United
Kingdom as “the Portuguese Nation”. The draft Constitution spoke of “Portuguese
citizens of both hemispheres”. Apart from including in the Constitution
language that was seen as hostile and offensive to Brazilians, the United
Kingdom Cortes assembled in Lisbon included in the proposed Constitution
that was being drafted provisions that would undermine and that could even lead
to the dissolution of the central Brazilian Government based in Rio de
Janeiro. The draft Constitution would have maintained the Regency of the
Kingdom of Brazil, but it contained provision allowing the United Kingdom
Legislature to exclude Brazilian provinces from the jurisdiction of the
Regency. Thus, the Government of the United Kingdom in Lisbon would have the
power to sever the links between a Brazilian province and the central
Brazilian government, submitting this province directly to the Lisbon
Government. If enacted, those deliberations of the Cortes would not
only undermine Brazilian Home Rule, but they would also endanger the unity of
the Brazilian people, as Brazilians would no longer have a central
government, a situation that did not exist even in the last centuries of the
colonial period. Portuguese deputies in the Cortes even introduced draft
legislation that would concretely sever the ties between the central devolved
Government of the Kingdom of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro and some provinces in
Northeastern Brazil. The Portuguese Cortes also demanded the immediate
return of the Crown Prince to Europe. Brazilian Nationalists reacted,
interpreting the actions of the Cortes as an attempt to “divide and conquer”.
They alleged that once the provisions approved by the Cortes were enacted and
enforced, Brazil, although formally remaining a part of the transatlantic
monarchy, would be in reality returned to the condition of a Colony. Brazilians
feared the breakup of Brazil, with the creation of provinces directly subject
to the Lisbon Government. Also, language in the draft Constitution
that would have the effect of including colonies of the Portuguese colonial
empire in Africa and Asia as part of the territory of the United Kingdom seemed
to confirm that the intention of the Cortes was indeed to reduce Brazil to
the position of a colony once again: it was clear that the territories in Africa
and Asia would continue to be colonies, and to be subject to economic
exploitation and domination by means of restrictions in foreign trade, etc.; but
those colonies would now be declared parts of the United Kingdom, meaning
that, with the inclusion of the whole of the Portuguese Empire in the United
Kingdom, the definition of the United Kingdom itself would change: the United
Kingdom would cease to correspond to a transatlantic State that included no
colonies but that controlled colonies overseas, and would instead become a
State that included colonies in its bosom. This would provide the legal
framework for the reintroduction of trade restrictions in Brazil that had
been lifted since the arrival of the Royal Family in Brazilian shores.
Notably, several Portuguese politicians wanted to re-introduce to Brazil
restrictions in foreign trade that in the previous colonial era had been
dubbed euphemistically as the colonial pact: a mercantilist system in which
Brazilian products could only be exported to Portugal, and in which
Brazilians could only import products from Portugal. This system, which
enabled the economic exploitation of the Portuguese Colonies by Metropolitan
Portugal, had been abolished in Brazil even before the creation of the United
Kingdom. Indeed, the abolition of all the restrictions on foreign trade, and
the exclusion of Brazil from the imperialist policy of the colonial pact,
had taken place already in 1808, as soon as the Royal Family arrived in Brazil:
the first act signed by the Prince Regent after his arrival in Brazil was
the decree on the opening of the Brazilian ports to friendly Nations,
that enabled Brazilians to import goods from Nations other than Portugal, and to
export Brazilian products to the foreign Nations maintaining diplomatic ties with
the Portuguese Empire. Now, with the measures being voted by the Cortes
assembled in Lisbon, that economic freedom was under threat.
Faced with that scenario, Brazilian independentists managed to convince
Prince Pedro to stay in Brazil against the orders of the Cortes, that demanded
his immediate return. He thus continued leading a central Brazilian Government
as Regent, and further established that no laws, decrees or instructions issued
by the Portuguese Cortes or by the central government of the United Kingdom
would be obeyed in Brazil without his fiat.
The Prince’s decision not to obey the decrees of the Cortes that demanded this
return, and instead to stay in Brazil as its Regent was solemnly announced on 9
January 1822, in reply to a formal petition from the city council of Rio de
Janeiro. In February 1822 Prince Pedro decided to create an advisory council,
composed of representatives elected to represent the several provinces of
Brazil, summoning elections to that council. Its first meeting was held on 2
June 1822. Prince Regent Pedro’s decree to the effect that laws, decrees and
orders from Lisbon would only be carried out in Brazil with his fiat was
published in May 1822. By agreeing to defy the Cortes and stay
in Brazil, Prince Pedro assumed the leadership of the Brazilian cause; as a
recognition of his leading role, Brazilian independentists offered Pedro
on 13 May 1822 the title of “Perpetual Protector and Defender of Brazil”; he
rejected the title of Protector, arguing that Brazil didn’t need one, but assumed
the title of “Perpetual Defender of Brazil”. By defying explicit orders that
demanded his return to Europe, Pedro escalated the events that would lead to
the separation of Brazil from the United Kingdom, and hastened the crucial moment
of the Proclamation of Independence. As the situation between Brazilians and
Portuguese deteriorated, the United Kingdom was doomed to dissolution.
Brazilian independentists argued that Brazil’s future should be decided by
Brazilians and not by the Lisbon Cortes, and they accordingly demanded the
summoning of a National Constituent Assembly for Brazil, separate from the
Constituent Cortes assembled in Portugal. Prince Pedro, acting on the
advice of his newly convened Council, embraced those demands, and issued a
decree on 13 June 1822 summoning elections for a Brazilian Constituent
Assembly. Due to the further escalation of tensions between Brazil and Portugal,
the elections to that Constituent Assembly would only take place after the
Prince himself had proclaimed the independence of Brazil.
The Cortes sent troops to Brazil to compel the dissolution of the Prince’s
Government and to force his return to Portugal as ordered, but, on arrival
those troops were commanded by the Prince to return to Portugal. The
Portuguese troops in Rio de Janeiro obeyed the Prince Royal and returned to
Europe, but in other Provinces fighting erupted between Brazilians and
Portuguese. Proclamation of Independence
News of further attempts of the Portuguese Cortes aimed at dissolving
Prince Pedro’s Regency led directly to the Brazilian Proclamation of
Independence. Accordingly, in 1822, the Regent of the Kingdom of Brazil, Prince
Pedro, the son of John VI, declared the independence of Brazil, as a reaction
against the attempts of the Cortes to terminate Brazilian home rule, and
became Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, which spelled the end of the United Kingdom.
The independence of Brazil was proclaimed by Prince Pedro on 7
September 1822. Less than a month later, on 23 September 1822 the Lisbon Cortes,
still unaware of the Brazilian declaration of independence, approved
the Constitution of the United Kingdom, that was promulgated by King John VI. In
a solemnity that marked the entry into force of the new Constitution, on 1
October 1822, the Portuguese King swore before the Cortes an oath to uphold the
Constitution. Due to the Brazilian secession from the United Kingdom, that
Constitution was never recognized in Brazil and was only effective in
Portugal. That the newly independent Brazilian
Nation would adopt a constitutional monarchy as its form of Government and
that Prince Pedro would be the new State’s monarch were obvious facts to
all the leaders involved in the process of Brazilian emancipation, but still,
for a little more than one month after the 7 September 1822 Proclamation of
Independence, Prince Pedro initially continued to use the title of Prince
Regent, as he did not want to declare himself monarch, preferring instead to
accept the new country’s Crown as an offer. This led several local councils
to adopt motions and addresses asking the Prince Regent to assume the title of
King, or of Emperor. The municipal council of the city of Rio de Janeiro
and the other municipal councils of the province of Rio de Janeiro then
organized a ceremony of acclamation, with the support of the Prince Regent’s
Government. The municipal council of Rio de Janeiro voted to instruct its
president to offer Prince Pedro the title of Emperor. Then, the Prince’s
Advisory Council, a body that was not a legislative assembly, but was composed
of councillors elected from all Provinces of Brazil to represent its
peoples and advise the Prince Regent, advised the Prince Regent to accede to
the several requests already presented and to assume the imperial title. On 12
October 1822, Prince Pedro accepted the offer of the new Brazilian Throne and
was acclaimed the first Emperor of the independent Empire of Brazil. His
coronation took place on 1 December 1822.
Recognition of Independence The Brazilian declaration of
independence and foundation of the Empire of Brazil led to a War of
Independence. The Portuguese initially refused to recognize Brazil as a
sovereign state, treating the whole affair as a rebellion and attempting to
preserve the United Kingdom. However, military action was never close to Rio
de Janeiro, and the main battles of the independence war took place in the
Northeastern region of Brazil. The independentist Brazilian forces
overpowered the Portuguese forces as well as the few local forces that were
still loyal to Portugal, and the last Portuguese troops surrendered in
November 1823. Compared to the wars of independence waged by Spanish colonies
during the decolonization of the Americas, the Brazilian Independence War
did not result in significant bloodshed, although land and naval battles were
fought. The Portuguese military defeat, however,
was not followed by swift recognition of the new country’s independence. Instead,
from 1822 to 1825 the Portuguese Government engaged in heavy diplomatic
efforts to avoid the recognition of Brazil’s independence by the European
Powers, invoking the principles of the Congress of Vienna and subsequent
European alliances. Those foreign Nations, however, were keen on
establishing trade and diplomatic ties with Brazil. Under British pressure,
Portugal eventually agreed to recognize Brazil’s independence in 1825, thus
allowing the new country to establish diplomatic ties with other European
powers shortly thereafter. In 1824, in the wake of the adoption of
the Constitution of the Empire of Brazil on March 25 of that year, the United
States of America became the first nation to recognize the independence of
Brazil and the consequential disbandment of the United Kingdom.
Portugal recognized the sovereignty of Brazil only in 1825. Since a coup d’etát
on 3 June 1823 the Portuguese King John VI had already abolished the
Constitution of 1822 and dissolved the Cortes, thus reversing the Liberal
Revolution of 1820. On 4 January 1824 King John VI issued a Charter of Law
confirming as in force the “traditional laws of the Portuguese Monarchy”, thus
ratifying the restoration of the absolutist régime in Portugal.
There were two Portuguese acts of recognition of Brazilian independence.
The first was unilateral and purporting to be constitutive of such independence,
the second was bilateral and declaratory.
The first act of recognition was materialized in Letters Patent issued on
May 13, 1825, by which the Portuguese King “voluntarily ceded and transferred
the sovereignty” over Brazil to his son, the Brazilian Emperor, and thus
recognized, as a result of this concession, Brazil as an “Independent
Empire, separate from the Kingdoms of Portugal and Algarves”.
The second act of recognition was materialized in a Treaty of Peace signed
in Rio de Janeiro on August 29, 1825, by means of which Portugal again recognized
the independence of Brazil. This Treaty was ratified by the Emperor of Brazil on
August 30, 1825, and by the King of Portugal on November 15, 1825, and
entered into force in international Law also on November 15, 1825 upon the
exchange of the instruments of ratification in Lisbon. On the same date
of the signature of the Portuguese instrument of ratification and of the
exchange of the ratification documents between the representatives of the two
Nations, the Portuguese King also signed a Charter of Law, a statute, ordering
the execution of the Treaty as part of the domestic Law of Portugal. The Treaty
was incorporated as part of the domestic Law of Brazil by a Decree of Emperor
Pedro I signed on April 10, 1826. The reason why there were two separate
acts of recognition of the independence of Brazil is this: in the wake of the
Brazilian victory in the War of Independence, the Portuguese king
initially attempted to recognize Brazilian independence unilaterally so
as to ignore the fact of the Portuguese defeat and transmit the impression that
Portugal was being magnanimous. By means of such unilateral concession, Portugal
intended to avoid the humiliation of Peace negotiations with its former
Colony. King John VI wanted to “save face” by giving the impression that
Portugal was voluntarily conceding independence to Brazil, and not just
recognizing a fait accompli. Thus the Letters Patent issued on May 13, 1825
ignored the proclamation of 1822 and “granted independence to Brazil” as if
it were a concession, that was laced with conditions. Thus, Brazilian
independence would result not from the events of 1822, but from the 1825
Letters Patent. However, such unilateral, constitutive
recognition was not accepted by Brazilians, who demanded a declarative
recognition of the independence as proclaimed and existing since 1822. The
new Brazilian Government therefore made the establishment of peaceful relations
and diplomatic ties with Portugal conditional on the signature of a
bilateral treaty between the two Nations. Portugal eventually agreed, and
a treaty to that effect was signed with British mediation. The treaty between
the Empire of Brazil and the Kingdom of Portugal on the recognition of Brazilian
independence, signed in Rio de Janeiro on August 29, 1825, finally entered into
force on November 15, 1825, upon the exchange of the instruments of
ratification in Lisbon. The Portuguese, however, only accepted
to sign the Independence treaty on condition that Brazil agreed to pay
reparations for the properties of the Portuguese State that were seized by the
new Brazilian State. Brazil desperately needed to establish normal diplomatic
relations with Portugal, because other European Monarchies had already made
clear that they would only recognize the Empire of Brazil after the establishment
of normal relations between Brazil and Portugal. Thus, by a separate convention
that was signed on the same occasion as the Treaty on the Recognition of
Independence, Brazil agreed to pay Portugal two million pounds in damages.
The British, who had mediated the Peace negotiations, granted Brazil a loan of
the same value, so that Brazil could pay the agreed sum. The new Nation,
therefore, achieved international recognition at a heavy price. As a
result of this agreement, Brazil became plunged in debt to Britain, but was able
to achieve universal international recognition, both de facto and de jure
as an independent State. Upon recognizing the independence of
Brazil from the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, King John
VI issued letters patent changing back the name of the Portuguese State and the
Royal Titles to “Kingdom of Portugal” and “King of Portugal and the Algarves”
respectively. The title of the Portuguese heir apparent was changed to
“Prince Royal of Portugal” by the same letters patent.
The recognition of Brazilian independence completed the dissolution
of the United Kingdom. By a provision of the Letters Patent of
May 13, 1825 that was confirmed by the Treaty on the Recognition of
Independence, in spite of the secession of Brazil from the Portuguese Monarchy,
the Portuguese King, John VI, was allowed to use for the remainder of his
life the honorary title of “Emperor of Brazil”, with the caveat that this title
was honorary and ceremonial only, and that Pedro I and his successors in the
independent Brazilian Crown were the only actual Emperors of Brazil. This
honorary title ceased to have effect upon the demise of King John VI on March
10, 1826. News of the separate convention appended
to the Independence Treaty, by which Brazil agreed to pay Portugal financial
compensation, angered many Brazilians, who saw this payment as a result of a
bad negotiation, especially in view of the Brazilian military victory in the
independence war. The grant of the honorary imperial title to the
Portuguese King was also not popular with Brazilians. Furthermore, the
declaratory language of the Independence Treaty was sufficiently ambiguous, so
that Brazilians could claim that the independence declared in 1822 was being
recognized, but mention was also made of the 13 May 1825 Letters Patent, so that
the Portuguese could claim that the recognition was based on the previous
concession. The preamble of the treaty mentioned the concession made by means
of the Letters Patent of 13 May 1825; it stated that, by that Letters Patent, the
Portuguese King had “recognized Brazil as an independent Empire, and his son
Dom Pedro as Emperor”, but also stated that, in so doing, the Portuguese
monarch was “ceding and transferring of his free will the sovereignty of the
said Empire”. In the treaty’s second article, it was the Brazilian Emperor
who agreed that his father, the Portuguese King, should take for himself
the honorary life title of Emperor. In the first article of the treaty it was
declared that the King of Portugal recognized Brazil as an independent
Empire, and as a Nation separate from the Kingdoms of Portugal and the
Algarves, and also recognized his son Dom Pedro as Emperor of Brazil, ceding
“of his own free will” to the Brazilian Emperor and his legitimate successors
all claims of sovereignty over Brazil. Peace was established between the
countries of Brazil and Portugal by the fourth Article.
In spite of the unpopular clauses, and especially of the harsh financial
agreement, Brazilian Emperor Pedro I agreed to ratify the treaty negotiated
with Portugal as he was keen on resolving the recognition of
independence question before the opening of the first legislative session of the
Brazilian Parliament elected under the Constitution adopted in 1824. The first
meeting of the new Legislature was set to take place on 3 May 1826, and after a
brief delay, that Parliament was indeed opened on 6 May 1826. By that time, the
independence question was indeed resolved, as the Independence treaty had
been ratified in November 1825 and as the Emperor, still yielding the fullness
of legislative authority, ordered the execution of the agreement as part of
the law of Brazil on 10 April 1826. Aftermath: resolution of the dynastic
entanglement With the death of the Portuguese King
John VI on 10 March 1826, his heir apparent, Brazilian Emperor Pedro I,
inherited the Portuguese Crown, and reigned briefly as King Pedro IV. On 20
March 1826 the proclamation of the Brazilian Emperor’s accession to the
Portuguese Throne was made public by the Portuguese Council of Regency. With this
union of Crowns, the monarchies of Portugal and Brazil were once again
briefly united, but there was no thought of a reunification of the two separate
States. Accordingly, this brief union of Crowns in the person of Pedro I and IV
remained always a personal union only, and not a real union or a rebirth of the
United Kingdom. News of the death of King John VI and of
the proclamation of the Brazilian Emperor as King of Portugal reached the
Brazilian province of Bahia on 18 April, and official news to that effect reached
the Emperor of Brazil and new King of Portugal in Rio de Janeiro on 24 April
1826, shortly after the final settlement of the Brazilian independence question.
The existence even of the personal union only was seen by Brazilian politicians
as dangerous, since it could come to affect the effectiveness of the newly
formed country’s sovereignty. Accordingly, steps were taken to put an
end to the personal union: Pedro I & IV agreed to abdicate the Portuguese Throne
in favour of his eldest daughter, but he also wanted to ensure that her rights
would be respected, and he further wanted to restore constitutional
monarchy to Portugal. In order to put an end to the Portuguese absolute monarchy,
the Emperor-King commissioned the drafting of a new Constitution for
Portugal, that was widely based on the Brazilian Constitution. This document
was finalized in less than a week. After issuing a new Constitution for
Portugal on 29 April 1826, and as already announced in that Constitution,
Emperor-King Pedro abdicated the Portuguese Crown in favour of his
daughter, Princess Maria da Glória, on 2 May 1826. Princess Maria da Glória thus
became Queen Maria II of Portugal. The document by which the Brazilian Emperor
abdicated the Portuguese Crown was signed days before the first meeting of
the Parliament established by the Brazilian Constitution of 1824, that
assembled for the first time on 6 May 1826. Before his abdication, on 26
April, King Pedro confirmed the Regency of Portugal that had been established by
his father during his final illness, and that was led by the Infanta Isabel
Maria, his sister. As the new Queen Maria II was still a minor, Portugal
would need to be led by Regents during her minority. On 30 April, King Pedro IV
set the date for the first legislative elections under the new Portuguese
Constitution and appointed Peers of the Realm.
On 12 May 1826, British envoy Charles Stuart left Rio de Janeiro for Portugal
carrying with him the acts signed by the Brazilian Emperor as King of Portugal,
including the new Portuguese Constitution and his deed of abdication
of the Portuguese Crown. On that same date Carlos Matias Pereira left Rio de
Janeiro for Lisbon in another ship carrying a second copy of the same
documents. Charles Stuart arrived in Lisbon on 2 July 1826 and presented the
acts signed by King Pedro IV to the Government of Portugal, including his
original deed of abdication of the Portuguese Throne. On 12 July 1826 the
Portuguese Government published the new Constitution decreed by Pedro IV; the
Portuguese Regency swore on 31 July 1826 an oath to uphold the Constitution,
marking its entry into force, and, on 1 August 1826 Queen Maria II was publicly
proclaimed as Queen of Portugal, with the Infanta Isabel Maria as Regent. On 4
October the exiled infante Miguel. The first Portuguese Cortes to meet under
the Constitution were elected on 8 October, and the opening of Parliament
took place on 30 October 1826. Although Pedro’s abdication of the
Portuguese Crown to Maria II was provided for even in the Constitution
issued on 29 April 1826, the original deed of abdication, signed on 2 May 1826
contained conditions; however, those conditions were subsequently waived, as
the abdication was later declared final, irrevocable, accomplished and fully
effective by a decree issued by Pedro on 3 March 1828, just a few months before
Infante Miguel’s usurpation of the Throne and the start of the Portuguese
Civil War. In any event, Pedro’s unconditional confirmation of his
abdication reinforced the impossibility of a new union between Portugal and
Brazil. Pedro’s abdication of the Portuguese
Throne led to the separation of the Brazilian and Portuguese monarchies,
since the Portuguese Crown was inherited by Queen Maria II and her successors,
and the Brazilian Crown came to be inherited by Pedro I’s Brazilian heir
apparent, Prince Pedro de Alcantara, who would become the future Emperor Pedro II
of Brazil. Prince Pedro de Alcantara had no rights to the Portuguese Crown
because, having been born in Brazil on 2 December 1825, after the Portuguese
recognition of the independence of Brazil, he was not a Portuguese national
and under the Portuguese Constitution and Laws a foreigner could not inherit
the Portuguese Crown. Still, with Princess Maria da Glória’s
accession to the Throne of Portugal as Queen Maria II in 1826, the question
arose, about whether she should still be regarded as a Brazilian Princess with a
place in the order of succession, or whether article 119 of Brazil’s
Constitution applied to her, so that, as a foreigner, she should be considered
excluded from the Brazilian line of succession. The Empire’s Constitution
limited the Crown of Brazil to Emperor Pedro I and his descendants, under a
male-preference cognatic primogeniture system, but it rendered foreigners
incapable of succeeding to the Crown, and it empowered the General Assembly,
the Empire’s Parliament, to settle any doubts regarding the rights of
succession to the Crown. The issue of Queen Maria II’s status in the Brazilian
line of succession became more pressing once Emperor Pedro II acceded to the
Brazilian Throne as a minor in 1831, since the question was no longer only
about whether or not the Queen of Portugal had a place in the Brazilian
line of succession, but it had now become a question about whether or not
she was the heiress presumptive to the Brazilian Crown, that is, the first
person in line to succeed to the Brazilian Throne, occupied by her
brother Emperor Pedro II. Thus, the Brazilian Parliament had to settle the
matter and decide who was the first person in line to the Brazilian Throne,
with the corresponding title of Princess Imperial: Queen Maria II of Portugal or
Princess Januária of Brazil. Both were minors under Brazilian Law, and since no
one in the Brazilian Imperial Family was of age, the Regency of the Empire was
discharged by politicians chosen by the General Assembly in accordance with the
Constitution. However, the question was all important because, in the event that
Emperor Pedro II died before producing descendants, the Crown of the
independent Empire of Brazil could end up coming to the Queen of Portugal, thus
recreating a personal union between the two monarchies. The question became even
more pressing after the conclusion of the Portuguese Civil War, won by Maria
II and her liberal supporters in 1834: Maria’s uncle, the absolutist claimant
Dom Miguel, was defeated, surrendered his claim to the Portuguese Throne in
the Concession of Evoramonte, Maria was restored to the Throne and her
constitutional government, now recognized by all foreign Powers as the
legitimate one, assumed control of the whole of Portugal. Although the doubt
about which of the two Princesses was Emperor Pedro II’s heiress presumptive
had existed since the abdication of the Brazilian Crown by Pedro I in 1831,
Maria II was at the time a deposed Queen, although actively pursuing her
claim to the Throne of Portugal. With her victory in the Portuguese Civil War,
however, she once again became an actually reigning monarch, and, for the
whole Brazilian political establishment, the fact that a foreign Sovereign was
heiress presumptive to the Brazilian Crown was highly worrying, as it was
seen as detrimental to the independence of the recently established Brazilian
Nation. The Regency and Parliament of Brazil wanted to avoid any possibility
of a personal union with Portugal being recreated, so as to secure the
independence of Brazil. In order to settle that question, the Brazilian
General Assembly adopted a statute, signed into law by the Regent on behalf
of Emperor Pedro II on 30 October 1835, declaring Queen Maria II and her
descendants excluded from the Brazilian line of succession, ruling that Princess
Januária and her descendants were first in line to the Throne after Emperor
Pedro II and his descendants, and decreeing that, accordingly, Princess
Januária, as the then heiress presumptive of the Brazilian Crown,
should be recognized as Princess Imperial.
Thus, the abdication of the Portuguese Crown by Brazilian Emperor Pedro I
terminated the brief 1826 personal union and separated the monarchies of Portugal
and Brazil, and that abdication, coupled with the exclusion of the new Portuguese
Queen, Maria II, from the Brazilian line of succession, broke the last remaining
ties of political union between the two Nations, securing the preservation of
the independence of Brazil and putting to an end all hopes of the rebirth of a
Luso-Brazilian United Kingdom. Monarchs of the United Kingdom
See also Kingdom of Portugal
Kingdom of Brazil Kingdom of the Algarve
Portuguese Empire History of Portugal
Empire of Brazil Bibliography
Gomes, Laurentino. 1808 – How a mad queen, a coward prince and a corrupt
court fooled Napoleon and changed the History of Portugal and Brazil. Planeta.
Monarchy in Brazil Ministry of External Relations, accessed on 8 June 2008.
Elevação do Brasil a Reino Unido a Portugal e Algarves Secretary of
Education of Rio de Janeiro, accessed on 8 June 2008.
Reino Unido Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, accessed on 8 June 2008.
References ^ “O Portal da História – Cronologia do
Liberalismo de 1826 a 1832”. arqnet.pt. ^ “Legislação avulsa do século XIX”.
geneall.net. ^ “Legislação avulsa do século XIX”.
geneall.net. External links
Brazil history Colonial flags of Brazil

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