The Independence of Brazil

The trigger event that leads Brazil to its independence is the invasion of the Peninsula by Napoleon, the same as it was for Spanish America. The French, lead by Jean Androche Junot (Bussy-le-Grand. France, 1771-Montbard, France, 1813) will entry to Portuguese territory in October 1807 with the aim to isolate by sea their eternal enemy, England.

Due to these events, the British will offer protection to the royal family of Portugal and to its extended court in order to abandon de country towards Brazil. The regent John was the head (Lisbon, Portugal, 1767,-Lisbon, Portugal, 1826) as well as his wife Carlota Joaquina de Borbón, daughter of Charles IV. The expedition brings more than 10.000 people. The court will settle at the beginning at Salvador de Bahía where he will arrive in January 1808 and settles definitely in Rio de Janeiro.

Since 1808 and due to the opportunity to rule in that corner of the world, the prince will upgrade the principality of Brazil to kingdom, creating the Reino Unido de Portugal, Brasil y los Algarves.

This ascent to the category of kingdom that was driven by John, equals in rights the colony and the metropolis. At the same time it takes place the death of Queen Maria I (Lisbon, Portugal, 1734-Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1816) who was mentally incapable to rule since years. The succession turns in John VI. John VI, taking advantage of the economical prosperity and the relative serenity, plans the expansion of Brazil until Band Oriental gets added. Doing so, he will create the Cisplatine in 1817 in spite of the opposite opinion of José Gervasio Artigas.

The heat of the independence had also transfer to Brazil. The most important uprising will be the one of Pernambuco from 1817 that includes the discomfort, the economical and social problems in front of the prosperity that hold the court at Rio in a moment in which the worlds economic recovery sinks Brazils prices. The insurgents chase the establishment of a republic, but the movement ends with the repression and execution of the leaders.

With a peaceful Iberian Peninsula, at Portugal raises the discomfort by the permanence of John VI at Rio de Janeiro. The protests are channeled through the proposals of constitutionalist liberalism in the Spanish way. A group of military get to pronounce in Oporto in August of 1820 as Lieutenant Rafael del Riego had done it a few months earlier in Spain.

Portugal suffers the set backs coming from an open and free trade ordered by the British flee under the regency of an English general. The fault is laid upon the inattention of John VI on behalf of his own Brazilian interest. Forced by the current events and against his own will, the king will return to Lisbon in 1821 where he will accept the future constitution that the Courts of Portugal will issue.

Aware of the independence and liberal atmosphere that surrounds the ex- colony; King John hands over Brazil to his son Pedro (Queluz, Portugal, 1798-Queluz, Portugal, 1834) and recommends him to lead the possible emancipator movements that can come along in order to ensure the continuity of the Braganza Dynasty in front of Brazil.

The Courts of Lisbon, with a low representation of Brazilians -even though there was legal equality on both territories was the scenario of debate to Brazil´s continuity as kingdom or its return to the status of former colony in 1808. At Brazilian land there is a division between the ones in favor of keeping the current system with an autonomy that worked in favor of their business among those the slavery-; and the radical liberals, in favor of a republican regime.

At Portugal, the majority, who were in favor of the elimination of the autonomy, demands the return to Lisbon of the prince Peter. The powerful groups from Brazil are aware of the meaning of a return to their origins as colonies. Prince Peter refuses to travel to Portugal on January 9, 1822 and on September 7 declares the independence. On December, his crowned as Peter I, emperor of Brazil.

Due to great distance, Portugal is unable to face this uprising. The independent territory will take the form of empire under a liberal government. It will not take long before England acknowledges the new nation in 1825 in exchange for substantial improvements in their already good trade relationships. Portugal will follow Englands footsteps who had encourage them and also due to the compensation that they will receive from the new empire.

In 1831, Peter returned to Portugal to recover the throne that had been taken away from his brother Michael (Lisbon, Portugal, 1802-Karlsruhe, Germany, 1866) when John VI died and handed over to her daughter María (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1819-Lisbon, Portugal, 1853). At the Brazilian throne he was succeeded by his son Peter II (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1825- Paris, France, 1891).