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Pedro I of Brazil

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Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil (October 12, 1798 - September 24, 1834), and, as Pedro IV, King of Portugal, in full, Pedro I de Alcántara Francisco António João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquin José Gonzaga Pascual Cipriano Serafim, Emperor of Brazil.

Don Pedro was born in Queluz[?] and first married on November 5, 1817 in Rio de Janeiro to Archduchess Maria Leopoldina of Austria. During the Napoleonic Wars, the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro became the de facto capital of the Portuguese Empire, and Brazil was elevated to the status of a kingdom coequal with Portugal. This changed in the early 1820s, with the return of Pedro's father King João VI[?] to Portugal. Many of the privileges accorded to Brazil were rescinded, spraking the ire of local nationalists. Pedro, who had remained in the country, sided with the nationalist element, causing him to be considered a rebel. When news reached him that troops had been sent from Europe to arrest him, he decided to make his move. On September 7, 1822, he stood on the banks of a small river, the Ipiranga[?], unsheathed his sword, and declared "Independence or death!" He was proclaimed Emperor of Brazil on October 12 and crowned on December 1.

Pedro succeeded his father as King of Portugal on March 10, 1826, but abdicated in Portugal in favor of his daughter Maria II on May 28, having first promulgated the liberal constituion of Apr 26 and organised Maria's betrothal to his brother Dom Miguel. On October 17, 1829 he married his second wife, Princess Amélie de Beauharnais von Leuchtenberg, in Rio de Janeiro.

The early years of Brazilian independence were very difficult ones. Many provinces, particularly in the north, favored continued association with Portugal, republican sentiment soared, and in 1825, during a war with Paraguay, the Cisplatine province seceded to become Argentina. Furthermore, Pedro had a number of illicit affairs, which cost him his popularity.

Pedro abdicated his throne in Brazil in favor of his son Pedro II on April 7, 1831, returning to Portugal where in 1834 he overthrew his brother King Miguel (the War of the Two Brothers) and restored Maria II to her throne. He died in Queluz, the place of his birth. In 1972, his remains were returned to Brazil and reinterred in Ipiranga.



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