200 years ago, the Portuguese royal family left Brazil. The return of d. João 6º in Portugal, after more than 13 years of absence, was troubled. In addition to the hostile political climate and devastated economy, the monarch faced various plots to take him down from the throne, involving his wife, d. Carlota Joaquina and her son d. Miguel.
The adversities began with the landing of Lisbon on July 4, 1821, when the Cortes – who had seized power during the liberal revolution of the previous year – insisted on reinforcing the downgrading of royal authority.
Although his ship had arrived in the capital the day before and the king himself expressed his desire to disembark hours later, the courts have deliberately ignored the request.
Held incommunicado on board the ship, d. João 6º was not allowed to leave until the time chosen by the Cortes. In addition, he has seen some of his companions and opposing ministerial appointments beforehand.
The ceremonies themselves which marked the return of the royal family were planned by the liberals as a way to show the new condition of the monarchy.
The population took to the streets in force, but, as determined by the Cortes, the town and the houses were not adorned with triumphal arches, as would normally happen on these occasions.
“The general feeling would be that a victorious ruler would be welcome, but a defeated king unworthy of triumphal arches”, in the words of historian Valentim Alexandre in the newspaper Público.
Without negotiating power or negotiating power, d remained. João 6º accepts the determinations and swears the liberal constitution.
With limited powers and unable to appoint their own ministers, d. John 6 will see his situation begin to change on May 27, 1823, when d. Miguel, with the support of part of the army, organized a rebellion against the liberal government.
After showing some hesitation. D. João 6º ended up joining the movement, taking charge of the situation and controlling the rise of d. Miguel, who ended up being appointed to command the army.
The episode, known as the vila-francada, marked the end of the liberal period that began in the revolution and restored power to d. João 6th.
Even with the monarch’s decision to overturn the Constitution, release political prisoners, and overturn convictions against Queen Carlota Joaquina (who had been punished for refusing to swear liberal laws), the absolutist party was not satisfied with the measures, considered excessively moderate.
“All this displeased d. Carlota Joaquina and d. Miguel, who aspired to the restoration of absolute monarchy, ”writes Portuguese historian Maria Cândida Proença.
D. João 6º then undergoes a new coup attempt, led by d. Miguel. On April 30, 1824, with the support of the army, the prince indicted his father, who found himself surrounded by miguelist troops at the Palácio da Bemposta, in Lisbon.
The king did not fall solely due to the interference of foreign diplomats, especially the ambassadors of France and England, who obtained the d. João 6º the support of the European powers.
With the help of the English, the monarch took refuge in a British ship anchored in the Tagus and managed to regain control of the situation. D. Miguel was eventually removed from command of the army and sent into exile in Vienna, Austria.
Weakened by internal instability and without international support to try to reintegrate Brazil into the kingdom, Portugal, under the command of d. João 6º, ends up recognizing the independence of Brazil in August 1825, in an agreement negotiated by the English.
The king died a few months later – there are strong indications that he would have been poisoned – on March 10, 1826, at the age of 58, leaving a huge problem of succession.
With the eldest son at the head of a former colony that declared itself independent, and the youngest in exile for plotting a coup, who was the legitimate heir?
The dispute between the brothers, which lasted for the following years, plunged Portugal into civil war.