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Aureliano tutorship



Pedro II had grown and matured by 1843. He was considered a handsome man,[1][2][3] at 1.90 m (6'3") tall[4][5] with blue eyes and blond hair.[3][4][6] He had, however, two physical flaws: a protunding jaw (inherited from his Hapsburg mother's family,[6][7][8] and which in the later 1840s he would try to conceal by letting his beard grow),[8][9] and a high-pitched, childish voice.[6][10][11][12] The "single complaint about Pedro II's behavior as monarch was his lack of social graces, and in particular his taciturnity. Since he rarely volunteered more than a word or two, maintaining a direct conversation with him was next to impossible."[13] That, coupled with emotional immaturity, made ministers of State and courtiers expect that he would improve his behavior and character once he had married.[3] There was also an urgent need to increase the number of heirs to the throne.[13][14] The Brazilian Imperial Family was then reduced to only three people, Pedro II and his sisters Francisca and Januária[13][14] (Paula had died in 1833 from meningitis at age 9).[15] Januária was the heiress presumptive to the throne and held the title of Princess Imperial, while Francisca was second (and last) in the line of succession.[14]

Pedro II at age 20, 1846.

The problem was that Pedro II, although born of one of the most illustrious royal lineages,[16] was considered a poor marital prospect according to standards of European royalty.[16][17][18] This was because Brazil was then a country without much political and economic importance in the international arena.[16][17][18] The Brazilian government hoped to arrange matches with members of the House of Habsburg[18][19][20] and asked Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria and uncle of Pedro II, to assist in this.[16] However, Ferdinand was mentally handicapped and Prince von Metternich was the power behind Austria's throne.[21] Metternich was not at all interested in collaborating with the Brazilian Empire.[18][22][23] The reason was a deep resentment he held against Pedro I (Pedro II's father). In 1834 the liberal and constitutionalist Pedro I defeated and dethroned his absolutist brother Miguel I, who was supported by the reactionary Metternich.[24]

The diplomat Bento da Silva Lisboa (son of José da Silva Lisboa, Viscount of Cairu, councilor of Dom João VI) was made plenipotentiary minister to deal with marriage arrangements,[18][20][25][26][27] and departed for Vienna on 12 December 1840.[25] Lisboa remained for about a year in Vienna while being ignored by Metternich. Eventually, he met Vicenzo Ramirez, minister of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, who offered the hand of Princess Teresa Cristina (daughter of Francis I and sister of Ferdinand II, both kings of the Two Sicilies).[18][22][27][28] Meanwhile, Metternich had changed his mind and planned to marry Pedro II to Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna (daughter of Czar Nicholas I of Russia), but it was already too late.[28][29] On 20 May 1842, both ministers signed a marriage contract between Pedro II and Teresa Cristina.[24][29] The government of the Two Sicilies sent a picture of Teresa Cristina to the Brazilian emperor, and she seemed to be a beautiful young woman.[18][26][30][31] The wedding occurred by proxy on 30 May 1843 in Naples, Pedro II being represented by his fiancée's brother Prince Leopold, Count of Syracuse.[18][32][33]

A small Brazilian fleet composed of the frigate Constituição and the corvettes Dois de Julho and Euterpe[34][35] departed for the Two Sicilies on 3 March 1843 to escort the new Empress of Brazil.[36][37] Meanwhile on 27 March 1843, the French frigate Belle Poule arrived in Rio de Janeiro with François d'Orléans, prince de Joinville (son of King Louis-Philippe of France) on board, who had come to ask for the hand of Francisca. Their marriage occurred on 1 May and the couple afterwards sailed for France.[38][39] The Brazilian fleet, accompanied by a Neapolitan naval division consisting of a ship of the line and three frigates, returned with Teresa Cristina on 3 September 1843.[18][38][40][41] Pedro II went aboard immediately to greet his bride, but upon seeing her in person, felt greatly disappointed.[3][42][43][44][45] The picture which had been sent to him was clearly idealized, and the real Teresa Cristina was short, a bit overweight, walked with a pronounced limp and, while not ugly, neither was she pretty.[3][42][44][45] "His hopes and dreams died at that moment. His response was one of visible disgust and rejection. According to one report he turned his back on his bride, and another stated that he was so overcome that he had to sit down. […] He may have done both these things."[3] After a while, he left the ship, and she returned to her cabin. Perceiving his disillusionment, she burst into tears, lamenting that "the emperor did not like me!"[3][18][42] That evening, Pedro II wept on the shoulder of the Steward Paulo Barbosa and complained to the Lady-in-waiting Mariana de Verna, "They have deceived me, Dadama!"[3][43][45] It took several hours to convince him that he could not give up.[3][43][45] Thus, the wedding celebration occurred on the following day, 4 September.[46][47][48]

Establishment of the imperial authority

Empress Teresa Cristina was accompanied by her brother Prince Louis, Count of Aquila, who married Princess Januária.[49] The relationship between the emperor and the count soon soured.[50] Unlike the young Pedro II, Áquila was an "extrovert with an easy charm, he valued entertainment above study and pleasure above duty."[50] In contrast, the emperor appeared uneasy in social situations, and somewhat insecure and immature.[51] However, the unfavorable comparison soon was eliminated. The Italian prince committed the grave mistake of attempting to acquire a more prominent position in the Brazilian court, an ambition which the "Courtier faction" found threatening to its interests.[51] The steward Paulo Barbosa, ever vigilant against any loss of status at court, aroused Pedro II's fears and insecurities by alleging that Áquila had designs upon the throne.[52] The relationship between the brothers-in-law became unbearable, at which point the count, tired of being mistreated by the emperor, departed with Januária for Europe on 23 October 1844.[52] The suspicions directed towards family members exposed an insecurity and undeveloped sense of judgment which were incompatible with his position as ruler. The emperor's attention was too easily misdirected to gossip, and he too willingly believed baseless allegations of plots directed against himself. This immaturity was exploited by the "Courtier faction" which controlled access to the emperor.[8]

Around 1847 at age 21, Pedro II had finally established his authority as an emperor.

However, things quickly changed. With adulthood came a flowering of Pedro II's more admirable traits, and a fading of immature vulnerabilities. The emperor became more confident, courteous, and judicious.[8] He no longer allowed others to manipulate his affairs or influence his decisions in governing, and became adroit at handling both personal and official interactions.[8] The shy and suspicious youth became a man who could be sophisticated and charming in social situations.[53] Pedro II "became a highly respected, even beloved, monarch whose dominance of the nation’s affairs was both welcome and unquestioned."[8] Other positive traits flourished, such as his ability to exercise restraint. He learned to be patient and courteous, even under trying circumstances. He no longer allowed his emotions to be drawn out in public. "He was never rude and never lost his temper. He was exceptionally discreet in words and cautious in action."[54]

Factors other than adulthood contributed to the beneficial changes: the long "Aureliano tutorship" (which allowed him to master the art of politics), the birth of his first son Afonso in 1845 (which gave him, as a father, a new opportunity to bond emotionally with another person, as well as a sense of purpose and self-worth),[55] and finally but no less importantly, an end to domination by the courtiers.[55] Pedro II sent Paulo Barbosa to serve as diplomatic envoy to Saint Petersburg in mid-1846.[56] With Paulo Barbosa's influence in eclipse, Aureliano Coutinho lost much of his power and soon found himself stripped of his remaining political clout, "the result of an implicit, if unspoken, ban imposed by Pedro II."[57] It is unknown whether the fall of the courtiers was engineered by the emperor directly, or whether he simply took advantage of opportunites which presented themselves to distance himself from their influence. There was no break on a personal level, and both men continued to enjoy friendly relationships with the emperor.[57] The highly successful trip that Pedro II made to the southern provinces during this period improved his self-confidence and at the same time enhanced his reputation and authority.[55] The emperor undertook to travel through areas of Rio Grande do Sul impacted during the Tatter rebellion, and his efforts were well-received.[55] The visit was met with great popular enthusiasm in Santa Catarina and São Paulo (and what is now Paraná).[55] The populace gave many indications of their goodwill and appreciation to him for this personal involvement and concern.[55] It became apparent during 1847 that Pedro II, at the age of 21, had solidified his authority,[57] having laid the groundwork for one of history's most successful reigns and for the ensuing 40 years of peace, freedom, progress and development in Brazil.[58][59][60][61][62][63][64]

Brazil in the international arena

See also



  1. ^ Lyra (v.1), p.50
  2. ^ Calmon (1975), p.187
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Barman (1999), p.97
  4. ^ a b Carvalho (2007), p.9
  5. ^ Barman (1999), p.81
  6. ^ a b c Schwarcz, p.68
  7. ^ Calmon (1975), p.191
  8. ^ a b c d e f Barman (1999), p.109
  9. ^ Calmon (1975), p.190
  10. ^ Carvalho (2007), p.30
  11. ^ Calmon (1975), p.193
  12. ^ Barman (1999), p.110
  13. ^ a b c Barman (1999), p.75
  14. ^ a b c Lyra (v.1), p.107
  15. ^ Barman (1999), p.42
  16. ^ a b c d Lyra (v.1), p.111
  17. ^ a b Olivieri, p.16
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Carvalho (2007), p.51
  19. ^ Lyra (v.1), p.109
  20. ^ a b Calmon, p.200
  21. ^ Barman (1999), p.83
  22. ^ a b Lyra (v.1), p.116
  23. ^ Barman (1999), p.86
  24. ^ a b Calmon, p.202
  25. ^ a b Lyra (v.1), p.113
  26. ^ a b Schwarcz, p.92
  27. ^ a b Olivieri, p.17
  28. ^ a b Calmon, p.203
  29. ^ a b Lyra (v.1), p.117
  30. ^ Lyra (v.1), p.119
  31. ^ Calmon, p.205
  32. ^ Lyra (v.1), p.122
  33. ^ Olivieri, p.19
  34. ^ Lyra (v.1), p.120
  35. ^ Calmon, p.213
  36. ^ Lyra (v.1), p.121
  37. ^ Calmon, p.214
  38. ^ a b Lyra (v.1), p.123
  39. ^ Barman (1999), p.96
  40. ^ Calmon, p.238
  41. ^ Schwarcz, p.94
  42. ^ a b c Lyra (v.1), p.124
  43. ^ a b c Calmon, p.239
  44. ^ a b Schwarcz, p.95
  45. ^ a b c d Carvalho (2007), p.52
  46. ^ Lyra (v.1), pp.125–126
  47. ^ Calmon, p.240
  48. ^ Barman (1999), p.98
  49. ^ Barman (1999), pp.103–104
  50. ^ a b Barman (1999), p.104
  51. ^ a b Barman (1999), p.105
  52. ^ a b Barman (1999), p.106
  53. ^ Barman (1999), p.112
  54. ^ Barman (1999), p.122
  55. ^ a b c d e f Barman (1999), p.111
  56. ^ Barman (1999), p.113
  57. ^ a b c Barman (1999), p.114
  58. ^ Munro, pp.273–274 "Under the new Emperor, Brazil was to enjoy nearly half a century of internal peace and rapid material progress. Despite his youth, Pedro II soon showed a surprising capacity to give the country precisely the kind of government that its political development seemed to demand. Educated by conscientious tutors under a strict regime that left him little opportunity for contact with the court influences which had shaped his father’s character, he grew up to be serious minded, irreproachable in his private life, and indefatigable in the performance of what he considered his duty. He was keenly interested in art, science, and literature, well-informed though not profound or brilliant, an able and intelligent ruler if not a great statesman. His subjects loved him for his simplicity and his democratic ways even when they regarded his weakness with tolerant amusement or criticized his official acts with all the freedom permitted by an extremely broad-minded and tolerant policy toward the press."
  59. ^ Skidmore (2003), p.73 "Pedro II brought a natural talent to his work. Even at age 14, he was steady, equilibrated and discrete. The young emperor had another advantage. As his father said on the eve of his departure in 1831: 'My son has an advantage over me that is the fact that he is Brazilian, and the Brazilians like him. He will reign without difficulty and the Constitution will guarantee his prerogatives'. During his reign, he acquired the reputation of being just and objective, projecting the image of a honest and ethical sovereign who would not hesitate in disciplining politicians who were caught turning away from his strict standards. In this he resembled Queen Victoria, his British contemporary, whose long reigned (1837–1901) in great measure was parallel to his. Pedro II became more and more a point of reference for the elite, who used its straightness and firm pulse to move the country far away from the 'unstable' Latin American republics."
  60. ^ Barman (1999), pp.XIII-XIV "The task of transforming Brazil into a functioning nation-state fell to a boy aged fourteen. Pedro II devoted himself during the next half century to meeting the formidable challenge. 'During what is now a long life,' he reflected in November 1891, 'I have applied all my forces and all my devotion to assuring the progress and the prosperity of my people.' Resourceful, patient, and above all persevering, he eschewed bold initiatives and avoided confrontations. The emperor first established an undisputed dominance over public affairs, his integrity and his impartiality being respected by all. Even more important, the public persona he developed embodied the values which the ruling elements in Brazil wished for their country. He was at once the model emperor and the model citizen. He literally and metaphorically towered above his fellow Brazilians. Pedro II’s achievements at home and the high reputation he established abroad convinced Brazilians that the goals he advocated would create a country as powerful and as civilized as France, Great Britain or the United States."
  61. ^ Calmon (2002), p.217 "The revolution that occurred in Pernambuco in 1848—Rio Grande do Sul had been pacified since 1845—ended a cycle of civil-military agitations that disturbed, during the regency and beyond, the life of the nation. The politics, became British-like, and were improved, creating processes which began to function under the vigilant eyes of the emperor, whose personal power spanned the long period from 1840 to 1889. The peace was concluded and allowed, with the implementation of his ideals, the evolution of democracy in Brazil. There is not a more continuous period of tranquility in the history of South America, so different than the experiences of Brazil's neighbors [the Spanish South American republics] that J.B. Alberdi considered this the 'Brazilian miracle'. When the throne fell, in 1889, Rojas Paúl, president of Venezuela, said, 'It has ended the only republic that existed in [South] America: the Empire of Brazil.' Mitre called it 'a crowned democracy'."
  62. ^ Carvalho (2007), p.9 "D. Pedro ruled Brazil from 23 July 1840 up to 15 November 1889. It was 49 years, three months and 22 days, almost half a century. He assumed power when under fifteen years old during a turbulent phase in the national life when Rio Grande do Sul was an independent republic, the Maranhão faced the revolt of the Balaiada, the bloody war of Cabanagem in Pará had barely ended, and England threatened the country with retaliation due to the slave traffic. He was deposed and exiled at 65 years old, leaving a consolidated nation, having abolished the slave trade, and having established the foundations of a representative system thanks to uninterrupted elections and great freedom of the press. For the longevity of his government and the transformations effected during its course, no other head of State has marked more deeply the history of the country."
  63. ^ Olivieri, p.22 "Until the decline of the Empire in the 1880s, political stability favored the economic and cultural development of the country. Artists began to flourish in literature, painting and music, including the poet Gonçalves Dias, the writer José de Alencar, the painter Pedro Américo and the maestro Carlos Gomes. Even today, these are important references in Brazilian culture. An enthusiastic patron of the arts, dom Pedro II sought to support writers and artists. He granted scholarships for overseas studies to Pedro Américo and Carlos Gomes, among others. If the Government could not pay for them, he would provide them out of his own purse. […] Beyond favoring artists and intellectuals, dom Pedro II personally sponsored many educational initiatives, establishing or collaborating to establish schools and institutions of scientific research."
  64. ^ Vasquez (2007), p.38 "Although having assumed power at a very young age by means of the contrived Majority of 23 July 1840, when he had not yet attained the age of 15 years, Dom Pedro II made the Second Empire a period of stability and growth to Brazil. Reserved and melancholic, Dom Pedro II was different in everything from his impetuous father, having remained in power for almost fifty years, in one of history's longest reigns. Without having become obsessed by power—which he neglected in favor of studies—Dom Pedro II knew how to assert himself, even while young, and to balance between 'luzias' (liberals) and 'saquaremas' (conservatives), ushering the country into a period of stability and prosperity after 1850. Enormously interested in everything that was related to scientific discoveries, Dom Pedro II sought to modernize the country, in many instances anticipating initiatives in European countries."


  • Barman, Roderick J. Citizen Emperor: Pedro II and the Making of Brazil, 1825–1891. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999. (English)
  • Calmon, Pedro. História de D. Pedro II. 5 v. Rio de Janeiro: J. Olympio, 1975. (Portuguese)
  • Calmon, Pedro. História da Civilização Brasileira. Brasília: Senado Federal, 2002. (Portuguese)
  • Carvalho, José Murilo de. D. Pedro II: ser ou não ser. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2007. (Portuguese)
  • Lyra, Heitor. História de Dom Pedro II (1825–1891): Ascenção (1825–1870). v.1. Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia, 1977. (Portuguese)
  • Munro, Dana Gardner. The Latin American Republics; A History. New York: D. Appleton, 1942. (English)
  • Olivieri, Antonio Carlos. Dom Pedro II, Imperador do Brasil. São Paulo: Callis, 1999. (Portuguese)
  • Rodrigues, José Carlos. Constituição política do Império do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: [s.n], 1863. (Portuguese)
  • Schwarcz, Lilia Moritz. As barbas do Imperador: D. Pedro II, um monarca nos trópicos. 2. Ed. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1998. (Portuguese)
  • Skidmore, Thomas E. Uma História do Brasil. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2003. (Portuguese)
  • Vasquez, Pedro Karp. Nos trilhos do progresso: a ferrovia no Brasil imperial vista pela fotografia. São Paulo: Metavídeo, 2007. (Portuguese)


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