John VI of Portugal

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John VI of Portugal bigraphy, stories - Kin gof POrtugal, Brazil and the Algarves

John VI of Portugal : biography

13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826

John VI (Portuguese: Dom João VI;"João" ( "Zhwow[n]"). – ) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves from 1816 to 1822, and, although de facto the United Kingdom over which he ruled ceased to exist, he remained so de jure from 1822 to 1825; after the recognition of Brazilian independence under the 1825 Treaty of Rio de Janeiro, he continued as King of Portugal and the Algarves until his death in 1826. Under the said Treaty he also became Titular Emperor of Brazil for life, while his son, Emperor Pedro I, was both de facto and de jure the monarch of the newly independent country.

Born in Lisbon in 1767, the son of Peter III of Portugal, and Queen Maria I, he was originally an infante (prince not heir to the throne) of Portugal, and only became heir to the throne when his older brother, José, Prince of Brazil, died in 1788, of smallpox, at the age of 27.

Before his accession to the Portuguese throne, John VI bore the titles of Duke of Braganza and Duke of Beja, as well as the title of Prince of Brazil. He served, from 1799, as Prince Regent of Portugal (and later, from 1815, as Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves), due to the mental illness of his mother, the Queen. Eventually, he succeeded his mother as monarch of the Portuguese Empire, with no real change in his authority, since, as Regent, he already possessed absolute powers.

One of the last representatives of absolutism, he lived during a turbulent period; his reign never saw a lasting peace. Throughout his period as regent and later king, such major powers as Spain, France and Great Britain (from 1801, the United Kingdom) continually intervened in Portuguese affairs. Forced to flee to Brazil when Napoleon’s troops invaded Portugal, he found himself faced there with liberal revolts that reflected similar events in the metropolis; he was compelled to return to Europe amid new conflicts. His marriage was no less conflictual, as his wife, Carlota Joaquina of Spain, repeatedly conspired against her husband in favor of personal interests or those of her native Spain. He lost Brazil when his son Pedro declared independence, and his other son Miguel (later Miguel I of Portugal) led a rebellion that sought to depose him. According to recent research, his death may well have been caused by arsenic poisoning.

Notwithstanding these tribulations he left a lasting mark, especially in Brazil, creating numerous institutions and services that laid a foundation for national autonomy, and is considered by many researchers the true mastermind of the modern Brazilian state. Still, he has been widely (if unjustly) viewed as a cartoonish figure in Luso-Brazilian history, being accused of laziness, lack of political acumen and constant indecision, and often portrayed as physically grotesque.

Marriages and descendants

John married Carlota Joaquina of Spain (25 April 1775 – 7 December 1830) in 1785 and had several children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Maria Teresa, Princess of Beira 29 April 1793 17 January 1874 Married first her cousin Pedro Carlos de Borbón y Bragança, Infante of Spain and Portugal and second to Carlos, Infante of Spain, widower of her sister Maria Francisca.
Francisco António, Prince of Beira 21 March 1795 11 June 1801 Died at the age of 6, making his younger brother, Pedro, the heir-apparent to the throne of Portugal.
Infanta Maria Isabel 19 May 1797 26 December 1818 Married Ferdinand VII, King of Spain.
Peter IV of Portugal, I of Brazil 12 October 1798 24 September 1834 Stayed in Brazil after the Peninsular War in Portugal. Proclaimed the Independence of Brazil in 1822 and became its first monarch as Emperor Peter I. He was also King of Portugal as Peter IV in 1826.
Infanta Maria Francisca 22 April 1800 4 September 1834 Married Carlos, Infante of Spain (his first marriage).
Infanta Isabel Maria 4 July 1801 22 April 1876 Served as regent of Portugal from 1826 to 1828; died unmarried
Miguel I 26 October 1802 14 November 1866 Known by the Liberals as the Usurper, he was King of Portugal between 1828 and 1834. He was forced to abdicate after the Liberal Wars.
Infanta Maria da Assunção 25 June 1805 7 January 1834 Died unmarried
Infanta Ana de Jesus Maria, Duchess of Loulé 23 October 1806 22 June 1857 Married Nuno José Severo de Mendoça Rolim de Moura Barreto, Marquis and then Duke of Loulé and had issue.