The Peninsular Wars and the Liberal Revolution

The invasions took place because Portugal didn’t agree to close its ports to the English trade (vital to the Portuguese economy), a demand made by Napoleon to the country. As a result, the royal family fled to Brazil with English support, in order to avoid what happened in Spain, where the monarchy had become a puppet of the French emperor. Meanwhile the British, taking advantage of several popular uprisings all over the Peninsula against the French dominion, sent troops to fight the invaders.

By the end of the invasions, the country was ravaged, many of the manufactures created by Pombal in ruins and, to complete this bleak scenario, Portugal had become a sort of British protectorate, ruled by General Beresford, with the merchants of that country controlling a substantial part of the trade with Brazil. This set up displeased the Portuguese merchants, especially the ones from Oporto, and this explains partially the uprising of the Liberal Revolution of 1820. The Cortes (Parliament) demanded the return of the king from Brazil and composed a Liberal Constitution for the country (1822), inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution.

Contemporary caricature of D. Pedro (liberals) and D. Miguel (absolutists),
the two brothers on opposing sides in the civil war (1831-1834).
In, 01/02/2010

This is how a constitutional monarchy appeared. The independence of Brazil in 1822 sets off a period of troubled times for the liberals. The supporters of the old absolutist system, dissatisfied with the course of the events, went to war against the liberals. This civil war lasted until 1834, when the liberals won it, led by D. Pedro, former emperor of Brazil and brother of D.Miguel, leader of the absolutist wing.

Allegory to the 1822 Constitution.

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