civil wars in Portugal during 1823–34 between the supporters of a constitutional monarchy (the liberal nobility, the bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and part of the peasantry) and the adherents of absolutism (the feudal elite, supported by the church and by the portion of the peasantry under reactionary influence).
The Miguelist Wars began with an absolutist revolt in 1823 in Trás-os-Montes led by Queen Carlota-Joaquina, the wife of King John VI, and by Prince Miguel Braganza. In April 1824 the Miguelists seized power but were unable to retain it, and on May 13, 1824, Miguel Braganza fled to France. When John VI died on Mar. 10, 1826, his son Pedro, emperor of Brazil, took the throne. In May 1826, Pedro handed over the Portuguese crown to his daughter Maria da Gloria, and in July 1827 he appointed Miguel regent. On June 30, 1828, Miguel Braganza extracted from the Cortes recognition of his kingship and then dissolved the Cortes.
The restoration of absolutism evoked numerous antigovernment actions by the constitutionalists, whose stronghold was the island of Terceira in the Azores. The constitutionalists’ struggle was headed by Pedro, who abdicated the Brazilian throne in April 1831 and went to Great Britain, where he actively participated in the organizing of émigré forces. The émigré constitutionalists landed at Porto on July 8–9, 1832, and in the Algarve in early 1833; they were supported by British and French naval squadrons. On July 24, 1833, the constitutionalists occupied Lisbon; soon afterward the Miguelists surrendered. On May 26, 1834, an agreement was signed in évora, by which Miguel pledged to leave Portugal within 15 days and never again set foot on the Iberian Peninsula. An attempt by supporters of Miguel to organize an antigovernment plot in 1837 failed.