Pedro II

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Related to Dom Pedro de Alcântara: Pedro I of Brazil

Pedro II

(Dom Pedro II de Alcântara), 1825–91, emperor of Brazil (1831–89). At the age of five, he succeeded under a regency when his father, Pedro IPedro I
(Dom Pedro de Alcântara) , 1798–1834, first emperor of Brazil (1822–31); son of John VI of Portugal. Dom Pedro was a child when the Portuguese royal family, fleeing from Napoleon's conquering French army, left Portugal for Brazil.
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, abdicated. He was declared of age in 1840. Pedro II's long reign was characterized by great social change, material progress, and wars with neighboring nations. Brazil aided Justo José de UrquizaUrquiza, Justo José de
, 1801–70, Argentine general and politician, president of the confederation (1854–60). As the caudillo of Entre Ríos prov., he helped sustain the power of Juan Manuel de Rosas.
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 in the war (1851–52) against Juan Manuel de RosasRosas, Juan Manuel de
, 1793–1877, Argentine dictator, governor of Buenos Aires prov. (1829–32, 1835–52). As a boy he served under Jacques de Liniers against the British invaders of the Rio de la Plata (1806–7).
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, at the same time intervening in Uruguayan affairs in support of Venancio Flores. Later, Brazil joined Argentina and Uruguay in the War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay (1865–70). Pedro II was extremely popular, but the economic and social tendencies of his time betrayed him. In 1850 the slave trade was prohibited; in 1871 a law was passed providing for gradual emancipation; and, in 1888, when Pedro was in Europe, a law abolishing slavery was signed by his daughter IsabelIsabel,
1846–1921, princess imperial of Brazil; eldest daughter of Pedro II. She acted as regent in her father's absence. Her marriage to the comte d'Eu added to her own unpopularity and probably contributed to the growing republican sentiment of her time.
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. Brazil's modernization led to widening divisions between the feudalistic countryside and the rapidly growing urban populations and newer export sectors. A coalition of the urban middle class, coffee planters, and the military increasingly disparaged the monarchy and its ties to the traditional landed class. They advocated the creation of a modern republic that would support the new coffee and industrial capitalism, finding additional allies in the church. Discontent became widespread, and the military, representing this diverse opposition, overturned the empire. The revolution was led by Manuel Deodoro da FonsecaFonseca, Manuel Deodoro da
, 1827–92, first president of Brazil (1891). A leader of the discontented militarists who helped overturn the empire (Nov., 1889), he headed the provisional government that established the republic.
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. Pedro was exiled, and spent the remainder of his life in Europe.


See biography by M. W. Williams (1937, repr. 1966); and study by E. V. de Costa, The Brazilian Empire: Myths and Histories (1985).

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