João V, king

(1689-1750)
   The son of King Pedro II and Maria Sofia Neubourg, João was acclaimed king in 1707. By any measure, his long reign (43 years) had a significant impact on Portuguese government, arts, and culture. The early period was consumed with anxiety over continental European affairs, especially the menacing War of Spanish Succession, which ended in 1714. João then shifted his emphasis to the commercial and political interests of the Atlantic empire, to the Catholic Church and religious affairs, and to reinforcing the Anglo- Portuguese Alliance. Under João, there was intensive development of colonization and exploitation in Portuguese America, namely Brazil.
   In spite of the state's usual fiscal woes, the monarchy and the nobility garnered considerable wealth from Brazilian diamonds, gold, and other materials. Large amounts of revenue were expended on royal palaces, houses, churches, chapels, and convents, and, despite the Lisbon earthquake's impact in 1755, a considerable portion of this conspicuous consumption survives in historic monuments. Most outstanding is the great Mafra Palace and Convent, a baroque monstrosity, one of the largest buildings in Europe, which was constructed during João's reign. Through his acts of piety and bribery, João was declared "Most Faithful" Majesty by the pope. Under royal largesse, Portuguese arts and culture were cultivated, and Italian opera was introduced in Lisbon.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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