Maria II, queen
- (1811-1853)Born Maria da Glória, daughter of Pedro IV of Portugal (Pedro I of Brazil) and his first wife, Archduchess Leopoldina of Austria, in Rio de Janeiro, the future queen was named regent at age seven, on the death of King João VI (1826). By an agreement, her father Pedro abdicated the throne of Portugal on her behalf with the understanding that she would marry her uncle Dom Miguel, who in turn was pledged to accept a constitutional charter written by Pedro himself. Backed by the absolutist party, including his reactionary mother Queen Carlota Joaquina, Dom Miguel returned from his Austrian exile in 1828 and proceeded to scrap the 1826 charter of Pedro and rule as absolutist king of Portugal, placing the nine-year-old Maria da Glória in the political wilderness.Emperor Pedro I of Brazil (who had been Pedro IV of Portugal before he abdicated in Maria's favor) responded by deciding to fight for his daughter's cause and for the restoration of the 1826 charter. Maria's constitutional monarchy, throne, and cause were at the center of the War of the Brothers, a tragic civil war from 1831 to 1834. With foreign assistance from Great Britain, Pedro's army and fleet prevailed over the Miguelite forces by 1834. By the Convention of Évora-Monte, signed by generals of Miguel and Pedro, Miguel surrendered unconditionally, peace was assured, and Miguel went into exile.At age 15, Maria da Glória was proclaimed queen of Portugal, but her personal life was tragic and her reign a stormy one. Within months of the victory of her constitutionalist cause, her chief advocate and counselor, her father Pedro, died of tuberculosis. Her all too brief reign was consumed in childbirth (she died bearing her 11th child in 1853 at age 34) and in ruling Portugal during one of the modern era's most disturbed phases. During her time on the throne, there were frequent military insurrections and interventions in politics, various revolutions, the siege of Oporto, the Patuleia revolt and civil war, the Maria da Fonte uprising, rebellion of leading military commanders (marshals), and economic troubles. Maria was a talented monarch, and helped raise and educate her oldest son Pedro, who succeeded her as King Pedro V, one of Portugal's most remarkable rulers of recent centuries. Late in her reign, the constitutional monarchy system settled down, enjoyed greater stability, and began the so-called "Regeneration" era of economic development and progress.
Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. by Douglas L. Wheeler . 2014.
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