Carlos I, King

(1863-1908)
   The second to last reigning king of Portugal and second to last of the Braganza dynasty to rule. Born in 1863, the son of King Luis I, Carlos was well-educated and became an accomplished sailor, as well as an artist of maritime scenes in oil paintings. A selection of his paintings remains on display in various museums and halls. His reign began in 1889, when his father died, and was immediately marked by controversy and conflict. In January 1890, the monarchy was weakened and Carlos's authority placed in question in the crisis of the "English Ultimatum" (see also Ultimatum, English) Portugal's oldest ally, Great Britain, threatened an end to the 517-year-old alliance, and hostilities arose over the question of territorial expansion in the "Scramble for Africa." Although Carlos was a talented diplomat who managed to repair the damaged Anglo-Portuguese Alliance and to promote other foreign policy initiatives, his reign was marked by the failure of monarchist politics, the weakening monarchy, and rising republicanism. As monarchist politics became more unstable and corrupt, the republic opposition grew stronger and more violent. Carlos's appointment of the dictatorial João Franco government in 1907 and Franco's measures of January 1908 repressing the opposition were, in effect, the king's death warrant. While returning from a royal trip to the Alentejo on 1 February, 1908, King Carlos and his heir apparent, Prince Luís, were shot in their open carriage in Lisbon by carbonaria (anarchist republicans). Although their two murderers were killed by guards on the spot, the official investigation of their murders was never completed.

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

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