Maria I of Portugal

Maria I of Portugal

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Maria I was Queen regnant of Portugal and the Algarves from 1777 until her death. Known as Maria the Pious (in Portugal), or Maria the Mad (in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

), she was the first undisputed Queen regnant
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 of Portugal. She was the eldest of the four daughters of Joseph I of Portugal and Mariana Victoria of Spain
Mariana Victoria of Spain
Mariana Victoria of Spain was an Infanta of Spain and Queen consort of Portugal as wife of King Joseph I. The mother of Queen Maria I of Portugal, she also acted as Regent of Portugal during the last months of her husband's life and advisor to her daughter during her reign.-Background:Mariana...

.

Early life



Born at the now destroyed Ribeira Palace in Lisbon, her full name was Maria Francisca Isabel Josefa Antónia Gertrudes Rita Joana. On the day of her birth, her grandfather, King John V of Portugal, created her the Princess of Beira
Prince of Beira
Prince of Beira is a title in Portugal, normally given to the second heirs to the throne and/or to the eldest daughter of the monarch. It was thus attributed to persons of the royal family especially esteemed by the sovereign...

. One of four children, she was the eldest of 4 daughters.

When her father, Joseph I, succeeded to the throne in 1750, Maria was declared his heiress and given the traditional title of Princess of Brazil
Prince of Brazil
Prince of Brazil was a title used in the Kingdom of Portugal, for the heir of the royal House of Braganza.The title was created by King John IV of Portugal on 27 October 1645 in favor of his eldest son and heir prince Teodósio, soon after Portugal had got rid of its Spanish rulers...

, though not Duchess of Braganza
Duke of Braganza
The title Duke of Braganza in the House of Braganza is one of the most important titles in the peerage of Portugal. Since the House of Braganza acceded to the throne of Portugal in 1640, the male heir of the Portuguese Crown was known as the Duke of Braganza and Prince of Brazil until 1822, or...

.

Maria would grow up in a time when her father's government and country was governed completely by the famous Marquis of Pombal. Her father would often retire to the Queluz National Palace
Queluz National Palace
The Queluz National Palace is a Portuguese 18th-century palace located at Queluz, a freguesia of the modern-day Sintra Municipality, in the Lisbon District. One of the last great Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe, the palace was conceived as a summer retreat for Dom Pedro of Braganza,...

 which was later given to Maria and her husband. The Marquess took control of the government after the terrible 1755 Lisbon earthquake
1755 Lisbon earthquake
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that took place on Saturday 1 November 1755, at around 9:40 in the morning. The earthquake was followed by fires and a tsunami, which almost totally destroyed Lisbon in the Kingdom of Portugal, and...

 of November 1, 1755, in which around 100,000 people lost their lives; the palace of her birth was also destroyed in the disaster.

After the earthquake, her father was often uncomfortable at the thought of staying in enclosed spaces and later had claustrophobia
Claustrophobia
Claustrophobia is the fear of having no escape and being closed in small spaces or rooms...

. The king later had a palace built in Ajuda, away from the city centre. This palace became known as Real Barraca de Ajuda (Royal Hut of Ajuda) because it was made of wood. The family would spend much time at the large palace and it was the birthplace of Maria's first child. In 1794 the palace burned to the ground and Ajuda National Palace
Ajuda National Palace
The Ajuda National Palace is a neoclassical monument in the civil parish of Ajuda in the city of Lisbon, centralPortugal. Built on the site of a temporary wooden building constructed to house the Royal family after the 1755 earthquake and tsunami, it was originally begun by architect Manuel...

 was built in its place.

Reign


In 1777, she became the first undisputed Queen regnant of Portugal, and the Algarves, and the 26th (or 27th according to some historians) Portuguese monarch. Her husband became her co-ruler as Peter III. Despite the couple being co-rulers, the power was always to remain with Maria who was a good ruler prior to her madness.

Her first act as queen was to dismiss the popular prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

, the Marquis of Pombal, who had broken the power of the reactionary aristocracy via the Tavora affair
Távora affair
The Távora affair was a political scandal of the 18th century Portuguese court. The events triggered by the attempted murder of King Joseph I of Portugal in 1758 ended with the public execution of the entire Távora family and its closest relatives in 1759...

, partially because of Pombal's Enlightenment, anti-Jesuit policies. Noteworthy events of this period were Portugal's membership of the League of Armed Neutrality
First League of Armed Neutrality
The first League of Armed Neutrality was an alliance of European naval powers between 1780 and 1783 which was intended to protect neutral shipping against the British Royal Navy's wartime policy of unlimited search of neutral shipping for French contraband...

 (July 1782) and the 1781 cession of Delagoa Bay from Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 to Portugal.

Queen Maria suffered from religious mania and melancholia
Melancholia
Melancholia , also lugubriousness, from the Latin lugere, to mourn; moroseness, from the Latin morosus, self-willed, fastidious habit; wistfulness, from old English wist: intent, or saturnine, , in contemporary usage, is a mood disorder of non-specific depression,...

. This acute mental illness (perhaps due to porphyria
Porphyria
Porphyrias are a group of inherited or acquired disorders of certain enzymes in the heme bio-synthetic pathway . They are broadly classified as acute porphyrias and cutaneous porphyrias, based on the site of the overproduction and accumulation of the porphyrins...

, which also may have tainted George III of the United Kingdom
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

) made her incapable of handling state affairs after 1792.

Her madness was first officially noticed in 1786 when Maria had to be carried back to her apartments in a state of delirium. The queen's mental state became increasingly worse. The year of 1786 saw her husband lose his life in May. Maria was devastated and forbade any court entertainments and according to a contemporary, the state festivities resembled religious ceremonies. Her state worsened after the death of her eldest son, aged 27, from smallpox, and of her confessor, in 1791. After the end of 1791, her mental state seemed to be turning to even worse. In February 1792, she was deemed as mentally insane and was treated by Francis Willis, the same physician who attended George III of the United Kingdom. Willis wanted to take her to England, but that was refused by the Portuguese court. The young prince John
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized...

 took over the government in her name, even though he only took the title of Prince Regent in 1799. When the Real Barraca de Ajuda burnt down in 1794, the court was forced to move to Queluz where the ill queen would lie in her apartments all day and visitors would complain of terrible screams that would echo throughout the palace.

Napoleonic Wars


In 1801 the Spanish dictator Manuel de Godoy
Manuel de Godoy
Don Manuel Francisco Domingo de Godoy y Álvarez de Faria, de los Ríos y Sánchez-Zarzosa, also Manuel de Godoy y Álvarez de Faria de los Ríos Sánchez Zarzosa , was Prime Minister of Spain from 1792 to 1797 and from 1801 to 1808...

 invaded Portugal with backing from Napoleon, but was forced to abandon the campaign in the same year. However the Treaty of Badajoz
Treaty of Badajoz
The Treaty of Badajoz may refer to these accords signed in Badajoz, Spain:*Treaty of Badajoz *Treaty of Badajoz...

 on June 6, 1801 forced Portugal to cede Olivenza
Olivenza
Olivenza or Olivença is a town in the autonomous community of Extremadura, situated on a disputed section of the border between Portugal and Spain...

 and part of Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

 to Spain.

The refusal of the Portuguese government to join the Continental Blockade of Britain culminated in the 1807 Franco-Spanish invasion led by General Junot
Jean-Andoche Junot
Jean-Andoche Junot, 1st Duke of Abrantès was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.-Early life:...

. The General was appointed governor of Portugal pending Napoleon's decision on its ultimate fate.

At the urging of the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 government, on 29 November 1807, the entire Braganza
House of Braganza
The Most Serene House of Braganza , an important Portuguese noble family, ruled the Kingdom of Portugal and its colonial Empire, from 1640 to 1910...

 dynasty decided to flee to Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 to establish a Cortes-in-exile, in the Kingdom of Brazil. Along with the Royal Family, she was transported aboard the nau
Nau
Nau or NAU may refer to:*Nau , an outdoor apparel company*Northern Arizona University*North American Union*National American University*National Aviation University *Lepidium oleraceum, a plant endemic to New Zealand...

 Príncipe Real; during her move from the Royal palace to the docks she was heard screaming throughout the trip, in the middle of the crowd and in the carriage. The Queen's dementia
Dementia
Dementia is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging...

 was so great that she feared that she was going to be tortured and/or robbed, during her movement by her loyal servants.

In January 1808, Prince John and his court arrived in Salvador, where he signed a commercial regulation that opened commerce between Brazil and friendly nations, which in this case represented England. This important law broke the colonial pact that, until then, only allowed Brazil to maintain direct commercial relations with Portugal.

On August 1, 1808, the British General Arthur Wellesley
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

 (later Duke of Wellington) landed a British army in Lisbon and thus initiated the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

. Wellesley's initial victory over Junot at Vimeiro
Battle of Vimeiro
In the Battle of Vimeiro the British under General Arthur Wellesley defeated the French under Major-General Jean-Andoche Junot near the village of Vimeiro , near Lisbon, Portugal during the Peninsular War...

 (August 21, 1808) was wiped out by his superiors in the Convention of Cintra (August 30, 1808). Nevertheless, Wellesley (now Lord Wellington) returned to Portugal on April 22, 1809 to recommence the campaign. Portuguese forces under British command distinguished themselves in the defence of the lines of Torres Vedras
Lines of Torres Vedras
The Lines of Torres Vedras were lines of forts built in secrecy to defend Lisbon during the Peninsular War. Named after the nearby town of Torres Vedras, they were ordered by Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, constructed by Sir Richard Fletcher, 1st Baronet and his Portuguese workers between...

 (1809–1810) and in the subsequent invasion of Spain and France.

In 1815, the regency government elevated Brazil to the status of a kingdom, and Maria I was proclaimed the Queen of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. When Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815, Maria and her family remained in Brazil.

Incapacitated, she lived in Brazil nine years, always in a unhappy state; the Queen died at a Carmelite convent in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 on 1816 at the age of 81 (the Prince Regent succeeded her as King John VI of Portugal
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized...

 and Brazil). Her body was returned to Lisbon, and interned in a mausoleum in the Church of Estrela , that she had helped found.

Later, a marble statue of the Queen was erected in National Library in Lisbon, by the students of Joaquim Machado de Castro, who directed the project.

Marriage and Descendants



Infanta Maria married her uncle, Infante Peter of Portugal
Peter III of Portugal
Peter III became King of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves by the accession of his wife and niece Queen Maria I in 1777, and co-reigned alongside her until his death.-Biography:...

 (July 5, 1717-May 25, 1786) on June 6, 1760 when the bride was 25 and the groom was 42. Despite the age gap, the couple had a happy marriage. Peter automatically became co-monarch (as Peter III of Portugal) when Maria ascended the throne, as a child had already been born from their marriage. The couple had six children:
  • Infante José Francisco Xavier de Paula Domingos António Agostinho Anastácio of Portugal (August 20, 1761-September 11, 1788), Prince of Beira
    Prince of Beira
    Prince of Beira is a title in Portugal, normally given to the second heirs to the throne and/or to the eldest daughter of the monarch. It was thus attributed to persons of the royal family especially esteemed by the sovereign...

     (1761–1777) and Prince of Brazil
    Prince of Brazil
    Prince of Brazil was a title used in the Kingdom of Portugal, for the heir of the royal House of Braganza.The title was created by King John IV of Portugal on 27 October 1645 in favor of his eldest son and heir prince Teodósio, soon after Portugal had got rid of its Spanish rulers...

     (1777–1788). Married his aunt Infanta Benedita of Portugal
    Infanta Benedita of Portugal
    Benedita of Portugal was a Portuguese infanta and the youngest daughter of King Joseph I of Portugal and his wife Mariana Victoria of Spain.- Biography :Benedita was born in Lisbon she was named after Pope Benedict XIV...

    , Infanta of Portugal, but had no children.
  • Infante João Francisco of Portugal (September 16, 1763 - October 10, 1763).
  • Infanta Maria Isabel of Portugal (December 23, 1766 - January 14, 1777).
  • Infante João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael of Portugal
    John VI of Portugal
    John VI John VI John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized...

     (May 13, 1767 - March 26, 1826), Prince of Brazil
    Prince of Brazil
    Prince of Brazil was a title used in the Kingdom of Portugal, for the heir of the royal House of Braganza.The title was created by King John IV of Portugal on 27 October 1645 in favor of his eldest son and heir prince Teodósio, soon after Portugal had got rid of its Spanish rulers...

     from 1788 until he succeeded Maria as the 27th (or 28th according to some historians) King of Portugal.
  • Infanta Mariana Vitória Josefa Francisca Xavier de Paula Antonieta Joana Domingas Gabriela de Bragança of Portugal (December 15, 1768 - November 2, 1788). Married Gabriel, infant of Spain, son of Charles III
    Charles III of Spain
    Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

    .
  • Infanta Maria Clementina Francisca Xavier de Paula Ana Josefa Antónia Domingas Feliciana Joana Michaela Julia of Portugal (June 9, 1774 - June 27, 1776).

Titles and styles

  • 17 December 1734 - 31 July 1750 Her Royal Highness the Princess of Beira, Duchess of Barcelos
  • 31 July 1750 - 24 February 1777 Her Royal Highness the Princess of Brazil, Duchess of Braganza
  • 24 February 1777 - December 1815 Her Most Faithful Majesty the Queen of Portugal and the Algarves
  • December 1815 - 20 March 1816 Her Most Faithful Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves

Note; Maria would have two formal styles; from her accession till 1815 the style was By the Grace of God, Maria I, Queen of Portugal and the Algarves, of either side of the sea in Africa, Lord of Guinea and of Conquest, Navigation and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and India, etc; at the creation of the "Kingdom of Brazil", the style changed to By the Grace of God, Maria I, Queen of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves, of either side of the sea in Africa, Lord of Guinea and of Conquest, Navigation and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and India, etc.

Ancestors


External links