Biography of Queen of Portugal Carlota Joaquina (1775-1830)

Queen of Portugal and Brazil born in 1775 in Madrid and died in 1830 in the Royal Palace of Queluz. Sister of Fernando VII, claimed to represent the interests of the Spanish Crown in America during the dynastic crisis caused by the Napoleonic invasion.

Daughter of Carlos IV and María Luisa de Parma, Carlota Joaquina de Borbón married Joao de Braganza, heir to the Crown of Portugal, Regent, and finally King as Joao VI of Portugal. He/She was mother of a numerous offspring: Don Pedro, future emperor of Brazil as Pedro Iand King of Portugal as Pedro IV; Don Miguel, King consort of Portugal; María Teresa, Princess of Beira; María Isabel, Queen of Spain for her marriage with Fernando VII; and María Francisca, first wife of don Carlos. It was not a very graceful woman, though he/she starred in several scandalous events with their lovers.

Her figure is very controversial for having intervened in many early 19th century political problems, perhaps by vocation or the circumstances in which you had to live. The Portuguese monarchy then went through very complex situations as a result of the inability of the Queen Mother Doña María I, by what was appointed regent to Prince Joao, against which conspired Doña Carlota in 1806 to declare him equally incapacitated by illness. Since then the marriage was a disaster, although he/she maintained appearances. Another circumstance that modulated his life was the traditional Portuguese friendship to England, that motivated the French invasion to Portugal in 1807 (when that country refused to support the Napoleonic commercial blockade), carried out with the acquiescence of his father Carlos IV, which placed her in a very difficult position to the Portuguese. Doña Carlota had to accept exile to Brazil proposed by London to the Lusitanian Crown, reaching Bay 22 January 1808, from where it happened in March in Rio de Janeiro. To the discomfort of the journey were added the having to install the Royal family in the makeshift Palace of Boa Vista, located in the suburbs of the capital.

The Spanish events of 1808 forced her to intervene in politics. The Napoleonic invasion of Spain, the exile of the peninsular monarchy to France and American independence riots convinced it that it should act in the Spanish colonies presented himself as the true representative of the Crown, since no Salic law had been published and all the remaining members of the Royal family were prisoners of Napoleon. So did March 21 of the same year 1808 in a letter addressed to the Cabildo of Buenos Aires. The Queen wished to prevent independence movements in the territories bordering with Brazil, and had the backing of some military and administrators Spaniards, who were joined by some Patriots, as Belgrano, Vieites, Castelli and step, ready to take advantage of its intervention in the independence cause. The Criollo realistic did not follow their guidelines as Queen of Portugal, country that sensibly. Thus, the presence of Goyeneche in ponds, sent by the sovereign, launched the nationalist insurrection in this hearing (1809). The Liberal Creoles were naturally enemies of monarchies, both Spanish and Portuguese, so it also supported it. Her husband, Joao de Braganza, used its claims for its expansive in America policy, since he/she wanted to impose the Portuguese domain in the river of the silver, Paraguay and the Alto Peru, which opposed by Ambassador English in Rio de Janeiro, Lord Strangford, in favour of the independence of such territories to British free trade. All this has woven a cluster of falsehoods about the intrigues of Doña Carlota Joaquina, considered fruit of their personal interests. The reality is that the sovereign acted in good faith, trying to safeguard its overseas territories, to Spain as demonstrated with its support to the realists Elio and Vigodet in Uruguay against separatists. He/She came to the end of selling all their jewelry to help them, but their good intentions were put in doubt up to the own Spanish Regency, which ordered the Indian authorities denied any collaboration. The revolutionary events in Spanish America was complicated further pressures coming from Rio de Janeiro. The Buenos Aires Patriots tried to deal with Paraguay, where arose the patriotic reaction of Artigas. The Governor Velasco and the Buenos Aires general Belgrano asked the Portuguese intervention Doña Carlota, but the Paraguay went into their own independence. When Uruguay, Buenos Aires Board was alarmed by the Lusitanian pretensions and Dayan the question to the colonial order. Strangford intervened, and in 1812 was negotiated the withdrawal of the Brazilians.

Doña Carlota was also involved in the complex problems of the Portuguese monarchy; He/She stopped intervening in Americans from 1812, when the Cortes of Cadiz recognized his rights to the Spanish throne in third place. The subsequent return of his brother Fernando VII to the Spanish throne allowed downloaded from all responsibilities. In his own Court of river lived the events of the creation of the United Kingdom of Brazil and Portugal (1815) and the following year intervened actively to achieve the marriage of their daughters with don Fernando and Carlos, who were held in Spain. March 16, 1816 died Doña María I at the age of 81, and her husband was proclaimed King Joao VI, even though he/she was not crowned until 1818. After this came the Portuguese occupation of Uruguay. In 1820 he/she succeeded the liberal uprising in Portugal and formed the Constituent Cortes, which called for the return of the King. Doña Carlota Joaquina had to again organize the transfer from the Royal family and return to cross the Atlantic Ocean, this time back to Lisbon. He/She embarked on April 25, 1821. Once in Lisbon refused to swear to the Constitution of 1822, so it was about to be banished. Then it became the Portuguese absolutist faction head, from where he/she promoted all kinds of anti-liberal conspiracies, such as the famous Villafrancada, of 1823, which coincided with the invasion of the hundred thousand sons of San Luis to Spain. Actually executed it his son don Miguel, but Doña Carlota Joaquina was forced to leave the country the following year. In 1826 he/she was widowed. His son, the Emperor Pedro I de Brasil (country which had become independent), was recognized as Pedro IV of Portugal. A Regency Council was established with the infanta Isabel María and a new Constitution was given to Portugal. Don Pedro chose to follow in Brazil as Emperor and abdicated his rights to the Portuguese Crown in his daughter Doña María da Gloria, who was seven years old and was married to her uncle infante don Miguel, leader of the absolutist cause. The Court was a nest of intrigue and in 1828 don Miguel landed in Lisbon and annulled the Constitution. That year died in the Palace of Queluz Doña Carlota Joaquina.


CALMON, Pedro: History do Brazil. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1959.

RUBIO, María Julián: Princess Carlota Joaquina and politics of Spain in America. Madrid, 1920

SECO SERRANO, Carlos: "Doña Carlota Joaquina de Borbón y the Uruguayan question", in Revista de Indias, Nos. 28-29 (1947).