Biography of King of Portugal Juan V (1689-1750)

King of Portugal born in Lisbon on October 22, 1689 and died in his hometown of July 31, 1750. Known by the nickname of the magnanimous, it created an absolutist regime that is superficially similar to the Kingdom of France. His reign coincided with an era of economic prosperity due to the exploitation of the gold mines in Brazil.

Son of Pedro II of Portugal and María Sofía Isabel de Saboya Neuburgo, second wife of the monarch, was named heir to the throne in 1697 and acclaimed King after the death of his father, January 1, 1707. Count of Vila Maior was responsible for asking for the King of sister of the Emperor Leopold II, Doña María Ana de Austria Archduchess, hand that he arrived in Lisbon in October 1708.

Juan V ascended the throne at a difficult time for Portugal. From the point of view of the internal Treasury was exhausted after cover restoration campaigns; delays in payment to officials and army drove movements against the Government. Abroad remained in the Spanish war of succession, in which Pedro II had taken part in an active way. The King surrounded himself with a team of collaborators that included the Jesuit Luis Gonçalves, the count of Viana and the Marquis of Alegrete. They acquired experience to develop its guidelines of Government: policy of neutrality in the Affairs of Europe; Catholic action; promotion of overseas exploitation; search for prestige of the nation and royalty.

The war of the Spanish Succession ended with the end of the pretensions of the Archduke Carlos of Austria and the consolidation of the reign of Felipe V in Spain. Portugal did not get any compensation in the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht (1712), which was a disappointment for Juan V, who, in later wanted to maintain a policy of neutrality to the European Nations. This does not mean that Portugal does not participate in wars during the reign of Juan V, but these only occurred when the Portuguese dignity was attacked. During the war of succession, Portuguese, around twenty thousand effective army, was transformed from the old organization proto-Spanish of the thirds in the most modern French system of regiments, but a very costly war was that Portugal did not obtain any benefits. In 1716 the Pope Clement XI requested aid to Christian countries against the threat posed by the conquest of Cyprus by the Turks. Only the Doge of Venice and Juan V attended the Papal appeal; the Portuguese monarch sent a squadron under the command of the count of San Vicente, which, together with the Venetian fleet, defeated the Turks at the battle of Matapan, which gave rise to the peace of the June 21, 1718. Another military commitment to the reign of Juan V was the colonial struggle with the Spanish possession of Uruguay (1735-1737).

Although relations with the Holy see they were in general good, emerged problems as a result of the designation of the apostolic nuncio in Lisbon, Cardinal Bichi (1710-1715), that the King did not recognize. This issue of label was only resolved with the appointment of Bichi as cardinal in 1732, but from this date Juan V received samples of friendship of Clement XII, who gave privileges to the Councils of Lisbon headquarters, gave authority to the Bishop of Lisbon to sacralize the Kings of Portugal and, finally, in December of 1748Juan V and his successors received from Rome the title of Fidelisimo, what equal you to the King of France, qualified as exemplary and to the Spain, receiving the title of Catholic.

The central axis of the Portuguese economy was discovered Brazilian gold at the end of the decade from 1790, which the Portuguese Empire became one of the leading producers of gold in the world. This wealth made the King to forget the structural problems of the domestic economy of Portugal: unproductive agriculture, poor transportation, or scarce industry. Juan V solved these problems temporarily by importing fabrics and cereals, which together with the onerous terms of the Treaty of Methuen (1703) caused economy and the Portuguese industry had one England's growing dependence. A decline in the gold production from Brazil was offset with exports of diamonds from 1728. Between 1720 and 1740, the King supported domestic manufacturing, which resulted in an increase in the production of paper, weapons and textiles. Despite all these riches, expenditures were many and the public purse was nearly completely determined when the King died.

Three children were born of the marriage of Juan María Ana de Austria V: Doña María Bárbara, who married Fernando VI and be Queen of Spain; Don Pedro de Alcántara, who died as a child; and the Prince don José, who inherited the Portuguese Crown. In 1742, Juan V suffered an attack which left paralyzed the left side of his body; Although the extreme unction was administered to him, the King survived even for seven years, during which was subjected to thermal treatments. He was buried in the Pantheon of San Vicente de Fora.

Juan V was one of the better educated Princes of his time, inclined to the luxury and pomp, but also charitable and generous. His reign was famous for the trend of the monarch by copying the customs of the French Court of Luis XIV. Thanks to the gold of Brazil both the royalty and the nobility of Portugal developed the highest pomp. The passion of the King for luxury led him to endow the Catholic cult of great magnificence. In Portugal the French baroque resulted in a style that came to be called "Juan V" style, characterized by ornate ornamentation in the interior of buildings. Juan V spent huge sums in buildings whose primary example was the Palace, monastery and library of Mafra, near Lisbon. The Crown also took the initiative to build a new library in Coimbra, the Royal Academy of history and an Academy of Portugal for artists; It fostered the construction of hospitals and medical studies and gave to Lisbon's best opera in Europe, with the exception of the Italian. But the most useful work of the reign of the magnanimous was the aqueduct of open water, destined to supply water to the capital. This project, which had already been advocated during the reign of Felipe III, was financed by a new tax on wine, oil, meat and salt.


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