Biography of King of Portugal Juan VI (1769-1826)

King of Portugal Lisbon-born on 13 may 1767 and died in the same city on March 10, 1826. His full name was Juan María José Francisco Javier de Paula Luis Antonio Domingo Javier Rafael and was known by the nickname of the Clemente. He inherited an absolutist Kingdom and was forced to flee to Brazil during the Napoleonic wars, giving to the colony the United status. After the revolution of 1820 he was appointed constitutional King, but met opposition from traditionalist elements.

Third son of Pedro III and María I, in 1785 married Doña Carlota Joaquina de Borbón, daughter of the Prince of Asturias, who would be Carlos IV of Spain and of María Luisa of Parma. This marriage resulted in the so-called "Exchange of las Infantas", since at the same time it was decided the marriage of the Portuguese infanta Mariana Victoria with the infante Gabriel of Spain. The queen Doña Carlota Joaquina arrived in Portugal with only ten years of age and was educated in Portuguese environments.

On February 1, 1792 Prince Juan assumed the Regency of Portugal, María I fall into madness. Since that time the Prince wanted to avoid that the revolutionary ideas done in Portugal and joined the coalition against France, Spain and England, that led to the Portuguese army to participate in the campaign of the Rosellón (1793-1794), although the subsequent Alliance between France and Spain had serious consequences for Portugal. In 1798 the Portuguese fleet joined the Admiral Nelson to fight the Republicans of Naples. The French victories are happening and in January 1801 the French Ambassador in Madrid, Luciano Bonaparte, sentenced Carlos IV to send an ultimatum to the Portuguese that they abandon their alliance with England. Juan VI asked Commander Clinton to abandon the island of Madeira, which the British had occupied under the pretext of protecting Portugal. Not being so, Portugal was invaded by an army of 50,000 Spaniards, who took possession of Olivenza and Juromenha, which came to be called the war of the oranges. The peace of Badajoz (6 June 1801) did nothing to return Olivenza to Portugal and the city was under Spanish control to ensure the failure of Juan VI, who also had to pay substantial compensation to France and make trade concessions to France. However the King tried to keep even the neutrality, covered, intermittently, by the British fleet. In 1807, Portugal was the only State that was beyond the Napoleonic domain. Under enormous pressure, the Crown agreed at last to declare war on England in the autumn of 1807, but this did not prevent the invasion of a French army, which operated with Spanish support.

Until the invaders arrived to Lisbon, the Royal family was transferred to Brazil for safety reasons, leaving an inoperative Regency Council in Portugal. The French received a cautious welcome from the Burghers of the capital and ruled Portugal for a few months, before being driven out by a British Expeditionary Corps. In 1810 Juan VI signed an anglo-portugues Treaty which replaced the Treaty of Methuen (1703) and which recognized the direct access to British traders Brazil, thus accelerating the process of independence for the colony. The war caused terrible havoc in Portugal and the Royal family remained in Brazil, now surpassing to the metropolis in population and commercial importance. By a law of December 16, 1815 Brazil reached the status of Kingdom and obtained, in theory, the same legal rights as Portugal. In Brazil were founded a full administrative and bureaucratic apparatus and a series of new institutions: schools, hospitals, Botanical Garden, Regia printing and the Bank of Brazil, among others.

The Queen died in 1816 and Juan VI assumed the throne that same year, in Rio de Janeiro. A year later he had to quell a Republican revolt in Pernambuco; also in 1817 was discovered in Portugal a conspiracy by the army against the Regency, which culminated with the execution of Gómez de Freire, general of the army and head of Portuguese Freemasonry. The Queen Carlota Joaquina also conspired against the King and from Brazil tried to do with the Spanish Crown and rearing Empress of the Spanish Americas, pressing, to achieve these aspirations, on the eastern band of the Río de la Plata.

On 24 August 1820 broke out in Porto a civil and military revolution led by a secret society known as Sinedrio (Greek Parliament), comprising military, aristocratic bourgeois and two lawyers. The aim of the revolt was expel British officers exercising command over the Portuguese army, especially Beresford, and make a return to the monarchy of Portugal; However the Royal family chose to remain in Brazil who travel to their country, where awaited them an uncertain reception and liberal control was consolidated in November. In 1821, elections were called for a Constituent Cortes (the first representative Assembly that had the country since 1689), and they have as result the Constitution of 1822, inspired by the Constitution, Spanish in 1812, and in some respects the democratic has been Portugal. The she tried is to limit the power of the Crown, create a unified and consistent with the time laws and establish a representative system. Parliaments, on which rest the Executive would be elected every two years by direct universal male suffrage. It was abolished the jurisdiction of the Manor and ecclesiastical domains. As for Brazil, the constitutionalists wanted colonial representation in Parliament, but refused autonomy.

Meanwhile the liberal revolution had spread by Brazil and Juan VI returned to Portugal on April 24, 1821, leaving his son Pedro of Alcántara (future Pedro IV), in Rio de Janeiro to who delivered the Regency of Brazil. Since 1822, don Pedro advocated the independence of Brazil with the slogan "independence or death" and was named Emperor of Brazil on December 1 of that year. In 1822 Juan VI was sworn in the new Constitution, but the Queen Carlota Joaquina refused to swear it, so it was banished. The King ordered to come to Beresford of England and became his closest Advisor, causing the scandal of the radicals. In March 1823, was defeated the count of Amarante, which had raised the troops of the North against the Constitution, but two months later held a movement called Vilafrancada (because it arose in Vila Franca de Xira), antiliberal, and absolutist character at the forefront of which was the infante don Miguel, supported by his mother, Queen Carlota Joaquina and by traditionalists in Portugueseled by aristocrats and seconded by most nobles and clerics. The pronouncement resulted in the demolition of the Government and the delivery of the absolute power to Juan VI in June 1823.

Juan VI lacked neoabsolutistas ambitions of Fernando VII and shared more English and French ideas for a moderate constitutional monarchy. The elements most traditionalists and contrary to this policy were together in lathe to Prince don Miguel, second son of the monarch. Although this was not in direct line of succession, it would inherit the throne when his brother, Pedro I of Brazil, were limited to their realm of American Government. The Marquis of Loulé, considered the main INSPIRER of the policy of the King, by the absolutists appeared murdered in the Palace of Salvaterra in February 1824 and April 30 of that year broke out in Lisbon the revolt known as the Abrilada, whose objective was to dethrone Juan VI, appoint Regent Queen Carlota Joaquina and hand over power to the infante don Miguel. The King punished this disobedience by sending his son into exile and detain the Queen at the Palace of Queluz.

Juan VI declared the independence of Brazil on August 29, 1825 and became ill a few months later. Before his death he named a Regency presided over by his daughter Doña Isabel María and of which he formed part the Marquis of Valada, the count of Arcos and the Duke of Cadaval. Juan VI was buried in the Pantheon of San Vicente de Fora. They surmised that the King, who had many enemies, had died poisoned with an orange.

In addition to the above don Pedro, don Miguel, and Doña Isabel María, were sons of Juan VI Doña María Teresa, who married Carlos in Spain; Don Antonio, Prince of Beira, who died with six years (1801); Doña María Isabel, who was wife of Fernando VII; Doña María Francisca of Assisi, who was the wife of Carlos María Isidro; Doña María de la Asunción, who died unmarried; and Doña Ana de Jesús María, who married the Duke of Loulé.


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