Empire of Brazil

Empire of Brazil
Império do Brasil
Grand Imperial coat of arms
Grand Imperial coat of arms
Independência ou Morte!
"Independence or Death!"
Hino da Independência (1822–1831)
"Anthem of Independence"

Hino Nacional Brasileiro (1831–1889)
"Brazilian National Anthem"
Map of South America with the Empire of Brazil highlighted in green
Empire of Brazil at its largest territorial extent, 1822–1828, including former Cisplatina province
CapitalRio de Janeiro
ReligionRoman Catholic
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
 • 1822–1831Pedro I
 • 1831–1889Pedro II
Prime Minister
 • 1843–1844Marquis of Paraná (de facto)
 • 1847–18482nd Viscount of Caravelas (office created)
 • 1889Viscount of Ouro Preto (last)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseChamber of Deputies
Historical era19th century
 • Independence7 September 1822
 • Accession of Pedro I12 October 1822
 • Adoption of the Empire's Constitution25 March 1824
 • Accession of Pedro II7 April 1831
 • Abolition of slavery13 May 1888
 • Monarchy abolished15 November 1889
 • 18898,363,186 km2 (3,229,044 sq mi)
 • 1823 est.4,000,000 
 • 1854 est.7,000,700 
 • 1872 est.9,930,479 
 • 1890 est.14,333,915 
Preceded by
Succeeded by
United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves
Kingdom of Brazil
First Brazilian Republic
Today part of Brazil

The Empire of Brazil was a 19th-century state that broadly comprised the territories which form modern Brazil and (until 1828) Uruguay. Its government was a representative parliamentary constitutional monarchy under the rule of Emperors Dom Pedro I and his son Dom Pedro II. A colony of the Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil became the seat of the Portuguese colonial Empire in 1808, when the Portuguese Prince regent, later King Dom João VI, fled from Napoleon's invasion of Portugal and established himself and his government in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. João VI later returned to Portugal, leaving his eldest son and heir, Pedro, to rule the Kingdom of Brazil as regent. On 7 September 1822, Pedro declared the independence of Brazil and, after waging a successful war against his father's kingdom, was acclaimed on 12 October as Pedro I, the first Emperor of Brazil. The new country was huge but sparsely populated and ethnically diverse.

Unlike most of the neighboring Hispanic American republics, Brazil had political stability, vibrant economic growth, constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, and respect for civil rights of its subjects, albeit with legal restrictions on women and slaves, the latter regarded as property and not citizens. The empire's bicameral parliament was elected under comparatively democratic methods for the era, as were the provincial and local legislatures. This led to a long ideological conflict between Pedro I and a sizable parliamentary faction over the role of the monarch in the government. He faced other obstacles. The unsuccessful Cisplatine War against the neighboring United Provinces of the Río de la Plata in 1828 led to the secession of the province of Cisplatina (later to become Uruguay). In 1826, despite his role in Brazilian independence, he became the king of Portugal; he immediately abdicated the Portuguese throne in favor of his eldest daughter. Two years later, she was usurped by Pedro I's younger brother Miguel. Unable to deal with both Brazilian and Portuguese affairs, Pedro I abdicated his Brazilian throne on 7 April 1831 and immediately departed for Europe to restore his daughter to the Portuguese throne.

Pedro I's successor in Brazil was his five-year-old son, Pedro II. As the latter was still a minor, a weak regency was created. The power vacuum resulting from the absence of a ruling monarch as the ultimate arbiter in political disputes led to regional civil wars between local factions. Having inherited an empire on the verge of disintegration, Pedro II, once he was declared of age, managed to bring peace and stability to the country, which eventually became an emerging international power. Brazil was victorious in three international conflicts (the Platine War, the Uruguayan War and the Paraguayan War) under Pedro II's rule, and the Empire prevailed in several other international disputes and outbreaks of domestic strife. With prosperity and economic development came an influx of European immigration, including Protestants and Jews, although Brazil remained mostly Catholic. Slavery, which had initially been widespread, was restricted by successive legislation until its final abolition in 1888. Brazilian visual arts, literature and theater developed during this time of progress. Although heavily influenced by European styles that ranged from Neoclassicism to Romanticism, each concept was adapted to create a culture that was uniquely Brazilian.

Even though the last four decades of Pedro II's reign were marked by continuous internal peace and economic prosperity, he had no desire to see the monarchy survive beyond his lifetime and made no effort to maintain support for the institution. The next in line to the throne was his daughter Isabel, but neither Pedro II nor the ruling classes considered a female monarch acceptable. Lacking any viable heir, the Empire's political leaders saw no reason to defend the monarchy. After a 58-year reign, on 15 November 1889 the Emperor was overthrown in a sudden coup d'état led by a clique of military leaders whose goal was the formation of a republic headed by a dictator, forming the First Brazilian Republic.


Independence and early years

A map showing the Empire and its provinces
The Empire of Brazil (RS=Rio Grande do Sul, RN=Rio Grande do Norte, PB=Paraíba, PE=Pernambuco, AL=Alagoas, SE=Sergipe), c. 1824. Neutral Municipality is Rio de Janeiro, the imperial capital which was located within the province of the same name

The territory which would come to be known as Brazil was claimed by Portugal on 22 April 1500, when the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral landed on its coast.[1] Permanent settlement followed in 1532, and for the next 300 years the Portuguese slowly expanded westwards until they had reached nearly all of the borders of modern Brazil.[2] In 1808, the army of French Emperor Napoleon I invaded Portugal, forcing the Portuguese royal family—the House of Braganza, a branch of the thousand-year-old Capetian dynasty—into exile. They re-established themselves in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, which became the unofficial seat of the Portuguese Empire.[3]

In 1815, the Portuguese crown prince Dom João (later Dom João VI), acting as regent, created the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, which raised the status of Brazil from colony to kingdom. He ascended the Portuguese throne the following year, after the death of his mother, Maria I of Portugal. He returned to Portugal in April 1821, leaving behind his son and heir, Prince Dom Pedro, to rule Brazil as his regent.[4][5] The Portuguese government immediately moved to revoke the political autonomy that Brazil had been granted since 1808.[6][7] The threat of losing their limited control over local affairs ignited widespread opposition among Brazilians. José Bonifácio de Andrada, along with other Brazilian leaders, convinced Pedro to declare Brazil's independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822.[8][9] On 12 October, the prince was acclaimed Pedro I, first Emperor of the newly created Empire of Brazil, a constitutional monarchy.[10][11] The declaration of independence was opposed throughout Brazil by armed military units loyal to Portugal. The ensuing war of independence was fought across the country, with battles in the northern, northeastern, and southern regions. The last Portuguese soldiers to surrender did so in March 1824,[12][13] and independence was recognized by Portugal in August 1825.[14]

Pedro I encountered a number of crises during his reign. A secessionist rebellion in the Cisplatine Province in early 1825 and the subsequent attempt by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (later Argentina) to annex Cisplatina led the Empire into the Cisplatine War: "a long, inglorious, and ultimately futile war in the south".[15] In March 1826, João VI died and Pedro I inherited the Portuguese crown, briefly becoming King Pedro IV of Portugal before abdicating in favor of his eldest daughter, Maria II.[16] The situation worsened in 1828 when the war in the south ended with Brazil's loss of Cisplatina, which would become the independent republic of Uruguay.[17] During the same year in Lisbon, Maria II's throne was usurped by Prince Miguel, Pedro I's younger brother.[18]

Other difficulties arose when the Empire's parliament, the General Assembly, opened in 1826. Pedro I, along with a significant percentage of the legislature, argued for an independent judiciary, a popularly elected legislature and a government which would be led by the emperor who held broad executive powers and prerogatives.[19] Others in parliament argued for a similar structure, only with a less influential role for the monarch and the legislative branch being dominant in policy and governance.[20] The struggle over whether the government would be dominated by the emperor or by the parliament was carried over into debates from 1826 to 1831 on the establishment of the governmental and political structure.[15] Unable to deal with the problems in both Brazil and Portugal simultaneously, the Emperor abdicated on behalf of his son, Pedro II, on 7 April 1831 and immediately sailed for Europe to restore his daughter to her throne.[21]


Photograph showing the Imperial Palace in Rio de Janeiro with carriages and mounted honor guard in the square fronting the palace.
The City Palace, seat of the Brazilian Imperial government, in 1840

Following the hasty departure of Pedro I, Brazil was left with a five-year-old boy as head of state. With no precedent to follow, the Empire was faced with the prospect of a period of more than twelve years without a strong executive, as, under the constitution, Pedro II would not attain his majority and begin exercising authority as Emperor until 2 December 1843.[22] A regency was elected to rule the country in the interim. Because the Regency held few of the powers exercised by an emperor and was completely subordinated to the General Assembly, it could not fill the vacuum at the apex of Brazil's government.[23]

The hamstrung Regency proved unable to resolve disputes and rivalries between national and local political factions. Believing that granting provincial and local governments greater autonomy would quell the growing dissent, the General Assembly passed a constitutional amendment in 1834, called the Ato Adicional (Additional Act). Instead of ending the chaos, these new powers only fed local ambitions and rivalries. Violence erupted throughout the country.[24] Local parties competed with renewed ferocity to dominate provincial and municipal governments, as whichever party dominated the provinces would also gain control over the electoral and political system. Those parties which lost elections rebelled and tried to assume power by force, resulting in several rebellions.[25]

The politicians who had risen to power during the 1830s had by then become familiar with the difficulties and pitfalls of power. According to historian Roderick J. Barman, by 1840 "they had lost all faith in their ability to rule the country on their own. They accepted Pedro II as an authority figure whose presence was indispensable for the country's survival."[26] Some of these politicians (who would form the Conservative Party in the 1840s) believed that a neutral figure was required—one who could stand above political factions and petty interests to address discontent and moderate disputes.[27] They envisioned an emperor who was more dependent on the legislature than the constitutional monarch envisioned by Pedro I, yet with greater powers than had been advocated at the beginning of the Regency by their rivals (who later formed the Liberal Party).[28] The liberals, however, contrived to pass an initiative to lower Pedro II's age of majority from eighteen to fourteen. The Emperor was declared fit to rule in July 1840.[29]


Photograph of various residential and commercial buildings along a waterfront.
Recife, capital of Pernambuco (Brazilian northeast), two years after the end of the Praieira revolt

To achieve their goals, the liberals had allied themselves with a group of high-ranking palace servants and notable politicians: the "Courtier Faction". The courtiers were part of the Emperor's inner circle and had established influence over him,[30] which enabled the appointment of successive liberal-courtier cabinets. Their dominance was short-lived, though. By 1846, Pedro II had matured physically and mentally. No longer an insecure 14-year-old swayed by gossip, suggestions of secret plots, and other manipulative tactics,[31] the young emperor's weaknesses faded and his strength of character came to the fore.[31] He successfully engineered the end of the courtiers' influence by removing them from his inner circle without causing any public disruption.[32] He also dismissed the liberals, who had proved ineffective while in office, and called on the conservatives to form a government in 1848.[33]

The abilities of the Emperor and the newly appointed conservative cabinet were tested by three crises between 1848 and 1852.[34] The first crisis was a confrontation over the illegal importation of slaves. Importing slaves had been banned in 1826 as part of a treaty with Britain.[33] Trafficking continued unabated, however, and the British government's passage of the Aberdeen Act of 1845 authorized British warships to board Brazilian ships and seize anyone who was found to be involved in the slave trade.[35] While Brazil grappled with this problem, the Praieira revolt, a conflict between local political factions within Pernambuco province (and one in which liberal and courtier supporters were involved), erupted on 6 November 1848, but was suppressed by March 1849. It was the last rebellion to occur during the monarchy, and its end marked the beginning of forty years of internal peace in Brazil. The Eusébio de Queirós Law was promulgated on 4 September 1850 giving the government broad authority to combat the illegal slave trade. With this new tool Brazil moved to eliminate the importation of slaves, and by 1852 this first crisis was over, with Britain accepting that the trade had been suppressed.[36]

The third crisis was a conflict with the Argentine Confederation over ascendancy in territories adjacent to the Río de la Plata and free navigation of that waterway.[37] Since the 1830s, Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas had supported rebellions within Uruguay and Brazil. The Empire was unable to address the threat posed by Rosas until 1850,[37] when an alliance was forged between Brazil, Uruguay and disaffected Argentines,[37] leading to the Platine War and the subsequent overthrow of the Argentine ruler in February 1852.[38][39] The Empire's successful navigation of these crises considerably enhanced the nation's stability and prestige, and Brazil emerged as a hemispheric power.[40] Internationally, Europeans came to see the country as embodying familiar liberal ideals, such as freedom of the press and constitutional respect for civil liberties. Its representative parliamentary monarchy also stood in stark contrast to the mix of dictatorships and instability endemic in the other nations of South America during this period.[41]


An old photograph showing a shiny black engine having a cab with open sides and a large, funnel-shaped smokestack
The locomotive Pequenina (Little One) in Bahia province (Brazilian northeast), c. 1859
An old photograph showing piles of construction materials and equipment along the bank of a river with large white buildings lining the opposite bank
A construction site in the docks of Recife, 1862

At the beginning of the 1850s, Brazil was enjoying internal stability and economic prosperity.[42] The nation's infrastructure was being developed, with progress in the construction of railroads, the electric telegraph and steamship lines uniting Brazil into a cohesive national entity.[42] After five years in office, the successful conservative cabinet was dismissed and in September 1853, Honório Hermeto Carneiro Leão, Marquis of Paraná, head of the Conservative Party, was charged with forming a new cabinet.[43] Emperor Pedro II wanted to advance an ambitious plan, which became known as "the Conciliation",[44] aimed at strengthening parliament's role in settling the country's political disputes.[43][45]

Paraná invited several liberals to join the conservative ranks and went so far as to name some as ministers. The new cabinet, although highly successful, was plagued from the start by strong opposition from ultraconservative members of the Conservative Party who repudiated the new liberal recruits. They believed that the cabinet had become a political machine infested with converted liberals who did not genuinely share the party's ideals and were primarily interested in gaining public offices.[46] Despite this mistrust, Paraná showed resilience in fending off threats and overcoming obstacles and setbacks.[47][48] However, in September 1856, at the height of his career, he died unexpectedly, although the cabinet survived him until May 1857.[49]

The Conservative Party had split down the middle: on one side were the ultraconservatives, and on the other, the moderate conservatives who supported the Conciliation.[50] The ultraconservatives were led by Joaquim Rodrigues Torres, Viscount of Itaboraí, Eusébio de Queirós and Paulino Soares de Sousa, 1st Viscount of Uruguai—all former ministers in the 1848–1853 cabinet. These elder statesmen had taken control of the Conservative Party after Paraná's death.[51] In the years following 1857, none of the cabinets survived long. They quickly collapsed due to the lack of a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.

The remaining members of the Liberal Party, which had languished since its fall in 1848 and the disastrous Praieira rebellion in 1849, took advantage of what seemed to be the Conservative Party's impending implosion to return to national politics with renewed strength. They delivered a powerful blow to the government when they managed to win several seats in the Chamber of Deputies in 1860.[52] When many moderate conservatives defected to unite with liberals to form a new political party, the "Progressive League",[53] the conservatives' hold on power became unsustainable due to the lack of a workable governing majority in the parliament. They resigned, and in May 1862 Pedro II named a progressive cabinet.[54] The period since 1853 had been one of peace and prosperity for Brazil: "The political system functioned smoothly. Civil liberties were maintained. A start had been made on the introduction into Brazil of railroad, telegraph and steamship lines. The country was no longer troubled by the disputes and conflicts that had racked it during its first thirty years."[55]

Paraguayan War

An old photograph showing a group of field artillery pieces and caissons with a line of soldiers in the background
Brazilian artillery in position during the Paraguayan War, 1866
An old photograph showing a procession passing between lines of soldiers with tents in the background
Brazilian soldiers kneeling before a religious procession during the Paraguayan War, 1868

This period of calm came to an end when the British consul in Rio de Janeiro nearly sparked a war between Great Britain and Brazil. He sent an ultimatum containing abusive demands arising out of two minor incidents at the end of 1861 and beginning of 1862.[56] The Brazilian government refused to yield, and the consul issued orders for British warships to capture Brazilian merchant vessels as indemnity.[57] Brazil prepared itself for the imminent conflict,[58][59] and coastal defenses were given permission to fire upon any British warship that tried to capture Brazilian merchant ships.[60] The Brazilian government then severed diplomatic ties with Britain in June 1863.[61]

As war with the British Empire loomed, Brazil had to turn its attention to its southern frontiers. Another civil war had begun in Uruguay which pitted its political parties against one another.[62] The internal conflict led to the murder of Brazilians and the looting of their Uruguayan properties.[63] Brazil's progressive cabinet decided to intervene and dispatched an army, which invaded Uruguay in December 1864, beginning the brief Uruguayan War.[64] The dictator of nearby Paraguay, Francisco Solano López, took advantage of the Uruguayan situation in late 1864 by attempting to establish his nation as a regional power. In November of that year, he ordered a Brazilian civilian steamship seized, triggering the Paraguayan War, and then invaded Brazil.[65][66]

What had appeared at the outset to be a brief and straightforward military intervention led to a full-scale war in South America's southeast. However, the possibility of a two-front conflict (with Britain and Paraguay) faded when, in September 1865, the British government sent an envoy who publicly apologized for the crisis between the empires.[67][68] The Paraguayan invasion in 1864 led to a conflict far longer than expected, and faith in the progressive cabinet's ability to prosecute the war vanished.[69] Also, from its inception, the Progressive League was plagued by internal conflict between factions formed by former moderate conservatives and by former liberals.[69][70]

The cabinet resigned and the Emperor named the aging Viscount of Itaboraí to head a new cabinet in July 1868, marking the return of the conservatives to power.[71] This impelled both progressive wings to set aside their differences, leading them to rechristen their party as the Liberal Party. A third, smaller and radical progressive wing would declare itself republican in 1870—an ominous signal for the monarchy.[72] Nonetheless, the "ministry formed by the viscount of Itaboraí was a far abler body than the cabinet it replaced"[71] and the conflict with Paraguay ended in March 1870 with total victory for Brazil and its allies.[73] More than 50,000 Brazilian soldiers had died,[74] and war costs were eleven times the government's annual budget.[75] However, the country was so prosperous that the government was able to retire the war debt in only ten years.[76][77] The conflict was also a stimulus to national production and economic growth.[78]


Photograph showing a group of people dressed in white, who have gathered in front of a tile-roofed farm building and observe another large group which has formed a large circle surrounding 5 men straddling large drums, a woman and 2 other men.
A large group of slaves gathered on a farm in the province of Minas Gerais (Brazilian southeast), 1876

The diplomatic victory over the British Empire and the military victory over Uruguay in 1865, followed by the successful conclusion of the war with Paraguay in 1870, marked the beginning of the "golden age" of the Brazilian Empire.[79] The Brazilian economy grew rapidly; railroad, shipping and other modernization projects were started; immigration flourished.[80] The Empire became known internationally as a modern and progressive nation, second only to the United States in the Americas; it was a politically stable economy with a good investment potential.[79]

In March 1871, Pedro II named the conservative José Paranhos, Viscount of Rio Branco as the head of a cabinet whose main goal was to pass a law to immediately free all children born to female slaves.[81] The controversial bill was introduced in the Chamber of Deputies in May and faced "a determined opposition, which commanded support from about one third of the deputies and which sought to organize public opinion against the measure."[82] The bill was finally promulgated in September and became known as the "Law of Free Birth".[82] Rio Branco's success, however, seriously damaged the long-term political stability of the Empire. The law "split the conservatives down the middle, one party faction backed the reforms of the Rio Branco cabinet, while the second—known as the escravocratas (English: slavocrats)—were unrelenting in their opposition", forming a new generation of ultraconservatives.[83]

The "Law of Free Birth", and Pedro II's support for it, resulted in the loss of the ultraconservatives' unconditional loyalty to the monarchy.[83] The Conservative Party had experienced serious divisions before, during the 1850s, when the Emperor's total support for the conciliation policy had given rise to the Progressives. The ultraconservatives led by Eusébio, Uruguai and Itaboraí who opposed conciliation in the 1850s had nonetheless believed that the Emperor was indispensable to the functioning of the political system: the Emperor was an ultimate and impartial arbiter when political deadlock threatened.[84] By contrast, this new generation of ultraconservatives had not experienced the Regency and early years of Pedro II's reign, when external and internal dangers had threatened the Empire's very existence; they had only known prosperity, peace and a stable administration.[26] To them—and to the ruling classes in general—the presence of a neutral monarch who could settle political disputes was no longer important. Furthermore, since Pedro II had clearly taken a political side on the slavery question, he had compromised his position as a neutral arbiter. The young ultraconservative politicians saw no reason to uphold or defend the Imperial office.[85]


A map showing the Empire and its provinces
The Empire of Brazil, c. 1889. Cisplatina had been lost since 1828 and two new provinces had been created since then (Amazonas and Paraná)

The weaknesses in the monarchy took many years to become apparent. Brazil continued to prosper during the 1880s, with the economy and society both developing rapidly, including the first organized push for women's rights (which would progress slowly over the next decades).[86] By contrast, letters written by Pedro II reveal a man grown world-weary with age, increasingly alienated from current events and pessimistic in outlook.[87] He remained meticulous in performing his formal duties as Emperor, albeit often without enthusiasm, but he no longer actively intervened to maintain stability in the country.[88] His increasing "indifference towards the fate of the regime"[89] and his inaction to protect the imperial system once it came under threat have led historians to attribute the "prime, perhaps sole, responsibility" for the dissolution of the monarchy to the emperor himself.[90]

The lack of an heir who could feasibly provide a new direction for the nation also threatened the long-term prospects for the Brazilian monarchy. The Emperor's heir was his eldest daughter, Isabel, who had no interest in, nor expectation of, becoming the monarch.[91] Even though the Constitution allowed female succession to the throne, Brazil was still a very traditional, male-dominated society, and the prevailing view was that only a male monarch would be capable as head of state.[92] Pedro II,[93] the ruling circles[94] and the wider political establishment all considered a female successor to be inappropriate, and Pedro II himself believed that the death of his two sons and the lack of a male heir were a sign that the Empire was destined to be supplanted.[93]

A weary Emperor who no longer cared for the throne, an heir who had no desire to assume the crown, an increasingly discontented ruling class who were dismissive of the Imperial role in national affairs: all these factors presaged the monarchy's impending doom. The means to achieve the overthrow of the Imperial system would soon appear within the Army ranks. Republicanism had never flourished in Brazil outside of certain elitist circles,[95][96] and had little support in the provinces.[97] A growing combination of republican and Positivist ideals among the army's junior and mid-level officer ranks, however, began to form a serious threat to the monarchy. These officers favored a republican dictatorship, which they believed would be superior to the liberal democratic monarchy.[98][99] Beginning with small acts of insubordination at the beginning of the 1880s, discontent in the army grew in scope and audacity during the decade, as the Emperor was uninterested and the politicians proved incapable of re-establishing the government's authority over the military.[100]


An old photograph showing a crowded square in front of a large, white, multi-storied building
A few moments after signing the Golden Law, Princess Isabel is greeted from the central balcony of the City Palace by a huge crowd below in the street

The nation enjoyed considerable international prestige during the final years of the Empire[101] and had become an emerging power in the international arena. While Pedro II was receiving medical treatment in Europe, the parliament passed, and Princess Isabel signed on 13 May 1888, the Golden Law, which completely abolished slavery in Brazil.[102] Predictions of economic and labor disruption caused by the abolition of slavery proved to be unfounded.[103] Nonetheless, the end of slavery was the final blow to any remaining belief in the crown's neutrality, and this resulted in an explicit shift of support to Republicanism by the ultraconservatives[104]—themselves backed by rich and powerful coffee farmers who held great political, economic and social power in the country.[105]

To avert a republican backlash, the government exploited the credit readily available to Brazil as a result of its prosperity to fuel further development. The government extended massive loans at favorable interest rates to plantation owners and lavishly granted titles and lesser honors to curry favor with influential political figures who had become disaffected.[106] The government also indirectly began to address the problem of the recalcitrant military by revitalizing the moribund National Guard, by then an entity which existed mostly only on paper.[107]

The measures taken by the government alarmed civilian republicans and the positivists in the military. The republicans saw that it would undercut support for their own aims, and were emboldened to further action.[99] The reorganization of the National Guard was begun by the cabinet in August 1889, and the creation of a rival force caused the dissidents among the officer corps to consider desperate measures.[108] For both groups, republicans and military, it had become a case of "now or never".[109] Although there was no desire among the majority of Brazilians to change the country's form of government,[110] republicans began pressuring army officers to overthrow the monarchy.[111]

They launched a coup and instituted the republic on 15 November 1889.[112] The few people who witnessed what occurred did not realize that it was a rebellion.[113][114] Historian Lídia Besouchet noted that, "[r]arely has a revolution been so minor."[115] Throughout the coup Pedro II showed no emotion, as if unconcerned about the outcome.[116] He dismissed all suggestions put forward by politicians and military leaders for quelling the rebellion.[117] The Emperor and his family were sent into exile on 17 November.[118] Although there was significant monarchist reaction after the fall of the Empire, this was thoroughly suppressed,[119] and neither Pedro II nor his daughter supported a restoration.[120] Despite being unaware of the plans for a coup, once it occurred and in light of the Emperor's passive acceptance of the situation, the political establishment supported the end of the monarchy in favor of a republic. They were unaware that the goal of the coup leaders was the creation of a dictatorial republic rather than a presidential or parliamentary republic.[121]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Braziliya İmperiyası
Bân-lâm-gú: Pa-se Tè-kok
Esperanto: Brazila Imperio
한국어: 브라질 제국
Bahasa Indonesia: Kekaisaran Brasil
Bahasa Melayu: Empayar Brazil
português: Império do Brasil
Simple English: Empire of Brazil
српски / srpski: Бразилско царство
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Brazilsko Carstvo
Tiếng Việt: Đế quốc Brasil
中文: 巴西帝國