Portuguese Civil War (1832-1834)


July 6, 2022

The Portuguese Civil War, also known as the Liberal Wars, the Miguelist War or the Two Brothers War, was the civil war fought in Portugal between the constitutionalist liberals and the absolutists over the royal succession, which lasted from 1832 to 1834. to the Portuguese throne. The parties involved were the progressive constitutionalist party led by Queen D. Maria II of Portugal with the support of her father, D. Pedro IV, and the absolutist party of D. Miguel. The United Kingdom, France, Spain and the Catholic Church participated indirectly in the conflict.

The succession of D. João VI

On March 6, 1826, D. João VI of Portugal, appointed a regency presided over by Infanta Isabel Maria de Bragança, which would remain in force, even with the death of the king, until the legitimate heir and successor of the Crown appeared. D. João VI died on the 10th, four days later. His death created a dispute over the succession. When the independence of Brazil was recognized (August 29, 1825) the eldest son, Pedro, who at that time was already Emperor of Brazil, continued in the capacity of Prince Royal of Portugal and Algarves, so he implicitly remained in the line of succession to the Portuguese throne as immediate heir. Isabel Maria appointed him as her successor. In April 1826, D. Pedro acclaimed himself King of Portugal as Pedro IV of Portugal, revised the Constitution of 1822, and as the Brazilian Constitution of 1824 prevented him from governing both countries, he abdicated the throne in favor of his daughter D. Maria. of Glory. Maria da Glória was then seven years old, and, in a common arrangement for the time, D. Pedro woke up with her uncle and her second brother, D. Miguel, that when she reached the necessary age, they would marry. This marriage was a compromise between her faction and her brother's. This faction (which quickly took the name of "Miguelista", as a counterpoint to "Pedro") considered that the throne belonged to the second brother, Miguel, because, according to the directives established by the Cortes of Lamego, (at that time considered authentic) , D. Pedro had been disinherited following the events of September 7, 1822 that led to the independence of Brazil and made him emperor of that country. As for Miguel, after having led two insurrections - Vilafrancada and Abrilada - he had been deposed as generalissimo of the Portuguese army and exiled by his father, D. João VI. Before returning to Brazil, Pedro appointed Miguel regent. At the same time that Pedro returned to Brazil, Miguel returned to Portugal from said exile. Maria Isabel was regent of Portugal until February 26, 1828. At that time, Miguel assumed the regency on behalf of his niece and fiancée Maria da Glória. He convened the Cortes of 1828. On June 23, 1828, the Cortes he convened considered him a legitimate successor and acclaimed him as King of Portugal. Invoking Portuguese monarchical law, namely the Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom, embodied in the document of the aforementioned Cortes of Lamego, the Cortes claimed that D. Pedro could not transmit the kingdom to his daughter because he had already been cut off from the succession at the time he opted for the Brazil; thus D. Pedro and his descendants had lost their right to the Crown from the moment that, on the one hand, that prince had become sovereign of a foreign state (Brazil) and, on the other hand, had taken up arms against Portugal.

The new constitution

In the Portuguese Constitutional Charter of 1826, D. Pedro tried to reconcile absolutists and liberals, allowing both factions to obtain government posts. Unlike the 1822 Constitution, this new document established four governmental powers. Legislative power was divided into two chambers: an upper chamber, the Chamber of Peers, with members chosen by the king from among the noble or clerical classes, and a lower chamber, the Chamber of Deputies, composed of deputies elected by indirect and