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The Amazon Throne
The Orleans-Braganza of Brazil

By Arturo Beéche

           During the XIXth century Europe exported two dynasties across the Atlantic to America. The first
           was established by the Portuguese royal family in Brazil during Napoleonic times; the second was
           established under the sponsorship of Napoleon III in Mexico. Of the two, the Mexican experiment
           was the most short-lived for it barely lasted four years. In contrast, the Brazilian empire lasted
           almost the entire century.

           Fearing Napoleon's onslaught the Portuguese royal family left Lisbon and moved their court to
           Brazil, the crown's most prized possession. Dom Joao of Braganza, Regent of Portugal, packed his
           family and his demented mother, Queen Maria I, and headed for the sunny coasts of Brazil. As the
           Portuguese royal family left Lisbon, Napoleon's troops led by the anti-monarchist General Junot
           overran the Portuguese border. On a cold November morning in 1807, the royal exodus started its
           long voyage into exile. Along with the royal family came an entourage estimated to include almost
           fifteen thousand people. The people of Lisbon watched in dismay as their ruler abandoned the
           country to the fate of the invading Napoleonic legions. But he had made the decision to escape the
           invasion, nothing would deter Dom Joao who believed that moving to Brazil would save his
           family from becoming Napoleon's puppets just as some of his royal cousins throughout Europe had

           The Portuguese royal contingent arrived on the coasts of Brazil on January 21, 1808. Brazilians
           who witnessed this most unexpected arrival went wild with ovations for the exiled royals. Two
           months later the royal party arrived at their final destination, the beautiful port of Rio de Janeiro. It
           was at Rio that Dom Joao decided to settle his court in exile, and it was from there that he
           vigorously rebuild the fortunes of his shattered kingdom. Dom Joao opened Brazilian ports to
           foreign trade and basically constituted the colony into an independent, self-reliant kingdom under
           the rule of the House of Braganza. In due time, Dom Joao would acquire properties in the
           countryside to where the royal family would retire to lead a quiet life away from the exigencies of
           court life.

           The fall of Napoleon in 1814 restored the Portuguese royal family to their throne in Lisbon.
           Despite this event, Dom Joao refused to return to Europe until the political situation there settled.
           He was also faced with an uncertain future in Brazil if he departed. Dom Joao, who was married
           to Infanta Carlota Joaquina of Spain, had two sons, neither of which had reached majority in 1814.
           Dom Pedro, the eldest of the Braganza princes, was sixteen, his brother Dom Miguel was only
           twelve years old. And since Brazil had become a semi-independent political entity during Dom
           Joao's stay, the Prince Regent did not want to lose control over the affairs if the colony. Further
           pressure to return to Portugal was caused by the death of Queen Maria I in 1816. Dom Joao had
           acted as regent for his mother for almost two decades. Now he had finally ascended to he throne as
           Joao VI of Portugal, Joao I of Brazil. His coronation took place in Brazil amid pomp never before
           witnessed by the colonials.

           Once safely enthroned Dom Joao went about sending envoys to various European courts in search
           for a bride for his heir. Several potential brides were inspected, yet none had the qualifications
           found in the Archduchess Maria-Leopoldina of Habsburg. Referred to as Leopoldina, the Austrian
           Archduchess was one of the daughters of Emperor Franz I and a sister of Empress Marie-Louise,
           Napoleon's second wife. For the faraway Braganzas the hand of Marie-Leopoldina was a great
           dynastic coup. It certainly did not matter one bit that Dom Pedro had never set eyes on his future
           bride and that he was more interested in chasing young Brazilian ladies than in entering a dynastic
           union with an Austrian Archduchess.

           Leopoldina arrived in Brazil at the end of 1817. The Braganzas waited for her with great
           trepidation, particularly Dom Pedro. now styled as Prince of Beira. Leopoldina must have made a
           good impression on her husband for several months after her arrival the Brazilian court announced
           her first pregnancy. Leopoldina's first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, no doubt caused by the
           ravages the Brazilian climate had inflicted on her frail body. Despite this, Pedro and Leopoldina
           continued their efforts to provide the crown with an heir. The couple's first child, Princess Maria
           da Gloria of Braganza, was born in 1819. Two years later the much awaited heir arrived on March
           6, 1821. The newborn Braganza was given the name of Joao.

           Soon after the birth of his grandson, Joao VI finally returned to Portugal. Along with him went
           most members of the Braganza family, Pedro remained in Brazil to act as regent for his father.
           Initially Joao VI was appalled at Pedro's desire to remain in Brazil, but after his son refused to
           back away from his decision, the king agreed to Pedro and Leopoldina remaining behind. Dom
           Miguel, the king's second son, did not question returning to Portugal for he never really adapted to
           life in Brazil. Besides it is quite possible that Miguel already foresaw his future as monarch of
           Portugal while his brother remained ruler of Brazil.

           Leopoldina's life in Brazil was to be fraught with anxieties over her future, that of her children and
           the decreasing attention paid her by her husband. Her first disappointment was the untimely death
           of little Prince Joao in 1822. The arrival of a second daughter one month after Joao's death did not
           improve much the parents' spirits. For Pedro an heir was a necessity since the heir presumptive to
           Portugal and Brazil was his increasingly troublesome brother Dom Miguel. A third daughter, Paula
           Mariana, was born in 1823.

           In late 1822, Prince Regent Pedro of Braganza decided to stage a coup d'etat to emancipate Brazil
           from the Portuguese crown. Joao VI himself had recommended this course of action as a means of
           guaranteeing the Brazilian crown would remain under the Braganzas. During the royal family's
           long stay in Brazil the colony had learned how to rule itself without Lisbon's guidance. Once
           Napoleon's regime was ousted, Lisbon faintly tried to restore its control over Brazilian affairs.
           This course of action was deeply resented by the Brazilians who were deeply resentful of
           Portuguese involvement in the country's internal affairs. Thus to guarantee that Brazil would not be
           completely lost, Prince Regent Pedro gave his support to the independence movement that sealed
           the colony's break from Lisbon. At the age of twenty-four, the Prince Regent became Emperor
           Pedro I of Brazil.

           In the meantime, Pedro I continued to neglect his Austrian consort. It seemed that the only reason
           why he spent any time with her was in an effort to produce the long-awaited heir. The couple's
           fourth daughter, Francisca Carolina, was born in 1824. Pedro's impatience with Leopoldina knew
           no bounds and he continued to spend more time away from her and in the arms of his mistresses.
           Leopoldina's life in Brazil had turned into a living inferno, far away from her family, ignored by
           her husband, the young Brazilian empress slowly fell into deep depression. In Vienna, Emperor
           Franz I openly referred to his Brazilian son-in-law as a scoundrel. Nonetheless, Pedro and
           Leopoldina continued their efforts to produce an heir. The arrival of Prince Pedro de Alcantara of
           Braganza in late 1825, was Leopoldina's crowning satisfaction. Exhausted by constant
           childbearing since her arrival in Brazil, Empress Leopoldina died practically ignored by her
           husband one year after the birth of the couple's only surviving son.

           Old King Joao VI died in early 1826. Faced with the quandary concerning the succession to his
           two thrones, Pedro I abdicated the Portuguese crown on his daughter Maria da Gloria. Pending her
           arrival in Portugal, Dom Miguel was declared Prince Regent of Portugal. Pedro also agreed to
           have his daughter marry her uncle Miguel upon becoming of age. Despite these future plans, Dom
           Miguel had other ideas in mind. It would not be long before Pedro I was faced with a rebellious
           brother who had tired of acting second fiddle for an absent monarch. In fact, Dom Miguel of
           Braganza considered himself the rightful heir to the Portuguese crown. Before Maria da Gloria's
           arrival, Dom Miguel staged a palace coup d'etat and declared enthroned himself as King Miguel I
           of Portugal. Maria da Gloria and her entourage sought refuge in London, pending a solution to
           Miguel's treacherous act. Three years she spent as the guest of the British monarch while Pedro I
           did little to strip Miguel of his illegally obtained kingly mantle. In 1829, Maria da Gloria returned
           to Brazil on the same ship transporting her widowed father's new bride, Princess Amelia of

           At the time of Amelia's arrival in Brazil, Pedro I was deeply involved with the woman who had
           made Leopoldina's last years a living hell. Domitila, Marqueza of Santos, was the mother of
           several of Pedro's illegitimate offspring. A woman of intense ambition she had poisoned Pedro
           against the his proud Austrian wife. Domitila had also wanted the emperor to legitimize their
           children, thus making them princes of the blood and placing them in competition with Leopoldina's
           own children. Already faced with a rebellious brother in Portugal, Pedro instead sent envoys to
           Europe in search of a new bride. Princess Amelia was their choice. She was the daughter of
           Eugene de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and Princess Auguste of Bavaria. Amelia was not
           only the niece of the King of Bavaria, but her step-grandfather had been none other than Napoleon

           Pedro is said to have fallen madly in love with Amelia. Within months of her arrival in Rio de
           Janeiro, Amelia had basically displaced the Marqueza de Santos. The fact that Amelia seemed
           unable to bear children allowed her to always be willing and ready to satisfy the demanding needs
           of her husband. Pedro was also very relieved to see that his new wife was immediately accepted
           by his orphaned children.

           In 1831 Pedro I finally decided to face his brother Miguel. The Emperor was also facing
           increasing criticism from his Brazilian subjects who demanded more imperial offices for natives.
           After touring the country with Amelia by his side, Pedro convinced himself that maybe it would be
           wise to enthrone little Dom Pedro as the new Brazilian monarch. Doing so would allow Pedro I
           the time to return to Portugal and put his brother Miguel in place. Finally, and not after serious
           confrontations with an increasingly angry populace, Pedro gave up and abdicated his throne on his
           only son Pedro II. A regency was quickly organized to rule Brazil until the infant monarch reached
           his legal age. Dom Pedro and Empress Amelia boarded an English ship, along with Maria de
           Gloria, and sailed towards Portugal. It had been twenty-four years since Pedro had set foot in his
           native Portugal.

           As soon as they arrived in Europe, Pedro and Amelia toured several royal courts in search of help
           to overthrow King Miguel I. Despite Miguel's lack of support among other European monarchs,
           Pedro was not able to enlist their help for his enterprise. It was while in Paris, where he was
           visiting King Louis-Philippe, that Pedro came in contact with a large community of Portuguese
           refuges exiled by his authoritarian brother. After consultation with the leaders of the Portuguese
           community in Paris, Pedro accepted to lead the effort to overthrow Miguel. He also promised to
           uphold constitutional government in Portugal in exchange for the restoration of Maria da Gloria to
           her throne.

           Dom Pedro mortgaged most of his property with London bankers. These funds allowed him the
           money needed to stage his surprise invasion of Portugal. In 1832 the rebel force quietly
           congregated on the Azores from where they sailed for Portugal. Dom Pedro and his seven
           thousand-strong army landed in Oporto in July of 1832. The city's garrison was surprised and
           Oporto surrendered before Pedro's forces fired a single shot. One year later, Pedro and Miguel
           faced each other in the battlefield. Pedro's armies was able to trap Miguel's forces administering
           the royal usurper's cause a deadly blow. Days later, Miguel hurriedly Abandoned Portugal and
           headed for exile in France. Dom Miguel would never recover his throne and eventually settled in
           Austria. It was there that he married a Lowenstein-Wertheim princess and fathered several
           children. His descendants finally made peace with the eldest branch of the Braganza family in the
           1920's. And it is his great-grandson, Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza, who is the head of the
           Portuguese royal family today.

           Pedro did not live long enough to enjoy the success of his venture, for within a year of Miguel's
           overthrow he died unexpectedly. The former King of Portugal and former Emperor of Brazil was
           thirty-five years old. Maria II was fifteen when her father died and a ruling monarch in her own
           right. However, the young Queen of Portugal did not have a direct heir. In 1835 Maria II was
           married to the very handsome Prince Augustus of Leuchtenberg, Amelia's brother. Still, the
           misfortune which never left her parents' side struck soon enough and Augustus died eight months
           after their wedding. Disconsolate and lonely in her vast Lisbon palace, Maria II desperately
           needed a husband. Several candidates were offered from France, Naples, Germany and Sardinia.
           The royal race was won by King Leopold I of the Belgians who had submitted the candidacy of his
           nephew Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The marriage contract was signed at the end of
           1835 and several months later Ferdinand arrived in Portugal. Maria II and Ferdinand were
           married at Lisbon on April 8, 1836.

           In Brazil, young Pedro II was kept in ignorance as to most of the events faced by his sister in
           Lisbon. The child emperor was placed under a regency until he reached the age required by law to
           begin his reign without supervision. In an effort to avoid Pedro II becoming a philandering
           womanizer, as his father had been, his tutors centered on raising his conscientiousness and
           morality. They also built within Pedro and his sisters a deep love and respect for the historical
           figure represented by their long-suffering mother. In doing so, the tutors of the imperial children
           turned Empress Leopoldina into a semi-divine figure who would be an ever present part
           throughout the life of Pedro II in particular.

           The regency came to an end in 1840, when young Pedro, by then a tall, blue-eyed Germanic youth,
           was but fifteen years of age. Brazilian politicians had engulfed themselves in an increasing power
           struggle which was leading the empire to ruin. To put an end to political squabbling it was decided
           that Pedro II's majority would be declared before it was due. Doing so, the politicians believed,
           would allow the emperor to play a mediating role in the constant power struggles of the country's
           leading political parties. Soon after Pedro II's coronation the royal succession once again became
           an issue. The Braganzas had been very good at producing offspring, unfortunately for the dynasty
           most of these children were little Infantas. According to the laws of succession in Brazil, women
           would only succeed in the absence of a male prince. This also posed a problem concerning the
           search for suitable husbands for the emperor's sisters. For after all, these prospective husbands
           would have to be brought to Brazil and their children raised as Brazilian princes. In the 1840's not
           many European princelings were willing to travel halfway across to world to settle in an empire
           that at times seemed tittering on the brink of collapse. Hence, Pedro II had to be married off very
           soon to perpetuate the existence of the dynasty into the future.

           Emissaries were sent to Europe. The main royal courts were visited and the results were less than
           satisfactory. Not only was there an absence of marriageable princesses, but those who remained
           unmarried were of a less than attractive nature. The Brazilian emissaries, rebuffed by the principal
           European courts, then headed to those which were not as politically relevant. One of these minor
           kingdoms was located in the city of Naples, where a branch of the Spanish royal family had ruled
           for over a century as Kings of the Two Sicilies. In fact, Pedro II's great-grandfather, King Carlos
           IV of Spain, was a brother of Ferdinand I of the Two-Sicilies, grandfather of the princess who was
           chosen as Pedro II's bride. Princess Theresa of the Two-Sicilies, a quiet and unpretentious soul,
           did not inherit any of the good looks held by some members of her family. It has been said that
           upon meeting his bride for the first time, the day before their marriage, Pedro II was simply
           dismayed at having to share his future with such an unbecoming royal bride. "They deceived me...I
           can't make her my wife. She is terrible," a deeply upset Pedro moaned . One of his tutors is
           purported to have reminded Pedro of the sad fate of his own mother and of his cavalier obligation
           towards fulfilling the needs of the imperial nursery. Nonetheless, and regardless of his
           misapprehension concerning Theresa, Pedro II married his Neapolitan cousin and settled to the
           procreation of a new generation of Braganza infants. Pedro's sisters, Francisca and Januaria, also
           married European princes at about the same time. Francisca of Braganza was married to Prince
           Philippe of Bourbon-Orleans, the fourth son of King Louis-Philippe of France; Januaria of Brazil
           was married to Prince Louis of the Two-Sicilies, Count of Aquila, brother of Empress Theresa.

           Within a year of their marriage, Pedro II and Theresa were the parents of a little boy. Prince
           Affonso of Brazil was born in 1845 and his arrival brought a further closeness to the loveless
           union of his parents. One year later another child arrived, Princess Isabel. Yet, the imperial
           couple's increasing domestic happiness was seriously affected by the untimely death of their
           firstborn in 1847. The little Prince Affonso was found dead in his crib, without any apparent
           medical reason for this most unexpected event. the initial sadness caused by Affonso's death was
           lifted by the birth of a third child in that same year, Princess Leopoldina. Pedro II's sadness at the
           loss of his only male child was relieved by the birth of a second son in 1848, Pedro, Prince
           Imperial of Brazil. However, within two years of this happy event, death would take the little
           prince away. Desolate by the death of his son, Pedro II penned a sonnet in which his utter
           frustration was revealed:

                                   "Twice have I already suffered death,

                              For the father dies, whose eyes see his son dead.

                                     Mine is the most dismal of fates:

                              During sweet infancy I lacked father and mother--

                                  And now my own small sons are gone."

           After the loss of their second son, Pedro and Theresa were unable to have any more issue. The
           emperor resigned himself to having his daughter Isabel created Princess Imperial of Brazil, the
           official heiress of the empire. His inner sadness was extemporized by the abandoning of former
           court festivities and the transformation of his entourage into a serious and hardworking enterprise.
           The emperor gradually abolished many of the ceremonies that had previously demanded great
           pomp and circumstance, while also opening the imperial family to more contact with a larger
           number of Brazilian subjects.

           Pedro II gained widespread recognition as a liberal ruler. At the time of his enthronement, Brazil
           was suffering under the evil system of slavery. A large majority of Brazilians were considered the
           property of their owners. The slave trade also enjoyed a booming business. Pedro II was repulsed
           by the trading of human beings as property. The slave trade also brought Brazil into open conflict
           with Great Britain, the world's dominant power at the time, as well as a sworn enemy of slavery.
           Once a slave trading nation herself, great Britain had long ago discovered that this practice did
           more harm than good. Besides disrupting ancient tribes in the colonies, the slave trade interrupted
           the socio-economic advancement of those colonies where it was still in practice. To bring an end
           to this despicable business, London finally abolished it and tried to force other slave trading
           nations to follow suit.

           In 1826 Great Britain and Brazil signed a pact to bring an end to the slave trade. In exchange for
           the recognition of Brazil's independence, Great Britain obtained Pedro I's promise to abolish the
           slave trade in his empire. Pedro I tried to keep his promise, although imperial efforts were
           considerably disrupted by the actions of pirates and bootleg slave traders whole smuggled their
           human cargo into Brazil. Two decades after signing the pact, Great Britain and Brazil were forced
           to renegotiate a settlement of the slave trade issue. Given the enormous size of Brazil, many
           plantations and agricultural enterprises had experienced economic chaos by the disruption of the
           slave trade. An absence of hired hands had caused the collapse of many crops. Faced with this
           economic chaos, Pedro II was convinced by some of his advisers not to renew the pact with Great
           Britain. London's reaction was swift and a fleet of patrol boats was dispatched to police the
           Brazilian coastline. Unable to defend its coastline, the Brazilian eventually bowed to London's
           demands and in 1850 Pedro II and his government brought about a change in position. Brazilian
           efforts to interfere with Great Britain maritime policy along the coasts of the empire were
           Abandoned. More than a decade later Pedro II took the momentous decision to personally strike
           against Brazilian slave owners. Another pact was signed with Great Britain whereby "human
           traffic from Africa, Asia or any other continent remained forever forbidden." In 1871, Pedro II
           sponsored a law liberating the womb of all female slaves. This meant that every child born from a
           slave from then on would be free from birth. A further strike against slavery was delivered in 1885
           when the imperial government declared that all slaves over the age of 60 years were free. Three
           years later, and acting as regent for her absent father, Princess Isabel finally abolished slavery in
           Brazil. This act of sublime liberalism gained Isabel the title of "Redemptress," yet it cost the
           dynasty its imperial throne.

             The Brazilian Imperial Family: Seating on the steps: Prince Antoine. From left to right: Empress Donna Theresa;
           Princess Imperial Izabel; Emperor Pedro II; Prince edro Augusto of Saxe-Coburg-Braganza; Prince Luiz; Gaston, Count
                                     d'Eu; Prince Pedro de Alcántara. c.1888.

           By the mid-1860's, Dom Pedro II's two surviving daughters reached marriageable age. The crown
           needed to secure the imperial succession and suitable consorts were in great demand for the
           Brazilian princesses. Not wanting to pass up this opportunity to ally his family to yet another great
           dynasty, King Leopold I of Belgium played an important role in securing that two of his nephews
           would find future, careers and happiness in Brazil. The two young princes were also grandsons of
           King Louis-Philippe of France and his wife Marie-Amelie of Bourbon-Sicilies, an aunt of Dom
           Pedro's wife. Thus it was with great trepidation that Duke Louis-Augustus of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
           and Prince Gaston of Bourbon-Orleans arrive at the end of 1864 in Rio de Janeiro. The royal
           matchmakers had chosen Louis-Augustus as the future husband of the Imperial Princess Isabel,
           while Gaston would marry Princess Leopoldina. In the end no amount of intervention from the
           parents made the two sisters change their mind, Isabel fell in love with Gaston, while Leopoldina
           happily chose Louis-Augustus. Dom Pedro himself was rather satisfied knowing that his two
           daughters would marry for love and not for reasons of state, which had been the case between him
           and his wife.

           The two marriages turned out successfully, for both Isabel and Leopoldina were very happy with
           their respective consorts. Within a year of their wedding Leopoldina and Louis-Augustus became
           the parents of a healthy boy. And even though Leopoldina of Brazil died unexpectedly in 1871 at
           the age of twenty-four years, she and her husband had four little sons by then. Louis-Augustus was
           devastated by the loss of his wife, as were her grief-stricken parents, and the widower never again
           married. Louis-Augustus eventually settled in Brazil with his dynastic children. When the Brazilian
           throne was overthrown, Louis-Augustus and his sons returned to Europe, settling in Austria where
           their family had large properties from their Kohary inheritance.

           Imperial Princess Isabel and Prince Gaston of Bourbon-Orleans remained childless for the first
           decade of their marriage. Their first child, Luiza Victoria was born in 1874. A very weak baby,
           the little princess only survived birth by a few hours. In October of 1875 Isabel gave birth to a
           healthy boy who was baptized with the name of Pedro d'Alcantara. It was this little prince who
           guaranteed the direct line of succession for yet another generation, for if his parents had remained
           childless the crown would have passed to the descendants of Leopoldina. Nevertheless, the
           imperial nursery rapidly filled with the arrival of two more healthy sons, Luis born in 1878, and
           Antoine born in 1881. The birth of seven grandsons provided Pedro II with a large degree of
           satisfaction, while it also served to smooth his unhappiness at being unable to father a son.

           The placid existence of the Brazilian imperial family came to an end in the late 1880's. Although
           initially a conservative ruler, Pedro II eventually recognized the inherent unfairness of the slavery
           system affecting so many millions of his subjects. As mentioned before, Pedro gradually passed
           laws that liberated his subjects. By the late 1880's it was just a matter of time before the emperor
           abolished slavery in Brazil altogether. Unfortunately for the Crown, Brazilian landowners and the
           country's military leadership were not keen on the liberalizing policies of Pedro II. The abolition
           of slavery subjected landowners to higher capital investment in manpower, and since these
           conservative groups were the mainstay of the military, the armed forces were predisposed to side
           with the land owning classes. Dom Pedro was traveling in Europe when Princess Isabel, acting as
           regent in her father's stead, passed a law abolishing slavery in Brazil on May 13, 1888. This law,
           commonly known as the Golden Law, not only brought international praise to the Brazilian
           imperial family, but also condemned the Crown. The landowners quickly organized and built
           opposition to the monarchy. Revolts broke out in different regions of the country. In many instances
           these revolts were helped by Brazil's republican neighbors, countries that had always resisted
           having an emperor in Latin America.

           Princess Imperial Isabel's decree eventually led to the proclamation of the Brazilian republic on
           November 16, 1889. Pedro II and his family were politely exiled to Europe. The Brazilian exiles
           first settled in Portugal, where Dom Pedro's nephew King Carlos I reigned. It was not long after
           the their arrival in Portugal, that Pedro II and his family suffered the loss of Empress Donna
           Theresa. The Empress was devastated by their exile from the land where she had settled almost
           half a century before. She died unexpectedly, some have argued that she died of grief, on
           December 28, 1889. Dom Pedro II followed his wife two years later, when he died while visiting
           Paris on December 5, 1891.

           While Princess Leopoldina's children settled in Austria, Princess Imperial Isabel and Prince
           Gaston established themselves in France. Gaston, a grandson of King Louis-Philippe, had
           properties in France. The Chateau d'Eu, located in Normandy, became their primary residence.
           The couple also possessed properties in Paris, where they became leading members of among
           royalist groups. Upon Dom Pedro II's death, Isabel became titular Empress of Brazil and her eldest
           son, Dom Pedro d'Alcantara received the title of Prince Imperial of Brazil. In 1908, two weeks
           prior to his wedding, Dom Pedro renounced his rights to the Brazilian crown, as well as those of
           any future descendants. This he did in order to marry Countess Elisabeth Dobrzensky de
           Dobrzenicz, a Czech aristocrat. The Imperial Brazilian succession was passed then to Isabel and
           Gaston's second son, Prince Dom Luis, who in 1908 married his cousin princess Maria-Pia of

           Dom Pedro d'Alcantara and his wife were the parents of five children. Isabelle, their eldest child,
           married her cousin Prince Henri of Bourbon-Orleans, Count of Paris, and present Head of the
           House of Bourbon-Orleans. The other children are: Dom Pedro Gastao, married to Princess
           Maria-Esperanza of Bourbon-Orleans, an aunt of King Juan Carlos I of Spain; Donna Francisca,
           who married her cousin Dom Duarte of Braganza, Duke of Braganza; Dom Joao, a businessman in
           Brazil; and Donna Theresa who married a Portuguese commoner.

           Prince Imperial Dom Luis of Brazil and his wife were the parents of three children: Dom
           Pedro-Henrique, who married Princess Maria of Bavaria; Dom Luis who died unmarried; and
           Donna Pia-Marie, who married Count René de Nicolaÿ. Prince Imperial Dom Luis died in Cannes,
           on March 26, 1920. His younger brother, Prince Dom Antoine, an officer in the Austrian Imperial
           Army, had died at the end of the Great War in November of 1918. Prince Dom Antoine died

           The deaths of her two youngest sons saddened the last years of Princess Isabel and Prince Gaston.
           Isabel died in 1921 never having seen Brazil since her family were exiled three decades earlier.
           Prince Gaston of Bourbon-Orleans survived his wife by less than a year. He died on board a ship
           destined to Brazil in 1922. By then, the Brazilian government had abrogated to banishment of the
           Imperial Family, and Gaston, accompanied by his only surviving son and his family, decided to
           return to the land of his wife. Already in frail health, for by then Gaston was in his eightieth year,
           he did not survive the journey.

           The abrogation of the law of exile not only allowed the Orleans-Braganzas to return to Brazil, but
           it also restored ownership of many of their properties. Since then, many of the descendants of
           Isabel and Gaston have settled in Brazil. They continue to hold leading positions among the
           country's ruling elite, as well as deriving great respect from many of their former subjects. In fact,
           a few years ago Brazil held a referendum to select the country's form of government. the
           restoration of the imperial crown was one of the choices offered to the Brazilian people. Many of
           the Orleans-Braganza actively campaigned in favor of the monarchy, which in the end received
           about 20% of the popular vote. After one century of republicanism, this result was nothing short of
           impressive for the heirs of Dom Pedro II.

           Today, the Brazilian Imperial Family remains divided in two opposing branches. On the one side
           are the descendants of Dom Pedro d'Alcantara, particularly Dom Pedro Gastao, who refuse to
           recognize their ancestor's renunciation of his rights in 1908. On the other side are the
           grandchildren of Prince Imperial Dom Luis, most oh whom have retained their dynastic rights.
           Experts in these sort of issues have argued that the document signed by Dom Pedro d'Alcantara in
           1908 was irrevocable. Even Princess Isabel, before her death, refused to allow the revocation of
           her son's renunciation. Thus, it seems that the descendants of Dom Luis have a solid dynastic hold
           on their Brazilian inheritance. Yet, if Brazil were to choose a new monarchy as a from of
           government, many feel that all descendants of Dom Pedro II have the right to present themselves as
           candidates to the Brazilian people.

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