City Palace, Brazil, c. 1840. Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Brazil has a rich and diverse history, with several different tribes inhabiting the region across the millenia prior to Portuguese conquest. Leadership in the pre-Cabral region was often defined by status established over time than hereditary and ceremonial rights. The conquest in 1500 by Pedro Álvares Cabral on behalf of the Portuguese Empire led to the establishment of Brazil as a colony and a centre for sugar exportation as part of the Atlantic Slave Trade. In the early 1800s Brazil became united with Portugal as a United Kingdom, with the Portuguese monarchy choosing to reside in Brazil due to European continental conflict. In 1821 the monarchy largely returned to Portugal, and the following year Brazil began its campaign for independence, which was granted in 1825. In this period the Empire of Brazil was established, however it was short-lived: the monarchy in Brazil and the empire came to an end on 15 November 1889, when Brazil was declared a republic.

You can find out more about some of the instrumental women during Brazil’s rule by the Portuguese below!


Alden, Dauril. Royal Government in Colonial Brazil. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 1968

Levin Rojo, Danna A., and Cynthia Radding, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Borderlands of the Iberian World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019

Lewin, Linda. Surprise Heirs I: Illegitimacy, Patrimonial Rights, and Legal Nationalism in Luso-Brazilian Inheritance, 1750–1821. Stanford: Stanford University Press 2003

Lewin, Linda. Surprise Heirs II: Illegitimacy, Inheritance Rights, and Public Power in the Formation of Imperial Brazil, 1822–1889. Stanford: Stanford University Press 2003.

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