Araújo Lima, Marquis of Olinda, Pedro de (1793–1870)

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Araújo Lima, Marquis of Olinda, Pedro de (1793–1870)

Born on December 22, 1793, Araújo Lima was one of the most influential and dynamic political leaders responsible for political consolidation of the Brazilian empire. A graduate in canon law from the University of Coimbra, he began his public life in 1821, when he was elected as a member of the Cortes (the Portuguese Assembly) in Lisbon. After Independence he participated in the Brazilian Constituent Assembly in 1823. During the First Reign, Araújo Lima was briefly minister of the empire; he was also a member of the General Assembly of the empire, serving a series of terms from 1826 to 1837, before being elected senator from Pernambuco. While Dom Pedro II was still too young to become king, during the Regency period he participated in the conservative resistance that mounted an opposition to Father Diogo Antônio Feijó's governance, replacing him as the empire's last regent, from 1837 to 1840. He was also chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, minister, president of the Council of Ministers during the Second Reign, and a member of the Council of State by 1841 and for some years thereafter.

In his early days he participated in the intense parliamentary debates of the Portuguese and Brazilian constituents and encountered, throughout his trips to Europe, staunch English parliamentarians as well as the unconstitutional actions of Charles X of France. As regent he faced revolts in Bahia, Maranhão, and Rio Grande do Sul. He strongly supported proposals for centralization such as the Interpretation of the Amendment Act (1840) and the Reform of the Criminal Procedure Code (1841), bills inspired by monarchical conservatives who sought to curtail the privileges of the provincial assemblies and return control of political, administrative, and judicial power to a central authority. During his administration important initiatives were undertaken, such as the creation of the Colégio Dom Pedro II, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and History, and the Imperial Public Archives, as well as the reorganization of the Imperial Army. Araújo Lima's government represented the end of the liberal period of political and administrative decentralization. He contributed to the restoration of the monarchy's prestige and was part of the group that led the conservative reaction, defending a strong, centralized government as an antidote to disorder and chaos. As such he was among those responsible for consolidating the Brazilian empire by strengthening the monarchy and preserving both the slavocrat order and territorial unity.

Because he disagreed with the guidelines imposed by the Conservative Party through the Saquarema trinity (the given nickname of the three important politicians [Paolino Jose, Jose Rodrigues Torres, and Eusébio de Queirós]) especially on issues related to foreign affairs in the Rio de la Plata region, he gradually distanced himself from his former party colleagues. In 1858 he accepted the emperor's invitation to organize the ministry, pledging to continue the policy of reconciliation among the parties. Thereafter he drew closer to the liberals and became one of the founders of the Progressive Party, a new party formed by moderate conservatives and liberal politicians. In 1854 he received the title of Marquis of Olinda. His political, institutional, and administrative knowledge of imperial life and great talent for political negotiation made him one of the most powerful and influential political figures of the Second Reign. He died on June 7, 1870.

See alsoBrazil: 1808–1889; Feijó, Diogo Antônio; Pedro II of Brazil.


Cascudo, Luis da Câmara. O Marquez de Olinda e seu tempo (1793–1870). São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1938.

Mattos, Ilmar Rohloff de. O tempo Saquarema. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec, 1987.

Nabuco, Joaquim. Um estadista do Império. 5th ed. Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 1997.

                                                  Maria Elisa MÄder