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Carlota (1775–1830)

Carlota (1775–1830)

Carlota (Carlota Joaquina de Borbón y Parma; b. 25 April 1775; d. 7 January 1830), Spanish princess, queen consort of Portugal, and royalist leader in South America. Daughter of King Carlos IV and Queen María Luisa of Spain, Princess Carlota Joaquina consummated her arranged marriage to Prince João, heir to the Portuguese throne, in 1790. The royal pair thoroughly disliked each other and were constantly at odds over political and personal matters; nevertheless, they produced nine children, including Pedro, who became emperor of Brazil, and Miguel, who usurped the Portuguese throne—although the paternity of the latter as well as that of two of his sisters is in doubt. Carlota reluctantly joined the emigration of the Portuguese court to Brazil in 1807, when Portugal was invaded by France in alliance with Spain.

In Rio de Janeiro, after the French had deposed her brother, King Fernando VII of Spain, Carlota in 1808 set out to establish herself as the regent of Spain's empire in the Americas in the name of her imprisoned brother. Carlota enlisted the aid of her good friend, British admiral Sir Sidney Smith, and initially had her husband's acquiescence in the regency project. But Prince João, regent of Portugal for the insane Queen Maria I, perceived a united Spanish America ruled by his wife as a threat to his own domains. His concern was shared by the British government, which, in 1809, recalled Admiral Smith and forestalled his scheme to sail with Carlota to Buenos Aires and install her there as Spanish regent.

A new opportunity for Carlota arose with the revolution in Buenos Aires in May 1810. From Rio she established contact with members of the Buenos Aires junta, offering herself as their leader. João was disconcerted by his wife's willingness to deal with revolutionaries to further her ambitions. In the end, however, Carlota's royal absolutism found few partisans in Spanish America and Fernando's return to the throne in Spain in 1814 obviated any need for a regency in his name.

In 1821 Carlota returned with her husband, now King João VI, to Portugal, where she continued to conspire against him. In 1824 she and her favorite son, Miguel, seized the government in Lisbon and forced João to seek refuge on a British warship. The British demanded and got João's restoration. After João's death in 1826, Carlota vigorously supported Miguel as king of Portugal, denying the claim of Maria II, Pedro's daughter. With Miguel seemingly secure on the Portuguese throne, Carlota died in 1830.

See alsoJoaõ I of Portugalxml .


Julián María Rubio, La infanta Carlota Joaquina y la política de España en América, 1808–1812 (1920).

Marcus Cheke, Carlota Joaquina, Queen of Portugal (1947).

Additional Bibliography

Azevedo, Francisca L Nogueira de. Carlota Joaquina na Corte do Brasil. Rio de Janerio: Civilização Brasileira, 2003.

                                   Neill Macaulay

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