João IV of Portugal (1604–1656)

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João IV of Portugal (1604–1656)

João IV of Portugal (b. 19 March 1604; d. 1656), son of the seventh duke of Bragança, Dom Teodósio, and his wife, Dona Ana de Velasco. Born in the ancestral palace in Vila Viçosa, he married Dona Luísa Francesca de Guzmán of the Spanish house of Medina Sidonia (12 January 1633). Following the success of the December Revolution (1640) against Portugal's Spanish rulers, he was acclaimed king (15 December) and became the founder of the Bragança dynasty, thereby fulfilling 60 years of dreams of his family and his nation. He inherited a government devoid of funds, an effective army, or a competitive navy, but despite these weaknesses his rule survived a serious pro-Spanish conspiracy (1641). He came to rely upon the Jesuits for advice and diplomatic service and the members of his councils, including the Overseas Council, which he created for the management of the empire. Although he was unable to save Portugal's eastern empire, beset by heavy pressure from the Dutch, or to resume the once lucrative silk trade between Macao and Japan, he supported popular Brazilian uprisings against occupying Dutch forces in northeastern Brazil and lived to learn of their definitive surrender (1654). João IV was a conscientious, prudent monarch whose interests were hunting and music and the welfare of his subjects.

See alsoBrazil: The Colonial Era, 1500–1808; Jesuits.


Joel Serrão, ed., Dicionário de história de Portugal (1971), vol. 2, pp. 620-623.

Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão, História de Portugal, vol. 5 (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Ames, Glenn Joseph. Renascent Empire: The House of Braganza and the Quest for Stability in Portuguese Monsoon Asia, c.1640–1683. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2000.

Mello, Evaldo Cabral de. O negócio do Brasil: Portugal, os Paises Baixos e o Nordeste, 1641–1669. Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 1998.

Pereira, Gerardo. A restauração de Portugal e do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Biblioteca do Exército Editora, 2004.

Russell-Wood, A. J. R. The Portuguese Empire, 1415–1808: A World on the Move. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

                                           Dauril Alden

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João IV of Portugal (1604–1656)

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