Leopoldina, Empress (1797–1826)

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Leopoldina, Empress (1797–1826)

Empress Leopoldina (Maria Leopoldina de Hapsburg; b. 22 January 1797; d. 11 December 1826), empress consort of Brazil (1822–1826). Daughter of Emperor Francis I of Austria, Archduchess Leopoldina married Pedro, prince of Brazil and heir to the Portuguese throne, in ceremonies in Vienna and Rio de Janeiro in 1817. The marriage became a factor in the acceptance of Brazil's independence from Portugal—declared by Pedro with Leopoldina's strong support in 1822—by Austria and the "Holy Alliance" of conservative European monarchies. Pedro and Leopoldina were proclaimed emperor and empress of Brazil on 12 October 1822.

Intelligent and well educated, especially in the natural sciences, Leopoldina came under the intellectual influence of her husband's chief minister, José Bonifácio de Andrada E Silva, though she retained her innate political conservatism. Pedro's banishment of José Bonifácio in 1823 distressed her, and subsequent revelations of her husband's infidelities added to her unhappiness. While the emperor's political enemies publicly sympathized with his long-suffering wife, Leopoldina remained devoted to the unfaithful Pedro. She bore him four daughters, including the future Queen Maria II of Portugal, and two sons, one who died in infancy and one who became Emperor Pedro II of Brazil. Barely a year after the birth of her second son, Leopoldina died of complications following a miscarriage.

See alsoBrazil: 1808–1889 .


Amilcar Salgado Dos Santos, Imperatriz D. Leopoldina (1927).

Carlos H. Oberacker, Jr., A imperatriz Leopoldina: Sua vida e sua época (1973).

Additional Bibliography

Barman, Roderick J. Citizen Emperor: Pedro II and the Making of Brazil, 1825–1891. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Buonfiglio, Monica. Imperatriz Leopoldina: O anjo da independência do Brasil. São Paulo: Oficina dos Anjos, 2002.

                                          Neill Macaulay

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Leopoldina, Empress (1797–1826)

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