Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, João (1878–1930)

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Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, João (1878–1930)

João Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque (b. 24 January 1878; d. 26 July 1930), Brazilian politician, vice-presidential candidate (1930). Offspring of elite intermarriage in Brazil's northeastern state of Paraíba, Pessoa is best known for his 1930 death by assassination—an event which served as catalyst to the outbreak of the Revolution of 1930. Educated in military school and the Recife Law School, Pessoa moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1909 to begin a career in federal public service. During the 1920s, Pessoa served on various military tribunals, including the courts that judged the rebellious cadets and young officers involved in the decade's tenente revolts.

With the support of his uncle, former Brazilian president Epitácio Pessoa, and his home state's Partido Republicano da Paraíba, Pessoa was elected governor (presidente) of Paraíba in 1928. The fiscal and administrative reforms undertaken during his governorship often faced stiff opposition, particularly from political bosses (coronéis) of the state's interior. Pessoa faced even stronger opposition from the federal government when he refused to support the official presidential candidacy of Júlio Prestes. Siding with a Rio Grande do Sul-Minas Gerais—supported opposition party, the Aliança Liberal, Pessoa accepted the nomination to run as vice president on the reformist Aliancista ticket headed by Getúlio Vargas.

During the presidential campaign, Paraíban Coronel José Pereira led a regional rebellion, known as the Princesa Revolt, in an effort to undermine Pessoa's regional and national credibility. Soon after the Aliança Liberal's electoral defeat, Pessoa was assassinated by personal and political rival João Dantas. This incident sparked civil and political unrest, as Dantas was linked to factions which supported the Prestes candidacy. Even though Pessoa had declared his opposition to armed insurrection, his assassination became a rallying cry for the defeated Vargas party. With Pessoa's death-cum- martyrdom still fresh in mind, the civil war that would be known as the Revolution of 1930 broke out in early October 1930. The capital of Paraíba was renamed João Pessoa to honor the slain governor.

See alsoBrazil, Revolutions: Revolution of 1930 .


"Pessoa, João," in Dicionário histórico-biográfico brasileiro, vol. 4, edited by Israel Beloch and Alzira de Abreu (1984), pp. 2,701-2,705.

Linda Lewin, Politics and Parentela in Paraíba: A Case Study of Family-Based Oligarchy in Brazil (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Quaresma, Quélia H. "Electoral Mobilization and the Construction of a Civic Culture in Brazil, 1909–1930," Ph.D. diss., 1998.

Topik, Steven. The Political Economy of the Brazilian State, 1889–1930. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987.

                                        Daryle Williams

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Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, João (1878–1930)

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