History of South America

Dom Pedro II

Dom Pedro II (or Pedro II of Brazil) was the second and last Emperor of Brazil.

He ascended the throne in 1840 and was at the head of the country until 1889, when the coup that installed the Republic took place.

Following Portuguese and royal traditions, the heir to the throne was given various names in order to honor his grandparents, saints and angels.

His full name was:Pedro de Alcântara João Carlos Leopoldo Salvador Bibiano Francisco Xavier de Paula Leocádio Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Bragança e Bourbon.

Biography of Dom Pedro II

Portrait of Dom Pedro II

Born on December 2, 1825, at the Palácio da Quinta da Boa Vista, in Rio de Janeiro, Dom Pedro II was the son of Dom Pedro I, the first Emperor of Brazil, and the Empress D. Maria Leopoldina.

He was the couple's seventh child, but became heir as his older brothers, Miguel and João Carlos, died.

His mother died when he was about one year old. Subsequently, his father would leave him at the age of five, leaving to conquer the Portuguese throne and there he would die when he was nine.

For this reason, he had a difficult childhood, although he received an exemplary upbringing. During his training, he took classes in arts, history, geography, natural sciences, letters, languages, horseback riding and fencing.

In 1831, Dom Pedro I abdicated the Brazilian throne and returned to Portugal to secure the Portuguese throne for his eldest daughter, Dona Maria II. Thus, Dom Pedro remained in Brazil being named Prince Regent, at only 5 years old.

In Brazil, he was first under the tutelage of José Bonifácio de Andrade e Silva and, later, of Manuel Inácio de Andrade Souto Maior, Marquis of Itanhaém.

Due to the civil wars that took place in the regency period, the liberal group maneuvered so that the prince's majority was anticipated. Therefore, he assumes the throne in 1840, shortly before his 15th birthday.

Marriage and children

In 1843, he married Princess Teresa Cristina Maria de Bourbon, daughter of Francis I of the Two Sicilies, King of the Two Sicilies and the Infanta Maria Isabel of Spain.

With Empress Teresa Cristina he had 4 children:

  • Afonso Pedro (1845-1847), Imperial Prince
  • Isabel of Brazil (1846-1921), Imperial Princess
  • Leopoldina of Brazil (1847-1871), Princess of Brazil
  • Pedro Afonso (1848-1850), Imperial Prince

Only the girls, Isabel and Leopoldina, reached adulthood. Isabel would be the heir to the throne and would exercise the regency on three occasions. Leopoldina married the German Prince Louis Auguste of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and lived in Europe until her death in 1871.

In 1886, Dom Pedro II traveled to Europe to take care of his health and visit several places of historical and scientific interest. In his place was Princess Isabel, responsible for signing the abolitionist laws such as the Lei do Ventre Livre, in 1871 and the Lei Áurea, in 1888.

With the republican coup on November 15, 1889, the imperial family was expelled from Brazil and headed for Europe. In France, Dom Pedro II died on December 5, 1891, victim of pneumonia, at the age of 66.

Government of Dom Pedro II

Dom Pedro II ruled Brazil for 49 years, between July 23, 1840 and November 15, 1889, when the Republic was proclaimed. This period became known as the Second Reign.

Through the “Majority Coup” he was named Emperor on July 23, 1840, when he was just 14 years old.

According to the Constitution implemented by his father, Emperor Dom Pedro I, in 1824, the majority of the heir was reached at the age of 21. The Declaration of Majority, therefore, allowed him to govern the country, before this age.

Note that this declaration was a strategy of the liberal party, which aimed to end the Regency Period in Brazil. During this period, the country was ruled by political groups (liberal and conservative) that defended different principles.

With the Majority Coup, the regency period (1831-1840) ends in the country, giving way to the Second Reign.

During his government, D. Pedro II focused on the economic and social development of the country, building the first telegraph lines and the first railroad in the country.

It was in this period that the abolitionist laws advanced:

  • Bill Aberdeen Act (1845);
  • Eusébio de Queirós Law (1850);
  • Law of the Free Womb (1871);
  • Sexagenarian Law (1887);
  • Golden Law (1888).

He traveled to different parts of the country and the world in order to learn about the various technological innovations and bring them to his native country. In that period, he left his daughter Isabel as regent of the Country.

During his government, several revolts took place, of which the following stand out:

  • Revolt of the Liberals (1842), in Minas Gerais and São Paulo;
  • War of the Farrapos (1845), in Rio Grande do Sul;
  • Praieira Revolution (1848), in Pernambuco.

He won some important wars such as the War of the Silver (War against Oribe and Rosas) in 1850; the Uruguayan War (War against Aguirre) in 1864; and the Paraguayan War (1865).

At the end of his government, he suffered a coup d'état, on November 15, 1889, which resulted in exile in Europe.

After the installation of the republic he was forced to leave the country and went to Portugal with his family. He would later live in France and die in Paris shortly after turning 66.

We have more texts on this subject for you :

  • Regency Period
  • First Reign
  • Second Reign
  • Moderating Power
  • Proclamation of the Republic
  • Monarchy
  • Aristocracy
  • Brazil


As an icon in the history of Brazil, there are several streets, avenues, commercial, hospital and educational centers that bear his name.

Previous Post