|Fig.1: Queen Maria I of Portugal...with a
blunt object! Run!
And that's what Maria and John did, along with 15,000 of their closest family, friends, advisers, ladies-in-waiting, cooks, servants, make-up artists, concubines, and puppeteers. The court of the Portuguese government straight-up left Portugal on November 29, and headed across the pond to their wealthiest (and least African) colony, Brazil. Two days later, Napoleon captured Lisbon, but cried for a week when he realized that his Portuguese buddies would rather go on a two-month journey across the Atlantic than hang out with him. The Portuguese touched down in the New World (which was losing its shiny newness since it had now been known to Europeans for the past 300 years) in late January 1808, and eventually made their capital in exotic Rio de Janeiro! Upon the arrival of the royal family, a nine-day celebration commenced in the streets, which is certainly odd, because it's not like Brazilians are well-known for festivals or partying or any of that stuff (fig.2).
|Fig.2: This sort of thing never happens in Brazil...
|Fig.3: Yeah, ladies. You want some
Now, fellow historians will note that the Portuguese court was still in Brazil in 1816, even though Napoleon was finally defeated and his tiny-self banished from Europe in 1815. Good eye, folks! Indeed, King John and his court would stay in Brazil all the way until 1821! Why was it necessary for the Portuguese government to remain in Brazil when the motherland was safe from harm? Long answer short, it's much nicer in Brazil! John found the warm temperature delightful, the people friendly and open, the sport of women's beach volleyball a pleasure to watch. On the other hand, Portugal was still badly damaged from six years of war, and the people were rebelling every two seconds about something. Who wants to go back to that? Give me Rio any day! Besides, there was a very nice British gentleman by the name of William Beresford who took it upon himself to rule Portugal in John's absence, even though (little to John's knowledge) he governed ruthlessly and took advantage of the Portuguese people to enrich himself. John wanted just a few more years to work on his tan, and given his looks (again, fig.3), certainly any sort of physical change would be an improvement on him.
|Fig.4: Portugal in the throws of the
Liberal Revolution of 1820.
Brazil, of course, was having none of this. On September 7, 1822, Brazil declared its independence from Portugal. Surprisingly, the leader of the independence movement was King John's son, Pedro, who was put in charge upon the king's return to Portugal! The sources differ as to whether John was upset with his son's behavior and threatened to wallop him on the backside if he didn't cut that rebellion stuff out, or actually encouraged it since he saw that Brazil was inevitably going to break up with Portugal, and wanted to still keep the throne in the family. Primogeniture at its finest! There was a small independence war, but nothing like that of the rest of South America in the previous decade, or the American Revolution nearly fifty years prior, or the removal of David Lee Roth from Van Halen in 1984. Portugal eventually recognized Brazil's independence in 1825, and Pedro was made Emperor Pedro I of Brazil. King John didn't have much time to be proud of his son (or be grumpy that his title sounded better than his own), since he would die in 1826. This initiated a period of civil war in Portugal, while Brazil continued to grow and prosper throughout the 19th century. Take that, motherland! Who's being economically enslaved now?!
|Fig.5: The only redeeming thing
about this picture of Nixon eating
pūpū in Hawaii is that at least we
can't see the tight European bathing
suit bottom he has on.*shutter*
|Fig.6: "C'mon, can I stay for just another few weeks? I hear East Timor is going to have an opening soon!"