5 curiosities about Brazil’s independence

1. Freemasonry in the process of Independence

Independence from Brazil would not have been possible without the interference of Freemasonry. Since the 18th century, there were Freemasons in Brazil, and many of them were involved in political movements against the Portuguese Crown. This was the case of Inconfidência Mineira, for example. On June 17, 1822, when the Brazilian reaction to the pretensions of the Portuguese courts was already at its peak, there was the creation of the Masonic organization Grande Oriente Brasílico, which separated from the Grande Oriente Lusitano, which already had Masonic lodges in Brazil. D. Pedro I, on August 2, 1822, was started in one of the typically Brazilian stores, called “Comércio e Artes”, adopting the code name of Guatimozin. The articulators of Independence were Freemasons and were part of the Great Eastern Brazil. Among the main ones were José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo and José Clemente Pereira. The three were responsible for convincing D. Pedro to join the cause of Independence once and for all, even though Bonifácio was a rival to the last two.

2. The “Fico” and the Avilez Rebellion

Since the end of 1821, Pedro I began to receive sequential ultimatums from the Portuguese courts to return to Portugal. The then prince regent was about to return, but was convinced to remain in the country through a mobilization organized by the same group of Freemasons as we mentioned above. The Pedro I option was made official on January 9, which became known as “Fico’s day”. The Portuguese officer in charge of finalizing Pedro I was Jorge Avilez Tavares, who was governor of the Arms of the Court and Province of Rio de Janeiro. After the prince’s decision, Avilez mutinied with about 2,000 soldiers in an attempt to overthrow the prince. Pedro I then ordered about 10,000 soldiers of the Royal Guard to surround the mutiny. Defeated, Avilez had to comply with the order given by D. Pedro to return to Portugal.

3. Manifestos of August 1822 The so-called

Manifestos of August 1822 were also of great importance in the process of Independence and were written by two of the main leaders of this process, two of them being Freemasons already mentioned here: Gonçalves Ledo and José Bonifácio. Each of these manifestos defended a political orientation to be followed by Brazil after independence. The first manifesto, dated 1 August, was from Ledo and had a radically anti-Portuguese content, making explicit the yearning for a total break with the Portuguese Crown. The second manifesto, dated August 6, was by José Bonifácio and brought a less inflamed defense of independence, raising the outstanding characteristic that Brazil, independent and with a monarchical regime, would have before the “Friendly Nations” in the American continent, full of republics.

4. Decree of Independence of Brazil was signed by D. Leopoldina

On August 13, 1822, Pedro I appointed his wife, Leopoldina of Austria, Head of State and Princess Regent of Brazil. He did this because he needed to go on a trip to the province of São Paulo in order to resolve some political conflicts there that could make the Independence process unfeasible. Pedro I would remain in São Paulo until September 5. However, the climate in Cortes, in Lisbon, was already quite tense, especially after Pedro I refused to return to his native country. After receiving another ultimatum, Leopoldina, as interim political head, summoned the State Council in Rio de Janeiro and signed, on September 2, a decree declaring Brazil officially separated from Portugal.

5. Dom Pedro I’s intestinal disorders on September 7

Pedro I, as we said above, was visiting the Province of São Paulo at the time of the definitive rupture between Brazil and Portugal. On September 5, without having heard the news, he was leaving for Rio de Janeiro. However, on the 7th (“Ipiranga’s cry”), riding with his entourage, the prince regent began to suffer recurrent crises of dysentery, which are narrated by the historian Otávio Tarquínio de Sousa: The change of diet, a sip of less pure water, whatever it was, the truth is that his intestinal functions showed impertinent disturbances, which forced him to change the pace of the march, to separate himself from the entourage, in unavoidable stops. One of the traveling companions, Colonel Manuel Marcondes de Oliveira Melo, in his testimony used a curious euphemism to disguise the rudely prosaic character of D. Pedro’s discomfort. Alluding to the dysentery that had affected the prince, he informs that this forced him to dismount from the mount at all times “to provide for himself”. [1] It was on that same day, in the midst of these crises, that D. Pedro received the news of the rupture and proclaimed the famous “Independência ou Morte!”.