BRAGANZA (Bragança), the capital of an administrative district formerly included in the province of Traz-os-Montes, Portugal; situated in the north-eastern extremity of the kingdom, on a branch of the river Sabor, 8 m. S. of the Spanish frontier. Pop. (1900) 5535. Braganza is an episcopal city. It consists of a walled upper town, containing the cathedral college and hospital, and of a lower or modern town. Large tracts of the surrounding country are uncultivated, partly because railway communication is lacking and the roads are bad. Except farming, the chief local industry is silkworm-rearing and the manufacture of silk. The administrative district of Braganza coincides with the eastern part of Traz-os-Montes (q.v.). Pop. (1900) 185,162; area, 2513 sq. m.
The city gave its name to the family of Braganza, members of which were rulers of Portugal from 1640 to 1853, and emperors of Brazil from 1822 to 1889. This family is descended from Alphonso (d. 1461), a natural son of John I., king of Portugal (d. 1433), who was a natural son of King Peter I., and consequently belonged to the Portuguese branch of the Capetian family. Alphonso was made duke of Braganza in 1442, and in 1483 his grandson, Duke Ferdinand II., lost his life through heading an insurrection against King John II. In spite of this Ferdinand's descendants acquired great wealth, and several of them held high office under the kings of Portugal. Duke John I. (d. 1583) married into the royal family, and when King Henry II. died without direct heirs in 1580, he claimed the crown of Portugal in opposition to Philip II. of Spain. John, however, was unsuccessful, but, when the Portuguese threw off the Spanish dominion in 1640, his grandson, John II., duke of Braganza, became king as John IV. In 1807, when Napoleon declared the throne of Portugal vacant, King John VI. fled to Brazil; but he regained his inheritance after the fall of Napoleon in 1814, although he did not return to Europe until 1821, when he left his elder son Peter to govern Brazil. In 1822 a revolution established the independence of Brazil with Peter as emperor. In 1826 Peter became king of Portugal on the death of his father; but he at once resigned the crown to his young daughter Maria, and appointed his brother Miguel to act as regent. Miguel soon declared himself king, but after a stubborn struggle was driven from the country in 1833, after which Maria became queen. Maria married for her second husband Ferdinand (d. 1851), son of Francis, duke of Saxe-Coburg; and when she died in 1853 the main Portuguese branch of the family became extinct. Maria was succeeded by her son Louis I., father of Charles I., who ascended the throne of Portugal in 1889. The empire of Brazil descended on the death of Peter I. to his son Peter II., who was expelled from the country in 1889. When Peter died in 1891 this branch of the family also became extinct in the male line. His only child, Isabella, married Louis Gaston of Orleans, count of Eu. The exiled king, Miguel, founded a branch of the family of Braganza which settled in Bavaria, and various noble families in Portugal are descended from cadets of this house. The title of duke of Braganza is now borne by the eldest son of the king of Portugal.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)