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Miguel, Maria Evarist

MIGUEL, MARIA EVARIST (1802-1866), usually known as DOM MIGUEL, whose name is chiefly associated with his pretensions to the throne of Portugal, was tn*e third son of King John VI. of Portugal, and of Carlota Joaquina, one of the Spanish Bourbons; he was born at Lisbon on the 26th of October 1802. In 1807 he accompanied his parents in their flight to Brazil, where he grew up an uneducated and fanatical debauchee; in 1821, on his return to Europe, it is said that he had not yet learned to read. In 1822 his father swore fidelity to the new Portuguese constitution which had been proclaimed in his absence; and this led Carlota Joaquina, who was an absolutist of the extremest Bourbon type, and hated her husband, to seek his dethronement in favour of Miguel her favourite son. The insurrections which ensued (see PORTUGAL) resulted in her imprisonment and the exile of Miguel (1824), who spent a short time in Paris and afterwards lived in Vienna, where he came under the teaching of Metternich. On the sudden death of John VI. in May 1826, Pedro of Brazil, his eldest son, renounced the crown in favour of his daughter Maria da Gloria, on the understanding that she should become the wife of Miguel. The last named accordingly swore allegiance to. Pedro, to Maria, and to the constitution which Pedro had introduced, and on this footing was appointed regent in July 1827. He arrived in Lisbon in February 1828, and, regardless of his promises, dissolved the new Cortes in March; having called together the old Cortes, with the support of the reactionary party of which his mother was the ruling spirit, he got himself proclaimed sole legitimate king of Portugal in July. His private life was characterized by the wildest excesses, and he used his power to oppose all forms of liberalism.

The public opinion of Europe became more and more actively hostile to his reign, and after the occupation of Oporto by Dom Pedro in 1832, the destruction of Miguel's fleet by Captain (afterwards Sir Charles) Napier off Cape St Vincent in 1833, and the victory of Saldanha at Santarem in 1834, Queen Christina of Spain recognized the legitimate sovereignty of Maria, and in this was followed by France and England. Dom Miguel capitulated at Evora on the 29th of May 1834, renouncing all pretensions to the Portuguese throne. He lived for some time at Rome, where he enjoyed papal recognition, but afterwards retired to Bronnbach, in Baden, where he died on the 14th of November 1866.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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