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The Americas

South American Colonial Settlements


Brazil (Portuguese Empire)
AD 1516 - 1815

Two years after the first successful Portuguese voyage to India, Pedro Alvares Cabral officially discovered Brazil in 1500. However, there is a theory that the secretive Portuguese court had contact with Brazil as early as 1480, before Castile's much-trumpeted discovery of the Bahamas and Hispaniola, perhaps through the central Atlantic voyages of Captain Duarte Pacheco Pereira. This may (or may not) be a later story which was designed to sidestep Spanish Colonial claims to the whole of South America, Either way, Brazil's first colonisers were met by the Tupinamba people, one group in the vast array of the continent's native population.

The Treaty of Tordesillas was signed on 7 June 1494, dividing the newly discovered territories between Spain (in the form of the united kingdom of Castile and Aragon) and Portugal. This gave Portuguese explorers carte blanche to explore and colonise what would later become Brazil. The country's native population was broad and diverse, with the Karitiana people at least being linked via DNA with the ancient Afontova Gora people of Central Asia.

Expansion was vigorously pursued under John III, with the colony being divided into twelve captaincies which were charged with protecting and exploiting their commands. Once Spain controlled Portugal between 1580-1640, the terms of the treaty were irrelevant and any restriction on Portuguese settlement in Brazil was removed. Afterwards, when Portugal was freed under the rule of the Braganzas, the discovery and exploitation of gold and diamond mines made the Portuguese crown one of the richest in the world. More was extracted from Brazil alone than the Spanish managed to get from all of their colonies combined over the entire lifetime of their colonial rule in the Americas.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from External Links: Upper Palaeolithic Siberian genome reveals dual ancestry of Native Americans (US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health), and A Brief History of Brazil (New York Times).)


Brazil is officially discovered by Pedro Alvares Cabral as he leads a thirteen-vessel fleet from Portugal to introduce Christianity wherever he goes, by force if necessary.

Following directions given to him by Vasco de Gama and with one of his vessels captained by Vasco de Gama's companion, Nicolau Coelho, he sails to Brazil and then on round the Cape of Good Hope towards Mozambique and Madagascar, before returning to Portugal.

Iguassu Falls, Brazil
Pedro Alvares Cabral found a rich and sometimes dangerous land which was ripe for colonisation - this would become the Portuguese imperial colony of Brazil


Little detail is known about the appointment of the first governor in Brazil, and there is even some doubt that this is indeed his title. However, his appointment begins a system of governance in the new colony which survives for three hundred years.

1516 - 1526

Pero Capico

First governor of Brazil.

1526 - 1528

Cristovao Jacques

1528 - 1532

Antonio Ribeiro

1532 - 1534

Martim Affonso de Sousa

Later governor of Goa (1542-1545).

1534 - 1549

The Portuguese crown initiates a system of hereditary captaincies in order to begin the exploitation of its colony (and keep the competing French and other European nations away from the money-making brazilwood sources).

Brazil is held in low regard while Portugal is making vast profits in commerce with India, China, Japan, and South-East Asia, as are uncolonised Caribbean islands such as Barbados which remains mainly ignored.

The fifteen captaincies are formed as huge strips of territory which stretch from the coast to the interior, each one immediately south of the other. All but two fail to live up to expectations so, in 1549, Tome de Sousa is sent to Brazil to establish a central government and establish a new capital at Salvador da Bahia, in the north-east.

1549 - 1553

Tome de Sousa

First governor-general of Brazil.

1553 - 1557

Duarte da Costa

1553 - 1557

Much of Duarte da Costa's tenure as governor-general is consumed by war against the natives around Salvador. In 1556 the first bishop of Brazil, Pero Fernandes Sardinha, is captured and eaten by the natives after he is shipwrecked. Only da Costa's successor is able to defeat the natives and establish a stable and efficient administration.

1557 - 1573

Mem de Sa


The city of Rio de Janeiro is founded in the south of Brazil.

1572 - 1573

Fernao da Silva

Acting governor-general.


Two viceroyalties are established, north and south, although this form of governance only lasts until 1578.

1573 - 1578

Luis de Brito e Almeida

At Bahia.

1574 - 1577

Antonio de Salema

At Rio de Janeiro.

1578 - 1581

Lourenço da Veiga

Governor-general of all Brazil.

1581 - 1583

Cosme Rangel de Macedo


1581 - 1583

Antonio Moniz Barreiros


1582 - 1587

Manuel Telles Barreto


1587 - 1591

Antonio Moniz Barreiros

Junta, for the second time.

1587 - 1591

Cristovao Cardoso de Barros


1587 - 1591

Antonio de Faria


1590 - 1602

Francisco de Sousa


Alvaro de Carvalho

1602 - 1608

Diogo Botelho


The Quilombo of Palmares settlement of escaped slaves is formed in far eastern Brazil (the term 'quilombo' is specifically used for such settlements). The settlement's population is formed largely of free-born enslaved Africans and is ruled by chiefs who apparently have a princely origin within Africa.

Slavery in Brazil
By the early seventeenth century, slavery in Brazil was a highly profitable business, having been integral to the initial phases of European settlement

1608 - 1613

Diogo de Menezes e Siqueira

At Bahia.


Rui Mendes de Abreu

Junta, at Bahia.


Sebastiao Borges

Junta, at Bahia.


Baltazar de Aragao de Souza

Junta, at Bahia.

1609 - 1611

Francisco de Sousa

Second term of office, at Rio de Janeiro.

1611 - 1613

Luis de Sousa Henriques

At Rio de Janeiro.

1613 - 1617

Gaspar de Sousa

1617 - 1621

Luis de Sousa


The huge colony is divided in two by Portugal, while the half-hearted claim to ownership of Barbados has already been dropped (in 1620). The more important of the divisions, Estado do Brasil, has Salvador as its capital, while Estado do Maranhao, is given Sao Luis as its capital.

1621 - 1624

Diogo de Mendonça Furtado


Antao de Mesquita e Oliveira


Marcos Teixeira de Mendonça

Died 1624.


Matias de Albuquerque Coelho

Died 1647.


Francisco Nunes Marinho de Sa

1624 - 1626

Francisco de Moura Rolim

1626 - 1635

Diogo Luis de Oliveira


A Portuguese attack from Brazil on a Spanish mission in the viceroyalty of Peru results in the enslavement of 60,000 natives. The raid is one of a series in what is effectively a low level war of territorial conquest, despite Spain governing the Portuguese.

1635 - 1639

Pedro da Silva


Fernando Jose de Mascarenhas

1639 - 1640

Vasco de Mascarenhas

1640 - 1641

Jorge de Mascarenhas


1641 - 1642

Pedro da Silva e Sampaio

Provisional government Junta.

1641 - 1642

Luis Barbalho Bezerra

Provisional government Junta.

1641 - 1642

Lourenço de Brito Correia

Provisional government Junta.

1642 - 1647

Antonio Teles da Silva

1647 - 1650

Antonio Teles de Menezes

1650 - 1654

Joao Rodrigues de Vasconcelos e Sousa

1654 - 1657

Jeronimo de Ataide

1657 - 1663

Francisco Barreto de Meneses

1663 - 1667

Vasco de Mascarenhas

Second term of office.

1667 - 1671

Alexandre de Sousa Freire

1671 - 1675

Afonso Furtado de Castro do Rio

1675 - 1678

Agostinho de Azevedo Monteiro

Provisional government junta.

1675 - 1678

Alvaro de Azevedo

Provisional government junta.

1675 - 1678

Antonio Guedes de Brito

Provisional government junta.

1675 - 1678

Christovao de Burgos Contreiras

Provisional government junta.

1678 - 1682

Roque da Costa Barreto


Portuguese settlers from Brazil build a fort at Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. The move causes the Spanish administration to increase its interest in the area, as it seeks to limit the expansion of Brazil.

Governor Jose de Garro of Rio de la Plata launches a surprise attack on the fort which captures it in 1680 for the Spanish Colonies. However, it is returned by royal decree to the Portuguese in 1681 as the attack had been undertaken without royal permission.

1682 - 1684

Antonio de Sousa de Meneses

1684 - 1687

Antonio Luis de Sousa Tello de Meneses

1687 - 1688

Matias da Cunha

1688 - 1690

Manuel da Ressurreiçao

President of the provisional junta.

1690 - 1694

Antonio Luis Gonçalves

1694 - 1702

Joao de Lencastre


The Quilombo of Palmares settlement of escaped slaves is finally conquered. One of the last rulers is Zumbi, claimed as a grandson of an unnamed manikongo of the Kongo kingdom. Elements of the royal family had been captured at the Battle of Mbwila in 1665, so the claim is not without merit.

1702 - 1708

Rodrigo da Costa

1704 - 1705

Spain is involved in the War of the Spanish Succession as Austria, Britain, and Portugal dispute the Bourbon accession. As part of that war, Governor Antonio Juan de Valdes y Inclan besieges the growing Portuguese settlement at Colonia del Sacramento. In 1705, defeated, the Portuguese are evacuated - troops, civilians, and all their possessions.

1708 - 1710

Luis Cesar de Meneses

1710 - 1711

Lourenço de Almada

1711 - 1714

Pedro de Vasconcellos e Sousa

1713 - 1714

The Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 which concludes the War of the Spanish Succession sees the former Portuguese settlement of Colonia del Sacramento handed back. A fresh influx of settlers arrives there from Brazil. The colony subsequently changes hands many times.

By now the territory directly under the control of the colonists of Brazil has increased vastly to the west, and from this date the governor-generals begin to term themselves viceroys to reflect their greater power and improved position. However this 'promotion' is not confirmed by the king until 1763.

1714 - 1718

Pedro de Noronha Albuquerque e Sousa

First (self-proclaimed) viceroy of Brazil.

1718 - 1719

Sancho de Faro e Souza

Uses the title of governor-general.

1720 - 1735

Vasco Fernandes Cesar de Meneses

(Self-proclaimed) viceroy.


Governor Bruno Mauricio de Zavala of the Spanish governorate of Rio de la Plata founds a fortress which forms the basis for the later development of Montevideo. In this period it is purely a military stronghold, with de Zavala feeling that it is required in order to hold back Portuguese encroachment from Brazil. In time it becomes the capital of the independent republic of Uruguay.

1735 - 1749

Andre de Melo e Castro

(Self-proclaimed) viceroy.

1749 - 1754

Luis Pedro Peregrino de Carvalho

(Self-proclaimed) viceroy.


The Treaty of Madrid between Portugal and Spain legitimises the established borders of the colonial territories in Peru and Brazil. The treaty also stipulates that Spain receives the Sacramento Colony and Portugal the Misiones Orientales, seven independent Jesuit missions in the upper River Uruguay. Spain and Portugal combine forces and crush the resisting colonies in the Guarani War of 1756 (as shown in the film, 'The Mission').

1755 - 1760

Marcos Jose de Noronha e Brito

(Self-proclaimed) viceroy.


Antonio de Almeida Soares e Portugal

(Self-proclaimed) viceroy.

1760 - 1763

The position of governor-general (viceroy) is vacant. In 1763, Rio de Janeiro is made the capital of Estado do Brasil, replacing Salvador. This date is the point at which viceroys are officially appointed to command Brazil.

1763 - 1767

Antonio Alvares da Cunha

First official viceroy of Brazil.

1767 - 1769

Antonio Rolim de Moura Tavares

1769 - 1778

Luis de Almeida Portugal Soares


All of Brazil is united under the control of the viceroy.

1778 - 1790

Luis de Vasconcellos e Sousa

1790 - 1801

Jose Luis de Castro

1801 - 1806

Jose Fernandes de Portugal e Castro

1806 - 1808

Marcos de Noronha e Brito

1807 - 1815

Portugal is occupied by Napoleonic France. Led by John VI, the Portuguese royal family flees to Brazil. By 1811 Portugal has effectively been freed by an Anglo-Portuguese army under General Wellesley.

1808 - 1815

Prince Joao


The colony of Brazil is elevated to a kingdom in 1815, and Prince Joao remains the effective power behind the throne until 1816, when he becomes king.

United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves
AD 1815 - 1822

When Napoleon Bonaparte sent a French army to invade and occupy Portugal in 1807, the Portuguese royal family went into exile to evade capture, sailing to Brazil. Once there, they ruled Portugal and its colonies at a distance until 1815. Then the colony of Brazil was elevated to the status of a kingdom by a law which was confirmed on 16 December 1815. The 'united kingdom' of Portugal, Brazil, and associated colonies was governed as a single state.

1815 - 1816

Maria I

Queen of Portugal in name only. Died in Rio de Janeiro.


Uruguay is invaded by Portuguese troops from Brazil and is ultimately seized from the Spanish control of the United Provinces of La Plata.

1816 - 1822

John / Joao VI

Regent of Portugal (until 1816) and thereafter king.

1820 - 1822

The Liberal Revolution in Portugal in 1820 forces the king to return home from exile the following year. In 1822, his son, Dom Pedro, regent of Brazil, declares the kingdom of Brazil to be independent of Portugal.

Empire of Brazil
AD 1822 - 1889

The Liberal Revolution of 1820 in Portugal forced the king to return home after thirteen years in Brazil, but it also paved the way for a constitution which called for Brazil to be reverted to a colony. Naturally the Brazilians themselves resented the idea, and following a series of political agitations in Brazil, the king's son declared the country to be independent of Portugal on 7 September 1822. Apparently this was on the advice of his father, who preferred that a member of his family ruled the breakaway colony rather than a usurper. Very shortly afterwards, on 12 October 1822, Peter was proclaimed the first emperor of Brazil, being crowned head of the constitutional monarchy on 1 December.

1822 - 1831

Peter I / Pedro I

Son of John VI. Also Peter IV of Portugal.

1823 - 1824

From the outset, Peter faces problems in balancing the wishes of the conservative elements in the countryside against the more liberal wishes of urban dwellers, between the landed aristocracy who want a constitutional monarchy and the families of Portuguese origin who prefer an absolutist monarchy. The constitution which he presents gives him much more direct control than he had foreseen, aiding him in controlling the wilder areas of Brazil to the north and in preventing the kind of break-up that is already happening in the Spanish colonies in the Americas.

Shout of Ipiranga, Brazil, 1822
On the banks of the River Ipiranga, Pedro I issued the declaration of the independence of Brazil from Portugal. The event was known as the Grito do Ipiranga, the Shout of Ipiranga

1825 - 1827

King John VI of Portugal, under pressure from Britain, recognises the independence of Brazil In 1825 after the USA has already done so. However, while republican sentiment is soaring in Brazil, the country also becomes entangled in a two year-long war against Argentina, and the recently-seized Cisplatine region in the south of Brazil breaks away, establishing itself as the country of Uruguay. After the death of his father in 1826, Peter chooses to inherit the crown of Portugal, but he is quickly forced to abdicate that title in favour of his daughter.


Becoming increasingly unpopular, due to his changes to the constitution, the war with Argentina, the death of his first wife, and his apparent indecision on whether to rule Brazil or Portugal, Peter marries Princess Amelie de Beauharnais von Leuchtenberg, daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais and the granddaughter of Empress Josephine of France. Amelie's brother also later marries Peter's daughter, Maria II of Portugal.


With everyone of consequence now distancing themselves from him, Peter abdicates on 7 April. He nominates his son as his successor, with a series of regents governing the country in accordance with the constitution.

1831 - 1889

Peter II / Pedro II

Son. Acceded at the age of five.


On 23 July the Brazilian imperial parliament decrees that Peter II is of age to govern the country himself, abolishing the regency. Even though he is still only fourteen, he has proved to be a fair and even ruler, and the hope is that the revolts of the 1830s can be replaced with a head of state whom everyone supports. Indeed his liberal and compassionate approach brings stability and prosperity to the country for most of his reign.

Isabel I

Dau. Regent on three occasions when Peter was abroad.

1864 - 1870

As a result of Paraguay's declaration of war against Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay go to war against Paraguay in the War of the Triple Alliance (which is also known as the Paraguayan War or the Great War in Paraguay). It proves to be a long and costly affair, causing more casualties than any other South American war. Paraguay is totally defeated, but the war costs the emperor some of his popularity.


In the aftermath of the Paraguayan War the monarchy has come to be seen as a hindrance to modernisation and growth. The final abolition of slavery without compensation in Brazil in 1888 (the last American country to do so), had irritated the landowners, while the liberals called for greater autonomy.

The end for Peter II comes when a military coup overthrows him on 15 November. He goes into exile in Europe (where his descendants maintain their hereditary title), while a new federal government is created for Brazil.

Modern Brazil
AD 1889 - Present Day

Located in South America, the modern republic of Brazil borders Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana to the north, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia to the west, and Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay to the south. Its capital is the purpose-built city of Brasilia, in the southern-centre of the country. The Brazilian Old Republic was initiated on 15 November 1889 with the overthrow of Emperor Peter II. A new federal-based government was created, and a constitution was inaugurated in 1891.

Pedro Alvares Cabral had officially discovered Brazil in 1500, and the vast territory became undisputed Portuguese territory thanks to the Treaty of Tordesillas of 7 June 1494. The country's native population was broad and diverse, with the Karitiana people at least being linked via DNA with the ancient Afontova Gora people of Central Asia. Expansion into those vast unknown lands was vigorously pursued under John III, with the colony being divided into twelve captaincies which were charged with protecting and exploiting their commands. The discovery and exploitation of gold and diamond mines made the Portuguese crown one of the richest in the world.

When Peter II was overthrown, ending the Empire of Brazil, he took his family to France to begin his exile. He died soon afterwards and was given a state funeral by the French government. In Brazil the event was censored by the 'Old Republic'. He and successive claimants of the House of Braganza to the throne are shown with a shaded background. Heirs who did not succeed in becoming the head of the Braganzas are shown in red text, while rivals or pretenders to the throne are shown with a plum backing.

Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from External Links: BBC Country Profiles, and Upper Palaeolithic Siberian genome reveals dual ancestry of Native Americans (US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health), and A Brief History of Brazil (New York Times), and Casa Imperial do Brasil.)

1889 - 1891

Peter II / Pedro II

Ex-emperor of Brazil. Died 5 December in Paris.


Prominent Bolivian landowner and political figure, Colonel Manuel Pando, stages a coup against President Aniceto Arce. The coup fails so Pando flees to Acre, a Bolivian territory which is sparsely settled and with no official presence. He discovers encroachment by Brazilian settlers which he reports to the Bolivian government.


Having been living in exile in France, Emperor Peter II now dies in Paris just two years after losing his throne and only being in his sixties. As his eldest surviving child, upon his death Princess Isabel (responsible for ending slavery in Brazil in 1888) becomes the head of the House of Braganza and the de jure empress of Brazil.

Emperor Peter II of Brazil
Exiled from Brazil for the last years of his life, Emperor Peter II found a form of immortality as the subject of some late Victorian photography (this example being by Joaquim Insley Pacheco (1830-1912))

1891 - 1921

Isabel I

Dau of Peter II. Died 14 Nov in France.

Prince Pedro de Alcantara

Son. Died 1940.


Bolivia gains access to Acre, alarming the Brazilian settlers there. They rebel, with the support of authorities of Brazil's state of Amazonas. The Bolivians abandon the territory, while Amazonas sends in adventurers under the command of the Spaniard, Don Luís Galvez Rodrigues de Arias, to secure the territory.


On 14 July 1899, the 'Independent State of Acre' is declared. It is more informally known as the 'Republic of Acre'. Brazil does not approve these activities, recognising Acre as Bolivian territory.

1900 - 1903

On 15 March 1900, a Brazilian force suppresses the republic of Acre and, on 25 April the territory is reincorporated back into Bolivia, following the arrival of a Bolivian force. The Bolivians again withdraw after encountering the Brazilian inhabitants, who again receive assistance from Amazonas.

This Brazilian state sends an 'Expedition of the Poets' under command of the journalist, Orlando Correa Lopez. The expedition proclaims the 'Second Republic of Acre' in November 1900. On 24 December, Bolivia suppresses this.

Amazonas sent a third expedition, this time led by a Brazilian soldier by the name of José Plácido de Castro. This arrives on 6 August 1902, following which Castro establishes control over most of the area. The 'Independent State of Acre' is considered to be re-established on 7 August 1902. The rebels complete their takeover of Acre on 24 January 1903.

This time the occupiers have the support of the Brazilian government and they officially proclaim their state's existence on 27 January 1903. Brazil occupies part of Acre, creating the territory of North Acre. Bolivia's Colonel Pando send troops of his own into Acre, but conflict between Brazil and Bolivia is avoided through a preliminary peace agreement on 21 March 1903. This finally concedes the territory to Brazil.

On 13 May Brazil fully occupies Acre. The peace agreement between it and Bolivia is ratified by the Treaty of Petrópolis on 17 November 1903, which grants Acre to Brazil in exchange for territories in Mato Grosso.

The Independent State of Acre
The 'Independent State of Acre' was declared by Brazilian settlers who encroached into Bolivia's territory but who then managed to make it impossible for Brazil to fail to support them


Peru's border with Brazil is settled with the signing of the Treaty of Velarde-Rio Branco on 12 June. This sets that border along the rivers of Yaravi and Yaverija. In December of the same year, the Liberals take power in Paraguay following an Argentine-backed invasion. This removes the Brazilian-supported Colorado Party from power and diminishes Brazilian influence on the country.


Prince Pedro de Alcantara, heir to the title, renounces his claim so that he can marry the member of a Bohemian noble house. The claim falls first to his brother, who predeceases Isabel, and then to his nephew. They form the legitimate, or recognised, Vassouras branch.

1917 - 1918

In October 1917, Brazil declares for the allies in the First World War against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire. As with the rest of the South American countries, the declaration makes little material difference to the war or its outcome.

Prince Luis de Orléans-Braganza

Brother. Served British Army, WWI. Died 26.03.1920.

1921 - 1981

Prince Pedro Henrique

Son. Died 5 July. Vassouras branch of the royal family.


The sentence of exile that had been imposed on the royal family in 1889 is now lifted. However, the family remains in France throughout the Second World War, only repatriating itself afterwards.

President Julio Prestes de Albuquerque of Brazil
Elected president in 1930, Julio Prestes de Albuquerque is seen here at an unknown official function which is unlikely to be related to his presidential term of office - he was prevented from taking up his position by a military coup


Julio Prestes de Albuquerque is elected president under deeply controversial circumstances, so a coup by the military prevents him from taking office. A triumvirate is formed which holds power for the remainder of the year.


Joao de Deus Menna Barreto

Army general, 24 Nov-3 Dec. Triumvirate member.


Augusto Tasso Fragoso

Army general and co-ruler. Triumvirate member.


Jose Isaisas de Noronha

Navy admiral and co-ruler. Triumvirate member.


Getúlio Vargas takes full power and controls the country for fifteen years, first under a provisional government which has fascist support (1930-1934), then he attempts a constitutional format which sees the fascists disbanded (1934-1937), before finally opting for a full-blown dictatorship known as the 'New State' (1937-1945).

1930 - 1945

Getúlio Vargas

Dictator. Committed suicide in 1954.


Upon the death of Prince Pedro de Alcantara, his own son proclaims his right to the inheritance of the royal title. According to Isabel before her death, any claim by Pedro's descendants is to be dismissed following his renunciation. Nevertheless, the rival, Petropilis, claim receives some backing, and these rival claimants are shown with a plum backing.

1940 - 2007

Prince Pedro Gastao

Son of Pedro de Alcantara. Rival Petropolis claimant.

1942 - 1945

Following the declaration of the United Nations, Brazil joins the Second World War as an ally of the USA and Great Britain on 22 August 1942, against Japan, Germany and Italy. However, the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas is brought to an end in 1945 and the process of a return to democracy is instigated.


Elections now take place in the country. The first president of the 'New Republic' enters office for a single term of office which ends in 1951. Then Vargas manages to get himself elected, but commits suicide in 1954 rather than submit to calls for his resignation, having been linked to the assassination of a political rival.


Left-wing President Joao Goulart is ousted in a coup that commences two decades of military rule. The new regime stifles freedom of speech and tortures opponents, but it also pursues economic development.

1964 - 1967

Humberto de Alencar Castello Branco

Army general.

1967 - 1969

Arthur da Costa e Silva

Army general.


Between 31 August and 30 October, the country is governed by a military junta consisting of General Aurelio Lyra Tavares, Admiral Augusto Hamann Redemaker Grünewald, and General of the Air Force Marcio de Souza Mello.

Having been planned as part of a vision of grand and glorious progress, the new city of Brasilia, was planned and developed in the middle of virgin jungle in 1956, and it became Brazil's capital city in 1960

1969 - 1974

Emilio Garrastazu Medici

Army general.

1974 - 1979

Ernesto Geisel

Army general.

1979 - 1985

Joao Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo

Army general.

1981 - Present

Prince Luis Gastao de Orléans-Bragza

Son of Pedro Henrique. Born 6 June 1938.


The military junta has attempted to continue the trend in Brazil for grand, almost pharaonic, projects. Surrounded by tanks and technocrats, they have managed to bring about the 'economic miracle' of the 1970s, although it had turned out to be short-lived. Their pharaonic projects - from hydroelectric and nuclear power plants to the conquest of the Amazon - never have completely succeeded, and inflation has soared. Power is now to pass peacefully back into civil hands when the 'Third Republic' is declared.


The term of office of President José Sarney, a former ally of the military regime, has seen inflation race completely out of hand. Sarney has, however, overseen the writing of a new constitution which had been promulgated in 1988, as well as Brazil's first free presidential elections in thirty years.

2007 - Present

Prince Pedro Carlos de Orléans-Bragza

Son of Pedro Gastao. Rival Petropolis claimant.

Prince Bertrand de Orléans-Braganza

Son of Pedro Luis. Born 2 Feb 1941.

Prince Pedro Thiago

Son of Pedro Carlos. Rival Petropolis claimant.

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