John VI of Portugal

John VI of Portugal
John VI
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Reign 20 March 1816 – 10 March 1826
Predecessor Maria I
Successor Pedro IV
Duke of Braganza
Reign 11 September 1788— 20 March 1816
Predecessor Joseph II
Successor Pedro I
Spouse Charlotte of Spain
Maria Teresa, Princess of Beira
Francisco António Pio, Prince of Beira
Maria Isabel, Queen of Spain
Pedro IV
Infanta Maria Francisca
Infanta Isabel Maria
Miguel I
Infanta Maria da Assunção
Infanta Ana de Jesus Maria, Duchess of Loulé
Full name
João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael
House House of Braganza
Father Peter III of Portugal
Mother Maria I of Portugal
Born 13 May 1767(1767-05-13)
Lisbon, Portugal
Died 10 March 1826(1826-03-10) (aged 58)
Lisbon, Portugal
Burial Dynasty of Braganza Royal Pantheon, Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, District of Lisbon, Portugal
Religion Roman Catholicism

John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized independent in 1825). Before his accession, he bore the titles of Duke of Braganza and Duke of Beja, as well as the title of Prince of Brazil. As the Portuguese sovereign, he was also sovereign of the colonial ultramarine Portuguese Empire.

He was born in Lisbon in 1767 as an infante (Prince not heir to the throne) of Portugal. John was the 27th (or 28th according to some historians) monarch of Portugal.

Before acceeding to the Portuguese Throne, John served, since 1799, as Prince Regent of Portugal (and later as Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves), due to the mental ilness of his mother, Queen Maria I.


Early life and regency

John as the Duke of Braganza and Prince of Brasil.

John was the second son of Queen Maria I of Portugal (known as Princess of Brazil at the time of his birth) and her husband (and uncle), King Peter III of Portugal (known as Infante of Portugal at the time of his birth). His parents ascended the throne of Portugal in 1777. John's elder brother Joseph died in 1788, so John became the heir apparent and received the title of Prince of Brazil and 18th Duke of Braganza.

In 1799 John assumed the reins of government as prince regent in the name of his widowed mother, who had declined into mental illness (perhaps due to porphyria). He retained this position until his mother's death in 1816. John had been brought up in an ecclesiastical atmosphere and, being naturally of a somewhat weak and helpless character, was ill adapted for the responsibilities he was called on to undertake. His wife, Charlotte of Spain, dominated him. In 1807, Portugal was invaded by France. At the urging of Britain, the whole Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil, accompanied by an escort of British ships. His court in exile was established in Rio de Janeiro.

King of Portugal

Portrait of John as King of Portugal

In 1816 John was recognized as king of Portugal after his mother's death but he continued to reside in Brazil, which he had raised to the status of a kingdom on 16 December 1815. The consequent spread of dissatisfaction in Portugal resulted in the peaceful Revolution of 24 August 1820, and the proclamation of a constitutional government, to which John swore fidelity on his return to Portugal in 1821. In the same year, and again in 1823, he had to suppress a rebellion led by his younger son Miguel, whom he was ultimately compelled to banish in 1824.

Meanwhile his elder son and heir-apparent, Peter, declared Brazilian independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822, and subsequently declared himself Emperor Peter I. John refused to recognize Brazilian independence until 29 August 1825, when he restored Peter to the succession in the belief that Brazil and Portugal would be reunited in a dual monarchy federation after his own death. John died at Lisbon on 26 March 1826, and was briefly succeeded by Peter (as King Peter IV). Recent tests made to John's intestines, which had been kept buried in a vase, demonstrated that he may have died due to arsenic poisoning. His nemesis, Napoleon I of France, may have also suffered a similar fate.[citation needed]

Marriages and descendants

John married Charlotte of Spain (25 April 1775-7 December 1830) in 1785 and had several children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Maria Teresa, Princess of Beira 29 April 1793 17 January 1874 Married first her cousin Pedro Carlos de Borbón y Bragança, Infante of Spain and Portugal and second to Carlos, Infante of Spain, widower of her sister Maria Francisca.
Francisco António Pio, Prince of Beira 21 March 1795 11 June 1801
Infanta Maria Isabel 19 May 1797 26 December 1818 Married Ferdinand VII, King of Spain.
Peter IV of Portugal, I of Brazil 12 October 1798 24 September 1834 Stayed in Brazil after Napoleonic Wars in Spain. Proclaimed the Independence of Brazil in 1822 and became its first monarch as Emperor Peter I. He was also King of Portugal as Peter IV in 1826.
Infanta Maria Francisca 22 April 1800 4 September 1834 Married Carlos, Infante of Spain (his first marriage).
Infanta Isabel Maria 4 July 1801 22 April 1876 served as regent of Portugal from 1826 to 1828; died unmarried
Miguel I 26 October 1802 14 November 1866 Known by the Liberals as the Usurper, he was King of Portugal between 1828 and 1834. He was forced to abdicate after the Liberal Wars.
Infanta Maria da Assunção 25 June 1805 7 January 1834 died unmarried
Infanta Ana de Jesus Maria, Duchess of Loulé 23 October 1806 22 June 1857 Married Nuno José Severo de Mendoça Rolim de Moura Barreto, Marquis and then Duke of Loulé and had issue.


In popular culture

A fictionalized version of much of his life is depicted in the Brazilian movie Carlota Joaquina - Princesa do Brasil.

See also


John VI of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 13 May 1767 Died: 26 March 1826
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Maria I
King of the United Kingdom of
Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves

Succeeded by
Peter IV
Brazil secedes to found
the Empire of Brazil
King of Portugal and the Algarves

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