The Portuguese court was already in Rio de Janeiro, having fled from the Napoleonic troops, with Queen Maria passing away on March 20, 1816, and the Prince Regent, João VI, becoming the king. Unlike previous kings, who had been crowned shortly after the death of their predecessor, João VI chose to wait a year for his coronation ceremony.
According to the librarian Luís Joaquim dos Santos Marrocos, who came to Brazil accompanying one of the shipments of books from the royal library, the delay was due to the fact that the new king wanted to wait for the arrival of delegations from Portugal and the Algarve. The coronation was scheduled for April 1817 but had to be postponed due to the Pernambucan Revolution. The marriage of Pedro and the arrival of Leopoldina in Brazil further delayed the event.
Portuguese subjects believed that the ceremony should be held in Lisbon, following tradition, but João VI resisted the pressure. He was crowned as King of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves in Rio de Janeiro on February 6, 1818, shortly after completing ten years in the country. A coronation, or in Portugal’s case, acclamation, serves to publicly confirm a monarch as the country’s supreme leader. To do so, a Portuguese king would perform a ritual of oath and receive a religious blessing that confirmed his position. The decision to hold such a prestigious ceremony in Rio de Janeiro reaffirmed the american territory as the seat of the portuguese empire.
According to the Braganza tradition, João VI was not crowned but wore a hat, while the crown was displayed beside him during the ceremony and the hand-kissing. This crown, which would be used in the acclamation of all other Portuguese kings until the Proclamation of the Republic, was specially commissioned in 1817 to the goldsmith Antônio Gomes da Silva in Rio de Janeiro. It is entirely made of gold and composed of eight closed hoops that support a sphere surmounted by a Latin cross, with the base decorated with motifs of flowers and laurel leaves.
In the following days, there were celebrations in other parts of the city, particularly at Campo de Santana. There, a wooden and plaster palace was built, from where the Royal Family watched a spectacular fireworks display, the highlight of which was the appearance in the sky of the words “Long Live the King.”
Reference: REZZUTTI, Paulo. Independência: a história não contada: A construção do Brasil: 1500-1825. Brazil: Leya, 2022.
Matheus is an entrepreneur at Araujo Media, where he serves as CEO and Creative Director. He shares analyses on his personal blog "matheusaraujo.me" and is currently pursuing a degree in Advertising and Propaganda. Moreover, he has a passion for history, particularly that of Brazil, which led him to become the founder and editor of the Brazilian History portal.