Liberal Revolution of 1820
The Liberal Revolution of 1820 (Revolução Liberal) was a political revolution that erupted in 1820 and lasted until 1826. It was unchained via a military insurrection in the city of Porto
Porto , also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits include a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes...

, in northern Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, that quickly and peacefully spread to the rest of the country. From 1807 to 1811 Napoleonic French forces
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 invaded Portugal three times. As a result, the Portuguese royal family was transferred
Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil
The Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil was an episode in the history of Portugal and the history of Brazil in which the Portuguese royal family and its court escaped from Lisbon on November 29, 1807 to Brazil, just days before Napoleonic forces captured the city on December 1...

 to the Portuguese colony of Brazil
Colonial Brazil
In the history of Brazil, Colonial Brazil, officially the Viceroyalty of Brazil comprises the period from 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, until 1815, when Brazil was elevated to kingdom alongside Portugal as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.During the over 300 years...

, where it remained until 1821. From Brazil, the Portuguese king João VI
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI 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...

 ruled his trans-Atlantic empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 for thirteen years. Following the defeat of the French forces in 1814, Portugal experienced a prolonged period of political turmoil, in which many sought greater self-rule for the Portuguese people. Eventually this unrest put an end to the king's long stay in Brazil, when his return to Portugal was demanded by the revolutionaries. The 1820 Liberal Revolution initiated a constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

al period in which the 1822 Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 was ratified and implemented. The movement's liberal
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 ideas had an important influence on Portuguese society and political organization in the nineteenth century.

Historical background

Even though the Portuguese had participated in the defeat of the French, the country found itself virtually a colony of Brazil or British protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

. The officers of the Portuguese Army
Portuguese Army
The Portuguese Army is the ground branch of the Portuguese Armed Forces which, in co-operation with other branches of the Portuguese military, is charged with the defence of Portugal...

 resented British control of the Portuguese armed forces. In addition the 1808 Decree of the Opening of Ports to Friendly Nations, practically brought an end to the so called "colonial pact" (See, Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

), and the two Treaties of 1810, which guaranteed favored status to British products entering Portugal, decimated the commerce of cities like Porto and Lisbon and set off a deep economic crisis which affected its bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

. The city of Porto, with a strong, dynamic bourgeoisie and with liberal tradition, was the place where the Liberal Revolution began.

After Napoleon's definite defeat in 1815, a clandestine Supreme Regenerative Council of Portugal and the Algarve was formed in Lisbon by army officers and freemasons
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

, headed by General Gomes Freire de Andrade—Grand Master
Grand Master (Masonic)
In Freemasonry a Grand Master is the leader of the lodges within his Masonic jurisdiction. He presides over a Grand Lodge, and has certain rights in the constituent lodges that form his jurisdiction....

 of the Grande Oriente Lusitano and former general under Napoleon until his defeat in 1814—with the objective to end British control of the country and to promote "the salvation and independence" of the pátria
Fatherland is the nation of one's "fathers", "forefathers" or "patriarchs". It can be viewed as a nationalist concept, insofar as it relates to nations...

. In its brief existence the movement attempted to introduce liberalism in Portugal, although it ultimately failed to do so. In 1817 three masons, João de Sá Pereira Soares, Morais Sarmento and José Andrade Corvo, denounced the movement to the authorities, who arrested many suspects, including Freire de Andrade, who was charged with conspiracy against John VI
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI 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...

, represented in the Peninsula by a Regency, then overseen by the British military authority headed by William Carr Beresford
William Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford
General William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford, 1st Marquis of Campo Maior, GCB, GCH, GCTE, PC , was a British soldier and politician...


In October 1817, the Regency found the twelve of the accused guilty of treason against the nation and sentenced them to death by hanging. Beresford intended to suspend the sentence until it was confirmed by John VI, but the Regency, judging that such a move was a slight to its authority, ordered their immediate execution, which took place on October 18 at Campo do Santana (today, Campo dos Mártires da Pátria, "Field of the Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s of the Nation"). Freire de Andrade was executed on the same day at the São Julião da Barra Fort. The executions sparked protests against Beresford and the Regency and intensified anti-British feeling in the country.

A couple of years after the executions, Beresford left for Brazil to ask the king for more resources and powers to suppress the lingering presence of what he called "Jacobinism
Jacobin (politics)
A Jacobin , in the context of the French Revolution, was a member of the Jacobin Club, a revolutionary far-left political movement. The Jacobin Club was the most famous political club of the French Revolution. So called from the Dominican convent where they originally met, in the Rue St. Jacques ,...

," which were granted to him. In his absence, the Revolution of Porto broke out in 1820, and upon his arrival from Brazil, he was forbidden to disembark in Lisbon.

The revolution and its aftermath

Influenced by the concurrent Liberal Revolution in Spain of January 1, 1820, a liberal revolution started in Porto, quickly spreading without resistance to several other Portuguese cities and towns, culminating with the revolt of Lisbon. The revolutionaries demanded the immediate return of the royal court to continental Portugal
Continental Portugal
Continental Portugal or Mainland Portugal is the designation of the mainland Portuguese territory, located on Europe's Iberian Peninsula....

 in order to "restore the metropolitan dignity." In fact, the liberal revolution of 1820 not only forced the return of the king, it also demanded a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 to be set up in Portugal. The revolutionaries also sought to restore Portuguese exclusivity in the trade with Brazil, reverting Brazil to the status of a colony, officially to be reduced to a "Principality of Brazil," instead of the Kingdom of Brazil, which it had been for the past five years. The Brazilian kingdom had legally been an equal, constituent part of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The revolutionaries organized the election of a constitutional assembly which debated the nature of the future government. The elections resulted in deputies were primarily from the professions—lawyers, professors—and not from the merchants who had spearheaded the revolution, and this class now took the lead in the revolution. The constitution that was approved in 1822 was closely modeled on the Spanish Constitution of 1812
Spanish Constitution of 1812
The Spanish Constitution of 1812 was promulgated 19 March 1812 by the Cádiz Cortes, the national legislative assembly of Spain, while in refuge from the Peninsular War...


After John VI returned to Portugal in 1821, his heir-apparent Pedro became regent of the Kingdom of Brazil. Following a series of political events and disputes, Brazil declared its independence
Brazilian Declaration of Independence
The Brazilian Independence comprised a series of political events occurred in 1821–1823, most of which involved disputes between Brazil and Portugal regarding the call for independence presented by the Brazilian Kingdom...

 from Portugal on September 7, 1822. On October 12, 1822, Pedro was acclaimed as the first Emperor of Brazil. He was crowned on December 1, 1822. Portugal recognized Brazil's sovereignty in 1825.

In 1823 the first revolt against the constitutional order was organized by Prince Miguel
Miguel of Portugal
Dom Miguel I, sometimes Michael , was the King of Portugal between 1828 and 1834, the seventh child and second son of King John VI and his queen, Charlotte of Spain....

 and Brigadier João Carlos Saldanha
João Carlos Saldanha de Oliveira Daun, 1st Duke of Saldanha
Dom João Carlos Gregório Domingos Vicente Francisco de Saldanha Oliveira e Daun, , 1st Count , 1st Marquis and 1st Duke of Saldanha ; , was a Portuguese marshal and statesman, a grandson of Pombal, born at Azinhaga. He studied at Coimbra, served against the French, and was made a prisoner in 1810...

, which managed to close the parliament and to convince King João VI to recall Beresford as an advisor. In 1826 João VI died with no clear heir, further destabilizing the nation. Upon seizing the throne, Miguel led another revolt against the constitutional government, triggering six years of civil wars
Liberal Wars
The Liberal Wars, also known as the Portuguese Civil War, the War of the Two Brothers, or Miguelite War, was a war between progressive constitutionalists and authoritarian absolutists in Portugal over royal succession that lasted from 1828 to 1834...

, which pitted him against his brother, now Pedro IV of Portugal, who headed the liberal faction.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.