Independence or Death, 1822.

When John VI, King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, returned to Portugal in the early 1820s, most of the privileges that had been accorded to Brazil were rescinded, sparking the ire of local nationalists. Pedro, the King’s son, who had remained in the country as regent, sided with the nationalist element and even supported the Portuguese Constitutionalist movement that led to the revolt in Porto in 1820. When pressed by the Portuguese court to return, he refused. Pedro’s official declaration of permanence on January 9, 1822 is known today in Brazil as the Dia do Fico (I Will Remain Day). For that, he was demoted from regent to a mere representative of the Lisbon court in Brazil. This news reached him on 7 September 1822, when he had just arrived in Sao Paulo, from a visit to the port of Santos. On the banks of the Ipiranga River, he unsheathed his sword, removed the blue and white Portuguese shield from his coat, and declared “Independência, ou morte!” (“Independence or death!”), a phrase coined by an important statesman, José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, a founding father of Brazil. This later became his famous speech O grito do Ipiranga (The Cry of Ipiranga). He was proclaimed Emperor of Brazil on 12 October his 24th birthday, and crowned on December 1.

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