Our History: The Arrival of the Portuguese Royal Family in Brazil

Escrito por Thiago Pinheiro

ArqBahia team of authors.



The arrival of the royal family in Brazil in 1808 was a landmark historical event in the country's history. In this article, we will address the main events related to the arrival of the Portuguese royal family to Brazil that year, their motivations, impacts and influences on Brazilian society.

Historical context

Before exploring the arrival of the royal family in Brazil, it is essential to understand the historical context in which this event occurred.

The government of Portugal

At the end of the 18th century, Portugal was governed by the absolute monarchy, commanded by King Dom João VI. At this time, Portuguese colonies in the Americas, including Brazil, were important sources of wealth for the Portuguese Crown.

Napoleonic invasions

However, in 1807, the situation became complicated for Portugal due to the Napoleonic invasions. Napoleon Bonaparte, leader of France, sought to dominate strategic areas of Europe, and Portugal stood in his way.

The arrival of the royal family in Brazil

Reasons and planning

Faced with the threat of French invasions, the Portuguese royal family took the decision to transfer the Court to Brazil in search of safety. This change was carefully planned and had the collaboration of Brazilian allies.

Landing in Rio de Janeiro

In March 1808, the royal family landed in Rio de Janeiro, then the capital of colonial Brazil. The arrival of the Court led to significant changes in the city, which became even more influential politically and economically.

Impacts of the arrival of the royal family

Opening of ports

One of the most important decisions taken after the arrival of the royal family in Brazil was the opening of ports to friendly nations. This measure broke the trade monopoly with Portugal, paving the way for a new phase in Brazilian foreign trade.

Cultural and social influences

The arrival of the royal family also brought with it a series of cultural and social influences. Several European artists, intellectuals and scientists came to Brazil, contributing to the development of different areas of Brazilian knowledge and culture.


Color photograph of the Dom Pedro II imperial family
Color photograph of the imperial family of Dom Pedro II

The arrival of the royal family in Brazil in 1808 was a milestone in the country's history. In addition to guaranteeing the survival of the Portuguese monarchy, this change had profound impacts on the economic, political, cultural and social development of Brazil.


n. 79 (2008): ROYAL FAMILY IN BRAZIL | USP Magazine

USP Journal year XXIII n.826


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