Maria II

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Maria II

Maria II (Maria da Glória), 1819–53, queen of Portugal (1834–53), daughter of Peter IV (Pedro I of Brazil). Pedro, having succeeded to the Portuguese throne on the death (1826) of his father, John VI, granted a constitutional charter to the Portuguese and then abdicated in favor of Maria. In order to quiet the claims of her uncle, Dom Miguel, it was arranged that Maria be betrothed to him and placed under his regency. Miguel promised to abide by Pedro's charter, but in 1828, before Maria had arrived in Europe from Brazil, he convened a Cortes, procured an offer of the throne, and set out to rule in absolutist fashion. Maria's father, having abdicated the Brazilian throne, recruited an army from the liberal opponents of Miguel; he also had the assistance of the English. The armed forces gathered and sailed from the Azores to Oporto in 1832. The subsequent fighting in the so-called Miguelist Wars was severe. Miguel capitulated in 1834 after the English had defeated his fleet. Maria's reign was torn by dissension, revolutions, and counterrevolutions. Some progress was made, however, in the building of roads, the first railroad, and schools. Maria married (1836) Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Ferdinand II of Portugal). She was succeeded by her son Peter V.

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