Pedro II of Brazil

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Early life (1825–40)
Consolidation (1840–53)
Growth (1853–64)
War of the Triple Alliance (1864–70)
Apogee (1870–81)
Decline and fall (1881–89)
Exile and death (1889–91)
Coat of arms consisting of a shield with a green field with a golden armillary sphere superimposed on the red and white Cross of the Order of Christ, surrounded by a blue band with 20 silver stars; the bearers are two arms of a wreath, with a coffee branch on the left and a flowering tobacco branch on the right; and above the shield is an arched golden and jeweled crown.

Pedro II (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpedɾu]; English: Peter II; 2 December 1825 – 5 December 1891), nicknamed "the Magnanimous",[1][2] was the second and last ruler of the Empire of Brazil, reigning for over 58 years.[A] His name in full was Pedro de Alcântara João Carlos Leopoldo Salvador Bibiano Francisco Xavier de Paula Leocádio Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga (English: Peter of Alcantara John Charles Leopold Saviour Vivian Francis Xavier of Paula Leocadio Michael Gabriel Raphael Gonzaga).[1][3][4][5] Born in Rio de Janeiro, he was the seventh child of Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil and Empress Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the Brazilian branch of the House of Braganza (Portuguese: Bragança), and was referred to using the honorific "Dom" from birth.[6] His father's abrupt abdication and flight to Europe in 1831 left a five-year-old Pedro as Emperor and led to a grim and lonely childhood and adolescence. Obliged to spend his time studying in preparation for rule, he knew only brief moments of happiness and encountered few friends of his age. His experiences with court intrigues and political disputes during this period greatly affected his later character. Pedro II grew into a man with a strong sense of duty and devotion toward his country and his people. On the other hand, he increasingly resented his role as monarch.

Inheriting an empire on the verge of disintegration, Pedro II turned Portuguese-speaking Brazil into an emerging power in the international arena. The nation grew to be distinguished from its Hispanic neighbors on account of its political stability, zealously guarded freedom of speech, respect for civil rights, vibrant economic growth and especially for its form of government: a functional, representative parliamentary monarchy. Brazil was also victorious in three international conflicts (the Platine War, the Uruguayan War and the Paraguayan War) under his rule, as well as prevailing in several other international disputes and domestic tensions. Pedro steadfastly pushed through the abolition of slavery despite opposition from powerful political and economic interests. A savant in his own right, the Emperor established a reputation as a vigorous sponsor of learning, culture and the sciences. He won the respect and admiration of scholars such as Charles Darwin, Victor Hugo and Friedrich Nietzsche, and was a friend to Richard Wagner, Louis Pasteur and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, among others.

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