1822 Special, Ep. 2: Independence or Death

In the second episode of our series, we look at the real story of what happened on September 7 — not the one taught in school textbooks

September 7, 1822. Prince-regent Dom Pedro overlooks São Paulo’s Ipiranga river from atop a lush, rolling hill. Surrounded by troops of the Royal Guard on horseback, all in military garb – tall boots, pressed white uniforms, feathered gold headwear – he raises his saber to the air. “Independence or death!” his countrymen enthusiastically chant.

Their stallions stir and neigh, their swords and hats follow his to the sky. 

On his regal brown horse, the emperor proclaims the independence of Brazil with a cry heard throughout the continent. Onlookers in the countryside of the province of São Paulo gasp at the declaration of the new country, the formation of a new empire … Or did they?

Independence elsewhere on the continent was a story of revolutionaries and republics. In Brazil, it was the story of the emancipation of a prince from his father, and the independence of a country that didn’t yet exist.

In this special mini-series, we walk you through the eccentricities and myths of this period, its legacies in the country 200 years later, and how Brazil became Brazil.

In this second episode, we look at the real story of what happened on September 7 — not the one taught in school textbooks.

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Listen to episode 1:

Narrated by:

  • Caroline Coutinho is a social media journalist with experience in data analysis and video production. She has a master’s degree in journalism and international affairs from Sciences Po, Paris. Her stories mostly focus on Latin American politics, women’s rights, environmental, and societal issues. 

Written and produced by:

  • Eric Zalcman is a student at SciencesPo. Paris and joined The Brazilian Report for an internship in July 2022.

Edited by :

  • Euan Marshall is the editor of The Brazilian Report. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he has been working in Brazil since 2011 as a journalist and translator. His work has been published by outlets such as The Telegraph, Jacobin, Al Jazeera, and Art Review.

This episode used music from Uppbeat. License codes: Y7XYOVQQZSFTFUMV. The soundtrack for this podcast series includes Crusade – Video Classica, of Kevin MacLeod (CC-YouTube Audio Library);

Background reading:

  • Brazil will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its independence from Portugal on September 7. But there is little enthusiasm around the date, amid fears that it may instead be marked by a pro-Bolsonaro uprising against democratic institutions.