1822 Special, Ep. 3: The pacifist myth of Brazilian independence

In the third episode of our special series, we look at Brazil's wars of independence, showing that constituting this new country was not as bloodless as many believe.

In September of 1822, Dom Pedro I declared Brazil’s independence. But since he was the direct heir to the Portuguese throne and already the prince-regent of the colony, some argue that he only declared independence from, uh, himself.

The early 19th century marked a period of bloody wars of independence in Spanish-speaking America. Famous campaigns led by Simon Bolivar against the Iberian empire saw the creation of new nations across the continent through heavy, widespread combat.

Compared to these revolutionary military movements, Brazil’s monarch-to-monarch transition looks trivial and tame. Over time, it became known as the “peaceful independence,” supposedly unsullied by bloodshed and battles. The reality, though, was quite different.

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 third episode, we look at Brazil’s wars of independence, showing that constituting this new country was not as bloodless as many believe.

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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: PFYSRAVBWNKTJXDQ. The soundtrack for this podcast series includes: Enemy Ships – Audionautix (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.