Joseph I (Portugal)

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King Joseph of Portugal

Joseph I of Portugal (also called Joseph the Reformer , born as José Francisco António Inácio Norberto Agostinho de Bragança , born June 6, 1714 in Lisbon ; † February 24, 1777 ibid) was King of Portugal from the House of Braganza from 1750 to 1777 .


Joseph was born the son of King John V and his wife, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria .

During his father's reign he criticized his extravagance and support for the Inquisition . When Joseph ascended the throne after the death of his father in 1750, he therefore appointed nobles to his circle of advisors who had been in opposition to his father, including Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal from 1769 .

As ruler, Joseph was more interested in his buildings, the church, and the opera than in government affairs. After his accession to the throne, the future Marquis of Pombal therefore quickly increased his political influence and rose to become a kind of head of government; shortly afterwards he was appointed foreign minister.

On November 1, 1755, the devastating Lisbon earthquake almost completely destroyed the capital. Foreign Minister José de Carvalho e Melo organized the reconstruction and was appointed First Minister in 1756. In the following years he laid the foundation for Portugal's entry into the modern age. Instead of the clerical kingdom, the Marquis set an enlightened absolutism . This quickly earned him opposition from the Church . The Jesuits preached that the earthquake was God's punishment for the reforms of the Marquis.

On September 3, 1758 there was an assassination attempt on Joseph. The king was on his way home to Ajuda, where he resided in a tent city, as his castle was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. He came from a pastoral hour with his mistress and was therefore without an escort. He was ambushed and shot on the way to Ajuda. The perpetrators were caught and tortured for being hired by the Tavoras. The Tavora family were members of the nobility and were in sharp opposition to the Marquis of Pombal. Pombal took the opportunity to charge the entire family with high treason. Even Leonora de Tavora's teacher, the Jesuit monk Gabriel Malagrida, was arrested and later burned at the stake. On January 13, 1759, almost the entire family, as well as their alleged co-conspirator, the Duke of Aveiro (more details there), was executed, their property confiscated and their name deleted from the list of nobility. It was only thanks to the queen that not all of the Tavoras were killed. The Tavora affair remains unresolved to this day.

In 1759 the Jesuit order in Portugal and Brazil was dissolved. Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal (not Brazil) in 1761 , all existing legal discrimination against the new Christians (i.e. baptized Jews ) was lifted, censorship was transferred from the church to the state, and the inquisition was placed under the supervision of the state. A science faculty was founded at the university, a state school system was created, and the Indians in Brazil were emancipated. The Portuguese army was reformed under the supervision of Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe . The Marquis ensured that more Portuguese settlers were settled in Brazil and promoted the Brazilian trade by setting up trading companies, including the East India Company. Both agriculture and trade experienced an upswing during this period, the financial situation of the state improved considerably, and the foreign trade deficit with England was made good.

The coat of arms of the Portuguese kings from John II to Manuel II.

Joseph was married to a Spanish Bourbon princess. Even so, he was unwilling to abandon England , Portugal's traditional ally, and join the Spanish-French anti-British alliance. Spanish troops then invaded Portugal in 1762, but Spain had to make peace in 1763 and leave Portugal again. For the last three years of his reign, the queen reigned over the sick king.

Joseph left no male heir. The king was therefore faced with the choice of either enabling the female succession to the throne, in which case his daughter Maria would have followed him to the throne, or to hold on to the male succession, then his younger brother, Peter , would have been appointed next in the line of succession. The dilemma was resolved when Joseph married his brother to his daughter. Together they climbed as Maria I and Peter III. the throne.

Infanta Maria Anna of Spain


In 1729 Joseph married Maria Anna Viktoria of Spain (1718–1781), a daughter of King Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth (Isabel) Farnese , Princess of Parma .

With her he had the following daughters:

  • Maria I. (* December 17, 1734; † March 20, 1816), ⚭ 1760 with Peter III.
  • Maria Anna Franziska Josepha Antonia Gertrud Rita Johanna (* October 7, 1736 - † May 16, 1813)
  • Maria Franziska Dorothea Josepha Antonia Gertrud Rita Johanna Ephigenia (* September 21, 1739 - † January 14, 1771)
  • Maria Franziska (born July 25, 1746 - † August 18, 1829)
predecessor Office successor
Johann V. King of Portugal
Peter III and Maria I.