Duke of Braganza

The title Duke of Braganza (Portuguese: Duque de Bragança) in the House of Braganza is one of the most important titles in the peerage of Portugal. Starting in 1640, when the House of Braganza acceded to the throne of Portugal, the male heir of the Portuguese Crown were known as Duke of Braganza, along with their style Prince of Beira or (from 1645 to 1816) Prince of Brazil. The tradition of the heir to the throne being titled Duke of Braganza was revived by various pretenders after the establishment of the Portuguese Republic on 5 October 1910 to signify their claims to the throne.

Duke of Braganza
Arms of the Princes of Brazil
Creation date1442
MonarchJohn I of Portugal
PeeragePeerage of Portugal
First holderAfonso I of Braganza
Present holderDuarte Pio, Duke of Braganza
Remainder toHeir Apparent of the Throne of Portugal
Subsidiary titlesPrince of Brazil, Prince Royal of Portugal, Duke of Guimarães, Marquis of Vila Viçosa, Count of Ourém, Count of Arraiolos, Count of Neiva, Count of Faria

History of Dukedom

Feudal dukes

The Duke of Braganza holds one of the most important dukedoms in Portugal, see Duchy of Braganza (Bragança). Created in 1442 by King Afonso V of Portugal for his uncle Afonso, Count of Barcelos (natural son of King John I of Portugal), it is one of the oldest fiefdoms in Portugal.

The fifth Duke of Braganza (Teodósio I, b. 1510) is especially important to historians of international trade as when he died in 1563, the contents of the family's main palace in Vila Vicosa, were inventoried in their entirety. Because Portugal had established a global trade network for sixty-odd years by the time of the Duke's death, and was "in the process of establishing their military, religious and commercial presence, sailors, merchants, priests and crown officials had developed sophisticated, transcontinental trading practices that involved all sorts of global commodities,[1] the inventory is a priceless resource to art historians as it lists artefacts originating in Mozambique, the western coast of India, Malacca, China, Japan, Morocco, and Brazil. Slaves were also included in the inventory; one of the duke's slaves, a gifted artist, ranking amongst the "top 100 most expensive items in the whole inventory".[2]

By 1640, Portugal was on the verge of rebellion against Spanish-based Habsburg rule, and a new Portuguese king had to be found. The choice fell upon John, 8th Duke of Braganza, who had a claim to the throne of Portugal both through his grandmother Catherine of Guimarães, a legitimate granddaughter of King Manuel I, and through his great-great-grandfather, the 4th duke of Braganza, a nephew of King Manuel I. John was a modest man without particular ambitions to the crown. Legend has it that his wife Luisa of Guzman urged him to accept the offer by saying, "I'd rather be queen for one day than duchess for a lifetime". He accepted the leadership of the rebellion against Spain, which was successful, and was acclaimed King John IV of Portugal on 1 December 1640.

Dukedom in the Braganza monarchy

After the accession of the House of Braganza to the Portuguese throne in 1640 as a replacement for the Philippine Dynasty of Spanish Habsburgs, the Dukedom of Braganza became linked to the crown. "Duke of Braganza" became the traditional title of the heir to the Portuguese throne, together with or alternate to "Prince of Beira", much as "Prince of Wales" is in the United Kingdom. After the 8th Duke had ascended the royal throne, he elevated his son and heir Teodósio to the newly created rank of Prince of Brazil in 1645, but granted the Duchy of Braganza to his brother, the Infante Duarte, who died in 1649 in Spanish captivity. Then it was granted to the king's second son, the future Afonso VI of Portugal.

From this time onwards, the title "Duke of Braganza" was kept for the heir apparent of the throne – in its strictest sense. Although the other title for an unavoidable heir, that of "Prince of Brazil", was from time to time granted even to female heirs, the Dukedom of Braganza was always reserved only for the male heir except for two extraordinary creations, in 1683 and 1711. These two creations are deemed invalid by some legalists, who accordingly number the dukes in a way that Luís Filipe, Prince Royal of Portugal, the last Duke of Braganza during the period of Portuguese monarchy, is reckoned to be the 21st Duke. The present table reflects a numbering that specifies him as the 21st Duke.

When Emperor Pedro I of Brazil abdicated his throne in 1831, he claimed the title of Duke of Braganza.

On 1 February 1908 King Charles I of Portugal was murdered along with his eldest son and heir, Luís Filipe, the last individual during the monarchy to carry that title. Carlos was succeeded by Manuel II of Portugal but for a short time: on 5 October 1910, a republic was instituted, and the king was exiled. King Manuel II then settled in England.

Dukes in the post-monarchy era

After the foundation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910, the tradition of the heir to the throne being titled Duke of Braganza was revived by various pretenders to signify their claims to the throne.

In the last years of the deposed king Manuel II of Portugal, the dukedom of Bragança was claimed by Miguel, Duke of Braganza, son of the exiled king Miguel I of Portugal, who was living in the Austrian Empire. His branch of the Braganza family allegedly became heirs to the crown in 1932, when Manuel II died without children. These Braganzas were officially allowed to return to the country in 1950 and have lived there ever since.

Presently, the commonly acknowledged duke of Braganza and Portuguese heir is Duarte Pio de Bragança (born 1945). Unlike other European republics (such as Greece) which attempt to prevent the presence of former royal houses in their lands, republican Portugal and its claimants to the throne have long been reconciled, a fact shown when among the guests at the wedding of Duarte Pio was the President of the Portuguese Republic and the country's prime minister.

In contrast to Duarte Pio and his family's claim, Maria Pia de Saxe-Coburgo e Bragança[3] has made claim to the title of Duchess of Braganza and Queen of Portugal, since 1932.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Senos, Nuno, "The Empire in the Duke's Palace: Global material culture in sixteenth-century Portugal" in The Global Lives of Things, ed. by Anne Gerritsen and Giorgio Aiello, London: Rutledge, 2016, p. 130
  2. ^ Senos, p. 133
  3. ^ "Princess Maria Pia of Saxe-Coburg, duchess of Braganza" in CHILCOTE, Ronald H.; The Portuguese Revolution: State and Class in the Transition to Democracy, page 37. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Reprint edition (August 31, 2012).
  4. ^ Jean Pailler; Maria Pia of Braganza: The Pretender. New York: ProjectedLetters, 2006.

External links


  • "Nobreza de Portugal e Brasil", Vol. II, pages 433/449. Published by Zairol Lda., 1989, Lisbon.
Afonso I, Duke of Braganza

Dom Afonso I of Braganza (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈfõsu]; 10 August 1377 – 15 December 1461) was the first Duke of Braganza and the eighth Count of Barcelos. He would start a dynasty, the House of Braganza, that would end up being the most powerful and wealthy in all of Portugal. His descendants would go on to become high-ranking nobles, imperial officials, and even the Kings of Portugal and the Emperors of Brazil.

Catarina, Duchess of Braganza

Infanta Catherine of Guimarães, Duchess of Braganza by marriage (Portuguese: Catarina; Portuguese pronunciation: [kɐtɐˈɾinɐ], 18 January 1540 – 15 November 1614) was a Portuguese infanta (princess) claimant to the throne following the death of King Henry of Portugal in 1580.

She was the second daughter of Infante Edward, 4th Duke of Guimarães (sixth son of Manuel I of Portugal) and Isabella of Braganza, she was married to John, 6th Duke of Braganza, a descendant of earlier Portuguese monarchs, and head of the most important aristocratic House in Portugal. The duchess had several children, of whom Teodósio of Braganza, was her eldest surviving son.

When King Henry died (1580), Edward's issue were the only surviving legitimate heirs of any of the sons of King Manuel I of Portugal. As the male line is preferred in Portuguese succession before the female one, descendants of Manuel I's daughters (such as king Philip II of Spain) had, in principle, only a weaker claim to the throne than Edward's descendants, to whom Catherine belonged.

Following this principle, the first in line to the throne would have been Catherine's nephew Ranuccio I Farnese of Parma, as that 11-year-old Italian boy was the heir of her elder sister Maria of Guimarães. Catherine was an ambitious, cunning and power-hungry woman who participated in court intrigues, hoping to become the ruler of Portugal and reinforce the position of the House of Braganza as the most powerful noble family in the Iberian Peninsula.

Her cousin, King Philip II of Spain, used his descent as son of Infanta Isabella, eldest daughter of king Manuel I. Her other cousin Anthony, Prior of Crato was a male, though illegitimate. Anthony had already in 1578 claimed the throne.

Catherine had married the Duke of Braganza, John, who himself as a grandson of the late James, Duke of Braganza, was a legitimate heir of Portugal. The Duchess' son, Teodósio of Braganza, would have been their royal heir and successor to the throne.

The duchess's claim was relatively strong, as it was reinforced by her husband's position as one of the legitimate heirs; thus they would both be entitled to hold the kingship. Her claim was also strengthened by the fact that she was living in Portugal, and was a mature woman of forty. However, Portugal had not yet had a generally recognized queen regnant, but only males on the throne. Moreover, she was a younger daughter, thus there was a genealogically senior claimant, her nephew Ranuccio.

Philip II of Spain tried to bribe Catherine's husband, the Duke of Braganza, to abandon his wife's pretensions, offering him the Vice-Kingdom of Brazil, the post of Grand-Master of the Order of Christ, a license to send a personal ship to India every year, and the marriage of one of his daughters to Diego, Prince of Asturias, Philip's heir at that time. The Duke of Braganza, influenced by Catherine, refused the proposal.

She failed in the struggle: the strongest claimant was her cousin Philip II of Spain who wanted to unite Portugal in a personal union with the other Spanish kingdoms under himself. The nationalist party, those who desired Portugal to remain independent, supported her illegitimate cousin Anthony of Crato, not Catherine. Anthony lost the final competition to Philip in the Battle of Alcântara in 1580.

In a couple of years, she lost her husband John of Braganza (1543–1583). She lived on as a widowed lady under the rule of her Castilian cousin and worked hard to pave the way for her descendants to take the Portuguese throne, which finally happened in 1640.

In 1640, Catherine's grandson and direct heir, the then Duke of Braganza, became King John IV of Portugal. The Duchess was then retrospectively acknowledged as the legitimate heir, as result of her descendants obtaining the throne, although in her own lifetime she was only one of several possible heirs. By the unanimous voice of the people John was raised to the throne of Portugal during the revolution effected on December 1, 1640 against the Spanish king, Philip IV.

Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza

Dom Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza (23 September 1907 – 24 December 1976) was the claimant to the defunct Portuguese throne, as both the Miguelist successor of his father, Miguel, Duke of Braganza, and later as the head of the only Brigantine house, after the death of the last Legitimist Braganza, King Manuel II of Portugal. In 1952, when the Portuguese Laws of Banishment were repealed, the Duke moved his family to Portugal, thus returning the Miguelist Braganzas to their homeland and becoming the first of the former Portuguese royal dynasty to live in Portugal since the deposition of the monarchy, in 1910.Once established in Portugal, the Duke was granted a pension and residence by the Fundação da Casa de Bragança, the organization has owned and managed all the private assets of the House of Braganza, since the death of King Manuel II, in 1932. Duarte Nuno spent the rest of his life attempting, without success, the restoration of all Brigantine assets to his family and recreating the image of the Miguelist Braganzas in Portuguese society, all under the goal of the restoration of the Portuguese monarchy, under the Braganzas.

In 1942, the Duarte Nuno married Princess Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza, daughter of Pedro de Alcântara, Prince of Grão-Pará. Their marriage reconciled two branches of the House of Braganza, in two different ways, reuniting the Portuguese and Brazilian Brigantine houses and specifically reuniting the Miguelist and Liberal Braganzas, which had been estranged since 1828, when the War of Two Brothers was waged between King-Emperor Pedro IV & I, founder of the Liberal Braganzas, and King Miguel I, founder of the Miguelist Braganzas. The couple had three sons, the eldest of whom is Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, the current pretender to the defunct Portuguese throne.

Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza

Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza (Duarte Pio João Miguel Gabriel Rafael; born 15 May 1945) is a claimant to the defunct Portuguese throne, as the head of the House of Braganza. The Miguelist Braganzas, to whom Duarte Pio belongs as great-grandson of King Miguel I, is a cadet branch of the House of Braganza. With the extinction of male-line dynasts descended from Queen Maria II in 1932, King Miguel's descendants became the only male-line Braganzas left and the closest male-line heirs to the Portuguese throne (the Brazilian branch having gone extinct in 1921).

Duarte Pio is a figure within the European network of royal houses, often being invited to various foreign royal events. Despite his support for a monarchical government and widespread recognition as pretender to the throne, there are no major movements or parties that support restoration of the monarchy.

In 1995, the Duke married Isabel Inês de Castro Curvelo de Herédia, a Portuguese businesswoman and descendant of Portuguese nobility. Their marriage was the first marriage of a Portuguese royal to happen in Portuguese territory since the marriage of King Carlos I, Duarte Pio's second cousin once removed, and Princess Amélie of Orléans, in 1886. The Duke and Duchess have three children, thus continuing the line of the Braganzas, as neither of the Duke's brothers have married nor had children.

Duke of Barcelos

The Dukes of Barcelos was a title of nobility granted by King Sebastian of Portugal on 5 August 1562 to the heir of the Duke of Braganza. After the Braganza accession to the throne, the title continued to be the title of the heir of the Duke of Braganza, alongside the title of Prince of Beira.

This title (originally Count of Barcelos) belonged to the Braganzas since Alphonse, 8th Count of Barcelos and 1st Duke of Braganza.

The first Duke of Barcelos was John I, eldest son of Teodósio I, 5th Duque of Braganza, who become later John I, 6th Duke of Braganza.

Duke of Guimarães

Duke of Guimarães was a Nobility title granted by King Afonso V of Portugal in 1475, to Ferdinand II, 3rd Duke of Braganza. The king just upgraded the previous title of count of Guimarães, that he granted to the same Duke of Braganza, some years before (in 1464).

When Isabel of Braganza married Infante Duarte, King Manuel I of Portugal's youngest son, her brother, Teodósio I, Duke of Braganza ceded the dukedom as her dowry, and Duarte became the 4th duke of Guimarães. As their son (Duarte II, 5th duke of Guimarães) died without issue, the dukedom returned to the crown, but was soon granted again to the House of Braganza, when king Philip III of Portugal, gave it to John II, 8th Duke of Braganza.

Fernando I, Duke of Braganza

Dom Fernando I of Braganza (Portuguese pronunciation: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃du]; 1403 – 1 April 1478) was the 2nd Duke of Braganza and the 1st Marquis of Vila Viçosa, among other titles. He took part in the Portuguese conquests in North Africa and served as governor of different territories there.

Fernando II, Duke of Braganza

Dom Fernando II of Braganza (Portuguese pronunciation: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃du]; 1430 – 20 June 1483) was the 3rd Duke of Braganza and the 1st Duke of Guimarães, among other titles. He is known for being executed for treason against the King.

House of Braganza

The Most Serene House of Braganza (Portuguese: Sereníssima Casa de Bragança), also known as the Brigantine Dynasty (Dinastia Brigantina), is a dynasty of emperors, kings, princes, and dukes of Portuguese origin which reigned in Europe and the Americas.

The house was founded by Afonso I, 1st Duke of Braganza, illegitimate son of King John I of Portugal of the House of Aviz, and would eventually grow into one of the wealthiest and most powerful noble houses of the Iberian Peninsula of the Renaissance period. The Braganzas came to rule the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves after successfully deposing the Philippine Dynasty in the Restoration War, resulting in the Duke of Braganza becoming King John IV of Portugal, in 1640. The Braganzas ruled Portugal and the Portuguese Empire from 1640 and with the creation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, in 1815, and the subsequent independence of the Empire of Brazil, in 1822, the Braganzas came to rule as the monarchs of Brazil.

The House of Braganza produced 15 Portuguese monarchs and all 4 Brazilian monarchs, numerous consorts to various European kingdoms, such as Catherine of Braganza (wife of Charles II of England who introduced tea to Britain) and Maria Isabel of Braganza (wife of Ferdinand VII of Spain who founded the El Prado Museum), as well as sometime candidates for the thrones of Poland and Greece, Infante Manuel, Count of Ourém and Pedro, Duke of Braganza, respectively, and numerous other notable figures in the histories of Europe and the Americas. The Braganzas were deposed from their thrones in Europe and the Americas at the turn of the 19th–20th centuries, when Emperor Pedro II was deposed in Brazil, in 1889, and when King Manuel II was deposed in Portugal, in 1910.

Following the reign of King John VI of Portugal, the Braganzas were split into three main branches of the family: the Brazilian branch, headed by King John VI's eldest son, Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, the Constitutional branch, headed by Emperor Pedro I's eldest daughter, Queen Maria II of Portugal, and the Miguelist branch, headed by King John VI's second eldest son, King Miguel I of Portugal. The Brazilian branch, following 1921, became the House of Orléans-Braganza, whose leadership is disputed by two branches of its own: the Vassouras branch, headed by Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza, and the Petrópolis branch, headed by Prince Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza. The Constitutional branch died out with the death of King Manuel II in 1932, passing its claim to the Portuguese throne to the Miguelist Branch, by way of Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza. The claim to the Portuguese Crown, and thus to the leadership of the House of Braganza, passed to Duarte Nuno's son, Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, who is currently the most recognized pretender to the Portuguese throne.

Infante Henrique, Duke of Coimbra

D. Infante Henrique, Duke of Coimbra (6 November 1949 – 14 February 2017) was an Infante of Portugal and a member of the former Portuguese Royal Family as the youngest son of Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza, and Princess Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza. Infante Henrique was fifth in the line of succession to the former Portuguese throne at the time of his death. His elder brother, Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, is head of the House of Braganza, which ruled Portugal until 1910.

Jaime, Duke of Braganza

Jaime of Braganza (1479 – 20 September 1532) was the 4th Duke of Braganza and the 2nd Duke of Guimarães, among other titles. He is known for reviving the wealth and power of the House of Braganza which had been confiscated by King John II of Portugal.

John IV of Portugal

John IV (Portuguese: João, pronounced [ʒuˈɐ̃w̃]; 19 March 1604 – 6 November 1656), nicknamed John the Restorer (João o Restaurador), was the King of Portugal whose reign, lasting from 1640 until his death, led to the Portuguese "restoration" of independence from Spanish rule. His accession established the house of Braganza on the Portuguese throne, and marked the end of the 60-year-old Iberian Union, by which Portugal and Spain shared the same monarch.

Before becoming king, he was John II, 8th Duke of Braganza. He was the grandson of Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, a claimant to the crown during the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580. On the eve of his death in 1656, the Portuguese Empire reached its territorial zenith, spanning the globe.

José, Prince of Brazil

D. José, Prince of Brazil, Duke of Braganza (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈzɛ]; 20 August 1761 – 11 September 1788) was the heir apparent to the Kingdom of Portugal until his death in 1788, as the eldest child of Queen Maria I of Portugal and King Pedro III of Portugal, members of the House of Braganza.

José died of smallpox at the age of 27, causing his younger and ill-prepared brother, Infante João, to become heir-apparent and eventually King. João's reign would be a turbulent one, seeing the Napoleonic invasion of Portugal and the loss of the Portuguese Empire's largest and wealthiest colony, Brazil.

João I, Duke of Braganza

Dom João I of Braganza (1543 – 22 February 1583) was the 6th Duke of Braganza and 1st Duke of Barcelos, among other titles. He is known for pushing the claims of his wife, Infanta Catherine of Guimarães, to the throne of Portugal.

Luís Filipe, Prince Royal of Portugal

D. Luís Filipe, Prince Royal of Portugal, Duke of Braganza, (Portuguese pronunciation: [luˈiʃ fɨˈlip(ɨ)]; 21 March 1887 – 1 February 1908) was the eldest son and heir-apparent of King Carlos I of Portugal. He was born in 1887 when his father was still Prince Royal of Portugal and received the usual style of the heirs to the heir of the Portuguese crown: 4th Prince of Beira at birth, with the subsidiary title 14th Duke of Barcelos. After his grandfather King Luís I of Portugal died, he became Prince Royal of Portugal with the subsidiary titles 21st Duke of Braganza, 20th Marquis of Vila Viçosa, 28th count of Barcelos, 25th count of Ourém, 23rd count of Arraiolos and 22nd count of Neiva.

Marquis of Vila Viçosa

The title Marquis of Vila Viçosa (in Portuguese Marquês de Vila Viçosa) was created by royal decree, dated May 25, 1455, by King Afonso V of Portugal), to Fernando of Braganza, second son of Afonso, 1st Duke of Braganza.

Dom Fernando, was already 3rd Count of Arraiolos when he got the new title of Marquis of Vila Viçosa. Later, in 1460, as his older brother Afonso, died without legitimate issue, he became the House of Braganza heir and, one year later, following his father’s death (1461), he also became the 2nd Duke of Braganza.

That’s why the title Marquis of Vila Viçosa became associated with the title Duke of Braganza.

The Queen consort Amélie of Orleans, while in exile (20th Century), also used the title of Marchioness of Vila Viçosa.

Miguel, Duke of Braganza

Miguel of Braganza (Portuguese pronunciation: [miˈɣɛɫ]; full name Miguel Maria Carlos Egídio Constantino Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga Francisco de Paula e de Assis Januário de Bragança; 19 September 1853 – 11 October 1927) was the Miguelist claimant to the throne of Portugal from 1866 to 1920. He used the title Duke of Braganza.

Teodósio I, Duke of Braganza

Dom Teodósio I of Braganza (Portuguese: Teodósio de Bragança; 1510 – 22 September 1563) was the 5th Duke of Braganza, among other titles. He is known for ceding the title of Duke of Guimarães to Infante Duarte of Aviz, alongside some of the wealth and properties of the House of Braganza.

Teodósio II, Duke of Braganza

Teodósio II, 7th Duke of Braganza (28 April 1568 – 29 November 1630) was a Portuguese nobleman and father of João IV of Portugal. He is known for his allegiance to King Philip I of Portugal.

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