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Due to the Napoleonic Wars, the capital of Portugal was moved from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro for thirteen years.

Alex A

On December 1, 1807, the Napoleonic forces invaded the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. Days before the invasion, on November 29, 1807, The Braganza royal family along with Queen Maria I of Portugal and the court of nearly 15,000 people of Lisbon departed for the Portuguese colony of Brazil.


queen-maria-i-of-the-united-kingdom-of-portugal-brazil-and-the-algarves-reigned-1777-1816 Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain
Queen Maria I of The United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves reigned 1777-1816


 The Napoleonic forces invaded Lisbon due to the Portugal alliance with the United Kingdom. John VI, the Prince Regent of Portugal at the time, expecting Napoleon’s army ordered the immediate transfer of the royal court to Brazil. Under the protection of the British Royal Navy,  and under the command of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith the  8 ships, 5 frigates and 4 small vessels of the Portuguese Navy, the royal party set sail to Brazil.


royal-charter-declaring-the-opening-of-the-ports-to-friendly-nations Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain
TRoyal charter declaring the opening of the ports to friendly nations

The Royal court arrived in Salvador, Brazil on January 22, 108, there Prince John signed the law opening a commerce relations between the “friendly nations” such as The United Kingdom and Brazil.  On March 7, 1808, the Portuguese Royal Court arrived in Rio De Jenerio, and Prince John created the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and Algarves, promoting Brazil to the same rank as Portugal at the same time increasing the administrative independence of Brazil. When the Queen Maria died in 1816, Prince John became the king of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves.



shipment-of-the-royal-family Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain
Shipment of the royal family

The transfer of the Portuguese court in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil saw an important increase in its population, a valuable increase in trade and subsequent immigration and it was quickly transformed into a main economic center in the New World. All of these newly created conditions would later led to  Brazil’s independence.In 1815,  Brazil got rid of its colonial status and became a co-kingdom of Portugal.



the-royal-family-preparing-to-move-to-brazil .Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain
The royal family preparing to move to Brazil .

From 1808 to 1820, when John I returned to Portugal, Rio De Janeiro  was the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal, in what some historians call a “metropolitan reversal.”