Peter II of Portugal

Peter II

Engraving of King Peter II;
Christopher Elias Heiss, c. 1683-1703.
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Reign 12 September 1683 –
9 December 1706
Inauguration 27 January 1668
Predecessor Afonso VI
Successor John V
Born 26 April 1648
Ribeira Palace, Lisbon
Died 9 December 1706 (aged 58)
Palhavã Palace, Alcântara
Burial Pantheon of the Braganzas, Lisbon
Spouse Maria Francisca of Nemours
(m. 1668; d. 1683)

Maria Sofia of Neuburg
(m. 1687; d. 1699)
see details...
Isabel Luísa, Princess of Beira
João, Prince of Brazil
João V
Infante Francisco, Duke of Beja
Infante António
Infanta Teresa
Infante Manuel, Count of Ourém
Infanta Francisca
Dynasty Braganza
Father John IV of Portugal
Mother Luisa de Guzmán
Religion Roman Catholicism

Dom Pedro II (26 April 1648 – 9 December 1706), nicknamed «the Pacific», was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1683 until his death, previously serving as regent for his brother King Afonso VI from 1668 until his own accession. He was the fifth and last child of King John IV and his wife Queen Luisa de Guzmán.

Early life

Third son of King John IV and Queen Luisa, he was created Duke of Beja and Lord of the House of Infantado.

Following his father's death, his mother became regent for the new king Afonso VI, Peter's elder, partially paralysed, and mentally unstable brother. In 1662 Afonso put away his mother and assumed control of the state. In January 1668, shortly before Spanish recognition of Portugal's restoration of independence, Peter acquired political ascendancy over his brother and was appointed regent, banishing Afonso to the Azores and, later, Sintra where he died in 1683. Peter thereupon inherited the throne.[1]

Peter not only inherited his brother's throne but also wed his widow, Queen Marie-Françoise of Savoy (1646–1683). They had one daughter, Isabel Luísa, Princess of Beira (1669–90), heiress-presumptive a.k.a. a Sempre-Noiva ("the ever-engaged"), because of the many marriage projects intended for her that never came to fruition.

Rule (1668–1706)

Peter consolidated Portugal's independence with the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon in 1668, putting the wars of Restoration, that began in 1640, to an end. He formed an alliance with Britain and had its decisive support based on marriage clauses that united Charles II of England with his sister Catherine of Braganza in 1661. Portugal ceded Tangier and Bombay, and compromised tot ransfer to the British the majority of the places recovered from the Dutch, to share in half the commerce of cinnamon, to install British families with the same priviliges of the Portuguese families in Goa, Cochin, Diu, Bahia, Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro. In exchange, Britain would give Lisbon military support, protecting Portuguese shipments in the Mediterranean and the coasts of Lisbon and Porto.

The British alliance was decisive in the consolidation of Peter's leadership. He centralized the monarchy's power and dissolved the excessive strength the nobility had gained after the death of John IV in 1656.

His long tenure was one of important accomplishments. In 1671 he conceded freedom of commerce to the British residing in Portugal and began the establishment of textile manufactures. Dona Isabel Luisa was proclaimed heiress to the throne at the Cortes of 1674, Peter promulgating a letter «on the regencies and tutorships of Kings» to better found the rights of his daughter.

In 1674 his main concern was to improve the defenses of the realm, asking for contributions from the Junta dos Três Estados to the keeping of border garrisons, its paraphernalia and indispensable works in castles and forts. The Cortes didn't attend to totality of his request, but the great aprehension was in the coastal defense. «The shipments from India and Brazil were the main object of greed», says Veríssimo Serrão, «History of Portugal», Volume V, page 213, so that «the Crown was obliged to arm a fleet of 11 boats. (...) The squadron left the Tejo on 21 July 1675, under the command of Pedro Jacques de Magalhães. (...) But the results of such a costly undertaking were none

There was a legal impediment to the marriage of his daughter with her cousin, the Duke of Savoy. The so-called «Law of the Cortes of Lamego» prevented the marriage of an heiress with a foreign prince. This alleged document became fundamental law of the Realm in 1640. The Cortes, called on 1 November 1679, proceeded with the derogation. By then the ambassador of Savoy, the Marquis of Ornano, had come to Lisbon to celebrate the marriage by proxy. But it would all turn ineffective to the extent that the embassy of the Duke of Cadaval, sent to Turin in May 1682, did not reach or did not finish the project, by pressures, perhaps, of Louis XIV on the dynasty of Savoy.

In 1683 died the King Afonso VI and Queen Maria Francisca. In court there was a strong «French party», headed by the Duke of Cadaval, the then Count of Vila Maior and by the Viscount of Ponte de Lima, but others favored a closer alliance with Spain. By marrying again, Peter II chose the sister of the Queen of Spain, daughter of Philipp Wilhelm, Elector Palatine. The new Queen, Maria Sophia of Neuburg, never influenced political life, maintaining a low profile. The couple had eight children, including the younger John, who succeeded his father in 1706 as King John V of Portugal.

European policy

Peter initially supported France and Spain in the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714), but on 16 May 1703, Portugal and Great Britain signed the Methuen Treaty. This trade accord granted mutual commercial privileges for Portuguese wine and English textile traders and would later give Britain significant influence in the Portuguese economy. This was followed in December 1703 by a military alliance between Portugal, Austria and Great Britain for an invasion of Spain. Portuguese and Allied forces, under the command of the Marquis of Minas, captured Madrid in 1706, during the campaign which ended in the Allied defeat at Almansa.


Peter obtained papal approval for the elevation of the Bahia bishopric to the category of archbishopric, and the creation of the bishoprics of Olinda and Rio de Janeiro in 1676. In 1677 was created the bishopric of Maranhão, directly subordinated to the archbishopric of Lisbon. In 1686, via decree from the Missionary Regiment, the privileges of the jesuits in the interior of the Northern region were restricted. There was, however, resistance to the reordering process of the colonial administration, such as the Beckman revolt of 1684 that sublevated the Maranhão colonists against the monopoly of the General Company of Commerce of Grão-Pará and Maranhão and the rise of the Tapuias in the 1680s in various regions of the Northeast.

The discovery of gold in the interior of Caetés, Minas Gerais, in the end of the XVII century, began an age of economic prosperity and administrative changes, with the creation in 1693 of the Captaincy of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, and the Intendancy of Minas Gerais in 1702. It also dates from the period the destruction of the Quilombo dos Palmares, Alagoas, in 1695.

The King fixated tha basis of his Brazilian policy in two main points: the research of precious metals and stones and the expansion of the borders of the colony to the banks of the Río de la Plata. He sent the Viscount of Barbacena to Brazil with instructions to encourage the mining explorations. The reputation of the Paulistas was such that, urged by Barbacena, Peter wrote to twelve frontiersmen Piratinganos, and provided them with the "incomparable honor" of a direct interpellation, summoning them to place their employment at the royal service.

Under his reign was created the Casa da Moeda do Brasil, inaugurated on 8 March 1694. The King ceded his seigniorage rights, tribute owed to him, in favor of the better functioning of this institution, that coined the first Brazilian coins for usage within the colony. These coins of 2,000 and 4,000 réis in gold, and 640, 320, 160, 80, 40 and 20 réis in silver amplified and diversified the circulating midst in Brazil.

By the end of Peter's reign, there were two big problems in Brazil: the dispute over the Sacramento colony that, even though since 1680 recognized as Portuguese territory, was occupied by the Spanish in 1705, and the first conflicts between Paulistas and Emboabas, competing outsiders, including metropolitan people, who arrived in the region of the mines in search of gold.


Since 1703 the King went through times of deep drowsiness that doctors attributed to a «downflow of "estilicido"», i.e., severe infection of the larynx. On 5 December 1706 he was stricken with a «legitimate pleurisy», that derived a seizure, with which he lost consciousness. The bloodletting from his feet didn't yield results, and on 9 December, the attack became fatal. It is believed nowadays that the King suffered from a liver disease, because the autopsy found «a part of his liver twisted where25 stones in the gall would be found.»

He is buried in Lisbon, in the Pantheon of the Braganzas.


Historian Veríssimo Serrão says of The King in his «History of Portugal», Volume IV, page 233:

«A coeval historian extolled his physical qualities, skilled both in arms as in horseback bullfighting, having an agility and strength that predisposed him to the exercise of violence. It was during his time that the Palace of Salvaterra de Magos became again the favorite place of court, Pedro II settling there in the months of January and February, to devote himself to the sport of riding. (...) Master of a great memory, the monarch never refused an audience to whoever asked it, was it day or night, delighted to listen to others and to discuss the issues in the smallest details. This quality was (...) one of his biggest flaws, because he always wanted to hear the opinion of advisers, fact that led to him dilating the problems. His reign had as a great aim to rebuild the country, shaken by the wars of Restoration. Since 1693 he could dispose of the gold from Brazil that gave to this work the decisive push that Portugal needed. But the participation in the Wars of the Spanish Succession went against the national interests. (...)».

He was tall, well proportioned, with dark eyes and dark hair.[2]

He earned the nickname «the Pacific», because peace was made with Spain during his regency, in 1668.


Marriages and issue

By Marie-Françoise of Savoy-Nemours (1646–1683; married 2 April 1668)
Infanta Isabel Luísa of Portugal6 January 166921 October 16902nd Princess of Beira
By Maria Sophia of Neuburg (6 August 1666 – 4 August 1699; married in 1687)
João, Prince of Brazil30 August 168817 September 1688Prince of Brazil and 12th Duke of Braganza
John V of Portugal22 October 168931 July 1750Prince of Brazil from 1697; succeeded Peter as King of Portugal
Infante Francisco of Portugal25 May 169121 July 1742Duke of Beja
Infante António of Portugal15 March 169520 October 1757 
Infanta Teresa Maria of Portugal24 February 169616 February 1704 
Infante Manuel of Portugal3 August 16973 August 1766 Count of Ourém.
Infanta Francisca Josefa of Portugal30 January 169915 July 1736 
By Maria da Cruz Mascarenhas (c. 1655-?)
Luísa de Braganza9 January 167923 December 1732Natural daughter; Duchess of Cadaval through marriage first to Luís Ambrósio de Melo, 2nd Duke of Cadaval, and then to Jaime Álvares Pereira de Melo, 3rd Duke of Cadaval
By Anne Armande du Verger (c. 1660-?)
Miguel de Braganza15 October 169913 January 1724Natural son
By Francisca Clara da Silva (c. 1650-?)
José de Braganza6 May 17033 June 1756Natural son; Archbishop of Braga



  1. Marsha, Linda Frey (1995), The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession, p. 335, [Peter] III of Portugal (1648 1706 r. 1683–1706), the third son of [John] IV, who founded the Braganza ruling dynasty and secured the independence of Portugal from Spain. [Peter] […] loved hunting both women and animals, and excelled as a horseback rider.
  2. Sousa 1741, Vol VII, p. 664.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peter II of Portugal.
Peter II of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: 26 April 1648 Died: 9 December 1706
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Luisa de Guzmán
Prince Regent of Portugal and the Algarves
27 January 1668 – 12 September 1683
Succeeded by
Catherine of Braganza
Preceded by
Afonso VI
King of Portugal and the Algarves
12 September 1683 – 9 December 1706
Succeeded by
John V
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