Today is a holiday here in Brazil: Independence Day. When I was a kid schools had the Semana da Pátria (Nation’s Week) when we would read more about the history of Brazil’s independence, participate in several civic events and draw two lines (green and yellow – Brazil’s color) in our notebooks.
The Independence of Brazil is one of our country’s most important historical events because it signposts the end of the Portuguese domain and the conquest of political autonomy. It has been attempted many times before and many people died in this fight. One of the most famous character was Tiradentes. He was executed by the Portuguese crown for defending the freedom in Brazil during the process of the Inconfidência Mineira.
On January 9, 1822, D. Pedro I (the prince at the time) received a letter from the court in Lisbon, demanding his return to Portugal. The Portuguese government had been trying to get him to come back for a long time because they intended to re-settle Brazil and D. Pedro being here was getting in the way. However, D. Pedro refused to go and said que famous quote,
“Se é para o bem de todos e felicidade geral da nação, diga ao povo que fico.” [If it's for the welfare of everyone and general happiness of the nation, tell the people that I stay."]
After the Dia do Fico, D. Pedro took a series of measures that displeased Portugal, because they were preparing Brasil to become independent. He summoned a formal Assembly, organized the War Marine and made the Portugal troops to return to his kingdom. He also determined that no law from Portugal would be passed without his approval. Besides that he urged the people to fight for independence.
The prince took a quick trip to the state of Minas Gerais and São Paulo to calm the sectors of society that were worried with the latest events, because they believe that could cause a loss of balance in society. During that trip, D. Pedro received another letter from Portugal that overturned the Assembly and demanded his immediate return to Portugal.
D. Pedro learned about this during his trip from Santos to São Paulo and near the Ipiranga creek, he raised his sword and shouted,
“Independência ou Morte!” [Independence or Death!].
This happened on Sept 7, 1822. In December 1822, D. Pedro was declared emperor of Brazil.
Want more free resources to learn Portuguese? Check out the other goodies we offer to help make your language learning efforts a daily habit.