NHM Vienna celebrates 200 years of Brazilian independence

19. August 2022
On the occasion of the ongoing special exhibition BRAZIL. 200 Years of Relations, the Natural History Museum Vienna joins Brazil in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the country’s independence with a major event on 7 September 2022.
For centuries, Brazil was a colony of the Kingdom of Portugal. In the first decades of the 19th century, the Brazilian independence movement finally achieved Brazil's separation from the Portuguese colonial power. Both Leopoldine of Habsburg and, a little later, her husband, Prince Regent Dom Pedro, were involved in this process. Brazil officially declared its independence from the former United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves on 7 September 1822 – a day that is still celebrated in Brazil as a national holiday. The split was formally recognised three years later in a treaty signed by both the new Empire of Brazil and the Kingdom of Portugal at the end of 1825.

The event

The NHM Vienna will mark this anniversary with a festive evening event, “200 Years of Brazil's Independence from Portugal”, on 7 September 2022 from 17:00 in the context of the current special exhibition BRAZIL.

The evening starts with guided tours of the exhibition offered by the academic curators as well as a poetic tour at 17:00 and 18:00. At 18:30, the Upper Dome Hall is the venue of the festive programme. In addition to statements by Dr. Katrin Vohland, Director General of the NHM Vienna, as well as by Ana Leitão, Counsellor at the Embassy of Portugal, and Tomás Seferin, Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Brazil, the programme features a reading by the author Prof. Gloria Kaiser and music by the Auner Quartet.

Gloria Kaiser is an author of literary biographies and historical novels, as well as a historical researcher, who lives in Graz and Salvador, Brazil. On the evening she will read parts of her biographical novel Dona Leopoldina. Die Habsburgerin auf Brasiliens Thron (Seifert, 2015). Music from the Auner Quartet completes the programme.

The Auner Quartet consists of the violinists Daniel and Barbara Auner, the violist Nora Romanoff-Schwarzberg and the cellist Konstantin Zelenin. The quartet performs regularly at a wide range of festivals and in concert halls.

Link to the event.
A valid admission ticket to the museum is required. The accompanying programme is free of charge.
RSVP to brasilien@nhm.at

Dona Leopoldina

Caroline Josepha Leopoldine was the daughter of Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily. In 1816, she was married by proxy to Dom Pedro of Bragança and Brazil. After a three-months ocean voyage on a sailing ship, Leopoldine, now Dona Leopoldina, arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 5 November 1817, where she saw her husband in person for the first time.
1822 was a fateful year: Dom Pedro had to ride to São Paulo to convince the inhabitants of the city of the merits of the monarchy. For the time of his absence, he made Dona Leopoldina regent by means of a document of investiture which invested her with all the rights and duties to make decisions and act for the benefit of Brazil.  When Portuguese soldiers arrived in Rio two weeks later with the intention of taking over the government, Dona Leopoldina immediately convened the Council of State. Under her chairmanship, the decision of the Council of State relating to Brazil's independence from Portugal was taken and signed on 2 September 1822.
Five days later, Dom Pedro received a letter from Dona Leopoldina in São Paulo, in which she told him what had happened and added: “...the apple is ripe, pluck it.”
On 7 September 1822, Dom Pedro ratified the Council of State’s decision. Thanks to her great diplomatic acumen, Dona Leopoldina succeeded in having the recognition of Brazil's independence laid down in treaties by August 1825.
Dona Leopoldina's life is inseparably linked with Brazil's history. She fulfilled her mission as a daughter of the Habsburgs – a task once undertaken must be completed. She gave birth to six children, five girls and the heir to the throne, Pedro II. She loved Brazil, the country and the people, and she was called “nossa mãe” even during her lifetime. Today she is revered as the mother of the Brazilian nation.

Ausstellungsansicht "Brasilien. 200 Jahre Beziehungsgeschichten", Kabinett 2

(c) NHM Wien, Christina Rittmannsperger