Brazil Independence Day

Independencia de Brasil

Hello, everyone! How are you doing? Ready for a Dica filled with history and culture? Today will be all about the national day of Brazil! You’ll learn everything about one of the most important days in Brazilian history: the Independence Day of Brazil. Do you know when the country gained independence from Portugal? We’ll take a look at the history of this day, the independence war, the people involved, and how it is currently celebrated. Check it out, and be ready to say “Happy Independence Day’’ on September 7th in Portuguese! And happy Independence Day, Brazil!

History of Brazilian independence

Did you know that, for a while, Brazil was home to the capital of Portugal? But who declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal? Come read more about this incredible part of Brazilian history, and learn Portuguese while also learning about our culture!

What was Brazil like before its independence?

Brazil was discovered by Portugal in 1500, and it became part of the Royal Portuguese Colonial Empire (which was the first and most powerful colonial empire in the world!). The country was very important for Portugal’s economy, because it provided them with wood, food, and even gold.

During the French Revolution, Napoleon ordered other countries in Europe to close their ports to British ships. At that time Portugal had a trade treaty with England, so they refused to follow Napoleon’s orders. He then decided to invade and conquer Portugal, and the Royal Family had to seek refuge in Brazil.

When the Royal Family arrived in Brazil in 1808, they took the first step towards independence. King João VI opened trade at the Brazilian ports for several nations around the world, creating many new commercial opportunities. This was known as the primeiro grito de independência (”first cry for independence”). Back then, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil and João VI started a renovation in the Marvelous City that lasted until 1815. Rio stopped being an exploration zone and became the political and economic center of the country.

In 1821 King João VI returned to Portugal and ruled Brazil from a distance with some help of the British Crown. Many people were dissatisfied with British interference and demanded the return of the king. He sent his son Dom Pedro de Alcântara (Pedro I) instead, who then became the prince regent and ruler of Brazil.

So, when did Brazil gain independence?

It was officially proclaimed on September 7th 1822 by the Portuguese prince Pedro I, on the banks of the Ipiranga river, in São Paulo. At that time, Brazil’s economy was in a bad condition, and its industry was hardly developed.

Who declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal?

prince pedro i from portugal, emperor of brazil
Portrait of D. Pedro I (1826) from Simplício Rodrigues de Sá.

As prince regent and ruler of Brazil, Pedro I lowered the taxes and made the Brazilian military forces as important as the Portuguese ones. This angered Portuguese politicians, and they tried to expel him from Brazil, just like they did to his father. However, after many political fights, Pedro I publicly announced that he planned to stay in Brazil on January 9th, 1822. This day became known as Dia do Fico (“I Shall Stay” Day).

He then started a pro-independence movement with the aid of Brazilian politicians. As you already know, he finally proclaimed Brazil’s independence from Portugal on September 7th 1822 during a trip to São Paulo. You might not know that this proclamation was immediately followed by an independence war.

There was a Brazilian independence war?

The Brazilian independence war between the new Brazilian Empire and the United Kingdom of Portugal lasted from February 1822 to March 1824. The war ended with the Brazilian victory, when the Portuguese forces surrendered and gave Brazil independence from Portugal. Most historians agree that the British Empire was one of the reasons for Brazil to win the war. This was because they eyeing Brazil as a lucrative potentional business partner.

What happened after Brazil became independent?

If you are wondering what kind of problems plagued Brazil after independence, I can tell you: there were many! A newly independent country the size of a continent for sure had a ton of issues. And it wasn’t because Brazil was free that everything was right: slavery still existed.

Different from neighboring countries, Brazil didn’t became a republic or a democracy after its independence. Since our independence was carried out by Pedro I, he crowed himself as Emperor of Brazil. So, the new Empire needed to pay attention to their unity problems, create new alliances with other countries, and solve its financial issues.

How old is Brazil?

If we take into account the arrival of Portuguese, Brazil is 522 years old in 2022.

How Independence Day is celebrated in Brazil?

Being a holiday, many Brazilians are released from work every year in Brazil independence date. So it’s common to see families together, having a picnic in places like Quinta da Boa Vista or Bosque da Barra. But there are also other two ways it celebrated: with civil and military parades!

The Independence Day Military Parade

Every year, on September 7, groups go to the streets for the Brazil Independence Day celebration, wearing clothes with the colors of the Brazilian flag. We have a big Military Parade in Brasilia, the capital, with the presence of the President and each city also has its own parade. Here in Rio de Janeiro, for instance, the parade takes place at Centro, at Avenida Presidente Vargas. It’s a parade with lots of music and patriotic spirit and people come from all parts of the city to see.

Military Parade Independence Day in Brazil
Thyago Medeiros, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Independence Day Civic Parade

Another very common tradition on the Independence Day in Brazil is the Civic Parade. It takes place in various areas of the city, counting with the participation of students from all the schools in each region.

In it, students should wear the uniform of their respective school and make artistic performances, with ribbons or juggling acts, to the sound of the music played by the school band. The Civic Parade is a competition between schools to see which one has a prettier presentation. The award is defined by the association of local residents, which can be new equipment for the winning school or sports investments. This is a great opportunity to wish happy independence day in Brazil to your friend!

Vocabulary for Brazil Independence Day

ProclamarTo Proclaim
Príncipe RegenteRegent Prince
Desfile CívicoCivic Parade
Banda EscolarSchool Band

So this is the history and celebrations of Independence Day in Brazil! Did you know there was a Brazil independence war? And did you know who declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal? Are you curious about the places we’ve been talking in this Dica? You can visit some museums with us in a RioLIVE! Activity. Come study with us in our school in Copacabana and learn history while practicing the Portuguese language!

Now tell us how it is in your country. Do you have a celebration like this one? Is it a national holiday? How do you celebrate? Go to our Facebook Page and tell us your story of celebrations.

Happy Independence Day, Brazil!
A big hug from Rio & Learn!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Holidays in Brazil
History of Tiradentes
Rio de Janeiro New Year

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

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Had an incident with a holiday. I selected Monday and Wednesday for my classes, since I can’t attend classes on other days. Due to holiday one of the lessons was scheduled on Friday. I warned about this issue on Tuesday, 3 days before the lesson, but manager answered in a rude way that they can’t do anything and blamed me that this is my fault I didn’t warn earlier. Teacher is asking their students to give good grades to the course on a second lesson. This is not teachers fault. Probably managers ask her to do this. Maybe my grade will change. Only time will show. At the moment as is.
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Mykola Kurenkov
Estudar portugués online com a escola Río & learn é muito gratificante pra mim, pois as professoras são amorosas. As aulas são engraçadas, com muita prática falando português brasileiro. Também eu posso conhecer pessoas de outros países e outras culturas. Eu sinto que moro no Brasil quando eu estou em aula!!
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Natasha Deegan
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I have taken online courses twice now with Rio & Learn. In both group and private lessons the instruction was excellent. Classes were well-planned and the instructors were responsive and engaging. If I ever have the chance I will definitely sign up for their in person classes.
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tessie cranman
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