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FF 308 (1)

Part I - The situation

The presence of D. João VI and his court in Rio de Janeiro, resulting from the French invasions, as well as the British interference, favoured a political and economic environment, which promoted national discontent.

The military uprisings of 1820, in August in Porto and in September in Lisbon, demanded the king's return to Lisbon, and the establishment of a provisional government to prepare the convocation of a parliamentary assembly whose main mission would be the drafting of a Constitution.

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Lithograph from "Costume of Portugal", 1814
Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library
Portuguese Society in the first half of the 19th century

A markedly rural society, in a country with a still incipient commercial sector. Social stratification is based on economic interests and the level of income, and noble distinctions are sought after by the bureaucratic or economic elites of the aristocracy.

The audience of the prince

“The etiquette of the Portuguese court is in general more rigid than that maintained in those of other European nations. A subject, whatever be his rank, his dignity and his functions, never sits down in the presence of his sovereign (…). But this adoration (…), do not increase the difficult of approach to it. Accessible at all times and to all persons, the prayers of the poor and the demands of the rich, the supplications of weakness and the claims of power, reach it with equal facility. Every day, at appointed hours, the prince receives, at the palace where he is residing, such of his subjects as necessity obliges to have recourse to him.”

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Lithograph from "Costume of Portugal", 1814
Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library

The Maltese or the money changer

“These are the Money changers. The people call them Maltese, although but few of them are originally from Malta. (…) These men frequent the environs of the treasury, the Exchange, the mint, the general post office, in short, the corners of those squares and streets the most central and the most resorted to for purposes of business. They carry in their hands a cloth bag filled with specie, which they shake occasionally to attract the attention of those passing by.”

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Lithograph from "Costume of Portugal", 1814
Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library

A woman selling bread

“As the bakers, who are established at Lisbon, do not furnish a supply of bread adequate to the consumption of so large a city, others, from the surrounding villages, make up the deficiency. (…) The price of the pound loaf at Lisbon is fixed every week by a decree of the municipality (…). This price varies with the average value of corn during the preceding week.”

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Lithograph from "Costume of Portugal", 1814
Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library

Countryman selling on the streets of Lisbon

Lithograph from "Trajos e costumes populares portugueses do século XIX"
Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library

Man and woman from the surroundings of Porto, coming from the Sr. De Matosinhos pilgrimage

Lithograph from "Trajos e costumes populares portugueses do século XIX"
Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library

Fish seller (woman from Ovar) selling fish in Lisbon

Lithograph from "Trajos e costumes populares portugueses do século XIX"
Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library
L13
Allegory on the oath of obedience to the Constitution, 1820. Engraved by António Maria da Fonseca. Collection of engravings of Sociedade Martins Sarmento

The Liberal Revolution and Constitutionalism

The military uprisings of 1820 – in Porto in August and in Lisbon in September – took place in a peaceful and orderly manner. The rebels had two fundamental demands: the King’s return to Lisbon, and the establishment of a provisional government to convene a parliamentary assembly to draft a Constitution. This movement forced D. João VI to elect the Extraordinary and Constituent General Assembly, the first Portuguese liberal parliament.

1822 Constitution

Inspired by the Spanish Constitution of 1812, the Constitution of 1822 consists of 240 articles that define the rights and duties of citizens, the definition of the nation, its territory, religion, government and dynasty, the legislative, executive and judicial powers, and, finally, the regional and local authorities, the organization of finances, education and public assistance.

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Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library
1826 Constitutional charter

Granted by the Emperor-King D. Pedro, the Constitutional Charter, based on the Brazilian Constitution of 1824, presents changes to the order of the chapters, compared to the Constitution of 1822, and introduces a fourth power, the Moderator Power, belonging to the King.

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Fausto Figueiredo Collection
Banco de Portugal’s Library
Cap02 Min
Cap02 Min Cap02 Min Cap02 Min Cap02 Min
L4 Alternativa Jlc (2) PTBPIMP019 2
Part II

The precedents

Portugal did not follow the movement to establish specialised banking institutions that developed in the main European markets. The projects undertaken (and only effectively implemented at two moments of particular political significance) may be considered tardy. The creation of the Banco do Brasil (after the king and court had moved from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro as a result of the Napoleonic Wars) in October 1808, and in December 1821, when the first Portuguese bank, the Banco de Lisboa, was finally established.