Photograph by Augusto Bobone, 1885
|King of Portugal|
|Reign||11 November 1861 - |
19 October 1889
|Acclamation||22 December 1861|
|Born||31 October 1838|
Necessidades Palace, Lisbon, Portugal
|Died||19 October 1889 (aged 50)|
Citadel Palace, Cascais, Portugal
|Father||Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Mother||Maria II of Portugal|
Dom Luís I (31 October 1838 in Lisbon - 19 October 1889 in Cascais), known as The Popular (Portuguese: O Popular) was a member of the ruling House of Braganza, and King of Portugal from 1861 to 1889. The second son of Queen Maria II and her consort, King Ferdinand, he acceded to the throne upon the death of his elder brother King Pedro V.
Luís was a cultured man who wrote vernacular poetry, but had no distinguishing gifts in the political field into which he was thrust by the deaths of his brothers Pedro V and Fernando in 1861. Luís's domestic reign was a tedious and ineffective series of transitional governments called Rotativism formed at various times by the Progressistas (Liberals) and the Regeneradores (Conservatives), the party generally favoured by King Luís, who secured their long term in office after 1881. Despite a flirtation with the Spanish succession prior to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, Luís's reign was otherwise one of domestic stagnation as Portugal fell ever further behind the nations of western Europe in terms of public education, political stability, technological progress and economic prosperity. In colonial affairs, Delagoa Bay was confirmed as a Portuguese possession in 1875, whilst Belgian activities in the Congo (1880s) and a British Ultimatum in 1890 denied Portugal a land link between Portuguese Angola and Portuguese Mozambique at the peak of the Scramble for Africa.
Luís was mostly a man of the sciences, with a passion for oceanography. He invested a large portion of his fortune in funding research boats to collect specimens in the oceans of the world, and was responsible for the establishment of one of the world's first aquariums, the Aquário Vasco da Gama in Lisbon, which is still open to the public with its vast collection of maritime life forms, including a 10 meter long squid. His love for the sciences and advances in knowledge was passed on to his two sons. Luís was also very keen with literature, not only with books in Portuguese but also in English. He was the first to bring fully translated Shakespearean works to Portugal, such as The Merchant of Venice, Richard III and Othello, the Moor of Venice. His best-known work in Portugal was his translation of Hamlet.
In June 1862, Luís asked Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria (1845-1927), a daughter of Archduke Albert, Duke of Teschen and Princess Hildegard of Bavaria, to marry him in a letter sent to her father. It was urgent for him to get married as his older brother, King Pedro V, had died in November 1861, without issue and two of his younger brothers, João and Fernando, followed him shortly after, which left the Braganza dynasty almost without heirs. Luís had already selected a number of brides including Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1845-1912), sister of his late sister-in-law Stephanie, Duchess Sophie Charlotte in Bavaria (1847-1897), Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911) and also considered some Austrian archduchesses, Maria Theresa being one of them, but didn't know which one to choose. So he sent letters to his cousin, Queen Victoria, and his great-uncle, King Leopold I of Belgium, to ask for their advice. Both agreed that the best choice was Maria Theresa. Thus, King Luís sent his letter. However, his wish was not fulfilled as her father, Archduke Albert, thought she was too young at the time (she was one month away from turning 17) and needed to finish her education. Two weeks after, Luís asked for the hand of Princess Maria Pia of Savoy and, this time, was accepted, even though Maria Pia, born in 1847, was even younger than Maria Theresa.
Luís married Maria Pia, the daughter of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy and Maria Adelaide of Austria, on 6 October 1862. They both had a deep love at first, but Luis's countless mistresses led Maria Pia to depression. Together they had two sons who survived childhood, and a stillborn son in 1866.
The King also fathered one illegitimate son, also named Carlos, who was born in 1874 in Lisbon.
He received the following orders:
|Ancestors of Luís I of Portugal|