Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil

Jul 29, 1846 - Nov 14, 1921

Dona Isabel, nicknamed "the Redemptress", was the Princess Imperial of the Empire of Brazil and the Empire's regent on three occasions. Born in Rio de Janeiro as the eldest daughter of Emperor Pedro II and Empress Teresa Cristina, she was a member of the Brazilian branch of the House of Braganza. After the deaths of her two brothers in infancy, she was recognized as her father's heir presumptive. She married a French prince, Gaston, Count of Eu, in an arranged marriage, and they had three sons.
During her father's absences abroad, Isabel acted as regent. In her third and final regency, she actively promoted and ultimately signed a law, named Lei Áurea or the Golden Law, emancipating all slaves in Brazil. Even though the action was broadly popular, there was strong opposition to her succession to the throne. Her gender, strong Catholic faith and marriage to a foreigner were seen as impediments against her, and the emancipation of the slaves generated dislike among powerful planters. In 1889, her family was deposed in a military coup, and she spent the last 30 years of her life in exile in France.
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