Brazil was discovered on May 3, 1500, by the Portuguese Admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral, and thus became a Portuguese settlement. On the French invasion of Portugal, in 1807, the Portuguese Royal family fled to Brazil; on December 16, 1815, the colony was declared ‘a kingdom.’ The Portuguese Court having returned to Europe in 1821, a national congress assembled at Rio de Janeiro, and on May 13, 1822, Dom Pedro, eldest surviving son of King João VI. of Portugal, was chosen ‘Perpetual Defender’ of Brazil. He proclaimed the independence of the country on September 7, 1822, and was chosen ‘Constitutioual Emperor and Perpetual Defender’ on October 12 following. In 1831 he abdicated the crown in favour of his only son, Dom Pedro II. (born 1825, died 1891), who reigned as Emperor until November 15, 1889, when by a revolution he was dethroned, and he and his family exiled, and Brazil declared a Republic under the title of the United States of Brazil. The decree of banishment against the ex-Imperial family was repealed on August 6, 1920.
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