[DONA LEOPOLDINA, THE FIRST EMPRESS OF BRAZIL] MARIA-LEOPOLDINA OF AUSTRIA (1797- 1826) Autograph letter signed from Leopoldina, first Empress consor of Brazil, to the Emperor Ferdinand of Austria.
(Maria Leopoldine Josepha Caroline Franziska Ferdinanda von Habsburg-Lothringen) Livorno, 10 of August 1817. 1 p. On 2 September 1822, in absence of her husband Dom Pedro, then prince regent of Brazil, she declared the independence of Brazil from Portugal. Today, she is a highly revered idol of Brazil. Her decisive support for the cause of Brazilian independence earned her the nickname “Paladina da Independência”. “In 12 hours I will board the ship.” Immediately after setting foot in the Brazilian ship, she became a Brazilian national and relinquished her Austrian citizen. Leopoldina would never see her family, or Europe altogether, ever again. The letter was written in Livorno, only few days before the archduchess left Europe to Brazil, and just three months after marrying Dom Pedro by proxy on 13 May 1817. Boarding took place on 13 August 1817 and, after a 81-day trip, Leopoldina arrived in Rio de Janeiro where she finally met her husband. The wedding sealed the strategic alliance between Portugal and Austria. Dona Leopoldina, thanks to her competence, Austrian upbringing, and diplomatic skills, steered Brazil towards independence, promoted social progress, enlightenment, education, and immigration from Europe until her death before her thirtieth birthday. Provenance : Private archives of the Emperor Ferdinand of Austria. Private Collection