Braganza (brəgänˈzä) [key], royal house that ruled Portugal from 1640 to 1910 and Brazil from 1822 to 1889. It took its name from the castle of Braganza or Bragança. The line was descended from Alfonso, the natural son of John I of Portugal, who became the duke of Braganza in 1442. Although Alfonso's grandson, Ferdinand, was executed (1483) for alleged treason by John II, the family steadily increased its possessions. John, 6th duke of Braganza, married a niece of King John III, and when the Portuguese threw off Spanish rule in 1640, their grandson became king as John IV. The house of Braganza ruled Portugal until the establishment of a republic in 1910. After Brazil declared (1822) its independence, it was ruled as an empire under Pedro I, son of John VI of Portugal, and Pedro II until a revolution made it a republic in 1889.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.