Pedro de Sousa Holstein, 1st Duke of Palmela

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His Excellency
The Duke of Palmela
KGC FC
D. Pedro de Sousa Holstein, 1º Duque de Palmela - Domingos Sequeira.jpg
16th President of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves
In office
20 May 1846 – 6 October 1846
Monarch Maria II and Fernando II
Preceded by Duke of Terceira
Succeeded by Duke of Saldanha
14th President of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves
In office
7 February 1842 – 9 February 1842
Monarch Maria II and Fernando II
Preceded by Joaquim António de Aguiar
Succeeded by Duke of Terceira
1st President of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves
In office
24 September 1834 – 4 May 1835
Monarch Maria II
Succeeded by Count of Linhares
6th Minister of War of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves
In office
1820–1821
Monarch John VI of Portugal
Preceded by Tomás de Vila Nova Portugal
Succeeded by Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira
Personal details
Born 8 May 1781
Turin, Kingdom of Sardinia
Died 12 October 1850
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Spouse(s) Eugénia Francisca Xavier Teles da Gama
Religion Roman Catholic

D. Pedro de Sousa Holstein, 1st Duke of Faial and Palmela (1781–1850) was one of the most important Portuguese diplomats and statesmen in the first half of the 19th century. He also served as the country's first official Prime Minister, the office in essence having already existed.

Early Life and Career[edit]

Pedro de Sousa Holstein, President of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom.
D. Pedro de Sousa Holstein, Duke
of Palmela, former Duke of Faial
.

He was born in Turin, a scion of the Portuguese de Sousa family, Lords of Calhariz.

The 'Holstein' element of his family name came from his paternal grandmother Princess Maria Anna Leopoldine of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, daughter of Frederick William I, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck.

His uncle Frederico Guilherme de Sousa had been governor of Portuguese India.

He earned notoriety at an early age by telling Napoleon to his face at the conference in Bayonne in 1808 that the Portuguese would not ‘consent to become Spaniards’ as the French Emperor wanted.

He was Portuguese plenipotentiary to the Congress of Vienna in 1814, where he attempted to press Portugal's claims to Olivenza, and to the Congress of Paris in 1815.

After this he was briefly ambassador to London, but then was appointed secretary of state for foreign affairs in Brazil. After the Portuguese Revolution of 1820 he was commissioned by the revolutionary junta to inform the king, João VI, of what had taken place and to request his return to Portugal from Brazil.

In 1823 he was made a Marquis and became foreign minister as well as head of the committee which D. João appointed to devise a new constitutional charter. The resulting document, to which the King was unable to agree, was so liberal that it drew down on Palmela the hatred of the reactionary forces in the country, especially the Queen and the Infant Dom Miguel, who in 1824 had him arrested.

After he obtained his liberty he was made a minister of state and returned to London as ambassador.

Liberal Wars[edit]

When Dom Miguel seized the throne of Portugal in 1828 Palmela sided with the opposition in Oporto and with them was forced to flee to England.

Miguel condemned him to death in absentia and seized his estates, but Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil, appointed Palmela guardian to his daughter, the rightful Queen Maria II, and he acted as her ambassador at the British court.

In 1830 he set up the young queen’s regency on Terceira in the Azores; it was at this time that he became acquainted with Captain Charles Napier whom he considered the best person to command the Liberals' navy.

When Dom Pedro took charge of the regency in person in 1832 he named Palmela as his foreign minister, in which capacity he acted against Miguel from London.

In 1833 he sailed with Charles Napier bringing mercenary reinforcements to Oporto, where Pedro was being besieged, and took part in the subsequent expedition to the Algarve of Napier and the Duke of Terceira.

After Napier’s naval victory off Cape St Vincent enabled Pedro to occupy Lisbon, Palmela retired from his offices.

He served as the first Prime Minister of the newly formed constitutional monarchy in Portugal from 24 September 1834 to 4 May 1835.

He was Prime Minister again for two days in February 1842 and from March to October 1846.

Dom Pedro was successively made Count of Palmela (by Queen Maria I, on 11 April 1812), Marquis of Palmela (by King John VI on 3 July 1823) and Duke of Faial (by Queen Maria II on 4 April 1836).

Finally, on 18 October 1850, Queen Maria II substituted its Dukedom of Faial by the new title of Duke of Palmela.

Marriage and Issue[edit]

On 4 June 1810 Pedro de Sousa Holstein married Eugénia Francisca Xavier Teles da Gama (1798–1860). There issue was:

  • Alexandre de Sousa e Holstein (1812–1832), 1st Count of Calhariz;
  • Domingos de Sousa Holstein (1818–1864), succeeded his father as 2nd Duke of Palmela;
  • Rodrigo de Sousa (1824–1840),
  • Francisco de Sousa Holstein (1838–1878), 1st Marquis of Sousa Holstein;
  • Tomás de Sousa e Holstein Beck (1839–1887), 1st Marquis of Sesimbra;
  • Filipe de Sousa Holstein (1841–1884), 1st Marquis of Monfalim;

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Duke of Terceira
President of the Council of Ministers
of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves

1846
Succeeded by
Duke of Saldanha
Preceded by
Joaquim António de Aguiar
President of the Council of Ministers
of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves

1842
Succeeded by
Duke of Terceira
New title President of the Council of Ministers
of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves

1834–1835
Succeeded by
Count of Linhares
Preceded by
Tomás de Vila Nova Portugal
Minister of War of the United Kingdom
of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves

1820-1821
Succeeded by
Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira
Portuguese nobility
New title Duke of Faial
1836–1850
Title eliminated
New title Duke of Palmela
1850–1850
Succeeded by
Domingos Sousa Holstein
Marquis of Palmela
1823–1850