Joseph I of Portugal

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Joseph I
Retrato D. José - Mafra.jpg
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Reign 31 July 1750 – 24 February 1777
Acclamation 8 September 1750, Lisbon
Predecessor John V
Successors Maria I and Peter III
Spouse Mariana Victoria of Spain
Maria I, Queen of Portugal
Infanta Mariana Francisca
Infanta Doroteia
Benedita, Princess of Brazil
House House of Braganza
Father John V of Portugal
Mother Maria Anna of Austria
Born 6 June 1714
Ribeira Palace, Lisbon, Portugal
Died 24 February 1777(1777-02-24) (aged 62)
Sintra Palace, Sintra, Portugal
Burial Pantheon of the Braganzas
Religion Roman Catholicism

Joseph I (Portuguese: José I, Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈzɛ], 6 June 1714 – 24 February 1777), "the Reformer" (Portuguese: "o Reformador"), was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 31 July 1750 until his death.

Early life[edit]

Dom Joseph in his youth as Prince of Brazil, by Domenico Duprà

He was the third child of King John V of Portugal and his wife Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria. Joseph had an older brother, Peter (but he died at the age of two), an older sister and three younger brothers. At the death of his elder brother, Joseph became Prince of Brazil as the heir apparent of the king, and Duke of Braganza.

Joseph was devoted to hunting and the opera.[1] Indeed, he assembled one of the greatest collections of operatic scores in Europe.


On 19 January 1729, Joseph married a Spanish Infanta, Mariana Victoria of Spain, daughter of Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese, and his elder sister Barbara of Portugal married the future Ferdinand VI of Spain. Mariana Victoria loved music and hunting,[2] but she was also a serious woman who disliked the King's affairs and did not hesitate to expose them to acquaintances.


He succeeded to the Portuguese throne in 1750, when he was 36 years old,[3] and almost immediately placed effective power in the hands of Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, better known today as the Marquess of Pombal.[4] Indeed the history of Joseph's reign is really that of Pombal himself. King Joseph also declared his eldest daughter Maria Francisca as the official heiress of the throne, and proclaimed her Princess of Brazil. By this time, the king did not believe he would have a son.[citation needed]

Marquess of Pombal[edit]

The powerful Marquess sought to overhaul all aspects of economic, social and colonial policy to make Portugal a more efficient contender with the other great powers of Europe, and thus secure his own power status as a result. A conspiracy of nobles aimed at murdering King Joseph and the Marquess gave Pombal the opportunity (some say, the pretext) to get rid of the Távora family, and to expel the Jesuits in September 1759, thus gaining control of public education and a wealth of church lands and ushering Portugal into the Enlightenment age.

Legacy and death[edit]

The reign of Joseph was also famous for the great Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755, in which around 100,000 people died.

The earthquake caused Joseph to develop a severe case of claustrophobia and he was never again comfortable living within a walled building. Consequently, he moved the royal court to an extensive complex of tents in the hills of Ajuda.

The capital was eventually rebuilt at great cost, and an equestrian statue of King Joseph still dominates Lisbon's main plaza.

Joseph I monument in Lisbon

With Joseph's death on 24 February 1777 the throne passed to his daughter Maria I and brother/son-in-law Peter III. Pombal's iron rule was sharply brought to an end, because she hated him very much for his arrogance and violent behaviour.


Joseph I fathered eight children by the Queen, but only four daughters survived:[5][6]

  1. Maria Francisca Isabel Rita Gertrudes Joanna (17 December 1734 – 20 March 1816), married her uncle Infante Peter of Portugal and had issue. Later Queen regnant of Portugal.
  2. Maria Ana Francisca Dorotea Josefa Antonia Gertrudes Rita Joanna Efigenia (7 October 1736 – 6 May 1813), potential bride for Louis, Dauphin of France, but her mother refused to consent to the marriage, died unmarried.
  3. Stillborn daughter (February 1739).
  4. Maria Francisca Doroteia Josefa Antónia Gertrudes Rita Joanna Efigénia de Braganca (21 September 1739 – 14 January 1771), potential bride for Philippe Égalité but she refused to marry him, died unmarried.
  5. Stillborn son (7 March 1742).
  6. Stillborn son (15 October 1742).
  7. Stillborn son (May 1744).
  8. Maria Francisca Benedita Ana Isabel Joanna Antonia Laurencia Inacia Teresa Gertrudes Rita Rosa (25 July 1746 – 18 August 1829) married her nephew Infante Joseph, Prince of Beira, no issue.

Titles, honours, and styles[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]



External links[edit]

Joseph I of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Aviz
Born: June 16 1714 Died: February 24 1777
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John V
King of Portugal and the Algarves
Succeeded by
Maria I and Peter III
Portuguese royalty
Preceded by
Prince of Brazil
Duke of Braganza

Succeeded by


  1. ^ History of Portugal: Pamphlet Collection. CUP Archive, 1937. Accessed September 2012.
  2. ^ History of Portugal: Pamphlet Collection. CUP Archive, 1937. Accessed September 2012.
  3. ^ History of Portugal: Pamphlet Collection. CUP Archive, 1937. Accessed September 2012.
  4. ^ History of Portugal: Pamphlet Collection. CUP Archive, 1937. Accessed September 2012.
  5. ^ Dom Joseph Rei de Portugal, Algarves e seus dominios Principe do Brasil in: Genealogy Database by Herbert Stoyan [retrieved 7 February 2015].
  6. ^ The gender of the stillborn children are different. Braganza line in: [retrieved 30 October 2014].