Republic Day is celebrated every 15 November to commemorate the proclamation of the end of the Brazilian monarchy and the beginning of the Republic.
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Brazil was once a colony of Portugal. Then, unlike any other nation in the Western Hemisphere, Brazil was ruled by its own king, Pedro I, when it became independent in 1822. Pedro I abdicated the throne in 1831 when his son was only five years old, so a regent ruled until Pedro II came of age and took power. It was not until 1889 that the monarchy was overthrown and a republican form of government established.
The drive for a more democratic form of government began years in advance, and it was combined with a movement to abolish slavery. Although Pedro I had supported abolition, it had never occurred, and anti-slavery forces were growing impatient. By the 1860s, republican sentiments were widespread in Brazil, and slavery and a poor Brazilian economy were two issues that “added fuel to the fire of revolution.”
Slavery was finally abolished on May 13th, 1888, while the monarchy still stood. This was not enough to quell the desire for further change, however. Various revolts would erupt from time to time, showing the unrest and dissatisfaction of the people.
Field Marshall Deodoro da Fonseca was a Brazilian military hero of the War of the Triple Alliance fought against Paraguay. At first, he also helped put down rebellions against the government and refused to even meet with those plotting to overthrow Pedro II.
Eventually, however, even Fonseca saw the need for change and agreed to join with republicans to end the monarchy. Fonseca then led a bloodless military coup that seized control of military headquarters in the capital city of Rio de Janeiro on 15 November 1889. He proceeded to proclaim that Brazil was now a republic and became head over an interim government until elections could be held.
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