Monday, February 27, 2012

Maria Leopoldina of Austria

Empress of Brazil and yet another niece of Marie-Antoinette.
The legacy of Maria Leopoldina of Austria, the first Empress consort of Brazil, is still seen in South America on a daily basis. It was thanks to her that the basic color scheme of the Brazilian flag, green and yellow, was chosen to illustrate the marriage of the Houses of Braganza and Hapsburg. She was born Maria Leopoldina Josefa Carolina in Vienna on January 22, 1797 to the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II and his second wife Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies. Like any good Hapsburg princess she was given the best education and a very refined and polished upbringing. She spoke six languages fluently and had a great interest in the natural sciences. In 1817 she sailed to Brazil to marry Dom Pedro of Alcântara, heir to the throne of Portugal after breaking off a previous engagement to a Saxon prince. It was an arranged marriage and would not have required such a long journey were it not for the fact that the French armies of Napoleon had conquered Portugal and forced the Royal Family to relocate to their chief colony of Brazil. However, Maria Leopoldina took the trip well, her interest in the natural sciences making Brazil attractive to her and, in fact, she took along a number of biologists and other scientists with her. She was the brainy type, very intellectual and scorning physical beauty as useless vanity. (Read entire post.)


Isabela said...

Oh, finally something about OUR (I'm Brazilian) Empres Leopoldina! She is still quite known and respected here, as a Mother of the Poor and a wonderful woman with an unfaithful, unloving husband.

Lívia said...

A wonderful person like her should always be remembered! She is such an example for all of us, till nowadays! Thanks for the post!
Hugs from Brazil =*