Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/790

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Constitution and Government.

In 1807 the royal family of Portugal fled to Brazil; in 1815 the
colony was declared 'a kingdom' ; and the Portuguese Court
having returned to Europe in 1821, a national congress assembled at Rio de Janeiro, and on May 13, 1822, Dom Pedro, eldest son of King Joao VI. of Portugal, was chosen 'Perpetual Defender'
of Brazil. He proclaimed the independence of the country on
September 7, 1822, and was chosen `Constitutional Emperor and
Perpetual Defender' on October 12 following. In 1831 he abdi-
cated the crown in favour of his only son, Dom Pedro II., who
reigned as Emperor until November 15, 1889, when by a revolu-
tion he was dethroned, and he^1 and his family exiled, and Brazil
declared a Bepublic under the title of the United States of

General Deodoro Fonseca was the first President. On Novem-
ber 23, 1891, he resigned, and Vice-President Peixoto took his
place. Dissatisfaction, occasioned principally by military inter-
ference in the States, led to a rising in Rio Grande do Sul and
to a naval revolt in the Bay of Rio de Janeiro. The rising in
the South terminated in August, 1895, and the naval revolt
was suppressed in March, 1894.

According to the constitution adopted by the National Congress in
February, 1891, the Brazilian nation is constituted as the United States of
Brazil. Each of the old Provinces forms a State, administered at its own
expense without interference from the Federal Government save for defence,
for the maintenance of order, and for the execution of the Federal laws.
Fiscal arrangements in such matters as import duties, stamps, rates of
postage, and bank-note circulation belong to the Union ; but export duties
are the property of the various States.

The legislative authority is exercised by the National Congress with the
sanction of the President of the Republic. Congress consists of the Chamber
of Deputies and the Senate. It meets annually on the 3rd of May, without
being convoked, unless another day be fixed by law, and sits four months, but
may be prorogued or convoked extraordinarily. No member of Congress, after
his election, can contract with the executive power or accept any commission or
paid office, except such as are diplomatic or military or imposed by law. If,
in ordinary circumstances, the acceptance of diplomatic or military office
would cause the loss of the legislative services of a member, the permission
of the Chamber is required. Nor can any member of Congress take part in
the administration of any company which receives a subsidy from the

1 Dom Pedro died in 1801.