The Arrival of the Portuguese Royal Family in Brazil, 7 March 1808


Late in 1807, Portugal, threatened with invasion by Napoleon, took the decision to evacuate the Royal Family to Brazil. A British Squadron, together with many units of the Portuguese Royal Navy, provided a strong escort across the Atlantic. They made landfall at Bahia, the onward journey to Rio being delayed while a suitably imperial reception could be arranged.

In this painting the Portuguese flagship, the Principe Real, 84 guns, has just come to anchor in Rio de Janeiro harbour. She has on board the Prince Regent and his retinue, and flies the Royal Standard at the mainmast.

While a swarm of ceremonial barges and small boats approaches, gun salutes boom out from the forts and from the British flagship, Marlborough, 74, at the left of the picture, which had arrived earlier. To the right, other ships of the Portuguese squadron are coming into anchorage: the Alfonso, 64, Rainha da Portugal, 74, Conde D. Henrique, 74, the frigates Medusa and Urania, and various lesser ships, accompanied by the British Bedford, 74.

From “The Marine art of Geoff Hunt ” Conway Maritime Press

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