In the early 18th century, Lisbon was one of the most important cities in Europe. This was due to its location at the western tip of Europe, and because, it was the closest major city to the African and American maritime routes.
In 1755, Lisbon was rocked by a estimated magnitude 9.0 earthquake centered in the Atlantic ocean. Flooded by its ensuing tsunami, more than one third of the city’s population was killed. The earthquake and tsunami also affected the Algarve region.
The earthquake had a devastating effect on the country’s economy and political stability. It also had a profound effect in Europe, leading to changes in philosophical thought and cultural habits. After the earthquake, a major rebuilding of the city center, lead by Marquis do Pombal, set the architectural theme of modern Lisbon.
Starting in 1801, Napoleon tried to conquer Portugal and invaded the country with three major offensives. The Portuguese Royal Court, under the rule of Pedro IV, fled to Brazil. Pedro IV decided to stay in Brazil. He proclaimed independence and abdicated from the Portuguese Crown, thus becoming Emperor Pedro I of Brazil. His daughter D. Maria II was crowned Queen of Portugal.
Under Pedro IV, liberalism took shape in Portugal and was kept alive by D. Maria II. In 1831, King Miguel, a conservative, overthrew Queen Maria II. Civil war ensued and lasted from 1832 to 1834. In 1836, King Miguel instigated an absolutist revolution, restoring all the powers upon the monarch. Under King Miguel, an era of political and social instability was initiated.
Pedro IV eventually came back to Portugal, defeating his brother, and once again instituting a liberal regime under a constitutional Monarchy.