Ever since the Portuguese Royal Family had arrived in Brazil in January 1808, as refugees from the French occupation of Portugal, relations between Portugal and Brazil had grown increasingly strained. The colonists were well aware of Portugal's dependence on the riches of Brazil; and the opening of Brazilian economy at the expense of Portugal; while the arrival of the Court further bolstered the inhabitants' sense of their own importance. This feeling was not altogether discouraged by the Prince Regent who, in the years of Napoleon's hegemony, may have seen himself ending up simply as King of Brazil.
In 1815 Brazil was declared a separate kingdom in union with Portugal. The next year Queen Maria I died and the Regent became Dom João VI.
On 15 March 1825 Sir Charles Stuiart sailed from Spithead bound for Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro. On board was an observant young midshipman, 15 year old William Rowlatt. He was an ardent family correspondent and his letters give a lively picture of his time in Lisbon.
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