Royal and Imperial
Rio de Janeiro

Aristocratic
South Zone

Most Noble
Noth Zone

Petropolis,
City of Pedros

Imperial
City of Niteroi

D. Isabel I Institute

Dona Isabel I Cultural Institute is a non governmental organisation founded on May the 13th, 2001, in Rio de Janeiro, to defend and praise the memory of Princess Imperial Regent Dona Isabel, our eternal “Redeemeress”. The Institute is often called “IDII” (Instituto D. Isabel I).

She was born on July the 29th, 1846, at the Quinta da Boa Vista. She was the last Bragança to reign over us and the first Orleans-e-Bragança, due to her marriage (1864) with the French Prince Gaston of Orleans (1842-1922), the Count of Eu.

We advocate the cause of Education reinforcing the study of our History. This is the appropriate approach to rescue the values we inherited from our forefathers who lived in the beginning of the nineteenth century, when they fought for our Independence. Since this issue has been neglected by most historians and educators nowadays and we believe it is our call to make this information available to all.

Why do we exist?

Abolitionism was the name of the most important political movement that existed in the Brazilian nineteenth century. It was the cause célèbre embraced by countless members of our elite and people against the wrongdoings caused by landowners who supported the slavery.

It is not incorrect to think that the abolitionist movement began in the 1820’s and was envisioned by D. Pedro I, who led the Independence movement. Evidence was found that he disapproved the political and economical slavery institution. He freed all slaves who worked for the Imperial household and granted them salaries. His ideas were those of his principal adviser, counsellor and a “second father”: José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva (1763-1838), our Patriarch of the Independence.

In this respect, D. Pedro I was followed by his successors, namely D. Pedro II and Princess Imperial D. Isabel, a fervent abolitionist, who finally signed the Lei Áurea (“Golden Law”), on the 13th of May, 1888, thereby freeing all slaves, one of the reasons why she was exiled in 1889.

Our objectives concerning the memory of Dona Isabel are to celebrate the lifetime achievements of the one woman who has ruled Brazil for almost four years. The Redeemeress was Head of State during three regencies — because she replaced her father D. Pedro II (1871-72; 1881-82; 1887-88).

In 2006, we organised a Solemn Mass on July the 29th, in Petropolis’s Cathedral where her remains lie. A fund raising lunch followed at the Solar do Império and the proceeds were directed to an NGO from one of Rio’s shantytowns (favelas), the Morro dos Macacos in Vila Isabel (see www.ceaca.org.br). The website of the 160 years of her birth is www.idisabel.org.br/160anos (in Portuguese only). In December the same year, we organised a symposium to promote the knowledge of key factors within our History, mainly the Canudos War, deflagrated 110 years before (1896).

The institute named after the Redeemeress intends to continue humbly the projects of social justice she could not accomplish in Brazil; this is the reason our cause is the neoabolitionism.

 

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