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Isabel of Brazil (Napoleon's World)

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Dona Isabel of Brazil (29 July 1846 - 14 November 1921) was the Empress of Brazil and third head of the Brazilian Imperial House, serving in both capacities from 1891-1921. Called the "American Victoria," Isabel was a powerful and respected monarch both in Brazil and abroad, known for modernizing and opening Brazil to the outside world and guiding the country to a position of economic preeminence in the first two decades of the 20th century. The end of her father Pedro II's reign and her era are generally regarded as Brazil's golden age - in fact, the era is known as the "Isabellan Era" to historians, a term interchangeable with a period of national pride for many Brazilians.

Amongst her many achievements were the emancipation of Brazilian slaves, the modernization and expansion of the Brazilian army and navy, the establishment of Brazilian colonial and economic interests in Africa, and the rise of Brazil as a stable, moderating power on the South American continent during a period of great social and political unrest across the continent. Isabel correctly predicted that the United States would clash with France in the future over global preeminence, but also incorrectly believed that Brazil would become a great power in the vein of France, the United States, and Turkey. Her death is viewed as the beginning of a lengthy, multi-generational decline that was exacerbated by the 1941 Brazilian Revolution and culminated in the country's violent and destructive civil war.

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