From a BETRAYAL reader…
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BETRAYAL is the latest book in the Kydd series. I was chuffed to open an email today from Paulo Meireles, a reader in Portugal, with some insightful comments about the background of my tale.
This is what Paulo said:
“I didn’t know that the British made two attempts to conquer Buenos Aires. Seems indeed sad that many lives were lost in, what appears now, a very futile and naïve military attempt. The faith Commodore Popham had in the raising of the locals in support for the invaders (in this case the British), is familiar throughout history…
Would independence have had the same attraction if the colonials didn’t witness the inability of the Spanish Crown to defend its colonies? We were still to see the French occupation of Spain, the liberation war of the Spaniards against Bonaparte and the Cadiz Constitution of 1812.
General Beresford indeed became the military ruler of Portugal, under the Regency that governed the country while the King João VI was in Brazil. After the Napoleonic wars ended, the presence of the British in higher ranks of the military became more and more unpopular, which culminated in the liberal movement of 1820. Beresford, returning from Brazil, where he went to request more powers from the King, was refused entrance to Portugal.
One of Beresford’s and the Regency’s most criticized and controversial decisions was the death sentence on General Gomes Freire de Andrade, a distinguished military gentleman with service in Russia, Turkey and France, who had fought in Napoleon’s Army (in the Portuguese Legion). He was accused of conspiracy and treason and executed in the São Julião da Barra fortress in Oeiras.
The Cadiz Constitution of 1812 served as a model for other constitutions in South America and also for the Portuguese Constitution of 1820, this one also resulting from the liberal movement that ousted Beresford. Eventually the pressure from the liberals for the return of the king from Brazil and their tentative moves to renew the old bonds between Portugal and its major colony precipitated the declaration of independence from that territory. Brazilian ports had been opened in the meantime to friendly countries in 1808, and in 1810 a new treaty between Portugal and the UK reinforced this opening. In 1815 there was created the United Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil.”
Do email me if you would like to comment on BETRAYAL – or any of my other titles. Of course, you can also post a comment here! Look out for a contest for a signed paperback of BETRAYAL next week, along with a selection of signed cover postcards and other Stockwin memorabilia!