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Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, Duke of Caxias facts for kids

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The Duke of Caxias
Half-length photographic portrait of an older man dressed in a military tunic with medals, chain of office and sash
The Duke of Caxias at age 75, 1878
President of the Council of Ministers
of the Empire of Brazil
In office
3 September 1856 – 3 May 1857
Monarch Pedro II
Preceded by The Marquis of Paraná
Succeeded by The Marquis of Olinda
In office
2 March 1861 – 24 May 1862
Monarch Pedro II
Preceded by The Baron of Uruguaiana
Succeeded by Zacarias de Góis e Vasconcelos
In office
25 June 1875 – 5 January 1878
Monarch Pedro II
Preceded by The Viscount of Rio Branco
Succeeded by The Viscount of Sinimbu
Personal details
Luís Alves de Lima e Silva

(1803-08-25)25 August 1803
São Paulo farm (present-day Duque de Caxias), Rio de Janeiro, Colonial Brazil
Died 7 May 1880(1880-05-07) (aged 76)
Santa Mônica farm (present-day Valença), Rio de Janeiro, Empire of Brazil
Political party Conservative Party (1843–80)
Occupation Politician
Awards See list
Signature Cursive signature
Military service
  • The Peacemaker
  • Iron Duke
Allegiance Empire of Brazil Empire of Brazil
Branch/service Imperial Brazilian Army
Years of service 1808–1880
Rank Field Marshal
  • Independence of Brazil
  • Cisplatine War
  • Balaiada
  • Liberal rebellions of 1842
  • Ragamuffin War
  • Platine War
  • Paraguayan War

Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, Duke of Caxias (25 August 1803 – 7 May 1880), nicknamed "the Peacemaker" and "Iron Duke", was an army officer, politician and monarchist of the Empire of Brazil. Like his father and uncles, Caxias pursued a military career. In 1823 he fought as a young officer in the Brazilian War for Independence against Portugal, then spent three years in Brazil's southernmost province, Cisplatina, as the government unsuccessfully resisted that province's secession in the Cisplatine War. Though his own father and uncles renounced Emperor Dom Pedro I during the protests of 1831, Caxias remained loyal. Pedro I abdicated in favor of his young son Dom Pedro II, whom Caxias instructed in swordsmanship and horsemanship and eventually befriended.

During Pedro II's minority the governing regency faced countless rebellions throughout the country. Again breaking with his father and other relatives sympathetic to the rebels, from 1839 to 1845 Caxias commanded loyalist forces suppressing such uprisings as the Balaiada, the Liberal rebellions of 1842 and the Ragamuffin War. In 1851, under his command, the Brazilian army prevailed against the Argentine Confederation in the Platine War; a decade later Caxias, as army marshal (the army's highest rank), led Brazilian forces to victory in the Paraguayan War. As a reward he was raised to the titled nobility, becoming successively a baron, count, and marquis, finally becoming the only person created duke during Pedro II's 58-year reign.

In the early 1840s Caxias became a member of the Reactionary Party, which evolved into the Party of Order and finally the Conservative Party. He was elected senator in 1846. The Emperor appointed him president of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) in 1856; he briefly held that office again in 1861, but fell when his party lost its parliamentary majority. Over the decades Caxias witnessed the growth and zenith of his party, then its slow decline as internal conflict divided it. In 1875, he headed a cabinet for the last time, and after years of failing health he died in May 1880.

In the years after his death and mainly following the downfall of the Brazilian monarchy, Caxias' reputation was initially overshadowed by that of Manuel Luís Osório, Marquis of Erval, but with time surpassed even Erval's renown. In 1925 his birthday was established as the Day of the Soldier, a day of honor for the Brazilian army. On 13 March 1962 he was officially designated the army's protector—​its soldierly ideal and the most important figure in its tradition. Historians have regarded Caxias positively, several ranking him as the greatest of Brazil's military officers.

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