The political emancipation of Latin America is a historical phenomenon charged with symbolic meanings, closely related as it was to some of the most consequential events in modern history, such as the French Revolution, the ascent of British hegemony, and the collapse of the ancien régime. As usual in cases of this nature, we tend to create an image of the process leading to the celebrated outcome that is characterized by pivotal events, crucial dates, and designated heroes, as if the future implications of a given incident had been instantly settled, once and for all. This, of course, is a rationalization of history, as abundantly evident in the case of Latin American independence movements. For Spanish American nations like Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, and Colombia, political emancipation was a protracted process above all else, and a number of episodes and characters could have a claim to being deemed the ‘defining moment’ – all equally arbitrarily. In the case of Brazil, while the unraveling of events was more linear than in neighboring Spanish America, their nature and significance were also far from clear. After all, the Brazilian independence movement revolved around the heir to the Portuguese throne, who was proclaimed Brazilian Emperor only to abdicate in favor of his son less than a decade later, alleging that his subjects saw him as a Portuguese (Bethell and Carvalho 1985, p. 692).