In 1908, a period of the portuguese monarchy in which the supreme commander was King D. Carlos I, the portuguese people passed serious needs while your king organized banquets and hunts and spent a lot of money.
There was a great sense of discontent and indignation with the monarchy, fueled even more by the authoritarian attitudes of João Franco, head of government at the time that closed the Parliament and hunted all who were against the government.
In what became known as the “Elevator Blow”, failed by a conspirator’s inconfidence, several Republicans are ambushed as they enter the library elevator as they attempt to reach the City Hall.
In response to this coup d’etat, and as a reflection of a hardening of posture on the part of the regime, is proclaimed the decree of January 31st, where the government declares to all that they were pronounced in court by attack to the public order, the exile for the foreigner or expulsion to the colonies, without trial.
It is said that, when he signed it, the king declared: “I sign my death sentence, but you have so willed it.”. It is by many the fuse for Regicide
They were on vacation in Vila Viçosa, in the Alentejo, the royal family composed by King D. Carlos I, Queen Dona Amelia and her two sons, Crown Prince Louis Philippe and King D. Manuel.
On February 1st, on a Saturday, the royal family returns by train to Lisbon and from there they enter an open carriage to the “Commerce Square” (Praça do Comércio), known at the time as “Terreiro do Paço”.
When the carriage circulated near the western side of the square, a gunshot was heard and the shooting was triggered. A man with a beard, past the carriage, goes to the middle of the street, brings to the face the carbine that he had hidden under his coat, puts his knee on the ground and makes a point. The shot pierced the King’s neck, killing him immediately.
With precision and cold blood the sniper, later identified as Manuel Buiça, returns to shoot. The second shot beats the king’s shoulder, whose body decays to the right, already lifeless.
Taking advantage of this, a second regicide, Alfredo Costa, runs towards the carriage, who, putting his foot on the stirrup of the carriage, rises to the height of the passengers and fires at the chest of the prince Luís Filipe.
The queen, already standing, tries to stop the assassin with the only weapon that has at the moment: a bunch of flowers. The prince who had been hit still had the strength to pull a weapon from his overcoat which he carried with him and shoot 4 shots over the regicide that fell from the carriage. But when he got up, D. Luís Filipe was on the firing line of the first shooter. Buiça manages to hit the prince with a shot in the face.
Buiça goes back to shoot, but is stopped by an infantryman.
With the regicides immobilized, the excessive zeal of the police present led them to be slaughtered in the place, which made difficult the later investigations on the attack. According to some accounts, Alfredo Costa would already be dying, but it is known that Manuel Buíça, even injured, resisted his apprehension by the police.
Also a victim of the police was an innocent citizen, Sabino Costa, an employee of goldsmiths and monarchists, probably mistaken for another regicide hidden in the crowd.
The driver whipped the carriage around, turning the corner to Arsenal Street, seeking refuge there. It is at this point that an unknown sniper can still reach D. Manuel on one arm (according to other versions, the scrape shot struck him even before the carriage turned into Arsenal Street, but that shot could no longer be based on the two regicides mentioned, already immobilized by the police).
The carriage enters the Navy’s Arsenal, where it’s verified the death of the King and the one of the Heir of the Throne.
D. Carlos’s mother, Queen D. Maria Pia, was called to the Arsenal, where, meeting Don Amelia, she said to him desolate: “My son was killed.”, to which she replied: “And my also.”
- Manuel Buíça – Professor (1876-1908)
Born in Bouceses, in Trás-os-Montes, he made a military career. Dismissed from the army, he became a teacher. I lived in Vinhais, Bragança. He left a letter, recognized by a notary four days before the regicide, where he guessed the outcome. “My children are very poor; I have nothing to give you except my name and respect and compassion for those who suffer. I ask you to educate them in the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity in which I share and for which they will soon be orphans. “
- Alfredo Costa – Editor (1885-1908)
Natural of Casével, in Castro Verde, made republican advertising, was traveling salesman and founded with Social Aquilino Ribeiro. Like Buíça, he was a member of Carbonaria.
In retrospect, regicide is generally regarded as the effective end of the constitutional monarchical regime, with the coup d’etat of October 5, 1910 being only its confirmation.
After the attack, João Franco, who had not prevented the death of the King, resigned. João Franco was known to be the target of attacks, but he never suspected that hatred was also aimed at the king.
Presiding over to the Council of State, on the afternoon of February 2, with his arm at his chest and wearing his uniform as a naval aspirant, the new king D. Manuel II, at the age of 18, confessed to his inexperience and lack of preparation and asked the council for guidance.
The latter voted for the dismissal of João Franco and the formation of a coalition government, which was called the “Government of Calming”, presided over by the independent Rear Admiral Ferreira do Amaral.
With the lack of experience, allied to the wrong decision-making, the proclamation of the republic took place two and a half years later, on October 5, 1910, exiling the then King D. Manuel II to London until the end of his life.