Pedro de Sousa Holstein, I. duque de Palmela

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Pedro de Sousa Holstein, 1.º duque de Palmela

Birthdate: (69)
Birthplace: Turin, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
Death: October 12, 1850 (69)
Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Place of Burial: Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Immediate Family:

Son of Alexandre de Sousa e Holstein, conde de Sanfré and Isabel Juliana de Sousa Monteiro Paim, (Dona.)
Husband of Eugénia Francisca Maria Ana Júlia Felizarda Apolónia Xavier Teles da Gama, marquesa de Niza e de Cascais
Father of Alexandre de Sousa e Holstein, 1.º conde de Calhariz; Eugénia Maria de Sousa Holstein; Isabel Leopoldina Eugénia Antónia Domingas Martinha José Francisco; Domingos de Sousa Holstein, 2.º Duque de Palmela; Manuel Vicente António Domingos Francisco de Sousa Holstein and 10 others
Brother of Mariana Vicência de Sousa Holstein; Maria Teresa Frederica de Sousa Holstein, 1ª condessa de Vila Real and Catarina Juliana de Sousa e Holstein
Half brother of Maria Helena de Sousa Holstein

Managed by: George J. Homs
Last Updated:

About Pedro de Sousa Holstein, I. duque de Palmela

  • Pedro de Sousa Holstein, Duke of Palmela Duke de Palmela
  • Occupation: Diplomat, military officer
  • Dom Pedro de Sousa Holstein, 1st Count, 1st Marquess and 1st Duke of Palmela (formerly 1st Duke do Faial) (1781–1850) was one of the most important Portuguese diplomats and statesmen in the first half of the 19th century. He also served as the country's first Prime Minister. He was also a freemason.
  • He was born in Turin, a scion of the Portuguese de Sousa family, Lords of Calhariz. The 'Holstein' element of his family name came from his paternal grandmother Maria Anna Leopoldine, Princess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm I, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck. His uncle Frederico Guilherme de Sousa had been governor of Portuguese India.
  • He earned notoriety at an early age by telling Napoleon to his face at the conference in Bayonne in 1808 that the Portuguese would not ‘consent to become Spaniards’ as the French Emperor wanted. He was Portuguese plenipotentiary to the Congress of Vienna in 1814, where he attempted to press Portugal's claims to Olivenza, and to the Congress of Paris in 1815. After this he was briefly ambassador to London, but then was appointed secretary of state for foreign affairs in Brazil. After the Portuguese Revolution of 1820 he was commissioned by the revolutionary junta to inform the king (Dom João VI, then living in Brazil) of what had taken place and to request his return to Portugal. In 1823 he was made a Marquis and became foreign minister as well as head of the committee which D. João appointed to devise a new constitutional charter. The resulting document, to which the King was unable to agree, was so liberal that it drew down on Palmela the hatred of the reactionary forces in the country, especially the Queen and the Infant Dom Miguel, who in 1824 had him arrested. After he obtained his liberty he was made a minister of state and returned to London as ambassador.

Pedro de Sousa Holstein

  • When Dom Miguel seized the throne of Portugal in 1828 Palmela sided with the opposition in Oporto and with them was forced to flee to England. Miguel condemned him to death in absentia and seized his estates, but Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil, appointed Palmela guardian to his daughter, the rightful Queen Maria II, and he acted as her ambassador at the British court. In 1830 he set up the young queen’s regency on Terceira in the Azores; it was at this time that he became acquainted with Captain Charles Napier whom he considered the best person to command the Liberals' navy. When Dom Pedro took charge of the regency in person in 1832 he named Palmela as his foreign minister, in which capacity he acted against Miguel from London. In 1833 he sailed with Charles Napier bringing mercenary reinforcements to Oporto, where Pedro was being besieged, and took part in the subsequent expedition to the Algarve of Napier and the Duke of Terceira. After Napier’s naval victory off Cape St Vincent enabled Pedro to occupy Lisbon, Palmela retired from his offices. He served as the first Prime Minister of the newly formed constitutional monarchy in Portugal from September 24, 1834 to May 4, 1835. He was Prime Minister again for two days in February 1842 and from March to October 1846.
  • Dom Pedro was successively made Count of Palmela (by Queen Maria I, on April 11, 1812), Marquis of Palmela (by King John VI on July 3, 1823) and Duke of Faial (by Queen Maria II on April 4, 1836).
  • Finally, on October 18, 1850, Queen Maria II substituted its Dukedom of Faial by the new title of Duke of Palmela.


  • Pedro de Sousa Holstein married, on June 4, 1810, Eugénia Francisca Xavier Teles da Gama (1798–1860), and they had 15 children:
  • Alexandre de Sousa e Holstein (1812–1832), 1st Count of Calhariz;
  • Domingos de Sousa Holstein (1818–1864), succeeded his father as 2nd Duke of Palmela;
  • Rodrigo de Sousa (1824–1840), honorary Marquis;
  • Francisco de Sousa Holstein (1838–1878), 1st Marquis of Sousa Holstein;
  • Tomás de Sousa e Holstein Beck (1839–1887), 1st Marquis of Sesimbra;
  • Filipe de Sousa Holstein (1841–1884), 1st Marquis of Monfalim;
  • 7 daughters;
  • 2 sons, who died young.


  • Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece - Spanish Branch
view all 19

Pedro de Sousa Holstein, I. duque de Palmela's Timeline

May 8, 1781
Turin, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
March 21, 1812
Age 30
Cádiz, Cádiz, Andalusia, Spain
March 6, 1813
Age 31
Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
November 13, 1816
Age 35
June 28, 1818
Age 37
Londres, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
October 11, 1819
Age 38
London, United Kingdom
March 25, 1821
Age 39
September 27, 1822
Age 41
December 14, 1823
Age 42