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Domitila de Castro, Marchioness of Santos

Domitila (or Domitília) de Castro Canto e Melo (December 27, 1797 — November 3, 1867), 1st Viscountess with designation as a Grandee, then 1st Marchioness of Santos, was a Brazilian noblewoman and the long-term mistress and favorite of Emperor Pedro I.

Domitila de Castro
Marchioness of Santos
Domitila de Castro retouched.jpg
Domitila de Castro at the age of 68, c. 1865
Born(1797-12-27)27 December 1797
São Paulo, Brazil (Portuguese Colony)
Died3 November 1867(1867-11-03) (aged 69)
São Paulo, Empire of Brazil
Spouse(s)Felício Pinto Coelho de Mendonça
Rafael Tobias de Aguiar
Isabel Maria, Duchess of Goiás
Pedro de Alcântara
Maria Isabel, Duchess of Ceará
Maria Isabel, Countess of Iguaçu
Rafael Tobias
João Tobias
Antônio Francisco
Castro Brasílico
FatherJoão de Castro Canto e Melo, Viscount of Castro
MotherEscolástica Bonifácia de Oliveira Toledo Ribas



The Emperor first met Domitila (who was born in São Paulo) in 1822 during his travel through São Paulo which would lead to the Brazilian independence. She was married to Felício Pinto Coelho de Mendonça, a military officer of low rank. Crowned emperor, Pedro I invited her to move to Rio de Janeiro and offered her an office at the Court, placing her at the Empress's entourage as her lady-in-waiting. There she managed to have her first marriage nullified.

The emperor proved himself very generous when it came to honour his favourite and her family as well. Bestowing on her the title of Viscountness of Santos was a slap in the face of the family of José Bonifácio, the patriarch of the independence and the most eminent people of the city of Santos, São Paulo. He also did not hesitate in bestowing titles on their three daughters (the Duchesses of Goiás and Ceará and the Countess of Iguaçu) and insisting on their being educated with the royal princesses. The Marchioness' sister was made Baroness of Sorocaba and eventually she joined the extensive roll of royal mistresses, and bore a child with him.

Maria Leopoldina, the empress, died in 1826 due to complications caused by a miscarriage. The public opinion held the Marchioness responsible for the grievances and humiliations suffered by the empress.

Since marrying Domitila was not an option, Pedro chose for his second marriage the young Bavarian princess Amélie de Beauharnais von Leuchtenberg, granddaughter of Empress Josephine. Subsequently, he dismissed Domitila who returned to São Paulo. There she married again, to the brigadier Rafael Tobias de Aguiar.

Domitila de Castro died from enterocolitis in her native São Paulo on 3 November 1867, aged 69. Her body was buried in the Consolação Cemetery.



Depiction in mediaEdit

Domitila was portrayed by Agatha Moreira in the 2017 telenovela Novo Mundo.[1]


  • Gomes, Laurentino (2010). 1822 — How a wise man, a sad princess and a money-crazy Scotsman helped D. Pedro create Brazil, a country that had everything to go wrong (in Portuguese). Nova Fronteira.