It’s Portugal Day, the national day of Portugal.

No doubt there will be big celebrations across the country, including the capital city, Lisbon.

That city has been the capital of Portugal for centuries, except for a time in the 19th century when the capital of Portugal was not only outside Lisbon, it was outside Portugal.

This was back in 1807.

Napoleon was marching armies through much of Europe, and Portugal got caught up in the action.

Right before Napoleon’s forces invaded their country, Portugal’s ruling family decided the best way to stay in power was to move the seat of power.

They and about 15,000 of the country’s most prominent and powerful people sailed for 54 days from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It was a jaw-dropping move: a sovereign leader leaving the traditional territory of his country to rule from an overseas colony.

(Though, technically, the king created a new kingdom of Portugal and Brazil, so each became part of a single country and neither was a colony of the other. Also, did anyone ask the Brazilians about this?)

The Portuguese rulers took to their temporary space pretty quickly.

In fact, they built new versions of some of the same institutions they had left behind in Lisbon.

The effect was that Rio became a cultural and economic center in the Western Hemisphere.

Some people even called it “Paris in the tropics.”

But the situation got complicated.

Without a monarch in Portugal, there was pressure in the country to end absolute rule and move to a constitutional monarchy with a legislature.

The king returned to Lisbon, but the country made the changes anyway and limited his powers, at least for a time.

And then, Brazil ended up declaring independence.

As you might have guessed, Rio wasn’t the capital of Portugal at that point.

Today in 1972, the number one song on the Billboard pop chart was “The Candy Man” by Sammy Davis Jr.

He recorded it in just two takes – to get it over with as fast as possible.

As he told his manager, “This record is going straight into the toilet… and it may just pull my whole career down with it.”

Sometimes being wrong can turn out ok.

Due to the Napoleonic Wars, the capital of Portugal was moved from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro for thirteen years. (The Vintage News)

The Number Ones: Sammy Davis Jr.’s “The Candy Man” (Stereogum)

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Photo by Ted van den Bergh via Flickr/Creative Commons