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Humberto Castelo Branco Edit Profile

military , politician , President

Humberto Castelo Branco was a Brazilian politician to serve as the first military President of the country after the 1964 revolution.


Humberto Castelo Branco was born in Fortaleza, in the northeast on 20 September 1897, He was a son of an army officer.


Entered a military academy in Porto Alegre in 1912. In 1918 he was accepted at the military school at Realengo, attaining the position of second lieutenant in 1921.


He returned as an instructor in 1927 after having fought the Luis Carlos Prestes Column in Mato Grosso and Bahia. When the 1930 revolution broke out, he remained loyal to the government but suffered no punishment.

Promoted to captain in 1932, he was assistant director of the Realengo Military School and liaison to the French military mission. In 1940, as a major, he became assistant to the minister of war, Eurico Dutra.

When Brazil declared war on Germany in August 1942, preparations began for the Brazilian Expeditionary Force to go overseas, and many officers were sent to the United States for specialized training. Castelo Branco attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. In 1943 he became lieutenant colonel and was sent to Italy in July 1944, where he was made a colonel in 1945. He became brigadier general in 1952. As the pressure against President Getulio Vargas mounted in 1954, Castelo Branco signed the Generals’ Manifesto of August 23 requesting Vargas to resign. After Vargas committed suicide, Castelo Branco served on the general staff of the army.

On April 11, 1964, Congress elected Castelo Branco president. He took over on April 15 and ushered in an unprecedented 20 years of military control of Brazil’s presidency.

After leaving office, Castelo Branco withdrew from public life. He died tragically in an airplane crash in Fortaleza, Ceard.


  • In the early 1960s Castelo Branco became leading spokesman for the military protesting against the political unrest caused by President Joao Belchior Marques Goulart’s populist appeals. On March 31, 1964, a skillfully coordinated and popular military movement headed by General Castelo Branco and General Costa e Silva overthrew Goulart.

    As a President In his first few months Castelo Branco was concerned primarily with stabilizing the economy. He created the powerful office of Minister of Economic Planning to which he appointed Roberto Campos.

    The linhea dura (hard line) within the military maintained pressure on President Castelo Branco to remove the political rights of many leading politicians. Bowing to this pressure, Castelo Branco stripped three former presidents, Janio Quadras, Joao Goulart. and Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, as well as 70 other politicians, of their political rights. Congress, upon the urging of the military, extended Castelo’s term for a year to March 15, 1967.

    State elections in October 1965 repudiated military control, and linhea dura officers urged Castelo Branco to save the revolution by issuing Institutional Act No. 2 of October 27. This law wiped out all existing political parties, proscribed more politicians, and altered the Supreme Court.

    Early in 1966 another decree law issued by Castelo Branco called for indirect election of the president. In October 1966, with no opposition candidate, General Artur da Costa e Silva was “elected” by the Brazilian Congress and assumed the presidency on March 15, 1967.