Dom João Carlos de Bragança e Ligne de Sousa Tavares Mascarenhas da Silva, 2nd Duke of Lafões, 4th Marquis of Arronches and 8th Count of Miranda do Corvo (Lisbon, 6 March 1719 – Lisbon, 10 November 1806) was a politician and prominent member of the high Portuguese nobility. He was the marshal general of the Portuguese Army, which he commanded during that which was jokingly known as the War of the Oranges, a traumatic experience in the History of Portugal.
A founding member of the Academia Real das Ciências of Lisbon, he also exercised the office of minister assistant to the dispatch (Prime Minister) of Portugal, between 6 January and 21 May 1801, being dismissed from office after the entry of the Spanish forces in the Alentejo, he retained the dignity of marshal of the army.
João Carlos de Bragan��a was of the closest possible affinity to the royal house: his father was the legitimized son of D. Pedro II of Portugal. A nobleman of great talent and public spirit, he led the aristocratic opposition to Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal. He was also a man of great culture, and while living in exile during Pombal’s tenure assisted both Gluck and Mozart as a patron. After Pombal’s fall, the Duque de Lafões became a dominant public figure, holding high public offices and founding the Real Academia das Sciencias de Lisboa to assure that Portugal would share the benefits of the Age of Enlightenment.
He left Portugal in May 1757, heading to London and then, in January 1758, to Vienna. In fact, D. João left Portugal with honours from Duke with a mission unknown, but possibly with the intention of proposing a marriage of the Habsburg emperor Joseph II, the future head of the house, and Austria, with an Infanta of Portugal. He took up residence temporarily in England and was elected a member of the Royal Society.
To get to Vienna, already with the Seven Year's War running, he enlisted in the Austrian army, where D. Manuel, Count of Ourém, his uncle, as well as of the king John V of Portugal, had been general. He was a superior officer of an Infantry Regiment of the Prince of Ligne, his relative, having participated in the last campaigns of the Seven Years ' War. After the end of the war, in February 1763, he decided to travel and has visited Switzerland, Italy, France, and the East, Greece and Egypt. He later visited Prussia and Poland. In 1766, it was proposed to integrate the Austrian army, with the rank of major-general, but the authorization of the Portuguese crown was never given. In 1770 Paride ed Elena by Gluck was dedicated to the Duke of Braganza, a specialist on mythology and music.
In 1778, due to the death of D. José I and the output of the government of the Marquis of Pombal, he returned to Portugal, having been awarded the title of Duke of Lafões. In 1779, with the abbot Correia da Serra, he founded the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon, possibly in honour of his brother, who had proposed in 1721, at the time of creation of the Royal Academy of Portuguese History. In 1780 he was appointed to the Board of War, in 1791 was chosen for the position of governor of Arms of the Court and Province of Extremadura, being promoted to marshal general on the same date. In 1796 went to the Council of State. Since 1789 he was a member of Order of Christ (Portugal).
Due to the danger of war with Spain, was appointed in January 1801 minister assistant to the Prime Minister, and the Secretary of State for War. With the formal declaration of war in March took over as head of the Army, not wanting to deliver the command to the marshal of the Army of the count de Goltz, hired to direct the army in the campaign. In May he addressed to the Alentejo, the scene of the major military actions of the short "War of the Oranges." I was in Abrantes, with the Army, when he received the notification that the displaced from all posts military and political that was.
Until his death, in 1806, never exercised a public office.