This impressive building was constructed in neo-classical style in the middle of the 19th century and served as a summer residence for around half the year for the 2nd emperor of Brazil, Pedro II, when he not only dedicated himself to government business but also to his many private interests. During his reign he outlawed the slave trade which ultimately led to his downfall. After ruling for 58 years, he was given the news of the proclamation of the republic here in 1889. In Rio, he quickly boarded a ship sailing to Europe, where he spent the rest of his life in exile. His summer residence was turned into a school and has been used as a museum since 1949.