The radicals, now called Septemberists after the September 1836 revolution, held office until June 1841. On that date, they were replaced in a bloodless coup d'état by moderates, who abolished the 1838 constitution and restored the charter. António Bernardo da Costa Cabral, who organized and led the revolt, took various measures designed to reform Portugal's political, economic, and social systems. Some of these measures, especially new sanitary regulations that prohibited burials in churchyards, stirred the rural countryside, still Miguelist, into active resistance against the liberal government in Lisbon.
The women of the Minho region, who had traditionally played an important role in churchyard burials, began to demonstrate against the authorities. Supported by the rural nobility and clergy, the Maria da Fontes, as this movement was called, spread throughout the rural north. Unable to suppress it by force, the government of Costa Cabral fell on May 20, 1846. The new government, a confusing hodgepodge of radicals and moderates, rescinded the cemetery regulations.