Accepted paper:

From many experiences: Portugal and the Jesuit missions in Japan and in Brazil during the sixteenth century


Mariana Boscariol (CHAM / Portuguese Centre for Global History)

Paper short abstract:

On the comparison of the Jesuit missions established in Japan and Brazil we aim to reflect about the privileged positioning of Portugal as intermediary par excellence of what came to be undertaken in both territories during the second half of the sixteenth century.

Paper long abstract:

During the Early Modern era, amid various regions and people, besides singular interests and possibilities, the religious work outside Europe came to be adapted and conditioned, what can be observed in the resistance, adaptations and concessions that were made over time. The period in which the territory under the Portuguese Padroado reached its largest amplitude was the middle of sixteenth century, having as limit Brazil and Japan. The first Portuguese had arrived in Brazil in 1500 and in Japan only in 1543, but even so the first Jesuits arrived in both territories at the same year, 1549. Looking for reflect about an comparative approach between these two missions, understanding them as part of the same context besides their singularities, we defined the second half of the sixteenth century as our temporal limit. To do so, we selected letters of some prominent missionaries from each mission and from Portugal, and also of those who assumed the role of Superior General of the Society of Jesus during the period in question. The circulation of news from these many territories was not that fast, even less if we take in count the Japanese geographical positioning. Even so, what was coming to Europe had great influence on the decisions that came to be made and the actions to be taken in the continent, such as from the European reaction what was being done in the non-European territories suffered a "pruning" or an incentive, what came to directly interfere in the path the Jesuit campaign took.

panel P13
From Mediterranean to the oceans: circulation of people and knowledge in the Early Modern Iberian era