Accepted paper:

From Goa to Salvador da Bahia: the circulation of Portuguese agents in the Portuguese Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries


Joana Fraga (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will analyze the trajectories of the Portuguese agents who occupied different positions in the government of the colonial Portuguese empire during the Early Modern Age. It will be seen who were these individuals, which posts did they take and whether there were cultural transfers.

Paper long abstract:

Portuguese officers traveled from India to Brazil and Africa. Previous works have shown that there are only a few cases of governors-general and viceroys present in more than one territory. It is the case of Vasco de Mascarenhas who was appointed as governor-general of Brazil in 1640, viceroy of India in 1652-1653 and later viceroy of Brazil between 1663 and 1667. This is related to the attractiveness of such places and the social prestige required to occupy certain posts. However, this mobility increases when it comes to less important positions. In this paper it will be analyzed the social origins of these men, their political trajectories and mainly whether it is possible to detect cultural transfers. Did they take political practices from a place to another? Were they responsible for introducing any novelties? Which experiences did they share? And how were they received? There are a number of examples men who occupied positions both in India, Brazil and even Angola. They were part of what Luiz F. de Alencastro called "overseas men", individuals who forged great networks in order to increase their social status overseas in order to return home in a better condition that the one previous to their departure. It is also important to remember that during these two centuries, the political status of Portugal changed in 1580 and in 1640, as well as the weight of the Portuguese territories and accordingly the requirements demanded to fulfill the posts.

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