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The Estado da India and the Estado do Brasil. Opportunities for Research in Portuguese Overseas History

  • A.J.R. Russell-Wood (a1)


In this year marking the sexcentenary of the birth of Prince Henry, known erroneously to the English speaking world as ‘the Navigator’, and the 450th anniversary of the Portuguese arrival in Japan, it is fitting to take stock of what has been achieved and what remains concerning research on Portuguese overseas history. In November 1969 a conference was held at the Newberry Library in Chicago to ‘stimulate in the United States scholarly interest in research on Brazil's colonial past’. In November 1978 an International Seminar on Indo-Portuguese History was held in Goa occasioned by ‘an awareness of a relative stagnation in the field of Indo-Portuguese historical studies, especially in India’. This was prompted by the feeling of a dearth of new interpretations, shortage of studies in English, and neglect of political history, biography and social and economic history. Whereas the tone of the Newberry Library meeting was upbeat as to what junior scholars were achieving, and Charles Boxer pointed with pride to scholarly accomplishments since 1950, by 1984 a lecture to mark the occasion of the centennial of the American Historical Association noted grounds for concern regarding studies in the United States on colonial Brazil and this situation has deteriorated further during the decades of the 80s and early 90s. By way of contrast, in 1981 Charles Boxer noted the vitality of the Estado da India in its broadest geographical meaning as a subject for historical research by Portuguese and how ‘after years — I might even say centuries – of neglect by foreigners, the history of the old Estado da India has lately come into its own in the wider world’. This was seconded by M.N. Pearson who noted that ‘Goan historiography seems to be on the verge of a renaissance’.



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1 Alden, Dauril, introduction to Colonial Roots of Modern Brazil (Los Angeles 1973) ix.

2 Correia-Afonso, John S.J., introduction to Indo-Portuguese History. Sources and Problems (Bombay 1981) vii.

3 Boxer, C.R., ‘Some Reflections on the Historiography of Colonial Brazil, 1950–1970’, in: Alden, , Colonial Roots of Modern Brazil, 315;Russell-Wood, A.J.R., ‘U.S. Scholarly Contributions to the Historiography of Colonial Brazil’, Hispanic American Historical Review 65 (1985) 698699, 716; and a more recent assessment in Russell-Wood, A.J.R., Society and Government in Colonial Brazil, 1500–1822 (Aldershot 1992) x–xi;Boxer, C.R., ‘Some second thoughts on Indo-Portuguese historiography’, in: Correia-Afonso, , Indo-Portuguese History, 132147 (quotation 144), which should be read in conjunction with his earlier ‘Some Considerations on Portuguese Colonial Historiography’, in: Proceedings of the First International Colloquium on Luso-Brazilian Studies, Washington D.C., 1950 (Nashville 1953), 169180;Pearson, M.N., Coastal Western India. Studies from the Portuguese Records (New Delhi 1981) 1.

4 Disney, A.R., ‘The Portuguese Empire in India, c. 1550–1650. Some Suggestions for a Less Seaborne, More Landbound Approach to its Socio-Economic History’, in: Correia-Afonso, , Indo-Portuguese History, 148162.

5 Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500–1700 (London 1993) 28; Blussé, Leonard, ‘Brief Encounter at Macao’, Modern Asian Studies 22 (1988) 647664.

6 Pearson, M.N., ‘Some Portuguese sources for Indian historiography’, in: Soedjatmoko, et al. eds., An Introduction to Indonesian Historiography (Ithaca, N.Y., 1965), 217233;id., Merchants and Rulers of Gujarat. The Response to the Portuguese in the Sixteenth Century (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1976); id., Coastal Western India; id., introduction to The New Cambridge History of India 1–1. The Portuguese in India (Cambridge 1987).

7 Isaacman, Allen F., Mozambique. The Africanization of an European Institution. The Zambezi Prazos, 1750–1902 (Madison and London 1972). For a cautionary note on oral sources and reaffirmation of the preeminence of European printed sources, see essays in the special issue of Paideuma 33 (1987), dedicated to European Sources for Sub-Saharan Africa before 1900: Use and Abuse, edited by Beatrix Heintze and Adam Jones.

8 Miller, Joseph C., Way of Death. Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730–1830 (Madison 1988).

9 Naro, Nancy Priscilla Smith, ‘Gender and Space on Brazilian Plantations: The Comparative Context’, paper presented to the Latin American Studies Program, The Johns Hopkins University (2 May 1994);Reeve, Mary-Elizabeth, ‘Regional Interaction in the Western Amazon: The Early Colonial Encounter and the Jesuit Years: 1538–1767’, Ethnohistory 41 (1994) 106138.

10 Recent studies include Bellini, Līgia, A coisa obscura; mulker, sodomiae inquisicdo no Brasil colonial (Sao Paulo 1989); Algranti, Leila Mezan, Honrailose devolas: mulheres da colonia (Rio de Janeiro 1993); del Priore, Mary, Ao sul do corpo: comlicdo feminina, maternidades e mentalides no Brasil colonia (Rio de Janeiro 1993).

11 Scammell, G.V., ‘Indigenous Assistance in the Establishment of Portuguese Power in Asia in the Sixteenth Century’, Modem Asian Studies 14 (1980) 111; and his The Pillars of Empire: Indigenous Assistance and the Survival of the “Estado da India”, c. 1600–1700’, Modem Asian Studies 22 (1988) 473489;Kling, Blair B. and Pearson, M.N. eds.. The Age of Partnership: Europeans in Asia Before Dominion (Honolulu 1979); Furber, Holden, Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient, 1600–1800 (Minneapolis 1976); Lach, Donald (and Edwin van Kley), Asia in the Making of Europe. 3 vols. (Chicago and London 1965-1993).

12 A move in this direction is represented by the microfiche on the Portuguese in Asia, 1498-c. 1800 available from IDC Microform Publishers (Leiden).

13 Alden, Dauril, Royal Government in Colonial Brazil (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1968) 513et sen.

14 Pierre-Yves Manguin, in a paper presented at the International Seminar on Indo-Portuguese History in Goa in November of 1978, underlined the importance of the Correspondencia-da ae Macau for the study of Southeast Asian History. The Historical Archives at Goa still awaits a computerized and detailed catalogue. For a general introduction, see Gune, V.T., A Guide to the Collections of Records from the Goa Archives (Panaji 1973). An addition to die list of selective guides to the Historical Archives of Goa was Fenning, H. O.P., ‘Records of the Dominicans of Goa, 1700–1835’, Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum (Rome 1980) 387410. For Angola, see Miller, J.C., ‘The Archives of Luanda, Angola’, International Journal of African Historical Studies 7 (1974) 551590, and die Roteiros published by the Arquivo Nacional de Angola.

15 Arquivos de Macau (Macau 1929); Arquivos de Angola (Luanda 1933); Documentos sobre os Portugueses em Mozambique e na Africa Central/Documents on the Portuguese in Mozambique and Central Africa, 1497–1840. 8 vols. (Lisbon 1962-1975); Documentaçāo Ullramarina Portuguesa (Lisbon 1960); As Gavetas da Torre do Tombo (Lisbon 1960-1978); Livros das Moncoes and Assentos do Conselho do Estado da India. 5 vols. (Bastorá 1953-1957); and Supplementary Series (Panaji 1972); Documentos Historicos (Rio de Janeiro 1928); Anais da Biblioteca Nacional (Rio de Janeiro 1876).

16 Negócios Coloniais: Umn correspondénda comercial do século XVIII. 5 vols. (Sāo Paulo 1973). See also Silva, Maria Jūlia de Oliveira e, Fidalgos-Mercadores no seculo XVIII. Duarte Sodre Pereira (Lisbon 1992); Heintze's, BeatrixFontes para a historia de Angola do seculo XVII (Stuttgart 1985); Boxer, , ‘Some reflecdons on the historiography of colonial Brazil, 1950–1970’, 9. See also his Figueiredo, Francisco Vieira de: A Portuguese Merchant-Adventurer in South East Asia, 1624–1667 (The Hague 1967).

17 Dialogues of the Great Things of Brazil Translated and annoted by Hall, Frederick H., Harrison, William F., and Welker, Dorodiy W. (Albuquerque 1987); Mansuy, Andree, Cultura e Opulenda do Brasil (Paris 1968); Conrad, Robert, Children of God's Fire (Princeton 1983).

18 Dutra, Francis, Guide to the History of Brazil, 1500–1822. The Literature in English (Santa Barbara 1981); Silva, Maria Beatriz Nizza da, Guia de Historia do Brasil Colonial (Porto 1992); Boletim International de Bibliografia Luso-Brasileira. 14 vols. (Lisbon 1960-1973); Scholberg, Henry, Bibliography of Goa and the Portuguese in India (New Delhi 1982).

19 See also Wesseling, H.L. and Emmer, P.C., ‘What is Overseas History? Some Reflecdons on a Colloquium and a Problem’, in: Wesseling, H.L. and Emmer, P.C. eds., Reappraisals in Overseas History (Leiden 1979).

20 Horta, José da Silva, ‘A representaçāo do Africano na literature de viagens do Senegal à Serra Leoa (1453–1508)’, Mare liberum 2 (1991) 209339. See also Russell-Wood, A.J.R., ‘Before Columbus: Portugal's African Prelude to the Middle Passage and Contribudon to Discourse on Race and Slavery’, in: Hyatt, Vera and Nettleford, Rex eds., Rare, Discourse and the Origin of the Americas: A New World View of 1492 (Washington D.C. 1994), especially 149161.

21 Pearson, , Coastal Western India, xxi.

22 Desclassificados do ouro – a pobreza mineira do seculo XVIII (Rio de Janeiro 1982). See also de Souza, Teotonio R., ‘The Voiceless in Goan Historiography’, in: Correia-Afonso, , Indo-Portuguese History, 114131.

23 Boyajian, James C., Portuguese Trade in Asia under the Habsburgs, 1580–1640 (Baltimore and London 1993).

24 Souza, Laura de Mello e, O diabo e a terra de Santa Cruz (Sāo Paulo 1986); id., Inferno Atlantic. Demonologia e colonizacao (Säo Paulo 1993).

25 Saccardo, Graziano, Congo e Angola: con la sloria dell'antica missione dei cappucdni. 3 vols. (Venice 1982).

26 Documentaço para a História das Missöes do Padroado Portugués do Oriente. India. 12 vols. (Lisbon 19471958), by Antonio da Silva Rego S.J.; and Insulíndia. 5 vols. (Lisbon 19541958), by de Sá S.J., Artur Basílio; Documenta Indica. 13 vols. (Rome 1948-1975), edited by Wicki S.J., Josef; Documenta Malucensia, edited by Jacobs S.J., Hubert, 2 vols. (Rome, 1974-1984); the Historia da Companhia de Jesus no Brasil. 10 vols. (Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro 1938-1950), by Leite S.J., Serafim, and whose Monumenta Brasiliae (Rome 1956) has been continued by Garcia S.J., Luis Fernando; Monumenta missionaria africana: Africa oddental. Série I, vols. 1–11 (Lisbon 1952-1972); Vols. 12–15 (Lisbon 1981, 1984–1988), edited by António Brásio S.J.

27 Alden, Royal Government in Colonial Brazil.

28 Lockhart, James, The Men of Cajamarca: A Social and Biographical Study of the First Conquerors of Peru (Austin 1972); Schwartz, Stuart B., Sovereignty and Society in Colonial Brazil The High Court of Bahia and its Judges, 1609–1751 (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1973).

29 Karasch, Mary C., Slave Life in Rio de Janeiro, 1808–1850 (Princeton 1987); Russell-Wood, A.J.R., The Black Man in Slavery and Freedom in Colonial Brazil (London 1982); Reeve, ‘Regional Interaction in the Western Amazon’.

30 Boyajian, Portuguese Trade in Asia under the Habsburgs.

31 Boxer, C.R., Portuguese Society in the Tropics (Madison and Milwaukee 1965).

32 For a pioneering article, see Johnson, Harold B. Jr, ‘A Preliminary Enquiry into Money, Prices, and Wages in Rio de Janeiro, 1763–1823’, in: Alden, , Colonial Roots of Modern Brazil, 231283;Boxer, C.R., ‘Some possible fields of research in the history of Portuguese India’, in: Correia-Afonso, , Indo-Portuguese History, 183194;Russell-Wood, A.J.R., ‘An Agenda and a Bibliography for the History of Colonial Brazil’, The Americas 38 (1982), especially 409411.

The Estado da India and the Estado do Brasil. Opportunities for Research in Portuguese Overseas History

  • A.J.R. Russell-Wood (a1)


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