A theme common to all regions of the Portuguese seaborne empire was dependency on non-Europeans for the creation, consolidation and survival of empire: for defense, labor, construction of towns and forts, transportation, production of raw materials, sexual gratification and, in the case of the Estado da India (Portuguese forts, towns, cities and factories from the Swahili coast to Japan and Timor), on merchants, brokers and interpreters to provide access to suppliers, distributors, commercial networks, and even vessels and capital. Through conversion, peoples from Japan to Africa and America, contributed to the flock of the church militant and, in some more limited cases, as missionaries, catechists, and secular priests. One exception was Brazil where Amerindians were not admitted into the regular or secular clergy. The one area in which the Portuguese crown was not willing to countenance indigenous participation was appointment to public office, be this in the imperial bureaucracy, or election to city or town councils other than in Cape Verde and São Tomé. In Asia and Angola persons other than of exclusively European parentage on both sides and even New Christians may have served on town councils, and some non-Europeans held clerical positions, but the policy forbidding persons of African descent to hold office in church or state was adhered to in practice. Brazil was unique in at least two regards. First, perhaps in no other European colony was dispossession (from an indigenous perspective) so complete. The Portuguese assumed sovereignty over indigenous peoples and their territories and saw Brazil as a tabula rasa where the Portuguese were free to establish cities, institutions, governance, commercial practices, and to implant their religious beliefs, writing and numeracy systems, values, and mores. Secondly, among European overseas colonies in the early modern period, Brazil was unique in that by the end of the colonial period (1822), a transplanted population of African-born and their American-born descendants comprised a demographic majority which exceeded the indigenous population and persons of European origin or descent.