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This chapter examines probate inventories and other primary documents to chart the integration of Bahia’s dendê economy within the post-abolition transitions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It reconstructs four socioecological processes fundamental in that synthesis: the expansion of dendê cultures and landscapes in and around nineteenth-century Salvador; the interactive emergence of transatlantic economies, landscapes, and religions on the bay island of Itaparica; the persistent proliferation of dendê landscapes despite official disregard and illegibility; and the complementary intensification of dendê and cacao production on the post-abolition Southern Coast. This chapter demonstrates how networks of people, plants, places, and power interacted across time and space to assemble and reproduce a transatlantic dendê economy combining nourishment, ecology, and spirituality.
The economic and social structure was dominated by the merchant-king who possessed the monopoly of trade. The social structure of Portugal was unlike any other in Europe not only because of the important part played by the king in the economy and the lack of a national bourgeoisie in the accepted sense of the term but also because, as Albert Silbert has pointed out, Portugal had not experienced the feudal system. The Portuguese crown also gained strength from its religious and cultural role. The municipal organization of Salvador may be taken as typical of urban administration in Brazil. The first municipal council was created in 1549, at the time of the foundation of the city. The crisis in the Brazilian sugar industry in the 1680s after a century of growth and prosperity triggered off an economic crisis in Portugal. The Brazilian gold cycle had an important impact on the Atlantic trade, the slave trade from Africa.
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