Uncertain power: Representing Royal Power in the Portuguese Empire (1580-1750)

Principal Investigator: Joana Fraga

Funding: Marie Curie Individual Fellowship

UNCERTAINPOWER aims at analysing the authority of the viceroys and governors-general – the highest representatives of the Portuguese kings – in the States of India and Brazil, between 1640 and 1750. As such, it will take into consideration the relevance of formal and informal expressions and forms of power and authority in places where the presence of the king was impossible to happen; and their role in the political communication in Early Modern age. The project draws on the analysis of different types of sources: a) written documents (such as biographies of governors and viceroys, accounts of births, baptisms, weddings and funeral, as well as from other ceremonies; and correspondence); b) iconographic documents (mainly portraits). These sources will allow us to identify and analyse the strategies developed by the Portuguese kings’ agents in an inter- and intra-imperial perspective, compared and connected. This methodology consent us to take into consideration other similar experiences, such as the ones from the Spanish, British and Mughal empires. We will then be able to compare the results of this project with the experiences lived in these other contexts, mainly when it comes to the circulation of cultural models.

Image:  Anónimo, De verovering van San Salvador in Brazilië door admiraal Jacob Willekes voor de WIC, 10 mei 1624…, etching/engraving, 1699, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdão.