A new history of Brazil’s eighteenth century that foregrounds debates about wealth, difference, and governance
Transformations in Portugal and Brazil followed the discovery of gold in Brazil’s hinterland and the hinterland’s subsequent settlement. Although earlier conquests and evangelizations had incorporated new lands and peoples into the monarchy, royal officials now argued that the extraction of gold and the imperatives of rivalry and commerce demanded new approaches to governance to ensure that Brazil’s wealth flowed to Portugal and into imperial networks of exchange.
Using archival records of royal and local administrations, as well as contemporary print culture, Kirsten Schultz shows how the eighteenth-century Portuguese crown came to define and defend Brazil as a “colony” that would reinvigorate Portuguese power. Making Brazil a colony entailed reckoning with dynamic societies that encompassed Indigenous peoples, Africans, and Europeans; the free and the enslaved; the wealthy and the poor. It also involved regulating social relations defined by legal status, ancestry, labor, and wealth to ensure that Portuguese America complemented and supported, rather than reproduced, metropolitan ways of producing and consuming wealth.
Kirsten Schultz teaches Latin American history at Seton Hall University. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University, and other organizations. She lives in Montclair, NJ.
“Kirsten Schultz’s magnificent study of the Portuguese-Brazilian empire’s golden age explores the interconnection between wealth and race, imperial monarchy and colonial loyalty, and the shifting imaginations of reform and order across the turbulent eighteenth century. The research is impressive, and the writing gilded. It must be read by all historians of the Atlantic world.”—Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
“In this stunningly original book, Kirsten Schultz skillfully weaves disparate historiographical threads as well as her own analysis of little-known sources to present a new, compelling interpretation of the Luso-Brazilian world in the eighteenth century.”—Gabriel Paquette, University of Maine
“Kirsten Schultz’s study profoundly alters our understanding of how the Portuguese crown and its advisors perceived and consequently sought to govern Portugal’s vast South American territories during the eighteenth century.”—Hal Langfur, author of Adrift on an Inland Sea: Misinformation and the Limits of Empire in the Brazilian Backlands
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