"This Damned Place!" The Portuguese Atlantic World and the English Experience in Lisbon, 16681750

Thursday, January 3, 2019: 4:10 PM
Salon 1 (Palmer House Hilton)
Cacey Farnsworth, University of Florida
The Portuguese empire, long dependent upon Asian and African trade, suffered serious setbacks as key portions were lost during the period of political union with Spain (1580-1640). With independence in 1668, Portuguese royal attention increasingly shifted towards the Atlantic— and imperial revival—through a greater focus on Brazil and expanded commercial and military relations with Britain. The discovery of gold in the Brazilian interior led to cultural and religious changes in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon as Anglican merchants flooded the city eager to participate in the booming trade. Having secured advantageous religious and commercial privileges by earlier treaties in exchange for English aide during the war with Spain, English merchants were barely tolerated by Portuguese society in Lisbon. Tensions often erupted into religious persecution by the Inquisition, confiscation of commercial goods, riots, or even kidnapping. The common practice of English merchants and ship captains smuggling gold and rich New Christians fleeing the Inquisition did little to help the situation. Yet, despite the widespread animus, the Portuguese grudgingly realized their dependence upon the English. Studying this relationship sheds light on the increasingly diverse nature of the Portuguese Atlantic world and the pushback against such diversity at the local level.
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