Culture & History Digital Journal, Vol 1, No 2 (2012)

In a world without faith and dominated by ambition: Representations of Brazil and the Portuguese in the First Half of the Eighteen Century European Travel Literature


https://doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2012.m104

Ângela Domingues
Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical and Centro de História de Além-Mar (FCSH/UNL) , Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract


As part of a reflection on Atlantic history, I intend to reread the travel literature written by Europeans who stayed briefly at the Brazilian shore, so as to learn about the Portuguese empire -and particularly Brazil- from the inside and understand how the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilians of the colony were perceived. Travelers registered their impressions based on their own principles, and in some cases exaggerated the cultural differences they observed. This rereading makes it possible to evaluate the differences between a Europe constituted by nations, kingdoms and empires, and Mediterranean Europe. The travel literature, which did not have Brazil as final destination, could have disproportionate and unsuspected repercussions. The accounts showed Portugal and its colonies as similar to Spain and very different from the rest of Europe, at a period of affirmation of the national States and aggressive imperial external policies aimed at the South Atlantic.

Keywords


Colonial Brazil; circumnavigation; travel literature; European empires; identities

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