30 Mar 2022 - 18:30

Auditorium 1


Theme: Governing the republic at the mouth of the sertão: representations of municipal power in São Luís do Maranhão (17th-18th centuries)

Overseas expansion transplanted the institutions of the kingdom of Portugal to other spaces, with greater or lesser adaptations to local realities. In the case of municipalities, these developed mainly in the Atlantic islands and in Brazil, being a clearly less important institution in Africa and Asia, despite the existence of senates such as those of São Paulo, Luanda, Goa and Macau. Despite their diversity in terms of size, demographic volume, economic and social dynamics and political centrality, the cities and towns founded by the Portuguese overseas constituted themselves as agents for the construction of the territory and although this desideratum did not obey a preconceived “political program”, that is, a well-defined imperial project with a long-term schedule, the truth is that the municipal institution constituted a “brand image” of the Portuguese pluricontinental monarchy, an aspect already pointed out by the historian English Charles Ralph Boxer in the 60s.

In this communication, we will briefly observe Portuguese America and, specifically, the case of São Luís do Maranhão, and understand how the model of municipal organization and government contributed to integrate the different territories of the Portuguese pluricontinental monarchy into the mystical body of the republic. . As Bernardo Pereira de Berredo wrote about the foundation of São Luís, “the main care” of the Portuguese authorities was placed in the “useful foundation of a City in that same place”, which, following the provisions of the crown, was configured according to “ the regular form of Republic”. We will later see some examples of how, in the setting that was the center of the municipality, the ceremonial and the ornaments and symbols of power were used by the notables in the context of an authentic honor economy.


Professor Doctor José Damião Rodrigues


  • Date: March 30 (Wednesday) at 6:30 pm;
  • In-person conference in Auditorium 1 and via Zoom

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Department of History, Arts and Humanities

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