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The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500-1700: A Political and Economic History, 2nd Edition

The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500-1700: A Political and Economic History, 2nd Edition

Sanjay Subrahmanyam

ISBN: 978-1-118-27402-6 March 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 352 Pages




Featuring updates and revisions that reflect recent historiography, this new edition of The Portuguese Empire in Asia 1500-1700 presents a comprehensive overview of Portuguese imperial history that considers Asian and European perspectives.
  • Features an argument-driven history with a clear chronological structure
  • Considers the latest developments in English, French, and Portuguese historiography
  • Offers a balanced view in a divisive area of historical study
  • Includes updated Glossary and Guide to Further Reading
Abbreviations x

Maps xi

Tables xii

Acknowledgments xiv

Preface to the Second Edition xv

Preface to the First Edition xvii

Introduction: The Mythical Faces of Portuguese Asia 1

1 Early Modern Asia: Geopolitics and Economic Change 11

Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-century States 13

The Circulation of Elites 22

Towards a Taxonomy 27

Long-term Trends 30

2 Portuguese State and Society, 1200-1500 33

Crown and Nobility 33

In Search of a Bourgeoisie 40

Mercantilism and Messianism 48

Summing Up 55

3 Two Patterns and Their Logic: Creating an Empire, 1498-1540 59

The Early Expeditions 60

From Almeida to Albuquerque: Defining the First Pattern 67

The Second Pattern: East of Cape Comorin 74

The Logic at Work: Portuguese Asia, 1525–40 78

Towards the "Crisis" 83

Notes 85

4 The Mid-Sixteenth-century "Crisis" 87

The Dilemmas of Joanine Policy 88

S´as, Sousas, and Castros: Portuguese Asian Officialdom in the Crisis 96

The Mid-century Debate 104

The Far Eastern Solution 107

The Estado in 1570 113

Notes 114

5 Between Land-bound and Sea-borne: Reorientations, 1570-1610 115

Trade and Conquest: The Spanish View 116

Spain, Portugal, and the Atlantic Turning 120

Girdling the Globe 124

The “Land” Question 130

The Maritime Challenge 141

Concessions and Captains-Major 145

The Beginnings of Decline? 150

6 Empire in Retreat, 1610-1665 153

Political Reconsolidation in Asia, 1570-1610 154

Syriam and Hurmuz: The Beginnings of Retreat 160

Reform and Its Consequences 167

The Decade of Disasters: Portuguese Asia in the 1630s 172

Restoration, Truce, and Failure, 1640-52 181

The Retreat Completed, 1652-65 186

Asians, Europeans, and the Retreat 188

Notes 189

7 Niches and Networks: Staying On, 1665-1700 191

The Cape Route and the Bahia Trade 192

The Vicissitudes of the Estado: The View from Goa 198

Mozambique, Munhumutapa, and Prazo Creation 206

The Portuguese of the Bay of Bengal 211

Survival in the Far East: Macau and Timor 217

The Portuguese, Dutch, and English: A Comparison 222

8 Portuguese Asian Society I: The Official Realm 227

The Problem of Numbers 228

The World of the Casado 236

Networks, Fortunes, and Patronage 243

"Portuguese" and "Foreigner" 250

Rise of the Solteiro 253

The Impact on Portugal 257

9 Portuguese Asian Society II: The Frontier and Beyond 261

Renegades and Rebels 262

Mercenaries, Firearms, and Fifth Columnists 269

Converts and Client Communities 274

A Luso–Asian Diaspora? 279

10 Conclusion: Between Banditry and Capitalism 285

Glossary 295

A Note on Quantitative Data 303

Bibliography 307

Maps 323

Index 333

"This masterful history of Europe's first great Early Modern maritime empire goes well beyond the limits of traditional nationalistic and Eurocentric interpretations. Integrating European and Asian sources, Subrahmanyam's new edition is a synthetic, interpretative and at times speculative book that sets the Portuguese Indian Ocean empire in the context of Asian and World history. There is no book in English that provides a better introduction to this topic."  (, 23 October 2013)