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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   Portugal   >   History

   
 

Portuguese History


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Books about Portuguese History


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The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415-1670: A Documentary History

Cambridge University Press
Released: 2010-08-26
Paperback (266 pages)

The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415-1670: A Documentary History
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The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415-1670 brings together a collection of documents - all in new English translation - that illustrate aspects of the encounters between the Portuguese and the peoples of North and West Africa in the period from 1400 to 1650. This period witnessed the diaspora of the Sephardic Jews, the emigration of Portuguese to West Africa and the islands, and the beginnings of the black diaspora associated with the slave trade. The documents show how the Portuguese tried to understand the societies with which they came into contact and to reconcile their experience with the myths and legends inherited from classical and medieval learning. They also show how Africans reacted to the coming of Europeans, adapting Christian ideas to local beliefs and making use of exotic imports and European technologies. The documents also describe the evolution of the black Portuguese communities in Guinea and the islands, as well as the slave trade and the way that it was organized, understood, and justified.

In Pursuit of Their Dreams: A History of Azorean Immigration to the United States, 2nd Edition (Portuguese in the Americas)

By Jerry R. Williams

Brand: Tagus
Paperback (216 pages)

In Pursuit of Their Dreams: A History of Azorean Immigration to the United States, 2nd Edition (Portuguese in the Americas)
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Jerry Williams' history of Azorean immigration to the United States offers us valuable insight into the experience and culture of Portuguese immigrants and their descendents. This account fills a major gap in American immigration history and gives us a comprehensive overview of how Portuguese-Americans-now numbering close to a million people-have come to constitute a vibrant and highly visible presence within southeastern New England, the areas around San Francisco and San Diego, Hawaii, and the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. Even though Azorean immigrants all came from similar cultural and social backgrounds, Williams shows how regionally specific opportunity structures and social hierarchies have contributed to significant differences within the Portuguese-American experience.

Starting with the whaling routes that first connected the mid-Atlantic archipelago with the ports of call in New England and California in the early 1800s, Williams lays out the complex relationship between the Azores and the US that has continued into the present. We learn how particular patterns of poverty, overpopulation and social inequality in the Azores pushed large numbers of the islands' inhabitants to leave their homes in search of better opportunities for themselves and their children. He tells the story of how the early whalers who jumped ship in New Bedford, San Francisco, or Hawaii were followed by kin and fellow villagers who had heard of plentiful jobs in New England's textile mills, gold and land in California, or agricultural work on Hawaiian plantations. Williams' account allows us to understand the importance of family and community connections throughout the immigrants' arduous transition from peasant life to industrial society.

The Origins of Mexican Catholicism: Nahua Rituals and Christian Sacraments in Sixteenth-Century Mexico (History, Languages, and Cultures of the Spanish and Portuguese Worlds)

By Osvaldo F. Pardo

University of Michigan Press
Paperback (288 pages)

The Origins of Mexican Catholicism: Nahua Rituals and Christian Sacraments in Sixteenth-Century Mexico (History, Languages, and Cultures of the Spanish and Portuguese Worlds)
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"Pardo's study provides a persuasive criticism of the widespread assumption that the process of Christianization in Mexico can be conceived as the imposition of a complete and fool-proof system that did not accept doubts or compromises. The Origins of Mexican Catholicism will become an invaluable tool for future researchers and enrich future debates on the subject."
---Fernando Cervantes, Bristol University, UK

"Pardo does an excellent job of balancing and contrasting sixteenth-century Catholic theology with Nahua thought and belief."
---John F. Schwaller, University of Minnesota


At first glance, religious conversion may appear to be only a one-way street. When studying sixteenth-century Mexico, one might assume that colonial coercion was the driving force behind the religious conversion of the native population. But The Origins of Mexican Catholicism shows how Spanish missionaries instead drew on existing native ceremonies in order to make Christianity more accessible to the Nahua population whom they were trying to convert.

Osvaldo F. Pardo explains that religious figures not only shaped native thought, but that indigenous rituals had an impact on the religion itself. This work illustrates the complex negotiations that took place in the process of making the Christian sacraments available to the native peoples, and at the same time, forced the missionaries to reexamine the meaning of their sacraments through the eyes of an alien culture.

For Spanish missionaries, ritual not only became a focus of evangelical concern but also opened a window to the social world of the Nahuas. Missionaries were able to delve into the Nahua's notions of self, emotions, and social and cosmic order. By better understanding the sociological aspects of Nahua culture, Christians learned ways to adequately convey their religion through mutual understanding instead of merely colonial oppression.

Given its interdisciplinary approach, this book will be of interest to specialists in Latin American intellectual and literary history, the history of religion, and anthropology, and to anyone interested in cross-cultural processes.


 
 
 

 
 
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