Military Orders in the Early Modern Portuguese World: The Orders of Christ, Santiago and Avis, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Military Orders in the Early Modern Portuguese World

The Orders of Christ, Santiago and Avis, 1st Edition

By Francis A. Dutra


400 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789987
pub: 2006-03-23
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During the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, the three Portuguese military orders of Christ, Santiago and Avis became that kingdom's most important institutions for rewarding services to the Crown. Membership in these military orders was highly prized as status symbols and because of the orders' "purity of blood" statutes, these knighthoods were more highly esteemed than mere patents of nobility, especially since such knighthoods automatically ennobled. Francis A. Dutra has written widely on the Portuguese military orders of Christ, Santiago and Avis - a topic generally neglected by students of early modern Portugal. This volume brings together a selection of his pioneering essays. Based extensively on archival research, they reflect his special interest in social mobility and use of the knighthoods for patronage, while particular sections focus on the role of the orders in the Portuguese maritime expansion and in India and Brazil, and on the medical profession. The collection includes English translations of four studies that originally appeared in Portuguese, as well as a detailed index, in itself a useful research tool.


’… it will certainly stand the test of time as an authoritative examination of the membership of its three military orders.’ Sixteenth Century Journal ’The long waited collection of studies on the Portuguese military orders by the doyen in the field is the result of archival research conducted systematically during almost forty years.’ Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. The Military Orders in Portugal, 1450-1777: The Portuguese military orders in the time of Vasco da Gama; Evolution of the Portuguese Order of Santiago, 1492-1600; New knights in the Portuguese Order of Santiago during the mastership of Dom Jorge, 1492-1550; Knights and commanders and the General Chapters of the Order of Santiago 1550 and 1564: a preliminary study; Membership in the Order of Christ in the 16th century: problems and perspectives; Membership in the Order of Christ in the 17th century: its rights, privileges, and obligations; The Restoration of 1640, the Ausentes em Castela, and the Portuguese military orders: Santiago, a case study; The Order of Santiago in the age of Pombal. The Military Orders and Portugal Overseas: Vasco da Gama and the Order of Santiago; The Order of Santiago and the Portuguese Atlantic islands, 1492-1777; The Order of Santiago and the Estado da India, 1498-1750; A hard-fought struggle for recognition: Manuel Gonçalves Doria, first Afro-Brazilian to become a knight of Santiago; Blacks and the search for rewards and status in 17th-century Brazil; Dowries of knighthoods in the Portuguese military orders of Santiago and Avis in Portugal and Brazil in the 17th century; The Vieira family and the Order of Christ; The maritime profession and membership in the Portuguese military orders in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The Military Orders and Medicine: The practice of medicine in early modern Portugal: the role and social status of the físico-mor and the surgião-mor; New light on Catherine of Bragança's medical practitioners: the two António Ferreiras; Salvador Moreira: surgeon and degredado in Maranhão in the 17th century. Index.

About the Author

Francis A. Dutra is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Military / General
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century