Society and Government in Colonial Brazil, 1500–1822: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Society and Government in Colonial Brazil, 1500–1822

1st Edition

By A.J.R. Russell-Wood


352 pages

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Hardback: 9780860783336
pub: 1992-09-24
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Professor Russell-Wood’s detailed studies of Brazilian social history in the colonial era have long been recognised as model contributions to the history of class, race, gender and religion. This collection combines work on particular persons and groupings with survey articles on the role of the port and the frontier in colonial Brazil and on its historiography. The author describes the administration and structure of government, and the realities of royal power, with examples drawn from the port cities and the mining townships of the interior, then moves on to examine the interplay of class, religion and race with reference to brotherhoods of persons of African descent and the racially exclusive Third Orders. One group who overcame legal, physical and social constraints were women who, whether of European or African descent, contributed decisively to the economy and society of Brazil. To conclude, there are accounts of three individuals, each of whose experiences illustrate facets of the judicial system, governance and education in Portugal’s richest colony. Les études détaillées du professeur Russell-Wood sur l’histoire sociale brésilienne durant la période coloniale ont longtemps été reconnues comme un modèle de contribution à histoire des classes, des races, des genres et des religions. Cette collection allie des travaux au sujet d’individus spécifiques et de groupements à des résumés d’enquête sur la rôle du port et de la frontière dans le Brésil colonial et dans son historiographie. L’auteur décrit l’administration et la structure gouvernementale, ainsi que les réalités du pouvoir royal, s’appuyant d’exemples tirés des cités portuaires et des communes minières de l’intérieur. Il passe ensuite à l’examen de l’interaction des classes, des religions et des races en faisant référence aux liens de fraternité qui unissaient les personnes de descendance africaine, ainsi qu’aux Troisièmes Ordres qui pratiq

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Ports of colonial Brazil; Frontiers in colonial Brazil: reality, myth and metaphor; Local government in Portuguese America: a study in cultural divergence; Class, creed and colour in colonial Brazil: a study in prejudice; Prestige, power and piety in colonial Brazil: the Third Orders of Salvador; Examination of selected statutes of three African brotherhoods; Women and society in colonial Brazil; António Alvares Pereira: a Brazilian student at the University of Coimbra in the 18th century; Manuel Nunes Viana: paragon or parasite of Empire?; A cause célèbre of colonial Brazil: António Fernandes’ personal struggle for justice; United States scholarly contributions to the historiography of colonial Brazil; Index.

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