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Chapter Summary

Encomenderos in New Spain, patroons in New Netherland, Brazilian donatary captains, and various seigneurs and companies in the French Empire, likewise, exercised local authority by virtue of grants, customarily of lands, that incorporated responsibility for maintaining order at some level just as aristocrats and lower landholding orders did in Western Europe. Colonization provided ambitious aristocrats, gentry, and merchants with political opportunity and potential financial returns. Early modern Western European states may have lurched towards centralization. Yet, their governments remained dependent on a patchwork of officialdom-justices of the peace, councils, audiencias, conseils- to maintain order in localities. Proprietorships- whether captaincies, seigneuries, or corporations or some other device- constituted the only points of contact available to deal with the acknowledged problems of distance and ocean travel in attempting to administer transatlantic interests.

Keywords: Brazil; Colonization; Netherland; patroons; Proprietorships; Spain



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