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Portugal, Portuguese America And New Christians: A Missing Link In Iberian And Colonial Latin American Studies

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book, which analyzes literary writings and inquisitorial testimonies produced by individuals of Jewish heritage who lived in the Iberian Atlantic world during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The expression "through cracks in the walls" calls attention to the fact that although the modern Inquisitions of the Iberian world functioned at times as efficient bureaucracies intended to control their imperial and colonial subjects through fear, they sometimes failed to reach their goals, in part due to the extension of the Spanish and Portuguese Empires. The trials studied in the book suggests that the actions of the Inquisition against Jewish descendents increases or decreases depending on the political and economic crises faced by the Iberian empires.

Keywords: colonial Latin American studies; Iberian Atlantic World; jewish descendents; Portuguese empires



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