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The Hibernian Amazon: A Struggle for Sovereignty in the Portuguese Court, 1643-1648

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image of Journal of Early Modern History

Based on the archival records of the Conselho Ultramarino of Portugal, this article tells the story of an Irish colony in the Amazon, as it was conceived, proposed, and debated in the court of the House of Bragança. Although it is fascinating in its own right, this story reveals a more profound ideological fissure between the king and his counselors. By "naturalizing" a group of foreign émigrés, João IV threatened to undermine not only the security of his American colonies, but also the ideology of popular sovereignty that justified the recent overthrow of Habsburg rule and his own ascension to the throne. At the dawn of this Restoration, the fate of the Irish settlers threw into question the shape and character of the Portuguese nation and the foundations of the modern state.

Affiliations: 1: Princeton University


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