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Social networks and politic power in Salvador da Bahia during the Iberian Union (1580-1640)

From 1580 to 1640, Portugal and its overseas empire (Brazil, Macao and Angola) were part of the Hispanic Monarchy. During this period, also known as «Iberian Union», the Spanish bureaucrats were more experienced in colonial America affairs than the Portuguese ones. The transformation of Brazil started at that moment.

The purpose of my PhD is to analyse the bonds between Salvador de Bahia and the Hispanic Monarchy through the study of the bureaucratic metropolitan system that acted on the city during the Iberian Union, identifying the decisions taken regarding the Brazilian colony.

To make it possible, I will carry out a thorough study of the leading personalities that served during this period and their networks, trying to reconstruct a reality not well known today. I will dedicate a special attention to politic, economic and social problems, and I will study bureaucratic members, businessmen, traders, officers, soldiers and their corresponding networks.

Indeed, the most interesting aspects of this research are the notion of Salvador de Bahia as imperial city, and the fact that he city was integrated in the Hapsburg American colonial empire at least from 1581 to 1640. According to this, we have to pay attention not only to the networks woven by the Brazilian elites, but also to the contacts made between these groups and the peninsular ones. Thus, leaving aside the traditional way of doing History, almost always focused in institutions and political facts, my Ph.D project aims to examine the city of Salvador during the Iberian Union from the local perspective, trying to reconstruct the networks set up by the leading personalities and by everyone around them.