In the Shadows of Empires: Trans-Imperial Networks and ColonialIdentity in Bourbon Rio de la Plata Público

Prado, Fabricio Pereira (2009)

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The Rio de la Plata region was one of the most disputed areas in the Atlantic World in the early modern period. Although peripheral in the Spanish mercantile system, the region was the theater of colonial disputes between Spain and Portugal, but also an area of interest for the British and the French. As a result, Rio de la Plata became an area of intense trans-imperial and trans-national interactions. This dissertation analyzes the significance of trans-imperial networks in the late colonial historical context. I argue that, in peripheral regions, colonial subjects developed social and economic networks that crossed imperial borders, and that the control of such networks, coupled with manipulation of imperial legislation, bolster their autonomy before the colonial centers of power. My research examines how groups centered in Montevideo expanded their political, social and economical influence over the surrounding region, the Banda Oriental, through a process of controlling social and trade networks between the Portuguese and Anglo Americas, and reinterpreting colonial legislation. Thus, in peripheral areas, trans-imperial networks offered different political, social and economic options to local societies, shaping notions of community and regional identity within the broader Atlantic context.

Table of Contents

Introduction 01 Chapter 1 - Laying the Land 07 Chapter 2 - A Portuguese Town in the Rio de la Plata 42 Chapter 3 - Departing without Leaving - Luso-Brazilians under Spanish Rule in Rio de la Plata (18th Century) 83 Chapter 4 - Trans-Imperial Cooperation in the South Atlantic - Commerce and War in Rio de la Plata and Rio de Janeiro (1777-1805) 122 Chapter 5 - The Making of Montevideo's Jurisdiction: Contraband, Reforms and Authority 165 Chapter 6 - Changing Toponomies and the Emergence of the Orientales 194 Chapter 7 - Traversing Empires: the Trans-Imperial Career of the Luso-Spaniard Don Manuel Cipriano de Melo 246 Conclusion 273 References 282

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