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Group identities in the early Portuguese overseas expansion in Africa: concepts and expressions.

THE PERCEPTIONS of collective/group identity, both in terms of self-definition and definition of the "Others", represent a topic that continues to be very intensely debated. (1) In the area of overseas expansion, most coverage has been given to European perceptions of native American societies, perceptively more than of African and Asian ones. (2) More specifically, Portuguese attitudes to and notions of the cultures and societies they encountered in what Donald Lach labelled the "Century of Discovery" (3) have been also been increasingly attracting scholarly attention. (4) The fifteenth and sixteenth-century sources which contain perceptions and definition of the religious, ethnic, political and cultural identities of the peoples the Portuguese had come into contact with play an extremely important role in the historiography of many coastal regions of Africa, Asia and South America. This is particularly true about coastal sub-Saharan Africa where the Portuguese sources constitute the bulk of written evidence. In the case of Africa, corroborating evidence, such as oral history, archeology and linguistic analysis, has mostly confirmed the ethnic, political, economic and linguistic maps which can be drawn from the Portuguese sources, allowing for distortions created by transcription of verbal information, language errors and imperfect coverage. (5) Inaccuracy of course increases when it comes to description of belief systems, social categories and other complex concepts and processes which are very likely to be influenced by the expectations, values and normative concepts of the observer, of which self-identity is the most important one. (6)

When examining the Portuguese notions of identity of the others, the ideas which determined their own collective (group) identity must always be kept in mind, an identity defined by shared beliefs. (7) The Portuguese overseas expansion began to unfold almost simultaneously with the emergence of strong national sentiment in Portugal. The Portuguese self-defined collective identity thus galvanized in the context of the overseas expansion, and inevitably influenced and was influenced by the perception of the identity of the various peoples and groups encountered. Both the Portuguese self-definition and their definition of others must therefore been seen as a process shaped by past thoughts and ideological dictates of the period, as well as situational dynamics, and thus by both long--and short term factors.

The same consideration should be, but seldom is, applied to one's own effort to understand such a process. Reconstructions of past identities and identity perceptions are often heavily overlaid by modern concerns, in particular issues related to race, racism and ethnocentrism. Much effort is spent on proving that the Europeans, in this case the Portuguese, were race-conscious, ethno--or Europocentric, and christocentric. (8) There is no point in denying this or in proving at length that this indeed was the case. Cultural relativism is a modern Western construct. Most past societies and cultures were centric, in that they subscribed to certain aesthetic criteria, considered the patterns created by their culture to be the normal or correct way of life, and saw all others as either marginal to or out-of-balance with dictates of the divine or universal forces. (9) A more productive way is to examine the patterns of perception of the collective "Self" and "Others" in different contexts; assess how and to what degree such perceptions or definitions of identity served as driving forces behind historical events; and consider the feedback effect of historical events and development on identity formulation.

In the case of the early Portuguese expansion, the available sources make such an examination considerably difficult, if only because of their scarcity and their heterogenous nature and purpose. In the case of narrative sources, the key factors to be taken into consideration are their representativeness, the status and outlook of the authors, their intellectual pretensions, and the length of time separating the source from the events described. As a general rule, narratives written by actual participants close to the events are more matter-of-fact and less ideologically loaded than those written long after the event and aiming at glorifying an event or a person, or those written by non-participants. Intellectual pretensions played an important role. For example, the same author can be matter-of-fact and non-judgmental in passages dealing with contemporary affairs and make very prejudicial statements in passages seeking to prove his erudition by drawing on past scholarly authorities, whether ancient, Christian or, some times, Muslim. (10) Documentary sources also offer widely differing perspectives. Documents that aim at providing legitimization or moral justification of overseas claims employ very different concepts and language than, for example, diplomatic correspondence with African states, or instructions to Crown employees for dealing with Africans, or documents pertaining to actual day-to-day interaction. (11)

All too often modern historians are tempted to select passages which illustrate a particular point, frequently the same passages from the same narrative sources, in particular Gomes Eanes de Zurara's Discovery and Conquest of Cuinea. (12) The most frequently quoted passage is the justification of the use of Africans as slaves:
   ... having left the country in which they were dwelling to the
   perdition of their souls and bodies, they had now all things to the
   contrary. I say perdition of souls because they were pagans without
   the light or flame of the Holy Faith; and perdition of their bodies
   because they lived like beasts without any of the customs of
   rational creatures, since they did ot even know what were bread and
   wine, nor garments of cloth, nor life in the shelter of a house;
   and worse still was their ignorance, which deprived them of all
   knowledge of good and permitted them only a life of brutish
   idleness. (13)


It encapsulates the prescriptive societal beliefs of the day, anchored in religion and culture, delegitimizing the victims and supporting the positive self-image of the Portuguese as denizens of Western Christendom, and particularly the image of Prince Henry the Navigator, the hero of the chronicle. The literarary device Zurara employs to introduce these argument is an apology for the compassion inspired by the 1444 slave auction in Lagos:
   I pray Thee [to God] that my tears may not wrong my conscience; for
   it is not their [the slaves'] religion but their humanity that
   maketh me weep in pity for their sufferings. And if the brute
   animals, with their bestial feelings, by a natural instinct
   understand the sufferings of their own kind, what wouldst Thou have
   my human nature to do on seeing before my eyes that miserable
   company [the slaves for sale], and remembering that they too are of
   the generation of the sons of Adam? ... O powerful fortune, ... ,
   do though at least put before the eyes of that miserable race some
   understanding of matters to come; that they may receive some
   consolation in the midst of their great sorrow. (14)


Illustrative statements such as these cannot be accepted as representative of the general opinion or as reflecting historical reality merely because they have been written down and survived to the present, in this case translated into English, today's lingua franca. We must consider not only their representativeness, but also the context in which they occur and the function they perform in a document. Zurara, more ideologically inclined than other writers, is nonetheless much more pragmatic and down-to-earth in the more descriptive passages of his works. The ideologically loaded passages constitute, more often than not, examples of the normative ideological discourse of the period. In that respect, they represent significant and relevant pieces of evidence pertaining to the prescriptive group beliefs, but their applicability does not reflect the full range of either societal or social beliefs and attitudes. (15)

These caveats apply particularly strongly to the issue of race. Since racial prejudice emerged in the recent centuries as the broadest and most potent collective criterion of differentiation among human groups, the same is assumed to have applied to the past, and in particular to the period of the early Portuguese expansion. Most akin to modern racial theories was the cosmographical and geographical tradition of the ancient Western world, taught from Persia to the Mediterranean, stressing the division of the globe into climatic zones which influenced the physical and mental make-up of their inhabitants. The temperate zone of the ancient West was deemed the best suited for human habitation and producing the best humans. The climatic imperfections of the frigid and torrid zones created corresponding imperfections in humans: the inhabitants of the frigid zones were large, pale and slow because of the cold; those of the torrid zone were burned black by the sun and sluggish because of the heat. Another theory, common to the three Religions of the Book, traced the genealogy of all humans to the sons of Noah. Descendants of each of the three sons inherited his personal characteristic and standing with God. Eventually, each descent group was assumed to have populated one of the continents of the Old World. Complementary to these were the various theories which ranked peoples according to their cultural attainment. It is true that black Africans, the "Ethiopes", were usually mentioned among the low ranking peoples but, as a rule, the grounds for denigration were cultural, not racial. (16)

The Portuguese sources repeat many of these standard concepts, mostly in passages where the authors seek to display their classical erudition, or in formal contexts where historical continuity linking the historical present with the Roman past is sought. Duarte Pacheco Pereira, a royal pilot and author of the key early sixteenth-century Portuguese description of Africa, sums up the contemporary convention on relationship between climate and skin colour:
    ... a zona de meo, que equinocial se chama ou cinto do primeiro
   mouimento, pello grande ardor do sol se hasaz d'afadiguada e com
   todo seu tormento grandamente pouorada, por cuja causa se cree que
   os Ethiopios sam tam negros de color, por este circolo a elles seer
   propinco. (17)


However, in the early expansion, race seldom served as a yardstick for ranking purposes. Religion and culture were the determining factors. Unlike some medieval Arab sources, the Portuguese did not draw a link between physical appearance and mental ability. Skin colour is mentioned most often in a descriptive context: white (branco), dark (preto), black (negro), reddish brown (baco). (18) Other physical categories frequently mentioned were height, body-shape, shape of nose and mouth, and hair texture. The misconception that the Portuguese felt repelled by dark skin colour is based on ancient and medieval aesthetics of the colour black, and is linked to Zurara's dramatic rhetoric describing the first slaves auctioned in Lagos in 1444:
   there were among them some who were more or less white, handsome,
   and well set up, others less white, who looked dusky, and other as
   black as Ethiopians, with faces and bodies so disfigured that it
   almost seemed to the men who were watching that they were looking
   at images of the lower hemisphere. (19)


The sexual appeal that Africans had both for Portuguese men and women in this period is well documented. (20) A closer examination suggests that comments reflecting aesthetic preferences were more concerned with shape of the body, nose and mouth than colour, and are expressed in such term as "ugly", "well-built", "poorly proportioned", "handsome" or "beautiful".

Skin colour, as a chief physical characteristic, is often employed in Portuguese sources as a descriptive umbrella term where broad denominators, in particular religious allegiance, are not applicable. The adjective negro (black) or the nouns negro (black man), negra (black woman), or os negros (black people), just like the term "white", did not imply any inherent value judgment but merely conveyed a highly visible difference in appearance which served as a tool of identity distinction. Alternative umbrella terms, used as synonyms, are geographical in character: Ethiopes (Ethiopians) or Guineas (inhabitants of Guinea). Given the confusion as to which part of sub-Saharan Africa was a part of which "Ethiopia" and what exactly constituted "Guinea", little wonder that skin colour prevailed as the key common denominator. (21) This common denominator was employed to encompass the multitude of ethnic, linguistic and political identities which the Portuguese had encountered in Africa.

Unlike culture or religion, skin colour did not become a subject of prejudice and a source of disadvantage until relatively late in the early Portuguese expansion, in the course of the first half of the sixteenth century. These developments can be linked to several processes--the merging of cultural prejudice with skin colour, disenchantment with Africans as allies and potential converts, and above all the changing definition of the Portuguese self-identity influenced by the intensifying struggle for economic and social opportunities in Portugal and its overseas holdings. (22) At the beginning of the expansion, religiously and culturally assimilated Africans were absorbed into Portuguese society with remarkable ease. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, however, a collusion of circumstances caused a gradual reversal. (23) One of these was the power-struggle for control of the island societies of the African coast, such as Sao Tome in the Gulf of Guinea. This struggle pitted mulatto descendants of the first Portuguese settlers against the white newcomers from Portugal. The Crown sided with the mulattoes but proved too distant to control a situation increasingly dominated by officials of metropolitan Portuguese origins. (24) Similar processes affected admissions to certain positions, offices and social distinctions.

As well, slavery began to be racialized--associated with skin colour. The Aristotle-based justification of slavery, based on racial/ethnic characteristics, had merged with the Church doctrine which saw slavery as a just treatment for peoples disregarding natural law. Perceived racial and cultural traits were blended together, resulting in the claim that the rationality and moral fibre of non-white Portuguese was inferior to those of pure Portuguese descent. The most obvious manifestation of this process was the gradual marginalization of black clergy, who were step-by-step prevented from ministering to white parishioners and from rising up the ladder of Church. (25) Simply stated, race could be used as a pretext for social stratification and serve as one of the defining elements of social identity in the Portuguese world. The irony of this situation is the well-observed fact that a socially strong black person could to all ends and purposes be considered white, skin colour notwithstanding. (26) Despite this social dynamic, however, in comparison with religious and cultural criteria race remained a relatively peripheral factor in identity definition and its weight shifted in conjunction with them. (27)

The key determinant of identity in medieval Portugal was religion and it remained so throughout the early expansion. (28) Ethnicity and political allegiance constituted, in theory at least, subordinate levels in the hierarchy of identities. The Church taught that Christians formed a self-enclosed community separated from the rest of humanity by a spiritual gap that only conversion could overcome. By accepting baptism and consenting to follow the rules set out by the Holy Scriptures and the Church, Christians became a different breed of humans, no longer irreparably tainted by the original sin and thus eligible for salvation. The relations between Christians were supposed to be governed by rules different from those applicable to and practised by other humans. (29) The status of non-Christians was quite ambiguous. Theologians generally acknowledge that non-Christians could legitimately hold dominium over their lands and possession and rejected conversion by force. However, the legitimacy of non-Christians' dominium was predicated on their acting rationally and not transgressing against the natural law. (30) Such conditions seriously devalued the principle of rudimentary tolerance. An irrational act, for example, was the unwillingness to allow unhindered proselytization by Christian missionaries. Such an attitude gave Christian rulers a just cause to wage war on the offending party. In other words, the Church teachings regarding non-Christians were sufficiently ambiguous to allow practically any interpretation, depending on the interests of the party involved. In the minds of non-specialists the legal and theological sophistry was reduced to an assumption of "otherness" of those who were not of the same faith and therefore not subject to the same religious law. Whether this "otherness" invited intolerance and violence depended on the prevailing set of historical circumstances or, in other words, on situational dynamics. (31)

The importance of situational dynamics is particularly apparent in the relations between Christians and Muslims. Christians considered Muslims a heretical sect which had split from the true faith to follow a false prophet, and had willfully seized lands which once had been a part of the Christian world, oppressing their inhabitants or corrupting them into apostasy and heresy. Since such errors and evils had to be corrected, once peaceful persuasion had failed Muslims and Christians were assumed to exist in a permanent state of war. Muslims, while more tolerant of Christians under their rule than in the opposite case, were potentially just as belligerent: jihad, fought for expansion of Muslim-controlled territory was just as meritorious as Christian wars in the service of their faith, and at times an obligatory act of faith. In late-medieval Europe a successful war or even a campaign against Muslims was one of the fool-proof sources of prestige and glory for the participants. (32) Yet not every such campaign could automatically be considered a "just-war". A "just war" was not supposed to be waged for a selfish motive but only to serve God and Faith. Booty was allowed, as a reward for the labour and risk the warriors had undergone, but if they acted out of hope for booty they were not engaged in "just war". (33) The Papacy, but increasingly also theologians and canon law experts in royal service, were recognized as having the authority to make the determination. (34) However, as the power and prestige of the Papacy waned, secular rulers were increasingly able to procure favourable pronouncements or disregard unfavourable ones.

The principle of confrontation was curbed by the realities of mutual coexistence and by intense rivalries among co-religionists, especially in the complex world of the Mediterranean. These realities demanded mutual accommodation, justified ideologically by favourable interpretation of theology and religious law. If followers of the opposing faith lived peacefully in their own territory, without doing any harm to their religious opponents, or if religious war should be too risky and inflict undue damage to one's own society, maintaining peace was deemed justified. (35)

The demands of the moment are well evident in the twists and turns of the Portuguese ideological attitude towards Muslims in the early overseas expansion. D. Joao I, the founder of the Avis dynasty, promoted the attack against the Moroccan city of Ceuta as a penitential act to expiate his sin of unavoidably spilling Christian blood in his long wars against Castile. (36) Ceuta was chosen because it presented a target which was both prestigious and militarily feasible. Although D. Joao called for expert opinion as to whether the attack on Ceuta constituted "just" war, he could be reasonably sure that the experts in his service and the hard-pressed Pope (of Rome) would respond favourably, as they indeed did. D. Joao was assured that he "can carry out war against whichever Infidel, Moors or gentiles, who in some way defy some of the articles of the Holy Catholic Faith. By which labour you will merit great galardao of our Lord God. Any further doubts should be treated as whispering of the Evil One". (37)

The support for the Ceuta project was quite overwhelming, because it meant an outlet for the restless elements in Portuguese society left idle after the peace in 1411, including D. Joao's sons, eager to prove themselves in battle. (38) In the 1430s, when there was much reluctance concerning further involvement in North Africa, the full spectrum of opinions about the justness of unprovoked war against Muslims reappeared, each opinion serving as a cover for complex series of personal concerns. In the 1450s, the fall of Constantinople whipped up religious sentiments and made it easy for the war party led by the King Afonso V, his brother Fernando and uncle Henry the Navigator to put new life into the expansion in Morocco which resulted in the capture of four more Moroccan cities between 1458 and 1471. (39) In the 1480s, however, the practically minded D. Joao II did not hesitate to ally himself with the Moroccan regional powers and propose a grand alliance with the Muslim states of West Africa to forward his interests in the best spirit of "Realpolitik". (40)

Under D. Manuel, D. Joao's successor, the Portuguese expansion reached its greatest momentum. It was driven once again by arguments about irreconcilable competition between Christianity and Islam. Although both Kings dreamt of transforming Portugal into a world empire, D. Manuel's concept of it was driven and justified by its religious goals: defeat of Islam and paving the way to a religiously united world. (41) In his eyes, the inter necine warfare in Morocco constituted a much more prestigious project than the Portuguese activities in Africa or, for that matter, in India. Although D. Manuel did not hesitate to enter into temporary alliances with Muslim rulers, he renewed the ideological commitment that watchful hostility, if not outright war, was the natural state of affairs between Christians and Muslims. As George Winius pointed out, because they were mortal enemies, the Portuguese treated Muslims with much more brutality than they would consider using against other non-Christians. (42)

Medieval Christians generally had more sympathy and tolerance for pagans than for Muslims, because apostasy and heresy were considered much worse than erring simply out of ignorance. Animism, polytheism of all sorts, fetish worship, were all denounced as mistaken delusions, often inspired by the devil, but were considered correctable, especially where vague belief in one Creator or an ultimate deity appeared to be present. The historical memory of the relatively expeditious conversion of European pagans led to the assumption that pagans elsewhere would soon be converted once exposed to proselytization. However, failure to respond to it was condemned as devil-induced, stubborn persistence in error and as a show of willful irrationality, (43) which justified an establishment of Christian rule by force.

Thus, for example, the inhabitants of the West-Central African state of Kongo, and especially its ruling elite, were readily accepted into the Portuguese world at parity after their conversion. The Christianization of this African state was celebrated in the Portuguese histories as one of Portugal's chief achievements in the late fifteenth-century. (44) However, in the course of the second half of the sixteenth-century the Portuguese came to look down at the Kongolese, not for religious or racial but for cultural reasons: lack of material wealth, the obvious weakness of the government and the repeated appeals for assistance created a perception of cultural inferiority. The multiple failures to inspire conversion among the rulers of other African states, or even their subjects, in any numbers, contributed to growing negativity towards Africans during the first half of the sixteenth century. (45)

However, the need to trade, and the realization that territorial conquest was not feasible, forced the religious argument into the background. (46) To maintain the ideological justification of controlling access to Africa, the Portuguese letrados developed a theory which portrayed trade as a peaceful form of war, arguing that contact with Christians and access to European culture would in the long run persuade the recalcitrant pagans to realize the benefits of the true faith. (47) The well-known 1484 Oracao de Obediencia delivered before Pope Innocent VIII encapsulates the doctrine of peaceful conquest and the prestige value the Portuguese Crown derived from its sub-Saharan enterprise:
   By the means of it [Sao Jorge da Mina] he initiated such a holy,
   such an assured, such a great commerce with those tribes [of
   Ethiopians] that the name of the Saviour, never heard in that
   region, not even in passing mention, now became so increasingly
   pronounced amongst those peoples, owing to the concourse with our
   men, that a wild and barbarous tribe, dedicated to lust and sloth,
   devoid of charity, and living like cattle, is at present beginning
   to shine forth in religion. Moreover, not only is Christendom
   enriched by the unheard-of quantity of gold and precious goods
   brought from there, but all commerce with the Ethiopians that has
   been carried out by the Numidians, the Carthaginians, the
   Moroccans, and other tribes inimical to the Christian name has
   ceased, a commerce the proceeds from which, with its great weight
   and great quantity of gold that stemmed from the constant
   reconsigning of merchandise over the land routes, was wont to arm
   and defend all Africa against Christians. (48)


Religion and culture were closely tied together--on both intellectual and material levels. (49) Christianity grew out of the Mediterranean urban/agricultural context, just as Islam reflected the coexistence of nomad and urban civilization of the Middle East, with the corresponding assumptions about proper ways of life. Both shared certain important preconceptions about political and social authority, law, gender relations, and material culture. These similarities stemmed both from the teachings of shared religious texts and from the integrated realities of life in the Mediterranean basin and the Near and Middle East. Both elites and commoners of sedentary societies in this area shared concepts, forms of social organization, and values which made it easy to associate with each other, despite the religious differences. A Christian noble had much in common with a Muslim noble from North Africa in terms of ambitions, values, and notions of quality of life. The Portuguese sources were willing to concede that the material culture of Muslim cities could and often did exceed their own. (50) Despite this, they labelled the North African and Asian Muslims barbaros (barbarians) as often as they did the non-Christians of sub-Saharan Africa, whose ways they found much more alien. The reason is that in medieval Europe the unflattering epithets "barbarians" and "barbarous" did not necessarily imply a cultural judgment: it summarily designated non-Christians. (51)

The material trappings valued both by Christians and Muslims included architecture, presence of luxury items and, above all, proper clothing and diet. The ideas of what constituted proper architecture, clothing and diet of course differed from region to region. The Portuguese were impressed by stone architecture and walled settlements and very critical of their absence. (52) Dietary preferences generated much wonder and outright preju dice. The style and quality of clothing also were favourite topics, right next to foods and drinks, and observations about the degree and gender of nudity. (53) Christians criticised Muslims for rejecting pork and wine (but drinking it secretly). Muslims, in turn, criticised Christians for consuming these very same items. Similar disdain existed for the diet of hunter/gather societies. The list could go on and on.

The Portuguese tried, on a number of occasions, to share their cultural goods, both spiritual and material. Religion of course headed the list of items, but stone-masonry and other expertise was offered as well. (54) Only weapons and military assistance were conditional on prior or imminent conversion. The ruler of Benin successfully secured a troop of Portuguese arquebusiers by waving the prospect of conversion before D. Manuel's eyes, only to renege on the promise once he had what he wanted. (55) The best-known example of a Portuguese attempt to copy their cultural blueprint in Africa is the 1512 diplomatic mission to the state of Kongo. Apart from a full staff of priests, officials and craftsmen, the embassy carried a complete set of instructions how to arrange a hierarchy of noble titles, how to set up institutions of government, protocol and ceremonies. (56) The domestic situation in Kongo, a disputed succession and the vested interests the eventual winner had in the Europeanization project, at least partly accounts for the remarkable success of the embassy. Still, it can be argued that the success would not have materialized if there were not some sincere interest on the Kongolese side. (57)

Social identity, and especially social status, represented the most important aspect of cultural identity, and served as the most powerful source of affinity. Homens honrados, nobles and reputable warriors were easily, if sometimes erroneously, identified through their behaviour, postures and outfitting. In such situation, an almost immediate sense of familiarity and respect emerged which transcended religious if not cultural preconceptions. Thus when the exiled bumi of the Senegalese state of Jolof arrived in Portugal to seek assistance against his enemies, he was greeted with all the ceremony and support which any other exiled prince or high noble could expect from the Portuguese court. The sources comment on his noble deportment, skill as horseman, and elegant speech, all characteristic of a good courtier. The fact that he was principe barbaro did not detract from his qualities, only added to the esteem and wonder of his hosts. Nonetheless, he and his retinue had to accept baptism and take an oath of vassalage to the king of Portugal before they were given the military assistance they came for. The assistance proved fatal because the commander of the Portuguese relief fleet did not fancy a prolonged stay in Africa and chose to escape from his predicament by murdering his protege. (58)

On a collective level, however, the Portuguese mostly concentrated on describing very basic cultural patterns: religion, language or ethnicity, political allegiance and authorities, social organization and customs, subsistence patterns and daily life. Many individual Portuguese demonstrated simple curiosity to learn de sua vida (their way of life) of those they encountered. (59) There is some evidence that they were basically ready to accept the differences as simply another way of conducting daily life. Some of the most accurate information comes from passage when the author simply repeats information as it was received. (60) This in particular applies to identification of states, languages, ethnic groups and places. However, where more complex aspects of human life were concerned, the ideological dictates prevailed sooner or later. The identity that the Portuguese created for those they encountered was inevitably a composite one, constructed from a hierarchy of criteria. Religion was undisputedly the top criterion, followed by various cultural considerations. Only then came concrete criteria, such as language, ethnicity and political identity.

This hierarchy of fluid components is characteristic of the construction of medieval collective identities in general. The Portuguese were Christians first. They had some sense of Europe as a spatial delimitation of the civilization they felt a part of; (61) but for most of them Spain was a more graspable concept with the same function. (62) The emergence of Portuguese national identity in the medieval period was a complex process. (63) From a modern point of view, Portugal in the fifteenth-century fits the category of a nation-state. The Portuguese possessed a state, a language, common culture and sense of shared past. (64) The Portuguese state existed as a recognized political unit since the twelfth century, the Portuguese language was well-defined in both written and oral forms and was used as the language of government since the thirteenth century. This however does not mean that at the beginning of the expansion the Portuguese self-identity was decisively, consciously, or explicitly formulated along these lines. As both Jose Mattoso and Vitorino Magalhaes Godinho have recently pointed out, the concept of Portuguese national identity has undergone a number of transmutations in different historical contexts, usually in the search of self-justification and legitimization. (65) In the medieval period, the designation "Portuguese" had primarily a political connotation: it identified a natural or naturalized subject of the King of Portugal--an individual or corporation under the writ and protection of the Portuguese Crown. The term however could also simultaneously refer to an ethnic Portuguese: a speaker of the Portuguese language, born or assimilated into the Portuguese culture.

Neither of these two concepts, however, necessarily describes Portuguese collective self-identity or provides assurance of its existence. The evidence of a "national" feeling in medieval Portugal is usually derived from moments of confrontation with an outside power, mostly the neighbouring Castile. However, nationalist sentiments became a major historical force in the period immediately preceding the beginning of the overseas expansion, when popular opposition to prospect of a foreign, Castilian king ruling over Portugal resulted in a long war which installed the native dynasty of Avis on the Portuguese throne. The legality of the accession of D. Joao I, the founder of the dynasty, was debatable: he was elected King by the representatives of the Portuguese povo (people) and in the face of a strong opposition of the leading noble families, on the strength of the argument that other claimants had been disqualified for one reason or another and that the throne was vacant. A legally equally shaky claim less than three centuries earlier had justified the independence of Portugal from Castile-Leon. D. Joao I, and the Avis family in general, thus had a strong need not only to nurture a sense of Portuguese national identity among their subjects in order to mobilize them against the Castilian threat, but also to use history and the concept of a national historical mission to justify the legitimacy of the dynasty. (66)

The one steady motif in medieval Portuguese history was the war against Muslims. (67) It constituted a mission, the nobility of which could not easily be debated away, no matter what other motives underscored it. The early overseas expansion, a historical process at least in theory aimed at strengthening Christendom and weakening Islam, is thus closely interwoven with the process of defining Portuguese national identity in the corresponding time period. (68) However, the connection was not automatic. The war against the "Infidel" served also as the legitimizing project of the chivalrous warrior nobility and, as such, one which transcended political and ethnic barriers and was defined in terms of religious and social identity. (69) The distinction is clearly apparent in the works of the two prominent Portuguese fifteenth-century historians, Fernao Lopes and Gomes Eanes de Zurara. Lopes, to whom it fell to reconstruct and compose the history of the Portuguese kings up to D. Joao I, writes primarily from the viewpoint of Portuguese nationhood. Zurara, the historian employed by the chivalric D. Afonso V to write works celebrating individual protagonists of the early expansion, thought mostly in terms of religious and social identities. Where Lopes would use the term "portugueses", Zurara uses "christaos". (70)

Interestingly, the figure most associated with the early expansion, D. Henrique (Henry the Navigator) was much closer to Zurara's notion of self-identity than to Lopes'. He saw himself as a Christian first, a knight second, and then, in descending order, as member of the Avis dynasty (linhagem) and of the Portuguese nation. His priorities were individualistic in the feudal sense: his soul came first, then his honour which in turn rubbed off on the honour of his family and the honour of his nation. He acted principally for himself (and for God, as he saw it): the benefits which accrued from his actions to his King and his nation were a by-product of his personal quest. (71) D. Afonso, his nephew and successor in the anti-Muslim struggle, thought along similar lines: the expansion in Morocco which was so dear to his heart was a campaign for personal glory and merit for himself and the other individual participants, rather than for the glory and merit of the Portuguese nation as a whole. Still, the special relation between the Portuguese nation and the overseas expansion started to take shape already in this period, as a by-product of the attempt to justify why the Portuguese Crown should control access to the newly contacted regions of Africa, to the exclusion of other Christian powers. The papal bull Romanus Pontifex of 1455 sets the stage by declaring that the Portuguese, more than other Christians, could be trusted to observe papal decrees regarding contact with non-Christian, specifically not to be blinded by profit into supplying them with prohibited commodities, such as arms, iron and shipbuilding materials. (72)

It was however only during the apex of the Portuguese overseas expansion under D. Manuel (1495-1521) that the connection between Portuguese identity and the overseas expansion fully matured. Recent research has revealed a key ideological dimension to what previously appeared as a pragmatic drive for wealth and secular glory by a ruler whom his contemporaries labelled the "Merchant King". As Luis Felipe Thomaz has persuasively demonstrated, D. Manuel believed that he personally and the Portuguese nation collectively had been chosen by God to undercut Muslim power, wrestle Jerusalem from Muslim hands, and usher in the Fifth Empire, a stage in world history when all humans would be converted to Christianity, thus setting the stage for the Second Coming of Christ. (73) The messianism contained in this idea may appear far removed from a sound basis for external policy but an overwhelming body of evidence confirms the suggestion that the Portuguese of the Manueline period indeed perceived themselves as champions of Christianity in the struggle against Islam, and that all the steps undertaken overseas, no matter how pragmatic in nature, were interpreted ideologically as tactical or strategic moves in this irreconcilable conflict. The commercial activity and material profit from the expansion did not detract from this picture: they constituted either means to finance the higher goal, or a just reward for the labours invested.

The ideology of religious militancy, characteristic of the warrior nobility for whom it served as a justification of their status and their action, was easily disseminated to commoners as well, building on the historical tradition of reconquest and the growing popular hatred against non-Christian Portuguese, especially Jews. (74) Social tensions and competition for positions and opportunities easily extended this animosity to recent converts to Christianity: the conversos (former Jews) and new Christians from overseas. In the course of the first half of the sixteenth-century, religious prejudice combined with cultural assumptions to create a social hierarchy with Old Christians from metropolitan Portugal on the top, Portuguese born overseas of Portuguese parents next, followed by persons of mixed parentage, then Christians from the local population, and finally non-Christians. Race coincided with the religio-cultural categories, which in the eyes of a modern historian may create the impression that race was the paramount identity criterion.

In the early Portuguese overseas expansion, the paramount identity category was religion. It served as the broadest and most meaningful defining factor. The other umbrella criterion was culture, often very closely blended with religion, and to lesser decree race. Ethnicity, language and political allegiances constituted the more concrete criteria. Social identity formed a category of its own and had the capacity of transcending all the above. The identity of any group involved in the expansion was a composite of all or most of the above categories. The Portuguese national identity was not constant, and neither was the identity of "Others". The constituting components and their proportion changed according to temporal, spatial and situational context. (75) Even the apparently all-important religious identity could be easily pushed into the background and ignored when a situation, such as political or commercial alliances, demanded it. This fluidity and opportunism are not only characteristic of medieval constructs of collective identity, but also a very important factor in judging actual relations between the Portuguese and the various cultures they encountered.

Ivana Elbl

Trent University

(1) For some recent sociological, anthropological and psychological perspectives of self-identity and of collective identities, see for example Eli Hirsch, The Concept of Identity (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982) Manuel Castells, The power of identity (Malden: Blackwell, 1997); Peter Unger, Identity, Consciousness, and Value (New York:Oxford University Press, 1990); Anthony P. Cohen, Self-consciousness: An Alternative Anthropology of Identity (London and New York, 1994); Craig J. Calhoun, Critical Social Theory: Culture, History, and the Challenge of Difference (Cambridge, Mass., and Oxford: Blackwell, 1995); Particia Yager, ed., The Geography of Identity (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996); Steve Pile and Nigel Thrift, Mapping the Subject: Geographies of Cultural Transformation (London and New York: Routledge, 1995); Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities (London and New York: Routledge, 1991).

The most significant conceptual contributions come from the evolving field of social psychology. Starting with the works of H. Tajfel on social identity and intergroup relations, social psychologists, particularly those willing to adopt a historical perspective, began to create a conceptual and theoretical platform needed to capture these complex phenomena. See in particular Daniel Bar-Tal, Group Beliefs: A Conception for Analysing Group Structure, Processes, and Behaviour (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1990), Daniel BarTal, Shared Beliefs in a Society. Social Psychological Analysis (Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2000), and Gustav Jahoda, Images of Savages: Ancient Roots of Modern Prejudice in Western Culture (London, New York: Routledge, 1999).

(2) For an extensive sample of approaches and themes see Robert Forster, ed., European and Non-European Societies, 1450-1800. Vol. II: The longue duree, Eurocentrism, Encounters on the Periphery of Africa and Asia and Vol. II: Religion, Class, Gender, Race (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997); Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World: From Renaissance to Romanticism (New Haven: Yale University Press,1993); Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982); and Anthony Padgen, ed. Facing Each Other: The World's Perception of Europe and Europe's Perception of the World, 2 vols. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999); James Muldoon, Canon Law, the Expansion of Europe and World Order (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998).

(3) Donald Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe. Vol. 1: The Century of Discovery (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965, reprint 1994).

(4) See for example Ivana Elbl, "Cross-Cultural Trade and Diplomacy: Portuguese Relations with West Africa, 1441-1521," Journal of World History 3 (1992): 165-204; P. E. H. Hair, African Encountered: European Contacts and Evidence, 1450-1700 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997); Luis Felipe Thomaz, De Ceuta a Timor (Lisbon: Difel, 1994). See also the following collections of essays: Amadeu Carvalho Homem, ed., Descobrimentos, Expansao e Identidade Nacional (Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra, 1993); and Francisco Bethencourt and Diogo Ramada Curto, A Memoria da Nacao (Lisbon: Livraria Sa da Costa, 1991). The best study on the subject is Luis Felipe Thomaz and Jorge Santos Alves, "Da cruzada ao Quinto Imperio," in Bethencourt and Ramada Curto, Memoria da Nacao, 81164.

(5) See for example the various essays in P. E. H. Hair, Africa Encountered; Ivana Elbl, "The Portuguese Trade with West Africa, 1440-1521. PhD Thesis (Toronto, 1986), chapters 1 and 2; George Brooks, Landlords and Strangers (Boomington: University of Indiana Press, 1993); Afredo Margarido, "La vision de l'Autre (Africain et Indien d'Amerique) dans la Renaissance Portugaise," in L'Humanisme Portugaise et Europe. Actes du XX Colloque International d'Etudes Humanistes. Tours, 3-13 Juillet 1978 (Paris, 1984), 507-55; Peter Russell, "Problemas sociolinguisticas relacionados com os descobrimentos portugueses no Atlantico Africano," Anais da Academia Portuguesa da Historia 26 (1978): 225-50.

(6) See Roy Porter, ed., Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Renaissance to the Present (New York: New York, 1997).

(7) For an essential discussion of identity-defining group beliefs see Bar-Tal, Shared Beliefs, chaps. 1 and 3. He sees them as exclusive by nature, since they define the grounds for member inclusion and exclusion of the "others" (40). Such beliefs also provide the basis for delegitimization those perceived to hold opposed or competing ones (chap. 8).

(8) See for example Urs Bitterli, Cultures in Conflict: Encounters between Europeans and Non-Europeans, 1492-1800 (Stanford: Stanford University Press,1989); Clinton M. Jean, ed. Behind the Eurocentric Veils: The Search for African Realities (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1991); Ali Rattansi and Sallie Westwood, eds. Racism, Modernity and Identity: On the Western Front (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Eric R. Wolf, Europe and People without History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982 and 1997).

The binary approach to the relations between Europeans and non-western peoples stems from the correction of colonial attitudes which occurred in the context of decolonization movements of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. For discussion see George W. Stocking, ed. Colonial Situations: Essays in Contextualization of Ethnographic Knowledge (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991).

For a brief summary see Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, "The Mental Horizon," in Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Before Columbus: Explorations and Colonization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, 1229-1492 (Philadephia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987), 223-45. For alternative approaches see Anthony Disney, ed. Historiography of Europeans in Africa and Asia, 1450-1800 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1995). For a discussion of the late medieval context see Stephen Turk Christensen, "Eurocentrism in the Fifteenth Century," in Brian Patrick McGuire, ed. Denmark and Europe in the Middle Ages (Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel Publishers, 1996), 275-300.

A recent collection of essays, edited by T. F. Earle and K. J. P. Lowe, seeks to analyse the place and image of black Africans in late medieval and renaissance Europe from a multi-disciplinary platform, based on art history, literary analysis, and socio-cultural history (T. F Earle and K. J. P. Lowe, Black Africans in Renaissance Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). Of particular importance to the issue of group identities are the studies by Kate Lowe, Jorge Fonseca, and Didier Lahon. See Kate Lowe, "The Stereotyping of Black Africans in Renaissance Europe," in Earle and Lowe, eds., Black Africans, 17-47; Jorge Fonseca, "Black Africans in Portugal during Cleynaerts's Visit," in Earle and Lowe, eds., Black Africans, 113-24; Didier Lahon, "Black African Slaves and Freedmen in Portugal during the Renaissance: Creating a New Pattern of Reality," in Earle and Lowe, eds., Black Africans, 261-79. These studies deal with a number of issues examined in the present article, often reaching different conclusions from the reading of the same or similar selection of primary sources. This is particularly true of the chapters by Kate Lowe.

(9) Jahoda, Images of Savages, xiv. For a fascinating comparative study see Yale H. Ferguson and Richard W. Mansbach, Polities: Authority, Identities and Change (Columbia, SC: University of Columbia Press, 1995). See also A. H. Bozeman, Politics and Culture in International Relations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960). Although the work is somewhat dated, Bozeman's insight and comparative breadth maintain its value as an essential reading.

(10) See Thomaz and Santos Alves, "De cruzada ao Quinto Imperio"; and Joaquim de Carvalho, Estudos sobre a cultura portuguesa no seculo XV (Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra, 1949), vol. 1.

(11) The most important collections of published documentary evidence are Monumenta Henricina, 15 vols; Antonio Brasio, ed., Monumenta Missionaria Africana: Africa Occidental, 1st series (Lisbon: Agencia Geral do Ultramar, 1952-1971), vols. 1-3; and 2nd series (Lisbon: Agencia Geral do Ultramar, 1958-2004), vols. 1-4; Luis de Albuquerque and Maria Emilia Madeira Santos, eds., Portugaliae Monumenta Africana, 3 vols. (Lisbon: Impr. Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 1993); Joao Martins da Silva Marques, Descobrimentos Portugueses: Documentos para a sua Historia, 4 vols. (Lisbon: Instituto de Alta Cultura, 19441971; reprinted Lisbon: Instituto Nacional de Investigacao Cientifica, 1988); A. Lobato, A Expansao Portuguesa em Mocambique de 1498 a 1530, 3 vols. (Lisbon: Agencia Geral do Ultramar, 1954-1960); Antonio Baiao, ed., Documentos do Corpo Cronologico relativos a Marrocos (1488-1514) (Coimbra: Impr. da Universidade, 1925); Pedro de Azevedo, ed. Documentos das Chancelarias Reais anteriores a 1531, 2 vols. (Lisbon: Academia das Ciencias de Lisboa, 1915-1934); and Martim de Albuquerque, ed.. Oracoes de Obediencia dos Reis de Portugal aos Sumos Pontifices (Lisbon: Inapa, 1988). For analysis of the archival evidence, see Ivana Elbl, "Archival Evidence of the Portuguese Expansion in Africa, 1440-1521," Primary Sources & Original Works 2 (1993): 319-57; and in Lawrence McCrank, ed. Discovery in the Archives of Spain and Portugal: Quincentenary Essays, 1492-1992 (Binghamton: Haworth Press,1993), 319-357.

(12) Gomes Eanes de Zurara, Cronica dos feitos notaveis que se passaram na conquista da Guine por mandado do Infante D. Henrique (Lisbon: Academia Portuguesa da Historia, 1978); for the commonly quoted English translation see The Chronicle of the Discovery and Conquest of Guinea, by Qomnes Eannes de Azurara, edited by Charles R. Beazley and Edgar Prestage, Hakluyt Society, 1st series, nos. 95 and 100 (New York: Burt Franklin, reprint from 1896 and 1899).

(13) Zurara, The Chronicle of the Discovery, 1: 82-3 (cap. xxvi). The reason for using here Beazley and Prestage's English translation is its notoriety. The original Portuguese text reads as follows: "E assy onde ante uiuya em perdico das almas e dos corpos. vijnha de todo receber o contrario das almas emquanto era pagaaos/sem claridade e sem lume da sancta ffe E dos corpos por viue rem assy como bestas sem algua ordenaca de criaturas rezoauees. Ca elles no sabya que era pa ne vinho/ne cobertura de pano/ne alloiamento de casa E o que peor era a grande ignoracia que e elles auya, pella qual non auya alguu conhecimeto de be, soomente viuer em hua occiosidade bestial" (Zurara, Cronica dos feitos notaveis, 112 (cap. xxvi)).

(14) Zurara, The Chronicle of the Discovery, 1: 81-82.

(15) See Thomaz and Santos Alves, "De cruzada ao Quinto Imperio"; and Carvalho, Estudos sobre a cultura portuguesa no seculo XV.

(16) Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Inquiry (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), chapters 3, 6,7 8 and 13; Ivan Hannaford, Race: A History of a Idea in the West (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson Press, 1996); David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham. Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2003); Benjamin Braude, "The Sons of Noah and the Construction of Ethnic and Geographical Identities in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods," William and Mary Quaterly, 3rd Series, 15 (1997): 103-42; William McKee Evans, "From the Land of Canaan to the Land of Guinea: The Strange Odyssey of the 'Sons of Ham'," American Historical Review 85 (1980): 15-43; Hans Werner Debrunner, Presence and Prestige: Africans in Europe. A History of Africans in Europe before 1918 (Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 1979), Chaps. 1 and 2; Jean Devisse and Michel Mollat, The Image of the Black in Western Art, Vol. 2: From The Early Christian Era to the "Age of Discovery" (Lausanne: Office du Livre, 1979); Peter Mark, Africans in European Eyes: The Portrayal of Black Africans in Fourteenth and Fifteenth Century Europe (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1974).

(17) Duarte Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis (Lisbon, Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa, 1905, repr. 1975), 20-21 (Liv. i, Cap. i). For an extensive study of Duarte Pacheco Pereira and his work see Joaquim Barradas de Carvalho's critical edition Duarte Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis (Lisbon: Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian, Servico de Educacao, 1992); Joaquim Barradas de Carvalho, A la recherche de la specificite de la Renaissance portugaise: "L'esmeraldo de situ orbis" de Duarte Pacheco Pereira, et la literature Portugaise de voyages a l'epoque des grandes decouvertes, 2 vols. (Paris: Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, Centre Culturel Portugais, 1983); and Joaquim Barradas de Carvalho, As fontes de Duarte Pacheco Pereira no "Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis" (Lisbon: Imprensa NacionalCasa Da Moeda, 1982).

(18) See for example Alvaro Velho's decription of the people encountered in southern Africa during Vasco de Gama's outward voyage. In the Angra de Bras they met with ninety dark-brown men (bacos), like those of the Bay of Santa Helena, and 200 negros, large and small. In the Rio de Cobre and Terra da Boa Gente, " ... achamos muitos homens e mulheres negros e sao de grandes corpos, e um senhor entre elles (we found many black large-bodied men and women, and a lord among them" (Velho, Roteiro, 10).

(19) Lahon's translation (Lahon, "Black African Slaves," 261-2). Zurara, Cronica dos feitos notaveis, 107-8 (cap. xxv): "Ca antre elles auya alguu de razoada brancura/fremosos e apostos, outros menos brancos que queryam semelhas pardos, outros tam negros cometiopios ta desafeicoados assy nas caras comos nos corpos que casy parecia aos homee s que os esguardauam que vya as jmagee s do Jmjsperyo mais baixo."

(20) Ivana Elbl, "Men without Wives: Sexual Arrangement in the Early Portuguese Expansion in West Africa," in Jacqueline Murray and Konrad Eisenbichler, eds., Desire and Discipline: Sex and Sexuality in the Premodern West (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 61-86.

(21) Pacheco Pereira, for example, in the Prologue refers to " ... Guine, que antiguamente se chamaua Ethiopia (Guinea, called by the ancients Ethiopia)" and to its inhabitants as "Ethiopos" (Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo, 14), and on p. 29 he learnedly discusses the five parts of ancient Africa: Libia (Nile to Melila); Mauritania (Melila to Tangier/Tingy); Tingitanya (Tangier to Safi); Hantantica (Atlas to Ethiopia); and finally Ethiopia Inferior/Grande (Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo, 29 (Liv. 1, Cap. 5). In the descriptive part of the treatise, he uses the term "negros".

(22) Ivana Elbl, "Prestige Considerations and the Changing Interest of the Portuguese Crown in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1441-1580," Portuguese Studies Review 10 (2) (2002-3): 1536.

(23) See A. C. de C. M. Saunders, A Social History of Black Slaves and Freedmen in Portugal, 1441-1555 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), chapters 2, 8, 7 and 9.

(24) Robert Garfield, A History of Sao Tome Island, 1470-1655: A Key to Guinea (San Francisco: Mellen Research University Press, 1992), chapters 5 and 7.

(25) Brasio, Monumenta Missionaria Africana, ser. 1, vol. 1-4, and ser. 2, vols. 1-3.

(26) For a classic study on the subject see Charles R. Boxer, Race Relations in the Portuguese Empire, 1415-1825 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1963).

(27) For a contrary opinion, see Kate Lowe, "Introduction. The Black African Presence in Renaissance Europe," in Earle and Lowe, Black Africans, 7-14.

(28) Thomaz and Santos Alves, "Da cruzada ao Quinto Imperio," 81-109.

(29) Walter Ullman, Principles of Government and Politics in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed. (London: Methuen, 1966), 32-33.

(30) Ullmann, Principles, 245-7. See also James Muldoon, Popes, Lawyers, and Infidels (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979).

(31) For comprehensive discussion, see Norman Housley, The Later Crusades: From Lyons to Alcazar, 1274-1580 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992); and David Nirenberg, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).

(32) A statement of the influential late medieval noble and author, Don Juan Manuel, expresses this attitude best: " ... the best way [for a noble] to save his soul, according to his estate and dignity, is to die fighting the Moors" (quoted in Housley, The Later Crusades, 275).

(33) See Frederick H. Russell, The Just War in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1975).

(34) For a discussion see Muldoon, Popes, Lawyers, and Infidels, 119-31. For primary sources see Monumenta Henricina, vol.5 passim; and Ch.-M. de Witte, "Les bulles pontificales et l'expansion portugaise au XVe siecle," Revue d'histoire ecclesiastique 48 (1953): 683-718; 49 (1954): 438-61; 51 (1956): 413-53, 809-36; 53 (1958): 5-46, 443-71.

(35) Monumenta Henricina, 5: 261-269. For discussion see Muldoon, Popes, Lawyers, and Infidels, 124-8.

(36) The King claimed that he was troubled by "the memory of spilling the blood of Christians, even though justly, weighs on his conscience, proper penance only to wash his hands in the blood of the Infidel, as it is established in the Holy Scripture that a perfect satisfaction of a sin to do penance where one sinned. What other penance can he do but to kill for those men he and his actions killed as many infidel, or more if he can for the service of God and the exaltation of the Holy Catholic Faith? If he wanted to make penance through prayers and alms, it seems to him it would not result in perfect satisfaction because the penance would be unequal to the error, as the office of praying belongs principally to clergymen and friars and other religious persons, and if I wanted to give these alms, these are money from my rents for which I cannot feel loss, ... It also seems to me that as a result of this feat [the conquest] I will achieve all these things because it will be enough charity to seek money and supplies to govern such people as, with God's grace, I expect to take on this holy pilgrimage [levar a esta santa romaria]. Concerning prayers, it seems to me it will be enough for God to be served in a similar way when by his grace such house in which now they serve and worship (103) in the name of Mohammed, whose soul by its just deserts is buried in the depths of Hell, be staffed with clergy and religious, so that by night or day his holy name is served and worshipped?"(Gomes Eanes de Zurara, Chronica de el-Rei D. Joao I (Lisbon: Escriptorio, 1899), 1: 103-4 (cap. xix), [my translation].

(37) Zurara, Chronica de el-Rei D. Joao I, 1: 59-60 (cap. x).

(38) See Zurara, Chronica de el-Rei D. Joao I, 1: 36-8 (cap. v).

(39) See Luis Felipe Thomaz, "Le Portugal et l'Afrique au XVe siecle: Les debuts de l'expansion," in Arquivos do Centro Cultural Portugues 26 (1989): 161-256; Ivana Elbl, "Man of His Time (and Peers): A New Look at Henry the Navigator," Luso-Brazilian Review, 28 (2) (1991): 73-89; and Ivana Elbl, "Infante D. Henrique and the Failed Conquest of Tangiers, 1437," a paper presented at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, San Francisco, January 6-9, 1994; Ivana Elbl, "The Way to Tangiers, 1437: Honour, Boredom, and Salvation as Motivators," a paper presented as a part of a multimedia panel "Tangiers, 1437: A Disaster in Multimedia" at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, Santa Fe, April 2001.

(40) Luis Felipe Thomaz, "O Projecto Imperial Joanino. (Tentativa de interpretacao global da politica ultramarina de D. Joao II," originally published in Congresso Internacional Bartolomeu Dias e a sua Epoca, Porto, 1988, Actas (Porto: Universidade do Porto, 1989), 1: 81-98. Republished in Luis Felipe Thomaz, De Ceuta a Timor (Lisbon: Difel, 1994), 149-67.

(41) Luis Felipe Thomaz, "L'idee imperiale manueline," in Colloque La Decouverte, le Por tugal et I'Europe (Paris: Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, Centre Culturel Portugais, 1990), 35-103.

(42) Bailey W. Diffie and George D. Winius, Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 14501580 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977), 212-13.

(43) Barros, Da Asia. Primeira Decada, liv. 3, cap. iii.

(44) Pina, Cronica de el-Rei D. Joao II, cap. lvii ("Descobrimento do Regno de Manicongo, e de como foy fecto Christao"), cap. lviii ("Chegada dos Negros a sua Terra"), cap. lix ("Hida do Capitam, e Frades a El-Rei de Congo"), cap. lx ("Entrada dos Christaos na Corte d'El-Rey Mani-Congo"), cap. lxi ("Fazimento da Igreja primeira"), cap. lxii ("Como el-Rei foy fecto Christao), cap. lxiii ("Como a Rainha foi fecta Christaa"). Barros, writing much later than Pina, collapses the story into one chapter (Barros, Da Asia. Primeira Decada, liv. 3, cap. ix).

(45) See for example many of the comments in Duarte Pacheco Pereira's Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, 79-158. Brasio, Monumenta Missionaria Africana. Africa Occidental (Lisbon, 1963), 2 (1532-1569), docs. 29 and 97. However, the Africans often had a similarly bad opinion of the Portuguese (see Elbl, "Cross-Cultural Trade," 186-7).

(46) Elbl, "Trade and Diplomacy" and "Prestige Considerations".

(47) A. C. de C. M. Saunders, "The Depiction of Trade as War as a Reflection of Portuguese Ideology and Diplomatic Strategy in West Africa," Canadian Journal of History 17 (1982): 219-34.

(48) Vasco Fernandes de Lucena, The Obedience of the King of Portugal, translation and comments by Francis M. Rogers (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1958), 47.

(49) Elbl, "Cross-Cultural Trade and Diplomacy," 195-6. For the governing principle, see Parkinson, The Philosophy of International Relations, 21-2. For an interesting insight, within a European context, see David I. Kertzer, Ritual, Politics, and Power (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 105.

(50) See, for example, Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo, 16.

(51) See the frequent use of the term by Joao de Barros in his Da Asia.

(52) Pacheco Pereira claimed that European buildings and weapons were the best " ... nem deuemos douidar que de cidades, villas e fortalezas cercadas de muros; e outros sumtuosos e fermosos edificios, Europa precede Asya e [a] Africa e asy as precede de muita e melhor frota de naaos milhor aparelhadas e armadas que todalas outras partes; e nam podem neguar os Asiaticos e Africanos que toda a habastanca das armas e policia d'ella com outras muitas arthelarias Europa posuy, e sobre tudo os mais excelentes leterados em todalas ciencias; que o orbe em sy tem; com outras muitas cousas de vantajem de todo ho circuyto da Redondeza; ... " (Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo, 30 (liv. 1, cap.5).

(53) See for example many of the comments in Duarte Pacheco Pereira's Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, 79-158. On the other hand, Velho gives a very non-judgmental description of the people encountered in the Bay of Santa Helena: "In this land there are homens bacos (dark-brown), who eat only sea lions, whales, meat of antelopes, and roots of plants. They go covered in pelts and wear penis sheaths. Their arms are horns or antlers set in wood like olive tree. They have many dogs like those of Portugal" (Velho, Roteiro, 6)

(54) For the identity-building importance of architecture see Peter Mark, "Constructing Identity: Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Architecture in the Gambia-Geba Region and the Articulation of Luso-African Ethnicity," History in Africa 22 (1995): 307-327.

(55) Ryder, Benin and the Europeans, 28-32, 46-8.

(56) Damiao de Gois, Cronica do Felicissimo D. Manuel, edited by Joaquim Martins Teixeira de Carvalho and David Lopes (Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade, 1926), Parte 1, cap. lxxvi, 164 (Kongo); Parte II, cap. X (Monomotapa); Parte III, cap. xxxvii and xxxviii (Kongo); Parte III, caps. lviii-lxii (Ethiopia); Parte IV, cap. iii (Kongo).

(57) Elbl, "Cross-Cultural Trade and Diplomacy," 192-3. For a slightly different interpretation see John Thornton, "Early Kongo-Portuguese Relations: A New Interpretation," History in Africa 8 (1981): 183-204; See also LeRoy-Ronald Johnson, "Congolese-Portuguese Relations, 1482-1543: The First Phase of Lusitanian Expansion in Tropical Africa," PhD Dissertation (University of Michigan, 1981).

(58) Pina, Cronica de el-Rei D. Joao II, cap. xxxvii ("Como Bemoim foy fecto Christao"); Barros covers the episode in much greater detail, devoting to it and its implications almost four chapters (Barros, Da Asia. Primeira Decada, liv. 3, caps. vi, vii, viii, xii).

(59) Velho relates the story of a certain Fernao Veloso, who when with Vasco de Gama in south Africa was so much interested to visit the Africans in their homes to see how they lived and ate (" ... desejava muito ir com eles a suas casas, para saber de que maneira viviam e que comiam ou que vida era a sua.") that Gama, inopportuned, let him go so that he would not have to subject himself to Veloso's lobbying (Velho, Roteiro, 6).

(60) Duarte Pacheco Pereira's Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, 79-158.

(61) Pacheco Pereira, in a theoretical passage in his Esmeraldo, argues that Europe was superior to Asia and Africa since Antiquity: ".. e diz Plinio ... que por a Europa ser mais excellente de todalas outras partes, ella he f nos da o criador dos povoos vencedores das jentes; e ho seu sitio e hasento he muito mais fermoso que todolos outros; e alguns antiguos escritores diseram que por Europa ser de tanta bondade estimaram que fose nam ha terca parte da terra, mas a metade d'ella; nem deuemos douidar que de cidades, villas e fortalezas cercadas de muros; e outros sumtuosos e fermosos edificios, Europa precede Asya e [a] Africa e asy as precede de muita e melhor frota de naaos milhor aparelhadas e armadas que todalas outras partes; e nam podem neguar os Asiaticos e Africanos que toda a habastanca das armas e policia d'ella com outras muitas arthelarias Europa posuy, e sobre tudo os mais excelentes leterados em todalas ciencias; que o orbe em sy tem; com outras muitas cousas de vantajem de todo ho circuyto da Redondeza" (Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo, 30 (liv. 1, cap. 5).

For a discussion of the idea of "Europe" in the fifteenth century see Turk Christensen, "Eurocentrism".

(62) See for example Duarte Pacheco Pereira refer to "nossa patria d'Espanha" (Esmeraldo, 43 (liv. I, cap. 11).

(63) Jose Mattoso reflected on the emergence of Portuguese national identity in the context of eight broad categories: the notion of national identity, attribution of significance, attribution of value, geography, political power, regional identities and interests, the confluence of political power and social forces, and sociological identity (Jose Mattoso, A identidade nacional (Lisbon: Fundacao Mario Soares Gradiva Publicacoes, 1998), passim).

(64) Claude-Gilbert Dubois, "Mythologies des origines et identite nationale," in Bethencourt and Ramada Curto, A Memoria de Nacao, 31-48.

For the discussion of the problem of nations and other forms of political and ethnic identity in medieval Europe see Alfred P. Smyth, ed., Medieval Europeans. Studies in Ethnic Identity and National Perspectives in Medieval Europe (Houndmills and London: MacMillan Press, 1998; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998); Simon Forde, Lesley Johnson, and Alan V. Murray, eds., Concepts of National Identity in the Middle Ages (Leeds: University of Leeds, 1995); Joachim Ehlers, "Was sind und wie bilden sich Nationes im mittelalterlichen Europa (10.-15. Jahrhundert). Begriff und algemeine Konturen," in Almut Bues and Rex Rexheuser, eds., Mittealterliche nationes-neuzeitliche Nationen. Probleme der Nationenbildung in Europa (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1995), 7-26; C. Leon Tipton, ed. Nationalism in the Middle Ages (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972); John Alexander Armstrong, Nations before Nationalism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982). The literature on medieval national identities struggles against the deeply engrained ideas that "nation" is more or less synonymous with "nation-state" and "nationalism" is largely a modern phenomenon (see for example Benedict R. O'G. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983; and other editions); and Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983, and other editions).

(65) Mattoso, A identidade nacional; Vitorino Magalhaes Godinho, "O naufragio da memoria nacional e a nacao no horizonte de marketing," 15-28 in Bethencourt and Ramada Curto, A memoria da nacao.

(66) See Maria Helena da Cruz Coelho, "Portugal na Epoca dos Descobrimentos," in Amadeu Carvalho Homem, ed., Descobrimentos, expansao e identidade nacional (Coimbra: University of Coimbra, 1992), 7-21.

(67) For a detailed analysis of the role of the Reconquest in the formation of a discrete Portuguese identity see the outstanding works of Stephane Boissellier, in particular his Naissance d'une identite Portugaise. La vie rurale entre Tage et Guadiana de l'lslam a la Re conquete (XerKIV' siecles) ([Lisbon]: Impr. Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 1999).

(68) See for example Ana Isabel Buescu, "Um mito das origines da nacionalidade: O milagre de Ourique," in Bethencourt and Ramada Curto, A memoria da nacao, 49-59.

(69) For a passionate denunciation of Muslims, see Duarte Pacheco Pereira:" ... a felecidade de sua jente he crerem na abusam da seyta de Mafoma, que cuidam verdadeiramente seer mesejeiro de Deos emvyado a este indocto vulguo pera a remisam de seus pecados; o qual, todolos vicios e desonestidas pera o corpo emsynou e das virtudes dalma nenhua doutrina lhe deu, por que toda a sua principal tencam foy destruir de todo que he graue de creer e trabalhoso de hobrar, e facilmente outorgou aquellas cousas a que os viciosos e miseraueis homees soeem a ser incrinados, maiormented os d'Arabia de cuja prouincia Mafoma foy naturalm que sempre estudam em luxuria, gulla e rapina; e por esta preversa gente ser inimigua de nossa santa fee Catolica, os Rex d'estes Reinos, do tempo del Rey Dom Joham da gloriosa memoria pera ca, lhe fezeram sempre aspera guerra ... " (Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo, Liv. 1, Cap. 65)

(70) Compare their parts of the chronicle of D. Joao I which they both partly authored. Whereas Lopes concentrated on the internal history of the kingdom, Zurara devoted most of his effort to Moroccan affairs.

(71) Livro dos conselhos de el-rei D. Duarte (Livro da Cartuxa), ed. Joao J. Alves Dias (Lisbon: Estampa, 1992), 116-8.

(72) Silva Marques, Os descobrimentos portugueses, i: 503-13 (doc. 401 and 402), in particular 504-6. Pacheco Pereira' interpretation of the document is included in his "Prologue" to Esmeraldo: [D. Henrique] "foy o principio e causa que os Ethiopos, quasy bestas em semelhanca humana, halienados do culto diuino, desentam muita parte d'elles ha santa fe catolica e Religiam cristaa cada dia sam trazidos ... " For this reason the Pope granted D. Henrique and all the Kings of Portugal the right to the seas and coasts from Guinea to India. A summary of Romanus Pontifex follows (Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo, 14-15).

(73) Thomaz, "L'idee imperiale manueline"; Thomaz and Santos Alves, "Da cruzada ao Quinto Imperio."

(74) For a broader context, see Bernard Lewis, Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

(75) This pattern is consistent with those observed by contemporary social psychologists. See for example Gregory R. Maio, James M. Olson, Mark M. Bernard, and Michelle A. Luke, "Ideologies, Attitudes, and Behaviour," in John Delamater, ed., Handbook of Social Psychology (New York: Springer, 2003), 283-308; and Michael A. Hogg, "Intergroup Relations," in Delamater, Handbook of Social Psychology, 479-501.
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Title Annotation:texto en ingles
Author:Elbl, Ivana
Publication:Portuguese Studies Review
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Date:Jan 1, 2007
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