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História (São Paulo)

On-line version ISSN 1980-4369


LIU, Yi. Clergy, nobility and crown in Decadência. História [online]. 2006, vol.1Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 1980-4369.

In the current work I intend to inquire into the internal motives that led the Portuguese seaborne empire to decadence. After making a brief review of the historiography about the decline of Estado da Índia, I proceed to the analysis of the Crown-Church-Nobility triangle in the course of os Descobrimentos, and of their respective roles in the evolution of Portuguese empire. The absolutization of the crown, the over-expansion of the clergy and the empowerment of the aristocracy became the most conspicuous and longstanding features in the Portuguese social fabric after the country launched herself into maritime undertakings, which crippled her agriculture and retarded the industrialization. As a consequence, the rise of bourgeoisie and the transformation of mercantilist economy into the capitalist were obstructed, and a strong adventurous but non-productive spirit mixed with disdain of manual work prevailed both in metropolis and in overseas territories. In conclusion, the Portuguese decadence commenced from within rather than from without, and far prior to Dutch intrusions in Portuguese Asia, which only accelerated the decline.

Keywords : Portuguese Empire; Historiography; mercantilism.

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