The Portuguese Empire: Centres and Peripheries (15th-18th Century) - 1st semester


a) Understand the changing configuration of the Portuguese Empire as well as the interaction of its different spheres of power, between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries; b) Identify the different nature of the Portuguese presence in the areas and territories that were part of the Portuguese Empire during the period under review; c) Recognize and reflect critically on the existence of different models of political and administrative organization within the Portuguese Empire; d) Acquire knowledge of the most influential historiographical approaches of the studied subjects; e) Apply knowledge critically and be able to present both in writing and orally the results of an investigation based on primary sources.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Alexandra Pinheiro Pelucia


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





BETHENCOURT, Francisco, «Configurações Políticas e Poderes Locais», in A Expansão Marítima Portuguesa, 14001800, dir. Francisco Bethencourt e Diogo Ramada Curto, Lisboa, Edições 70, 2010, pp. 207-264. CARDIM, Pedro, «La Aspiración Imperial de la Monarquía Portuguesa (Siglos XVI y XVII)» in Comprendere le Monarchie Iberiche. Ricorse Materiali e Rappresentazioni del Potere, ed. Gaetano Sabatini, Roma, Viella, 2010, pp. 37-72. COSTA, João Paulo Oliveira e, «A Formação do Aparelho Central da Administração Ultramarina Portuguesa no século XV», in Anais de História de Além-Mar, vol. 2, Lisboa, CHAM, 2001, pp. 87-114. COSTA, Leonor Freire, Naus e Galeões na Ribeira de Lisboa. A Construção Naval no Século XVI para a Rota do Cabo, Cascais, Patrimonia, 1997. HESPANHA, António Manuel e Maria Catarina Santos, «Os Poderes num Império Oceânico», in História de Portugal, dir. José Mattoso, vol. IV, O Antigo Regime (1620-1807), pp. 395-413.

Teaching method

Lectures play an important role in this course, though not exclusively. Students will be asked to engage actively during classes and encouraged to debate topics of the course or to comment texts or primary sources.

Evaluation method

The structure of marks and the nature of assignments is the following: a research paper, where students will be expected to explore primary sources (15-20 pages long; counts for 60% of the final grade) and a conference report (3-4 pages; counts for 20% of the final grade). The oral participation of students will also be taken in account of the final grade (20%).

Subject matter

I. The coordinating center 1.1. Expansion and centralization 1.2. Imperial designs 1.3. The political decision-making bodies 1.4. The management of overseas business 1.5. The logistics organization II. The overseas peripheries 2.1. Forms of jurisdictional integration 2.2. Administrative solutions 2.3. Capital, governments and courts 2.4. Informal powers 2.5. Clientage networks