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Portuguese and Luso-Asian Legacies in Southeast Asia, 1511-2011, vol. 1

The Making of the Luso-Asian World: Intricacies of Engagement

Laura Jarnagin

Publication Year: 2011

In 1511, a Portuguese expedition under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque arrived on the shores of Malacca, taking control of the prosperous Malayan port-city after a swift military campaign. Portugal, a peripheral but then technologically advanced country in southwestern Europe since the latter fifteenth century, had been in the process of establishing solid outposts all along Asia's litoral in order to participate in the most active and profitable maritime trading routes of the day. As it turned out, the Portuguese presence and influence in the Malayan Peninsula and elsewhere in continental and insular Asia expanded far beyond the sphere of commerce and extended over time well into the twenty-first century. Five hundred years later, a conference held in Singapore brought together a large group of scholars from widely different national, academic and disciplinary contexts, to analyse and discuss the intricate consequences of Portuguese interactions in Asia over the longue dure. The result of these discussions is a stimulating set of case studies that, as a rule, combine original archival and/or field research with innovative historiographical perspectives. Luso-Asian communities, real and imagined, and Luso-Asian heritage, material and symbolic, are studied with depth and insight. The range of thematic, chronological and geographic areas covered in these proceedings is truly remarkable, showing not only the extraordinary relevance of revisiting Luso-Asian interactions in the longer term, but also the surprising dynamism within an area of studies which seemed on the verge of exhaustion. After all, archives from all over the world, from Rio de Janeiro to London, from Lisbon to Rome, and from Goa to Macao, might still hold some secrets on the subject of Luso-Asian relations, when duly explored by resourceful scholars.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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List of Charts, Figures and Tables

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pp. ix-x

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A Tribute to Glenn Ames

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pp. xi-xiii

Professor Glenn Ames of the University of Toledo had planned to attend the “Portuguese and Luso-Asian Legacies in Southeast Asia, 1511–2011” conference in Singapore and Malacca in late September 2010. Many of us, his long-time colleagues, were looking forward to seeing him again, and to hearing his scheduled contribution...

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pp. xv-xvii

This book, the first of two volumes, is the outgrowth of an international, interdisciplinary conference entitled “Portuguese and Luso-Asian Legacies in Southeast Asia, 1511–2011” that was held in Singapore and Malacca on 28–30 September 2010, co-sponsored by the Institute of Southeast Asian...

List of Contributors

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pp. xix-xxiii


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pp. xxv-xxxiv

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Introduction: Towards Clarity through Complexity

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pp. 1-19

At the opening of the twenty-first century, statistical evidence indicates that European dominance of shipping and maritime traffic in Southeast Asia is now — slowly, glacially — coming to an end. This means that, for the first time in history, Westerners no longer account for majority ownership of the global maritime trade in and...

Part 1. Adaptations and Transitions in the South and Southeast Asian Theatres, Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries

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1. Supplying Simples for the Royal Hospital: An Indo-Portuguese Medicinal Garden in Goa (1520-1830)

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pp. 23-47

By the mid-seventeenth century, medical practice in the Portuguese-held enclaves of southern India had become thoroughly hybridized, with applied remedies in colonial health institutions relying heavily on indigenous medicinal plants. To ensure a ready supply of common local and imported healing herbs in the administrative hub of the...

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2. Malacca in the Era of Viceroy Linhares (1629-35)

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pp. 48-66

On 14 January 1641, after a protracted siege lasting five and a half months, Portuguese Malacca surrendered to the Dutch. The loss of Malacca, which had been in Portuguese hands since its capture by Albuquerque from Sultan Mahmud 140 years earlier, was a crushing blow to the Portuguese. At the time the greatest loss the...

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3. From Meliapor to Mylapore, 1662-1749: The Portuguese Presence in Sao Tome Between the Qutb Shahi Conquest and Its Incorporation into British Madras

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pp. 67-82

Along the seashore of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, known previously as Madras, runs the Santhome Highway. It links Marina Beach in the north, a highly popular sightseeing attraction and a place of socialization in the Tamil metropole, with the Adyar area in the south, where the headquarters of the...

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4. Eighteenth-Century Diplomatic Relations Between Portuguese Macao and Ayutthaya: The 1721 Debt Repayment Embassy from Macao

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pp. 83-105

One of the pre-eminent, current historiographical debates in Thai history concerns the nature of the “National Revolution” of 1688 and whether it genuinely ushered in a period of xenophobia and retreat from international engagement, with Siam becoming a “hermit kingdom” in the language of the academic literature. Traditionally...

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5. Continuities in Bengal's Contact with the Portuguese and Its Legacy: A Community's Future Entangled with the Past

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pp. 106-128

Cross-cultural interactions were a significant feature of the sixteenth-century phase of Portuguese expansion. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, who has extensively examined this theme, suggests viewing this phenomenon as “a part of the history of the Portuguese presence in maritime Asia at a time when Portugal was itself under Habsburg...

Part 2. Dispersion, Mobility and Demography from the Sixteenth into the Twenty-first Centuries

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6. The Luso-Asians and Other Eurasians: Their Domestic and Diasporic Identities

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pp. 131-154

The Luso-Asians are the descendants of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Portuguese colonists who cohabitated and intermarried with the various indigenous women of Asia: from Diu in India to Nagasaki in Japan; from Macao in China to East Timor in the Pacific. They are also the descendants of slaves belonging to the...

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7. The Population of the Portuguese Estado Da India, 1750-1820: Sources and Demographic Trends

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pp. 155-177

Beginning in the second half of the eighteenth century, the administration of Portugal’s overseas territories came to demand an increasingly detailed and systematic understanding of their inhabitants. This tendency was manifested in the development of the framework known as “political arithmetic”, whose effects were felt in Portugal...

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8. Flying with the Papagaio Verde (Green Parrot): An Indo-Portuguese Folkoric Motif in South and Southeast Asia

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pp. 178-202

The folksong “Papagaio Verde” (Green Parrot) is one of the oldest and most widely known Portuguese cantigas — stanzas of verse sung to traditional melodies — that spread from Indo-Portuguese communities to South and Southeast Asia. Sung from Diu to Macao, the papagaio verde is a popular and agile motif: it flies in from...

Part 3. Mixed Legacies: The Portuguese and Luso-Asians in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries

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9. Portuguese Communities in East and Southeast Asia during the Japanese Occupation

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pp. 205-228

During the early twentieth century, Portuguese communities formed a prominent element of the social fabric of colonial Hong Kong and Malaya, being one of the largest locally domiciled Eurasian groupings in these territories. Since the late 1940s, however, these communities have gradually declined in number: although...

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10. Indo-Portuguese Literature and the Goa of Its Writers

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pp. 229-238

There is no better introduction to the Goa of its Indo-Portuguese writers than an excerpt from the novel O Último Olhar de Manú Miranda (The Last Look of Manú Miranda) by Orlando da Costa (1929–2006), published by Âncora in 2000. It can be said that this work is a Bildungsroman, the coming-of-age novel of the Brahmin Catholic...

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11. Binding Ties of Miscegenation and Identity: The Narratives of Henrique Senna Fernandes (Macao) and Rex Shelley (Singapore)

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pp. 239-258

Despite the dynamics of globalization and rapid economic and political development, it is still noticeable nowadays that several Portuguese creolized communities in postcolonial societies have resisted cultural homogenization, particularly those scattered throughout the detached, peripheral regions of East and Southeast Asia that...

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12. Portuguese Past, Still Imperfect: Revisiting Asia in Luso-Diasporic Writing

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pp. 259-272

In light of the above epigraph, it is perhaps needless to say that it is with a considerable measure of caution, if not outright ambivalence, that I consider the possibility of a return to Asia for Lusophone literary and cultural studies today. For this reason, perhaps it should first be made clear what is meant by the idea of...


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pp. 273-297


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pp. 299-323

E-ISBN-13: 9789814345262
Print-ISBN-13: 9789814345255

Page Count: 323
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1