Class, Creed and Colour in Administration

  • A. J. R. Russell-Wood


The Compromissos of the Misericórdia of Lisbon were followed by the overseas branches of the brotherhood. The living conditions in the settlements of Portuguese in Asia, Africa and Brazil differed markedly from those in the mother country. The social structure of these communities and the relations of the Portuguese with other ethnic groups and followers of other creeds, varied from country to country. The branches of the Misericórdia in Gôa and Macao made their own Compromissos to cater for local conditions. It has been seen that the Misericórdia of Bahia did not formulate its own Compromisso, but boards of guardians often found it necessary to interpret, rather than follow blindly, the clauses of the statutes of Lisbon. In this respect the archives of the Misericórdia afford a fascinating insight into the more elusive and least tangible aspects of Brazilian history — the infrastructure of society and the ethnic and religious stresses and strains present in colonial Bahia.


Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century City Council Business Community High Standing 
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  1. 2.
    Affonso Ruy, Historia da Câmara, p. 178. For detailed studies of the mesteres and juiz do povo in Bahia, see C. R. Boxer, Portuguese Society in the Tropics. The Municipal Councils of Goa, Macao, Bahia and Luanda, 1510–1800 (Wisconsin, 1965) pp. 73–7, 104–5 and 179–82; Affonso Ruy, op. cit., pp. 173–85.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    Augusto de Lima Junior, A Capitania das Minas Gerais (2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro, 1943)Google Scholar
  3. Gilberto Freyre, Sobrados e mucambos (3 vols., Rio de Janeiro— São Paulo 1951, 2nd ed.) vol. 2, p. 673.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    For a full discussion of the racial situation in colonial Brazil see C. R. Boxer, Race Relations in the Portuguese Colonial Empire, 1415–1825 (Oxford, 1963), pp. 86–121.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    This Compromisso is discussed in detail in Manoel S. Cardozo, ‘The lay brotherhoods of colonial Bahia’, in the Catholic Historical Review, vol. 33 (1947), pp. 12–30.Google Scholar
  6. 2.
    Thales de Azevedo, Ensaios de antropologia social (Bahia, 1959), p. 99.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© A. J. R. Russell-Wood 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. R. Russell-Wood
    • 1
  1. 1.St Antony’s CollegeOxfordUK

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