This study examines the 60 years of Spanish Habsburg rule in Portuguese Brazil, from the annexation of Portugal in 1580 to the revolt and de facto secession of Portugal and its empire from the Spanish monarchy in 1640. This period also coincides with the expansion of the Brazilian sugar industry — a keystone in the economy of the Portuguese empire for much of the seventeenth century — and with the challenge to Portuguese rule in Brazil from the Dutch West India Company from 1624 to 1654.

The author’s declared aim is to analyze relations between the Habsburg monarchy, Portugal, and Brazil during the union with Spain in order to confirm whether the colony was ruled by Spanish political directives. To do this, Stella opts for an institutional focus so as to establish the basis of political decision making on Brazilian matters in the...

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