In March 2015, almost a million demonstrators protested in various Brazilian cities against corruption, while across Latin America scandals over the abuse of power make the headlines every day. Erik Lars Myrup explores these two themes, power and corruption, at an auspicious time when interest among global historians in these topics is on the rise again. Myrup starts his story roughly with the Portuguese restoration and the end of Spanish Hapsburg rule, when noblemen stormed the royal palace in Lisbon on December 1, 1640. They deposed the Spanish vicereine and killed the secretary of state. Officials suspected of sympathizing with Spain fell from office. The trajectory of the Brazilian viceroy, Dom Jorge de Mascarenhas, reflected this rapidly turning wheel of fortune. His wife and children fled to Madrid, exhorting Mascarenhas to do the same, and he returned from Bahia to Lisbon as...

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