This sixth volume in the historiographical series sponsored by the Pan American Institute of Geography and History is a sequel to the Historiografía del Brasil, siglo XVI by José Honório Rodrigues, which appeared in 1957 as volume IV in the same series, and was reviewed in HAHR, Volume XXXVIII, No. 1. The current study, completed in 1958, is concerned with histories, chronicles, relations, reports, and occasional memorials written in or about Brazil by Portuguese, Spaniards, Frenchmen, Dutchmen, and other Europeans during the seventeenth century. In the text and footnotes the author discusses the various editions and subsequent criticisms of these materials, and, in the case of works of unknown or disputed authorship, presents his own opinions as well as those of other scholars past and present. Contemporary travel accounts and purely official documents such as legislation and court or church records are omitted, as are histories of Brazil written after 1700.
The study is divided into five principal parts, or books, each of which is broken into two or more subtopics. Book one, which covers roughly the first half of the seventeenth century, is devoted to works resulting from the Franco-Luso-Spanish contest for empire in Maranhão and the Amazon Valley. Book Two, based largely on the author’s earlier Historiografia e bibliografia do domínio holandês no Brasil, examines the extensive contemporary literature on the Dutch occupation on northern Brazil, 1624-1654. The third, and by far the shortest book deals with the exploration of the Brazilian sertão. The almost complete absence of historiographical material from the great century of the bandeiras reflects the low state of formal education in São Paulo and the bandeirantes’ lack of concern for the judgment of posterity. Book Four is devoted primarily to the accounts and activities of the Jesuits in Brazil. The final book includes works of a general or socio-economic nature that do not fit neatly into any of the preceding categories. The bulk of it is given over to Padre Antônio Vieira and Frei Vicente do Salvador.
José Honório Rodrigues has again produced a study that is valuable both as historiography and as history. The elaborate table of contents and complete index make the volume eminently usable as a reference to the historical literature of seventeenth-century Brazil, while its publication in a fine Spanish translation, by A. Alatorre, makes it available to all students of Latin American history. Since it was written for a non-Brazilian audience, the author has included in each section explanatory narrative essays, which in themselves comprise a synthesis of the history of Brazil in the seventeenth century.