Copper Dreams and the ‘Hope of the North.’ Sweden, Portugal and Spain during the Portuguese Rebellion (1640-1668). Part I


“What will you find in Sweden and Norway except obscurity and darkness, all [are] heretics, idolat[ors], sorcerers, poor, miserable, without order nor the use of human reason, sterile lands, and [people] living in the hills like savage beasts.”1


Juan Palafox y Mendoza, Diálogo político del estado de Alemania (1632?)


Sweden, the North, the Septentrion; cold, distant, obscure… for many Spaniards and Portuguese in the Early Modern era the Scandinavian countries seemed a distant, heretical, and enemy world. But politics and commerce made an alternative vision possible as well. In 1653, after the Peace of Westphalia had ended the Thirty Years War, Philip IV of Spain wrote to Antonio Pimentel del Prado, his able envoy in Stockholm, emphasizing that Spain like Sweden had been settled and ruled by the Goths, and thus despite their present religious differences, the two monarchies shared a common heritage, He expressed his desire for a firm alliance with Christina, Queen of Sweden,

“Whose friendship I will always put first. Considering it the most dependable and secure not only because of the goodness and sincerity of the current queen, but also because of the ancient friendship and relationship of the two kingdoms of Sweden and Spain being of the same nation [people], and now entrenched by the Peace of Germany.”2

Antonio Pimentel del Prado, by Michealina Wautier, 1646

Antonio Pimentel del Prado, by Michealina Wautier, 1646.

Elements of a shared relationship because of common Gothic origins made for good propaganda and a diplomatically useful political discourse, but by the mid-seventeenth century, relations between Sweden and the Iberian Catholic Monarchy were complicated, difficult, and not always friendly.3 Despite certain similarities in their rise as fiscal-military states, Lutheran Sweden, an opponent of the central European Habsburg Empire, and of thus of its dynastic and religious ally, the composite Habsburg Iberian Catholic Monarchy, was often a hostile state with conflicting interests.4 This study seeks to examine some aspects of that shifting relationship, and the diplomatic and commercial role of Sweden during Portugal’s 1640 rebellion, as that kingdom sought to separate from the Iberian Habsburg Monarchy during an era in which the religious context and shared millenarian expectations influenced these diplomatic, commercial, and political relations.

It would seem at first glance that despite shared Gothic origins, Lutheran Sweden had little in common with the Iberian kingdoms of the composite Habsburg Catholic Monarchy, and Portugal even less so than Castile.5 In reality, however, there were some surprising similarities and connections between Portugal and Sweden. In the Early Modern period their populations were roughly similar: Portugal had about a million inhabitants, and Sweden including Finland about a million, two hundred thousand. Both Portugal and Sweden created empires; the Portuguese in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the Swedes in the seventeenth with the acquisition of Finland, parts of Norway, Estland, Livonia, Ingria, Karelia, Denmark and northern Germany.6 We should also recognize Swedish short-lived attempts at colonial settlements or commercial activity outside of Europe with the settlement in North America of New Sweden (Delaware 1638-55), attempts to acquire a Caribbean island, and the trade outposts created on the Gold coast of West Africa.7 Both countries “suffered” a period of “foreign” control or domination; Sweden under Denmark, and Portugal under Castile, and both kingdoms experienced a dynastic crisis at the end of the sixteenth century; 1578-80 in Portugal and 1593-1604 in Sweden. Both relatively small countries had, by the early eighteenth century, become marginalized from the centers of power in Europe by the rise of France, England, and Holland, and both were forced to engage in a small state diplomacy against larger and more powerful players.

There is also a curious parallel between the history of Sweden and Portugal since both were affected by the death of their kings in battle, and by the dynastic politics that followed those events. The death of a ruling monarch on a battlefield was an extraordinary event, and the images of a vacant throne and of a headless body politic weighed heavily in political discourse of the two kingdoms. In 1578, Dom Sebastião, king of Portugal and a nephew of Spain’s Felipe II, moved by religious fervor and imperial ambitions had led a hapless crusading intervention into Moroccan politics. There, the king died, disappearing in the midst of battle, his death creating a dynastic crisis that eventually carried Phillip II of Spain to the throne of Portugal in 1581. For the next sixty years, Portugal remained a kingdom within the composite Habsburg Catholic Monarchy, although rumors of Sebastian’s survival circulated and solidified into a nationalistic millenarian myth.

This union brought certain military and commercial advantages to sectors of Portuguese society, but after 1621, the arrangement was increasingly perceived by various segments of Portuguese society at least as a disadvantage, if not as a disaster. By the 1630s, during the government of Philip IV and his chief advisor, the Count Duke of Olivares, Portuguese complaints against new taxes, military recruitment, and damaging mercantilist commercial policies imposed by Madrid, eventually provoked a coup by a small group of nobles which resulted in a rebellion and eventually in independence.8

During the same period in Sweden, king Gustav II Adolph (Gustavus Adolphus), a firmly convinced Lutheran and an energetic and strong leader, pursued an expansionist program, hoping to control strategic points around the Baltic that would turn it into a Swedish sea.9 In the 1620’s the military power of Sweden rapidly increased due to the foreign policy of the king, a reform of the army, and a program of industrial development that concentrated on mining and the export of copper and iron.10 Sweden became self-sufficient in armaments and a major supplier of weapons to the rest of Europe. These changes along with the introduction of new military tactics that integrated light artillery into the plan of battle made Swedish troops the most feared in the Baltic by mid-century, and Sweden a major player in the Thirty Years War.11 Its rise as a fiscal-military state and an empire was also accompanied by millenarian expectations based on a perception of biblical kings deemed to be Lutheran in spirit.12

But this rise in Swedish power had come at a high cost. Taxes on land and on commerce in the Baltic Sea to pay for the territorial expansion, and the growing military expenses and conscription weighed heavily on the population. They also negatively affected Sweden’s relations with England and Holland, countries that also maintained a considerable Baltic trade. Gustavus Adolphus needed the Baltic commercial income because Sweden was essentially a poor country and lacked the funds to finance his program of expansion. That need also influenced the country’s diplomacy. A treaty with Richelieu’s France (Treaty of Barwalde, 1631) brought Sweden over one million livres tournois annually in return for keeping its forces in Germany confronting the Habsburgs. Sweden’s cost was also high in men. National recruitment and high mortality levels for those enlisted produced demographic decline and an increasing use of expensive mercenaries. Sweden’s export of iron and copper and use of the latter metal for currency became essential to cover these costs and basically funded Sweden’s expansion in the seventeenth century.13

King Gustav-Adolph at Breitenfeld in 1631, by Johann Walter, Starsbourg Museum, Wikisource

King Gustav-Adolph at Breitenfeld in 1631, by Johann Walter, Starsbourg Museum.

From a strategy originally defensive in nature, Sweden’s success in Germany after 1630 caused Gustavus Adolphus and his Lord Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna, to consider the formation of a Protestant League that could unite Swedish and German princes for political and military advantage. This idea of a centralization of power under Sweden, like a parallel project on the Catholic side under the Hapsburg Empire, was never achieved.14 The death of Gustavus Adolphus at the battle of Lūtzen (16 November 1632) although a Swedish victory, hampered the grandiose projects of expansion which continued into the 1650s, although subsequent military and political problems weakened the Protestant cause.15 Its defeat at the battle of Nördlingen (September, 1634) initiated a new phase of the conflict and the retreat of Sweden as a military power, even though new victories in 1636 and 1639 did restore the army’s reputation, as did its defeat of Denmark in 1643-45.

Following the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) that ended the Thirty Years War, Sweden still held a position of power and influence, but after the king had died in battle, the successor to the crown was his daughter Christina, a girl only six years old at the time of his death. Government had to be assumed by a regency under the direction of Axel Oxenstierna who then governed until 1644 when the young, but quite remarkable Christina, “the semiramis of the North,” could rule in her own name.16 As had happened in Portugal during the period of instability following the death of Dom Sebastian (1578-81), and prior to the assumption of the throne by Phillip II of Spain, in Sweden the regency period witnessed complaints of the estates against monarchical control, the demands of regions against central government, and of the actions of the nobility in favor of their own control of the state.

While all this had been happening, France had been at war on Spain since 1635, and as part of its efforts, it sought alliance with rebellious Portugal and cooperation with Catalonia as a strategy to confront Spain with enemies on its borders. When peace was declared in 1648, France remained with high, but unsatisfied ambitions, and with more limited opportunities in its politics against Spain.17

It is within this complex international political and military context that the Portuguese revolt of 1640 and its subsequent war for recognition of its independence that lasted until 1668 took place. For Spain, the war to regain Portugal became a conflict with a paucity of heroes, limited accomplishments, and few outright victories; a war that stretched Spain’s thin resources.18 Nevertheless, despite Spain’s ultimate recognition of Portugal’s independence, during the conflict the Habsburg rulers had often conducted an effective political and diplomatic campaign to isolate its restive kingdom. Overall, the changing relationship between the two Iberian kingdoms and Sweden, as all three jockeyed for diplomatic and commercial advantage, had broad implications for the outcome of the war, and at the core of their relations was Sweden’s role as a major supplier of timber, arms, iron, and Europe’s most important provider of copper.19 That relationship also underlined the role of the north Atlantic and Baltic trade in Iberian imperial expansion and the intensification of global trade.20

Map of Sweden and Baltic sea in 1650, by Abraham Goos. Wikisource

Map of Sweden and Baltic sea in 1650, by Abraham Goos.

Diplomatic Approaches: The Baltic Connection

On December 1, 1640 a group of Portuguese “fidalgos” entered the governmental palace in Lisbon and assassinated the governor of Portugal, Miguel de Vasconcelos. They then proclaimed the independence of Portugal under the Duke of Bragança who was acclaimed as Dom João IV. After neutralizing the Spanish troops in various garrisons across the country, the first objective of the new king, was to seek international allies and support for the struggle against Spain.21 Both Portuguese historiography and the work of the British diplomatic historian Edgar Prestage (1869-1951) have painted Bragança diplomacy of the era a great triumph, but that characterization seems to be an exaggeration since diplomatic achievements varied greatly due to the shifting objectives and fortunes of the perspective allies, England, France, Holland and Sweden. All those countries desired at times to harass the Spanish monarchy by supporting a rebellious Portugal. Each of them expected some benefit or concession from Portugal in return for their help or alliance. The advantages most sought were commercial; the ability to sell raw materials, armaments, and manufactured goods, to purchase Portuguese salt, and hopefully to gain access to the direct trade with Portugal’s Indian Ocean and Atlantic colonies, the sources of pepper and spices from the former and sugar and dyewood from the latter.22

Commerce and changing European political fortunes, alliances, and hostilities had much to do with the success of the Bragança diplomatic campaign. In fact, given the circumstances, Spanish response to Portugal’s rebellion and its diplomatic campaign was generally effective in isolating Portugal, preventing its participation in the Treaty of Westphalia, and in the Habsburg use of its influence in Rome to prevent recognition of the new regime’s legality, and thus the appointment of bishops in the rebellious kingdom.23 We can not enter into the details of these events, but it is within this international context that the relations between Spain, Portugal, and Sweden should be examined. Portugal’s diplomatic success prior to the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648, and its commercial concessions thereafter reflected its vulnerability as a small power, but one that played its few cards relatively well.24 Its successes also confirm the “new diplomatic history” of the early modern era that emphasizes the role of informal or occasional agents who supported or financed appointed diplomats in achieving the country’s political goals.

Very quickly after his acclamation, Dom João IV of Portugal dispatched diplomatic envoys to France, Holland, England and to the Baltic states of Sweden and Denmark, the potential enemies of Spain.25 The delegation to the Baltic was headed by Francisco de Sousa Coutinho, a loyal counsellor and advisor who had served the Duke of Bragança previously as his representative in Madrid where he had negotiated the duke’s marriage to doña Luisa de Guzmán, the sister of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, a leading Andalusian nobleman. Sousa Coutinho set sail from Lisbon in a Danish ship in March, 1641 and arrived in Denmark in April. We know much about this mission because the royal magistrate (desembargador) António Moniz de Carvalho, who as secretary accompanied the delegation, later published a detailed narrative of the voyage.26

Denmark received the embassy courteously in Copenhagen with various honors, but despite lavish receptions and impressive banquets, the king would not officially acknowledge the embassy, since Denmark at the time was trying to serve as a moderator in establishing a general peace in Europe, and could not afford to offend the Habsburg emperor nor Phillip of Spain who considered the Portuguese monarch a “tyrant, usurper, and rebel.” Denmark in fact, at the time had its own ambassador in Madrid negotiating a commercial treaty. The best the Portuguese ambassador could achieve was an “non-official” clandestine meeting with king Christian IV in the Castle of Fredericksburg. The results were disappointing. Despite a cordial dinner and expressions of sympathy, the Portuguese embassy left for Sweden with empty hands and nothing concrete to show for its efforts.

The Swedish reception of the Portuguese delegation was far more encouraging. This was the Sweden of the regency following the death of Gustavus Adolphus, and the young queen Christina was only fifteen at the time. Oxenstierna the powerful regent, had a broad vision of the political situation and had linked Sweden to France as a way of limiting the power of the Habsburg empire. As noted, France since 1635 had been at war with Spain and had formed alliances with Holland and Sweden. Cardinal Richelieu saw the advantages of bringing a rebellious Portugal now into that alliance, although he wished to avoid a formal pact that might later restrict his ability to negotiate a peace with Spain when he saw fit.27 In fact, Hugo Grotius who served as Sweden’s ambassador in Paris had suggested to Richelieu as early as 1637, when news of anti-Spanish riots in Evora arrived, that backing the claims of the Duke of Bragança to the Portuguese throne was a way to weaken the Spanish monarchy.28 Thus Sweden welcoming Portugal as an informal ally served the interests of France, and so Sousa Coutinho’s arrival at the Swedish court was facilitated by a French diplomat seeking to smooth the acceptance of the Portuguese delegation. The entrance of the embassy in Stockholm was splendid and made with all the ceremonial of a formal reception, and there was little need for assistance of the French ambassador since the Swedes sensed their own advantage in the alliance. The official audience was conducted in Latin, and Sousa Coutinho found his hosts anxious to conclude an alliance that would aggravate the king of Spain. A treaty was signed on July 29, 1641.29

The treaty noted the ancient friendship that existed between the rulers and the peoples of the two kingdoms and mentioned the usurpation of the Portuguese crown by the king of Spain. It then proceeded in twenty-eight articles to establish free commerce between to two countries especially in arms, timber, and masts for naval construction from Sweden in exchange for Portuguese products like salt, essential for the fisheries of the northern countries. The treaty also stated that mariners and merchants would be allowed to take up residence in the other country and would be allowed “freedom of conscience” and religion without hinderance. Portugal was most interested in military and naval supplies, raw materials like iron and copper, and the ability to raise troops and officers from its new ally. Sweden, like England and Holland, had been particularly interested in acquiring the right of direct trade with the Portuguese colonies, but Dom Joao IV had instructed the Portuguese embassies here and elsewhere that under no conditions to agree to an opening of direct maritime commerce with Portugal’s Asian or Atlantic colonies.30 Subsequently, when in 1648 Portugal created a mercantilist Companhia Geral do Comércio do Brasil that would send an bi-annual trade convoy to Brazil, the Swedish representative initiated discussions to involve Swedish investors and ships, but by 1650, those negotiations broke down, in part, it would seem, because England had proved more capable of providing Portugal with the investments and shipping that the fleet required.31

Nevertheless, it should be noted that the commerce between Iberia and the Baltic was long-standing and extensive, and had been particularly important to Portugal.32 Even during periods of the Habsburg embargo, some Baltic ports sought to open trade to Portugal and its colonies. In 1636 the master of the Galgo Branco (White Greyhound), one of two ships from Danzig (G’dansk) that had brought wheat to Lisbon during a period of famine, submitted letters to the king and to Princess Margarida, Governor of Portugal, asserting that as a loyal subject of the king of Poland and having brought gain in a time of need, that he should be allowed to sail to Brazil despite the embargo. All of the members of the members of Portugal’s Treasury Council supported the measure, and suggested that the king of Poland would thus be moved to send more ships and goods, and the taxes would benefit the crown. The appeal apparently did not go forward.33 The new Bragança king proved no more willing to open direct colonial trade than the Spanish Habsburgs had been, but he welcomed the continued Baltic commerce. Of the 96,034 ships that had passed eastward through the Baltic Sound and been registered in the century between 1557 and 1657, 19 percent (8,700) of them had come from Portugal, and 78% of these had carried the salt from Setúbal.34 Sweden was consuming 70-80,000 barrels of salt a year, much of it carried in Dutch vessels, except during the periods of embargo in 1598-1607 and 1621-47, when English, Danish, and Hamburg shippers had replaced the Dutch.35 These figures underline the fact that the national origin of merchants, masters, ships or the flag under which they sailed had to great extent become irrelevant as trading networks and patterns had developed that avoided embargos or other state restrictions.36

Considered a success, Sousa Coutinho returned to Lisbon with military armaments so necessary for the war.37 He was accompanied by Lars Skytte, a Swedish diplomat from a distinguished noble family who now took up residence in Lisbon as Sweden’s representative.38 Sousa Coutinho after this success was sent as ambassador to the Netherlands, and in this place, Dom João IV dispatched the patient and cultured Rodrigo Botelho de Morais as his agent in Stockholm. It was a good choice. His gentlemanly grace and ability to converse in Latin and French made Botelho de Morais particularly welcomed by the young queen Christina.

The Portuguese treaty with Sweden, like that later signed with Cromwell’s England in 1654, while limited in some ways, was, nevertheless, important because it provided the new Portuguese regime with a certain legitimacy, and overcame its diplomatic isolation.39 Portugal’s representatives in Sweden had expected to find in that country an ally that would that would sponsor Portugal’s place as the table in the negotiations of Westphalia in 1648, but that expectation was eventually frustrated as was also the hope that Sweden might help in the return of Dom Duarte, João IV’s brother who was being held as a hostage by the Holy Roman Empire, and who eventually died in captivity.40 Nevertheless, access to essential raw materials like iron and copper and to high quality arms was a major achievement for the survival of the new monarch. From the viewpoint of England, Holland, France, and other European powers, the attraction of a treaty with Portugal was principally to have a hostile neighbor on Spain’s western flank, access to a few essential Iberian products like the high quality salt available on the Portuguese coast, and the possibility at least of indirect trade with the Portuguese overseas possessions. All of these states also wished to secure the right to trade directly with the Portuguese colonies, but at least for the first decade after 1640, Portugal remained adamant in maintaining the mercantilist exclusive control of trade with its colonies.41 Nevertheless, the treaty between Portugal and Sweden set in motion the linkage of three commodities-copper, salt, and sugar- that were economically essential to those countries, and to Portugal’s colony in Brazil. That relationship underlined the way in which commodity chains are always embedded in changing political and social contexts.

Dreams of Copper

Beyond the diplomatic advantages that Portugal gained from Swedish formal recognition, there was, another dimension to the importance of this relationship to Portugal. Sweden by the seventeenth century had become the principal source of copper to western Europe, and that metal was not only essential for the making of artillery and other armaments that Portugal now required for its war against Hapsburg Spain, but it was also essential for the minting of inexpensive coinage that had become a particular necessity to the economies of the two Iberian empires even before their separation, as well as to Sweden itself.42

Copper, had been in short supply in the Iberian Catholic Monarchy and especially in Portugal which had long depended primarily on importation for this metal. Some sources for copper had traditionally been found in the Mediterranean, but also in northern and central Europe. In the sixteenth century, merchant firms in Augsburg and Nuremberg, attracted by access to spices and other oriental luxury items that the Portuguese were bringing from the Indian Ocean and the gold coming from West Africa, became the principal suppliers of both silver and copper, the latter metal essential when alloyed with tin to make bronze, or combined with zinc to make brass. Copper coinage of low value was in common use as currency in Portugal itself, but the Portuguese crown also found this metal essential for its trade in Asia, and useful in the form of manilhas, copper bracelets or arm bands traded for slaves in West Africa.43 For those reasons, Portugal became dependent on the Fuggers and other south German merchants, some of whom maintained resident agents in Lisbon, and others who managed their commerce through the active Portuguese trade “factory” in Antwerp.44 A virtual “river” of copper of about 10,000 quintals (c.267 metric tons) a year, much of it mined in Hungary, Bohemia, and elsewhere in central Europe, flowed to Portugal by way of Antwerp or Bruges in the first decades of the century.45 Over half of that imported copper was used profitably in the Portugal’s Indian Ocean trades.46 By the later sixteenth century, German control of copper supply had diminished, and much of that metal was now coming from Sweden, but mostly carried by the Dutch as intermediaries.47 That was particularly the case during the Twelve Year Truce (1609-21) which ended the mercantilist embargos that the Catholic Monarchy had imposed on the Dutch Republic. During those years the Dutch carried two-thirds of all the Baltic trade to Iberia due to their lower carrying charges.48

A 16th-century Benin Bronze depicting a Portuguese soldier, with manilhas in the background. Wkisource

A 16th-century Benin Bronze depicting a Portuguese soldier, with manilhas in the background.

Portugal remained a major customer. With the beginning of the Thirty Years War in 1618 the increasing demand for armaments created a market with tremendous potential for profit. The careers of the Dutch arms dealer Louis de Geer, and his brother-in law Jacobus Trip who managed the Swedish crown’s royal monopoly on copper purchases provide an example of the possibilities available, and the way in which the copper and other metals could be profitable.49 Using Amsterdam as his base, De Geer created an entrepreneurial network that involved commerce in grains, wool, cloth, timber, iron and copper from the North Sea to the Mediterranean, investments in Swedish mining operations, and the manufacture of armaments that greatly expanded in the 1620s, as well as in shipping these various commodities. The Netherlands played a crucial role in this Baltic trade that while it never stopped, was often disrupted by military and political considerations such as the Catholic Monarchy’s embargoes on trade with the rebellious provinces of the Netherlands (1598-1607, 1621-47) and the fortunes of war between Demark, Sweden, and the Hanseatic ports.50 Portugal, long reliant on the importation of metals, became after 1641 even more dependent because copper was essential in the making of bronze, and thus artillery and other armaments needed by both its land and naval forces.

Copper, however, was also essential for other reasons as well. It was used in the fabrication of coinage of lesser value, and in the Catholic Monarchy in the production of vellón, a currency of everyday use that usually combined silver and copper, but was sometimes minted only from copper.51

During the period 1599 to 1626, the increasingly large Spanish demand for copper for this purpose had driven up the price of this product. Portugal had long been dependent on copper for its trade, and as part of the Catholic Monarchy it was sensitive to the increasing cost and scarcity of this metal. As early as 1622, the municipal council (câmara) of Lisbon complained that the lack of copper coinage had resulted in the rise of prices. It proposed the minting of 20-30,000 cruzados worth of copper coinage made from money raised by the excise tax (real d’agua). By 1624, the câmara was complaining of a desperate situation and shortage of money, calling it among the “worst problems that we suffer and getting worse each day.” The town council complained that the face value of the coins was so low in relation to the price of copper that coppersmiths were profitably taking coinage and using it to make kettles thus making the shortage even worse.52 While the shortage of copper coins negatively impacted everyday sales, the government feared the circulation of foreign copper currency and of counterfeit coinage and worried about the effect that it would have on trust in the coin already in circulation. What later would be called “Gresham’s Law” (bad money drives good money out of circulation) was already functioning, as gold and silver coins were horded because of their intrinsic value, or used for international exchange, but copper coinage, already scarce, became more expensive to produce for the government, and thus even scarcer.53 During the Iberian union, matters were made even worse as the monarchy’s rising military costs in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, a series of agricultural crises, and the crown’s diminishing share of the silver arriving from America, forced the crown to alter the value of the existing currency as a way to lessen its financial burdens. Changing the value of coinage, either by debasing its content of precious metal, or by remarking its face value had long been theoretically and theologically questioned, but by the 1620s, such measures had become a seemingly necessary royal action that could be used to relieve the government from financial pressures, but one that undercut public trust in royal authority and added to the process of inflation and to the discontent of anyone on a fixed income, or who otherwise suffered from these state manipulated currency policies.54

After its separation from Spain in 1641, Portugal, now lacking access to Spanish silver, and with diminishing access to gold, no longer able to secure it from the Monomotapa region in Mozambique and having been cut off from West African sources after the Dutch had seized its outposts at Arguim in Mauritania (1633) and El Mina on the Gold Coast (1637), was particularly in need for copper coinage for everyday business transactions.55 Moreover, for the new Bragança regime in the period following its separation from Spain, the need to devalue its currency in Europe and in its colonies in order to meet its fiscal obligations, to buy armaments for its defense, and to pay troops both foreign and domestic moved it almost immediately to a monetary policy that would reduce its financial burdens.56 During the previous Habsburg rule from 1580-1640 an exchange rate of one marco de plata had been consistently valued at 2,800 reis. In 1641, Dom João IV seeking to lessen his financial burden, raised the exchange rate to 3,400 reis and then again in 1643 to 4,000 reis. By 1688, later Bragança rulers raised the value to 6,400 reis to one mark of silver, in other words, a depreciation of almost 75 per cent.57 These changes were met with a guarded and well-argued criticism from the Lisbon municipal council which admonished the king that “all change and novelty in money is risky and prejudicial to the common good,” and that in well governed societies, the ruler who had the right to make such changes should only do so with the consent of the people. The council then presented a lengthy historical review of currency devaluations in Iberia, pointing out that the immediate benefits were often ephemeral and in the long term, costly.58 Their objections, however, had little effect.

The shortage of silver in Portugal, already exacerbated by the break in relations and of legal trade with Spain in 1640, now intensified as silver disappeared from circulation. These adjustments deemed financially necessary by the Bragança government now contributed to the flight of silver as a means of exchange, and so copper for coinage along with the need for armaments in which bronze was essential for founding of artillery made Portugal ever more dependent on a growing supply of copper.

In addition, there was now a further reliance created by the growing importance of Brazilian sugar production and trade to the Portuguese economy as the revenues from the spices and pepper trade from the Indian Ocean contracted while those of sugar in the Brazilian colony expanded.59 In 1624, the Count of Salinas, governor of Portugal, had estimated that at a minimum the crown’s annual income from that trade was 250,000 cruzados.60 Copper because of its conductivity of heat was also an essential metal for the equipment and utensils used by confectioners and by the producers of sugar. The need for copper became especially acute in Portugal because of its growing dependency on the taxes derived from the flourishing sugar industry of Brazil that required this metal used in the production of the vats, kettles and shallow pans or teaches needed for the cooking of the cane juice in the process that eventually produced crystalized sugar.61

Copper in the royal kitchen at the Palace of Mafra. © Stuart Schwartz

Copper in the royal kitchen at the Palace of Mafra.

The problem was not small. A large sugar mill (engenho) had about 175 arrobas (2.2 metric tons) of copper in its kettles and pans, smaller mills had perhaps about half that amount. Portuguese Brazil with around 350 sugar mills in 1630 would have required about 460 to 500 tons of copper for its equipment, and about 25 metric tons per year to repair and maintain them. Mill owners calculated that each year about thirty percent of its kettles had to replaced or repaired, so that the annual need for copper for existing mills must have been at least 165 tons to say nothing of new construction or expansion.62 Some of the copper came to Brazil in sheets (pastas) or ingots which local artisans used to make or repair the cauldrons, but notarial records from Amsterdam that document shipping of copper also indicate that large sugar cauldrons were sometimes made in Oporto and shipped from there.63 In the early seventeenth century, Bahia bound Lisbon based caravels were carrying copper sheets, “bottoms” (fundos) and iron to the large Sergipe do Conde sugar mill and returning with sugar crates.64 These kettles were a major item in a planter’s capital expenses, and their repair a significant and necessary operational cost.65 The Jesuit manager of Engenho Santana in Ilhéus complained in 1634 that a lack of copper was his principal problem.66 The will and testament of Antonio de Sá Doria who left his estate to the Misericordia of Salvador in 1662 listed in detail the copper kettles and utensils of his small sugar mill.67 This used equipment was auctioned in the following year at 300 réis per pound for over 600 milréis. In 1697, Luís do Couto spent 1,492 milréis for the kettles of the engenho he was building on Itaparica island in the Bay of All Saints.68 Repair of the coppers was usually the largest single item outlay of a sugar mills’ annual costs. The few existing annual account books from sugar mills of this period often contain entries on the purchasing of pastas or bars of copper, or entries such as:

“For the caldereiro of the house of Dinis Bravo for the making of a kettle and for another that he repaired anew, and he enlarged the skimming ladle (parol de escumas) and he fixed the smaller coppers that are necessary at the engenho. 58,520 réis)69

An illustration of the use of copper pots for boiling sugar cane juice.    Source: Léandro Vilar, “O engenho e o fabrico do açúcar no Brasil colonial,”, 3 December 2013.

“How sugar is made.” An illustration of the use of copper pots for boiling sugar cane juice.


Source: Léandro Vilar, “O engenho e o fabrico do açúcar no Brasil colonial,”, 3 December 2013.

By the late seventeenth century, the Portuguese Overseas Council recognized that the rising price of copper and iron imported from Europe forced the sugar planters to buy these essential commodities “fiados” on credit at a price 20-30% higher than what merchants had paid for them, the accounts then settled by the planters by receiving far less for their sugar than the officially determined legal price. The planters had no alternative since “necessity has no law.”70 These significant repairs and purchases were, of course, a continual and essential capital investment, and without access to copper deposits or to a well-developed metropolitan industry for the founding and industrial application of the metal, its supply remained an expense for sugar planters in the Brazilian colony that did not promote industrial development in Portugal as would later be the case in Great Britain with the expansion of sugar in its West Indies.71

Hopes for finding an alternative source for copper had flourished in the Catholic Monarchy. In 1616, Felipe III had written expectantly to the governor of Portugal that reports of copper in Maranhão might satisfy the imperial need for bronze armaments, but those expectations were never realized.72 Because of Portugal’s outposts in West Africa, a region where copper circulated widely as currency, and often also had a ritual and symbolic importance as a sign of power as well, rumors of silver and copper mines had circulated since the early sixteenth century.73 The Portuguese crown had even sent smiths to verify the rumors causing the manikongo to complain in 1536 that his rule over the Kongo kingdom would be threatened if his access to copper was reduced.74 Ambitious Portuguese found that reporting the existence and possible benefit to the king of copper or silver mines became a useful tactic for anyone seeking royal assistance for a project in west central Africa.75 The 1611 regimento or royal instructions to the Governor of Angola referred specifically to abundant copper in Benguela that could produce 300 to 350,000 cruzados a year for the “manufacture of artillery, and for my service and for the state of Brazil;” the king suggesting that the copper could be shipped to Brazil without cost as ballast in the slave ships.76 Both Manuel Cerveira Pereira, the first governor of Benguela in 1618, and the Bishop of the Kongo, Frei Manuel Batista in 1621, noted the existence of copper mines in the interior.77 In Angola, the dream of deposits of silver and copper had prospered alongside the expansion of the slave trade, and perhaps their failure to be realized had speeded the growth of the human trafficking. Silver mines eventually found at Cambembe long proved to be naught but a false hope, and although some copper could be found in Kongo and Angola, and had been brought back to Lisbon from the former since the late fifteenth century, profitable mines were never realized until the nineteenth century.78 The real copper belt lay further eastward in south central Africa, in Katanga and modern day Zambia, but since the 9th century, long distance trade had brought it westward.79 Nevertheless, the Portuguese dream persisted as can be seen in exaggerated reports like that of Manuel Pereira who in 1622 told the Count Duke of Olivares that with sixty veteran soldiers at the orders of the king, he had traveled to find the mines in “the midst of the most warlike people in Ethiopia” protected only by his own military reputation. Seeking Olivares’ patronage, he boasted that with his own slaves that he had extracted “the finest copper that exists in your kingdoms, so lacking for the manufacture of artillery.”80 The results, however, were apparently exaggerated or ephemeral.

The Portuguese dream of Angolan copper was sadly disrupted when the Netherlands, although by 1641 now an ally of Portugal in Europe against their common enemy Hapsburg Spain, nevertheless refused to recognize their alliance by returning previously won Portuguese overseas possessions, or by suspending further attacks outside of Europe. Having already captured El Mina castle on the Gold Coast (1637), the Dutch West India Company now seized the African port of Luanda, Angola (1641) hoping to assure itself of a continuing supply of slaves for its territory in Brazil. That hope was frustrated when a Portuguese expedition organized in Brazil retook Luanda in 1648, although El Mina still remained in Dutch control.81

Elmina Castle, from Blaeu-Van der Hem Atlas. Austrian National Library (1660s). Wikisource

Elmina Castle, from Blaeu-Van der Hem Atlas. Austrian National Library (1660s).

Well into the seventeenth century the search for copper mines in Angola continued. In 1663, the Portuguese king Afonso VI asked the governor of Angola, Andre Vidal de Negreiros, himself a former sugar planter in Pernambuco, and the owner of five engenhos (sugar mills), to explore further information about mines in the Kongo kingdom. His instructions (regimento) specifically referred to “abundant mines of the finest copper” that could be found in the interior and that could annually yield “great income to my custom’s houses as well as being necessary for artillery and many services for the kingdom [Portugal] and for the State of Brazil.”82 Some mention of mines had been made in a treaty of 1649, but there was no reference to them in a new treaty of 1651. Even though the Kongo ruler informed him that no such mines existed in his territory, Negreiros, realizing the crown’s interest in finding such deposits, and under pressure from the municipal council of Luanda anxious to develop a colonial currency based on copper to pay the troops and to eliminate the local currency of palm cloth (libongos), used the possibility of their existence as justification for a military invasion of the neighboring Christian African kingdom.83 The defeat of the Kongo kingdom at the battle of Mbwila (1665), and the subsequent wide-spread expansion of the slave trade to Brazil benefitted Negreiros personally.84 The introduction of a copper currency for Angola, however, was delayed until 1694.85

In a sense the fantasy of an African source for Portugal’s copper needs was an inversion of reality since Portugal’s supply of copper to West Africa had driven much of its trade in the previous century.86 While for Portugal Angolan copper mines remained a dream, both Hapsburg Spain and Bragança Portugal continued to depend on European providers and the Japanese, and because of that, they remained captive to the vagaries of diplomacy, politics, national interest, and international commerce. That dependency became obvious when in 1635 after France’s declaration of war against the Iberian Catholic Monarchy, Philip IV retaliated by placing an embargo on all commerce with France and its allies which included at the time both Sweden and the United Provinces of the Netherlands whose ships had often carried the Baltic products like naval stores, timber, and copper to Iberia. It was following the embargo of 1635 when Olivares prohibited the importation of copper from nations hostile to the Catholic Monarchy, that his agent in Lisbon, the secretary of state. Miguel de Vasconcelos, urged the Judicial Council (Desembargo do Paço) in Lisbon in 1638 to discuss how the sugar mills of Brazil could survive given the challenge of finding the copper necessary to continue production.87 Portuguese merchants were already seeking alternatives. In that year Gaspar Pacheco in Oporto sought to send bronze kettles and equipment for engenhos from São Tomé to Brazil, but was denied permission since his small ship had no canons and would probably be lost to the Dutch.88



Proceed to the second part of the article...



ACA: Archivo de Condes de Alba (Madrid)

AHU: Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (Lisbonne)

ANTT: Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo (Lisbonne)

BL: British Library (Londres)

BNL: Biblioteca Nacional (Lisbonne)

BNM: Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid)

Unfold notes and references
Retour vers la note de texte 17980


Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, Dialogo político del estado de Alemania y comparación de España con las demás naciones, Madrid, More Than Books, “Clasicos Hispánicos”, 2015.

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Nils Berencreutz, Don Antonio Pimentel’s despecher från drotting Christinas hov 1652-1656, Stockholm, Kungl, Boktryckeriet P.A. Nordstet & Söner, 1961, p. 52. The Visigoths had invaded Roman Iberia in 405 C.E. and occupied and ruled much of the península until the Muslim invasión in the eighth century.

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Diego Saavedra Fajardo, Corona góthica, castellana y austriaca, politicamente ilustrada (Amstedrdam, 1646) written at the moment when Spain was courting an alliance with Sweden’s queen Christina is a good example of the search for common Gothic connections. See also, Enrique Corredera Nilsson, Todos somos godos. Las relaciones hispano-suecas desde la década de 1640 hasta la paz de Oliva (Madrid, Ed. Complutense, 2009); Enrique Adrián Sáez, Godos de papel. Identidad nacional y reescritura en el siglo de oro (Madrid, Cátedra, 2019) on the manipulation of a Gothic past in Early modern Spain.

Retour vers la note de texte 17983


On the parallels in their organization and rule, see Jan Glete, War and the State in Early Modern Europe. Spain, the Dutch Republic and Sweden as fiscal-military States, London, Routledge, 2004. On their comparative development and relations in the period, see, Emilia Salvador Esteban, “Sweden and Spain in the context of the international relations of the Baroque period,” in Enrique Martínez Ruiz and Magdalena de Pazzis Pi Corales (eds.), Spain and Sweden in the Baroque Era (1600-1660), Madrid, Fundación Berndt Wistedt, 2000, pp. 195-214.

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Enrique Johan and Corredera Nilsson, “Dealing with the North: Spanish Ambassadors in the Scandinavian Kingdoms 1648-1660,” Ph.d. thesis, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2015) on Spanish diplomacy with Scandinavia during the war with Portugal. It also provides an excellent review of the historiography of Hispano-Scandinavian diplomatic relations. An emphasis on the Gothic connection was always less popular among the Renaissance humanists in Portugal who viewed it as a pro-Castilian myth for unification. See, Ana Maria S. Tarrío, “Del antigoticismo en la peninsula ibérica. Los godos en la cultura portuguesa,” in Carmen Codoñer and Paulo Farmhouse Alberto (eds.), Wisigothica after M.C. Díaz y Díaz, Florence, Sismel. Edicioni del Galluzzo, 2014, pp. 653-685.

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Lennart Andersson Palm, Sweden’s 17th century—a period of expansion or stagnation?, Göteborg, Göteborg University, 2016; Michael Roberts, The Swedish Imperial Experience 1560-1718, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1979.

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New Sweden was lost to the Dutch in 1655. Sweden failed to acquire Tobago in the Caribbean, although many Swedes were among the Courlanders that created a colony there, but Sweden did eventually acquire Saint Barthélemy from France (1784) in exchange for one of its Gold Coast outposts. See, Gunlög Fur. “Colonialism and Swedish History,” in Magdalena Naum and Jonas M. Nordin (eds.), Scandinavian Colonialism and the Rise of Modernity. Small time agents in a Global Arena, New York, Springer, 2013, pp. 17-36.

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Jean-Fédéric Schaub, Portugal na monarquia hispánica (1580-1640), Lisbon, Livros Horizonte, 2001, provides an excellent summary of the revisionary historiography of the Iberian union.

Retour vers la note de texte 17988


For an effective overview see Michael Roberts, The Swedish Imperial Experience, 1560-1718, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1979, pp. 1-42.

Retour vers la note de texte 17989


Kristine Burland and Keith Smith, “The Global Context of the Scandinavian Copper Industry,” in Kristin Ranestad and Kristine Bruland (eds.), Skandinavisk kobber. Lokale forhold og globale sammenhenger i det lange 1700-tallet, Oslo, Cappelen Damm Akademisk/NOASP, 2020, pp. 210-223.

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Claude J. Nordmann, “L’armée suédois au XVIIe siècle,” Revue du Nord, vol. 54, n° 21, 1972, pp. 133-47 ; Jan Glete, “Empire building with limited resources : Sweden and the development of military organisation,” in Enrique Martínez Ruiz and Magdalena de Pazzis Pi Corrales (eds.), Spain and Sweden in the Baroque Era (1600-1660), Madrid, Berndt Wistedt Foundation, 2000, pp. 307-337. See also Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution. Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Retour vers la note de texte 17991


Susanna Ākerman, Queen Christina of Sweden and Her Circle, Leiden, Brill, 1991, pp. 166-168.

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Copper and iron exports enabled Gustavus Adolphus to enter the Thirty Years' War as successfully as he did. See Chris Evans and Göran Rydén, Baltic Iron in the Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century, Leiden, Brill, 2007, p. 32.

Retour vers la note de texte 17993


A somewhat dated but still useful summary of Sweden’s political and military history for the mid seventeenth century is Michael Roberts, “Sweden and the Baltic, 1611-54,” in J.P. Cooper (ed.), The New Cambridge Modern History. IV. The Decline of Spain and the Thirty Years War, 1609-48/59, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1970, pp. 385-410. An updating and critique of Roberts is presented by Jan Lindgren, “‘If this will continue for yet a couple of years, we may well say that we have won land from others and thereby lost our own.’ The Politics of Expansion in 17th Century Sweden,” in Martínez Ruiz and Pi Corrales (eds.), Spain and Sweden in the Baroque Era, Madrid, Fundación Berndt Wistedt, 2000, pp. 169-193.

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A favorable and still useful evaluation of Gustavus’ reign, his leadership of the Protestant alliance, and the “silence of unutterable sorrow” at his death at Lūtzen was outlined in C.V. Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War, London, Jonathan Cape, 1938.

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The legends and debates over the personality, sexual identity, and intellectual capabilities of Queen Christina are many. For a recent study from a Hispanic viewpoint, see, Ursula de Allendesalazar, La reina Cristina de Suecia, Madrid, Marcial Pons, 2009.

Retour vers la note de texte 17996


I.S. Révah, Le cardinal de Richelieu et la Restauration du Portugal, Lisbon, Institut Français au Portugal, 1950.

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R.A. Stradling, Philip IV and the Government of Spain, 1621-1665, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988. Spanish Historian Rafael Valladares called the Portuguese rebellion of 1640, “the last phase of an already irreversible decadence in the Hapsburg empire”. See his “Inglaterra, Portugal y la monarquia hispanica. Felipe IV y la alianza Anglo-Portuguesa (1640-1670),” Ph.d. thesis, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1992, p. 679. See also his essay “Portugal y el fin de la hegemonía hispánica,” in “Por toda la tierra.” España y Portugal: globalización y ruptura (1580-1700), Lisbon, CHAM, 2016, pp. 299-322.

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An excellent overview of the war and its associated diplomacy that emphasizes the roles of England, and Holland in the outcome is Rafael Valladares, La rebelión de Portugal, 1640-1680, Madrid, Junta de Castilla y León, 1998. On the early role of France see Edgar Prestage, As relações diplomáticas de Portugal com a França, Inglaterra, e Holanda de 1640-1668, Coimbra, Imprenta da Universidade, 1928, pp. 1-108, and Carlos Roma de Bocage and Edgar Prestage (eds.), Relaçāo da embaixada a França em 1641 por João Franco Barreto, Coimbra, Imprenta da Universidade, 1918.

Retour vers la note de texte 17999


Jason W, Moore, “‘Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’ Part I: The Alchemy of Capital, Empire and Nature in the Diaspora of Silver, 1545-1648,” Journal of Agrarian Change, vol. 10, no. 1, 2010, pp. 33-68; and part II, vol. 10, no. 2, 2010, pp. 188-227.

Retour vers la note de texte 18000


Leonor Freire Costa and Mafalda Soares da Cunha, Do João IV, Lisbon, Cículo de Leitores, 2006 provides na excelente overview of that monarch’s reign.

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See, for example, Edgar Prestage, As relações diplomáticas de Portugal com a França, Inglaterra, e Holanda de 1640-1668, Coimbra, Imprenta da Universidade, 1928. For a more recent nationalistic overview see Abílio Pires Lousada, A restauração portuguesa de 1640. Diplomacia e guerra na Europa no século XVII, Lisbon, Fronteira do Caos, 2012.

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On the Spanish success and Bragança diplomatic failure at Westphalia see, Pedro Cardim, “‘Portuguese Rebels’ at Munster. The Diplomatic Self-Fashioning in mid-17th century European Politics,” Historische Zeitschrift, vol. 16, 1998, pp. 293-333.

Retour vers la note de texte 18003


On the Portuguese diplomatic corps in the seventeenth century see, Pedro Cardim, “Embaixadores e representantes diplomáticos da coroa portuguesa no século XVII,” Cultura, vol. 15, 2002, pp. 47-86.

Retour vers la note de texte 18004


A brief but perceptive introduction the political and diplomatic context of the Portuguese rebellion is presented in Evaldo Cabral de Mello, O negócio do Brasil. Portugal, os países baixos e o nordeste, 1641-1669, São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 2011, pp. 20-49.

Retour vers la note de texte 18005


António Moniz de Carvalho, Memoria da jornada e sucessos que houve nas duas embaixadas que Sua Magestade mandou aos reinos de Suécia e Dinamarca, Lisbon, Domingos Lopes Rosa, 1642. On Moniz de Carvalho as a political thinker see, José María Iñurritegui Rodríguez and David Martín Marcos, “Literatura política portuguesa do século XVII: António Moniz de Carvalho e a soberania do interesse,” Ler História, vol. 77, 2020, pp. 61-81. See also, Duval Pires de Lima, Temas do Brasil colonial: As relações de Portugal com a Suécia durante a restauração, Lisbon, Academia da História, 1942, pp. 349-60. Pedro Manuel Guedes de Passos Canavarro, Portugal e Dinamarca durante a Restauração (Relações diplomáticas: 1640-1668), Lisbon, Instituto de Alta Cultura, 1967; Karl Mellander and Edgar Prestage, The Diplomatic and Commercial Relations of Sweden and Portugal from 1641-1670, Watford, Voss & Michael, 1926.

Retour vers la note de texte 18006


Edgar Prestage, As relações diplomáticas de Portugal com a França, Inglaterra e Holanda de 1640-1668, Coimbra, Imprensa da Universidade, 1928, pp. 3-4. See also, Eduardo Brazão, A Restauração. Relações diplomáticas de Portugal de 1640 a 1668, Lisbon, Bertrand, 1939, pp. 378-448.

Retour vers la note de texte 18007


I.S. Revah, Le cardinal de Richelieu et la Restauration du Portugal, Lisbon, Institut Français au Portugal, 1950.

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The treaty was accompanied by letters on the following day from Queen Christina to Dom João IV and another to his wife, the Queen Dona Luisa de Gusmão, noting Christina’s support for the new Portuguese monarchs and her pleasure in accepting the Portuguese ambassador and hoping that “the fruits of friendship would newly rise between us.” These letters, actually issued by Oxenstierna and the regency council of tutors and administrators were published in Portuguese as pamphlets in Lisbon in to demonstrate the success of the new regime. Beinecke Library (Yale University), [Publications relating to the Portuguese revolution of 1640] Box 1 “Copia da Carta que a rayinha de Suecia escreveo à raynha nossa Senhora” (30 July 1641).

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Portugal’s allies were anxious to open trade with the colonies. In February, 1643, the French ambassador in Lisbon awaiting the arrival of the five Swedish ships promised in the treaty wished to dispatch at least one ship to Macao and another to Brazil and West Africa. See, “Correspondance diplomatique de François Lanier resident de France a Lisbonne,” Arquivos do Centro Cultural Calouste Gulbenkian, vol. 35, 1996, pp. 719-737 at p. 734. Charles Ralph Boxer, The English and the Portuguese Brazil trade, 1660-1780: some problems and personalities, Bundoora, La Trobe University Press, 1981, pp. 2-4, emphasizes that even when Portugal allowed by treaty the residence of foreign merchants in Portuguese ports, it did so reluctantly and sought means to limit or obstruct their activities.

Retour vers la note de texte 18010


Edgar Pereira, “An Instrumental Connection. Economic Diplomacy, International Arms Trade and Overseas Aspirations Between Portugal and Sweden, 1640-80,” Legatio, vol. 5, 2021, pp. 105-132, especially, pp. 123-27; Leonor Freire da Costa, Transporte no Atlântico e a Companhia Geral do Comércio do Brasil (1580-1663), Lisbon, Esfera dos Livros, 2011. On later Portuguese diplomatic representation in Sweden, see Marques de Lima, “‘João de Guimarães Golias.’ The best summary of Luso-Swedish relations in this period is Pedro Cardim, ‘O embaixador seiscentista Segundo António de Silva e Sousa, autor de Instruicçam política de legados (Hamburgo, 1656)’,” in Zília Osório de Castro (ed.), Diplomatas e diplomacia. Retratos, cerimónias e práticas, Lisbon, Livbros Horizonte, 2004, pp. 155-199.

Retour vers la note de texte 18011


Gabriela Majewska, “Spain and the Trade of Gdańsk in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” in Enrique García Hernán and Ryzard Skowron (eds.), From Ireland to Poland. Northern Europe and Spain in the Early Modern World, Valencia, Albatros ediciones, 2015, pp. 171-182. Ana Crespo Solana, “Dutch Trade and Spatial Integration between the Baltic and Spain, 1700–1778,” in Jan Willem Veluwenkamp and Werner Scheltjens (eds.), Early Modern Shipping and Trade. Novel Approaches Using Sound Toll Registers Online, Leiden, Brill, 2022, pp. 79-90, provides a discussion of the Dutch role as carriers of this trade contact.

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AHU, Codice 41 (11 April 1636), fs. 101v.-102.

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Magnus Mörner, “Swedish Trade and Shipping with the Iberian Peninsula: From the C16 to the early C19,” in Enrique Martínez Ruiz and Magdalena de Pazzis Pi Corales (eds.), Commerce and Navigation between Spain and Sweden throughout History. III Spain and Sweden: Encounters throughout History, Puertollano, Fundación Berndt Wistedt, 2000, pp. 103-127. See also, Kaarle Wirta, Early Modern Overseas Trade and Entrepreneurship. Nordic trading Companies in the Seventeenth Century, London, Routledge, 2021, for essays on the development of privatized trading companies.

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Jonathan I. Israel, The Dutch Republic and the Hispanic World, 1606-1661, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982, pp. 209-211; Virginia Rau, Estudos sobre a história do sal português, Lisbon, Editorial Presença, 1984. Prof. Rau’s earlier study, A exploração e o comércio do sal de Setúbal (Lisbon, Instituto para a Alta Cultura, 1951), covers the period prior to 1640. On the key role of the Dutch as carriers of Swedish trade to Portugal see, Leos Müller, “The Dutch entrepreneurial networks and Sweden in the Age of Greatness,” in Hanno Brand (ed.), Trade, Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange, Hilversum, Veloren, 2005, pp. 58-74; and on the broader implications of that relationship, Cátia Antunes, Susana Münch Miranda, and João Paulo Salvado, “The Resources of Others: Dutch Exploitation of European Expansion and Empires, 1570-1800,” Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, vol. 131, no. 3, 2018, pp. 501-521.

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Jason W, Moore emphasizes the Dutch intermediary role in making Scandinavian resources available for global trade in “‘Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’ Part I: The Alchemy of Capital, Empire and Nature in the Diaspora of Silver, 1545-1648,” Journal of Agrarian Change, vol. 10, no. 1, 2010, pp. 33-68; and part II, vol. 10, no. 2, 2010, pp. 188-227.

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The Gazeta em que se relatam as novas todas (Lisbon, Lourenço de Anveres, 1641) reported that along with gunpowder, ship masts, horses, armaments, and gifts that Sousa Coutinho also brought thirty bronze canons each accompanied by a Swedish noble who would take up residence at the Portuguese court. See, Eurico Gomes Dias, Gazetas da Restauração [1641-1648], Lisbon, Ministério de Negocios Estrangeiros, 2006, p. 8.

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Skytte returned with the Portuguese delegation and took up residence in Lisbon where in 1647 he converted to Catholicism and eventually became a Franciscan friar causing a considerable scandal and problems at the Swedish court for João de Guimarães, the Portuguese ambassador to Sweden. Guimarães later commented that Skytte and all Lutherans who converted could find no salvation in either religion since they had become “mulattos in faith, white skins but wooly hair.” Karl Mellander and Edgar Prestage, The Diplomatic and Commercial Relations of Sweden and Portugal from 1641-1670, Watford, Voss & Michael, 1926, p. 46. His remark has mistakenly been later attributed to Queen Christina herself. See, Susana Åkerman, Queen Christina of Sweden and her Circle, Leiden, Brill, 1991, p. 25. Skytte who was later offered, but refused a Cardinal’s mitre by Pope Clement IX, eventually became confessor of Queen Christina in Rome from 1668-76, following her conversion to Catholicism. See, Oskar Garstein, Rome and the Counter-Reformation in Scandinavia: The Age of Gustavus Adolphus and Queen Christina of Sweden, 1622-1656, Leiden, Brill, 1992, p. 626. Skytte’s diplomatic papers are accessible in the Library of Uppsala University ms. 388d. His religious motivations and publications are the subject of Karl Gustel Wänberg, “The Sacred Pilgrimage. The Concept of Truth in the Life and Work of Lars Skytte,” M.A. thesis, Uppsala University, 2017. On Guimarães, see Rafael Marques de Lima, “João de Guimarães Golias, o Homem e o diplomata (1599-1653),” M.A. thesis, Universidade de Minho, 2016.

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In the Bragança treaties with England and the Dutch Republic, Portugal made some concessions for trade with its Atlantic colonies.

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Sweden did make repeated unsuccessful efforts to raise the issue of Dom Duarte’s release. See Pedro Cardim, “‘Portuguese Rebels’ at Munster. The Diplomatic Self-Fashioning in mid-17th century European Politics,” Historische Zeitschrift, vol. 16, 1998, p. 304; Gomes Dias, Gazetas da Restauração [1641-1648], Lisbon, Ministério de Negocios Estrangeiros, 2006, pp. 328-383.

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For example, the secret instructions given to Sir Richard Farnsworth, (23 August 1661) for his negotiations with Portugal prior to the marriage of Catherine of Bragança to King Charles II required him to explore possible access to the Brazilian sugar trade. See, Edgar Prestage, As relações diplomáticas de Portugal com a França, Inglaterra e Holanda de 1640 a 1668, Coimbra, University of Coimbra, 1928, p. 166. On the limited Portuguese concessions to allow trade with its colonies through Lisbon granted to England and Holland during the war of separation from Spain, see Rodrigo Ricupero, “O exclusive metropolitano no Brasil e os tratados diplomáticos de Portugal com a Inglaterra (1642-1661),” Revista de História, vol. 176, 2017, pp. 1-33.

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Lawrence Paul Stryker, “The Swedish Monarchy and the Copper Trade: The Copper Company. The Deposit System and the Problems of Free Trade, 1600-1640,” Ph.d. thesis, University of Virginia, 2012, pp. 108-175. See also Michiel August Gerardus de Jong, “Dutch entrepreneurs and the Swedish Crown trade in copper and iron,” in Hanno Brand (ed.), Trade, Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange, Hilversum, Verloren, 2005, pp. 36-57.

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Vitorino Magalhães Godinho, Os descobrimentos e a economia mundial, 4 vols., Lisbon, Editorial Presença, 1983, II, pp. 7-50; Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells. West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2019, p. 58, 129, 265-6. Green suggests that many of the manilhas were smelted into bronze and used for the making of decorative objects and weapons. See also, Eugenia W. Herbert, Red Gold of Africa: Copper in Precolonial History and Culture, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1984; Alberto da Costa e Silva, Da manilha e o libambo. A África e a escravidão, Rio de Janeiro, Nova Fronteira, 2011. The demand for manilhas was enormous. In two and a half years (1504-07) the Portuguese factor at São Jorge da Mina received almost 288,000 manilhas plus copper and bronze basins and other objects for trade. See Eugenia W. Herbert, “The West-African Copper Trade in the 15th and 16th Centuries,” in Hermann Kellenbenz (ed.), Precious Metals in the Age of Expansion, Stuttgart, Klet-Cotta, 1981, pp. 119-130.

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Jürgen Pohle, “‘Sem cobre e prata nada de especerias’: notas sobre a importação de metais alemães em Portugal no início do século XVI,” in Paulo Catarino Lopes (ed.), Portugal e Europa nos séculos XV e XVI. Olhares, relações, identidades, Lisbon, CHAM, 2019, pp. 109-126. On the extensive Flemish trade with Portugal and Brazil in the sixteenth century, see Eddy Stols, “Os mercadores flamengos em Portugal e no Brasil antes das conquistas holandesas,” Anais de História, vol. 5, 1973, pp. 9-53. Erasmo Schetz a German who made his fortune bringing copper and brassware to Antwerp where he eventually settled, bought one of the most important sugar mills in Brazil. German interests in the copper trade were also strong in Spanish America in this period. The Welsers of Nuremberg sent an agent to Cuba who signed a contract in 1546 for the development of the copper deposits near Santiago de Cuba, although mining did not begin in earnest until 1599. See, Luis D. Soto González, Apuntes sobre la historia de la mineria cubana, Santiago de Cuba, Editorial Oriente, 1981, pp. 20-23.

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Ekkehard Westermann, “Tendencies of the European Copper Market in the 15th and 16th Centuries,” in Hermann Kellenbenz (ed.), Precious Metals in the Age of Expansion, Stuttgart, Klet-Cotta, 1981, pp. 71-77.

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Ekkehard Westermann, “Tendencies of the European Copper Market in the 15th and 16th Centuries,” in Hermann Kellenbenz (ed.), Precious Metals in the Age of Expansion, Stuttgart, Klet-Cotta, 1981, pp. 116-117. See also Kristof Glamann, Dutch Asiatic Trade 1620-1740, Copenhagen, Danish Scientific Press, 1958, pp. 167-182, and as cited by Pohle, E. Westermann, Silberrausch und kanonenendonner. Deutsches silber und kupfer na der wiege der europäaischen weltherschaft, Lübeck, Schmidt-Römhild, 2001, pp. 32-36; Hermann Kellenbenz, “Europäisches kupfer, ende 15 bis mitte 17 jahrhundert ergebnisse eines kolloquiums,” in H. Kellenbenz (ed.), Schwerpunkte der kupferproduktion und des kuperhandels in Europa, 1500-1650, Cologne, Böhlau, 1977, pp. 290-351.

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Leos Müller, “The Dutch entrepreneurial networks and Sweden in the Age of Greatness,” in Hanno Brand (ed.), Trade, Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange. Continuity and Change in the North Sea and the Baltic, c. 1350-1750, Hilversum, Veloren, 2005, pp. 58-74. See also, Cátia Antunes, Lisboa e Amsterdão. 1640-1705. Um caso de globalização na história moderna, Lisbon, Livros Horizonte, 2009. On the importance of copper to the Swedish economy see, Erik MacDonald Thomson, “Chancellor Oxenstierna, Cardinal Richelieu, and Commerce: The problems and possibilities of governance in early-seventeenth century France and Sweden,” Ph.d. thesis, Johns Hopkins University, 2004.

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Jonathan I. Israel, Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740, Oxford, Clarendon, Press, 1989, pp. 90-95.

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Jan Thomas Lindblad, “Louis de Geer (1587-1652); Dutch entrepreneur and the father of Swedish industry,” in Clé Lesger and Leo Noordegraaf (eds.), Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in early modern times: Merchants and industrialists within the orbit of the Dutch staple market, The Hague, Hollanse Historiche Reeks, 1995, pp. 77-84. See also, Lawrence Paul Stryker, “The Swedish Monarchy and the Copper Trade: The Copper Company. The Deposit System and the Problems of Free Trade, 1600-1640,” Ph.d. thesis, University of Virginia, 2012, pp. 176-294.

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Leos Müller, “The Dutch entrepreneurial networks and Sweden in the Age of Greatness,” in Hanno Brand (ed.), Trade, Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange. Continuity and Change in the North Sea and the Baltic, c. 1350-1750, Hilversum, Veloren, 2005, pp. 62-65; Michiel August Gerardus de Jong, “Dutch entrepreneurs in the Swedish Crown trade in copper and iron, 1580-1640,” in Hanno Brand (ed.), Trade and diplomacy and cultural exchange, Hilversum, Verloren, 2005, pp. 15-35. On the politics and effects of the embargos see Jonathan I. Israel, The Dutch Republic and the Hispanic World, 1606-1661, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982, pp. 93-4, 285-8, 336-45; Ángel Allorza,“La junta del Almirantazgo y la lucha contra el contrabando, 1625-1643,” Espacio, tiempo y forma, ser. IV, vol. 16, 2003, pp. 217-54.

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Philip III minted pure copper vellón in 1599, 1602, and 1603. Over the course of his reign he issued 27 million ducats of copper coins according to Earl J. Hamilton, American Treasure and the Price Revolution in Spain, 1501-1650, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1934, pp. 88-93, 102-3. See, John Lynch, Spain under the Habsburgs, New York, Oxford University Press, 1969, vol. 2, pp. 34-5. On the importance of copper currency in the Portuguese empire see, Roger Lee de Jesus, “A desvalorização do bazaruco de Goa entre 1542 -1545,” in Bruno Lopes and Roger Lee de Jesus (eds.), Finanças, economia e instituições em Portugal moderno, Coimbra, Universidade de Coimbra, 2019.

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Eduardo Freire de Oliveira, Elementos para a história do municipio de Lisboa, 17 vols. [EHML] (Lisbon, Typographia universal, 1882-1911) “Carta regia 21 June 1622,” “Carta régia 21 July 1622,” v. 3 p. 37.

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Fernando Serrano Mangas, Vellón y metales preciosos en la corte del rey de España (1618- 1668), Madrid, Banco de España, 1996, p. 33. During the union Portugal maintained its own currency, but its monetary system was closely linked to that of Spain. Silver was relatively plentiful in Portugal since foreign merchants who sold goods in southern Spain then used that money to buy Portuguese salt and colonial products. Conditions worsened in the 1630s. See Vitorino Magalhães Godinho, “Portugal and her empire (1648-1720),” New Cambridge Modern History, vol. 5, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1961, pp. 388-90.

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The symbolic importance of currency and the cultural implications of monetary manipulation by the ruler especially in the case of the use of coinage made from the less “noble” metal of copper is analyzed in Elvira Vilches, “Coins, Value, and Trust. The problematics of vellón in seventeenth-century Spanish culture,” in Jason McCloskey and Ignacio López Alemany (eds.), Signs of Power in Habsburg Spain and the New World, Lewisburg, Ohio, Bucknell University Press, 2013, pp. 95-112. For a classic critique of the use of copper coinage see Juan de Mariana, Tratado y discurso sobre la moneda de vellon (1609), Madrid, Instituto de Estudios Fiscales, 1987, a work that led to the Jesuit author’s arrest and placement of this title on the Inquisition’s Index of prohibited books. Elena María García Guerra, Moneda y arbitrios. Consideraciones del siglo XVII (Madrid, CSIC, 2003), demonstrates how the debate over vellón and the inflation it caused continued in Spain during the seventeenth century. The small currency issue in general is examined in Thomas J. Sargent and François R. Velde, The Big Problem of Small Change, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2003.

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On the sixteenth century Portuguese gold trade in East Africa see, Manuel Nunes Dias, “Os campos do ouro do Monomotapa no século XVI,” Revista de História, vol. 17, no. 35, 1958, pp. 107-122. The different metals used for coinage and shifting foreign exchange rates created complex bookkeeping systems that created a need for guides such as Affonso de Villafanhe Guiral e Pacheco, Flor de arismetica necessaria, uso de cambios, e quilatador de ouro e prata, Lisbon, Geraldo da Vinha, 1624.

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This question has been studied in detail by Pedro Puntoni in “A moeda na Restauração: prática e política monetária em Portugal (1640-1656),” Análise Social, vol. 54, no. 230, 2019, pp. 34-57; and then expanded chronologically in his Moeda e império. O Sistema monetário português (séculos XVI-XVIII) (in press). See also on coinage in Brazil, Fernando Carlos G. de Cerqueira Lima, “Uma análise crítica da literatura sobre a oferta e circulação de moeda metálica no Brasil nos séculos XVI e XVII,” Estudos Económicos, vol. 35, no. 1, 2005, pp. 169-201.

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Rafael Valladares, “Inglaterra, Portugal y la monarquia hispanica. Felipe IV y la alianza Anglo-Portuguesa (1640-1670),” Ph.d. thesis, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1992, p. 612; Rafael Valladares, La rebelión de Portugal, 1640-1680, Madrid, Junta de Castilla y León, 1998, pp. 249-50.

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“Toda a mudança e novidade na moeda é arriscada e prejudicial ao bem comum.” Câmara of Lisbon to the king João IV (6 November 1653), EHML, V, pp. 447-453. The author of this learned memorial is unknown, but all the traditional critiques of monetary manipulation are presented with a recommendation that the intrinsic value of coinage and its extrinsic (face) value be equivalent.

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Stuart Schwartz, “The Economy of the Portuguese empire,” in Francisco Bethencourt and Diogo Ramada Curto (eds.), Portuguese Oceanic Expansion, 1400-1800, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 19-48.

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Memorial of the Count of Salinas to Felipe IV (Aug. 1624), in Trevor J. Dadson (ed.), Diego de Silva y Mendoza, conde de Salinas y marqués de Alenquer. Cartas y memorials (1584-1630), Madrid, Centro de Estudios Europa hispánica, 2015, pp. 409-417. Salinas exempted from his calculation (p. 410) the shipping tax (consulado) and the income made from the contracts for dyewood and the slave trade to Brazil.

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By the mid-sixteenth century, the nascent Spanish American colonies in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Peru that began to produce sugar also had need of copper, but sources of the metal were discovered and mined in Cuba and Michoacán, reducing Spain’s need for imports. Moreover, indigenous peoples in both Mexico and Peru had developed technologies for copper smelting prior to European contact. See Johan García Zaldúa, “When Worlds Collide: European-Indigenous copper metallurgy during the contact and early colonial period of Michoacán, Mexico, 1521-1607,” Phd. Thesis. University of Kent, University of Porto, 2007.

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I base this calculation on André João Antonil. Cultura e opulência do Brasil por suas drogas e minas (Lisbon, 1711), Andrée Mansuy, trans. and ed. (Paris, Institut des hautes études de l’Amérique latine, 1965, chap. IX, pp. 206-215) which provides a detailed description of the kettles and instruments used in the “Boiling House” (casa de caldeiras) and provides estimates of the weight of each of the kettles used in the process. Although his book was published in 1711, the sections of sugar seem to have been written in the late 1680s. Larger mills probably composed twenty percent of the total or about 106 engenhos. I calculate that c. 700 (697) tons of copper were used in the kettles and 210 tons were needed by the mills annually for replacement and repair, especially of the kettle bottoms or fundos. Naturally during the Dutch occupation of Pernambuco (1630-54) the c. 150 engenhos in the area under their control were outside this calculation. For a English translation of Antonil’s classic see Timothy Coates (ed.), Brazil at the Dawn of the Eighteenth Century, Dartmouth, Tagus Press, 2012.

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Strum, Daniel, “The Portuguese Jews and New Christians in the Sugar Trade: Managing Business Overseas – Kinship and Ethnicity Revisited (Amsterdam, Porto and Brazil, 1595-1618,” Ph.d. thesis, Hebrew University (Jerusalem), 2009, p. 167. In the Amsterdam notarial records of Portuguese Jews’ transactions, copper rarely appears,but there are examples such as the cargo sent in 1612 by Bento Osorio on the “Orangieboom” to Viana do Castelo that included 20 sheets of copper, 3 barrels of plates and other goods and 30 pieces of lead that was to return to Amsterdam with 150 crates of Brazilian sugar. See, E.M. Koen and Ruth Lehman, “Notarial Records Relating to the Portuguese Jews of Amsterdam up to 1639,” Studia Rosenthaliana, vol. 6, no. 1, 1972, pp. 107-125 (n. 570, p. 114).

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ANTT, Cartório dos Jesuitas, maço 14.

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We have some idea of the equipment involved on a large sugar mill from a 1630s description of the engenho Santo Antonio in Cabo, Pernambuco that could annually produce 6,000 to 8,000 arrobas (87- 116 tons). See, Evaldo Cabral de Mello, O bagaço da cana. Os engenhos de açúcar do Brasil holandés, São Paulo, Penguin, Companhia das letras, 2012, p. 111.

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Father Sebastião Vaz to Colegio de Santo Antão (5 March 1634), ANTT, Cartório dos Jesuitas, maço 68, n. 7.

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Arquivo da Santa Casa da Misericôrdia da Bahia, Testamento de Antônio de Sá Doria, Livro 1 do Tombo, fs. 147-185.

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Arquivo Público do Estado da Bahia, Livro de Notas, n. 10, fls. 167-168v. The “cobres” were sold to him by João de Matos de Aguiar, Bahia’s wealthiest merchant of the period. My thanks to Marcelo Lunardi Carmo for providing this information from his thesis, “‘Nesta terra qualquer pessoa de qualquer qualidade daquilo que compram e vendem passam escritos:’ Um estudo sobre a estrutura e dinâmica do mercado creditício baiano (1640-1710),” Ph.d. thesis, Universidade de São Paulo, 2023, chap. 4, p. 3.

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The Livros de safra of Engenho Sergipe do Conde contain many references to purchase and repair of kettles. In the 1620s that engenho depended on the services of a kettlemaker who lived on the Ilha dos Frades in the Bay of All Saints to cast and repair the coppers. See, Safra 1622/23. Documentos para a História do açúcar, 3 vols., Rio de Janeiro, Instituto do Açúcar e do Álcool, 1956, v. 2, p. 20, 160, 176. In an estimate of annual expenses for an average sugar mill in Bahia in 1751, the municipal council of Salvador calculated the kettles, laddles, skimmers and other tools of copper required 90 arrobas (32 lbs) or 1.3 metric tons. Repairs for the kettles alone called for 5 arrobas of copper a year or 160 lbs a year. AHU, Bahia, papéis avulsos, caixa 63 (1751). The term caldereiro was given to slaves or free workers who tended the kettles in the sugar cooking process, but the same term, caldereiro was also used for coppersmiths, the artisans who made or repaired kettles and copper utensils.

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Consulta Conselho Ultramarino (25 Sept. 1673), AHU, Bahia, Codice 252, fs, 31v.-32v. The Duke of Cadaval estimated that copper cost in Brazil had risen from 240 réis per lb. to 360 or 400, an increase of 50-66%. He believed the price increase had been aggravated by outflow of currency and lack of capital in the colony and suggested that 2 million réis be coined for the colony. See, Report of Antonio Luis Coutinho, “Papéis do Duke of Cadaval,” British Library, Additional Ms. 15170, f. 201v.-208 (4 July 1692). The price continued to rise. In the safra of 1712-13 Engenho Sergipe bought 603 lbs. for 700 réis per lb.

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An obvious comparison can be made with the rebirth of Welsh and Cornish copper mining in the eighteenth century and the development of industrial activity in Great Britain because of sugar’s expansion in the British West Indies. See Nuala Zahedieh, “Eric Williams and William Forbes. copper, colonial markets, and commercial capitalism,” Economic History Review, vol. 74, no. 3, 2021, pp. 784-808. Swedish economic historian, Eli Heckscher was critical of Sweden’s royal monopoly of copper purchases and attempts to control its price by withholding its sale for failing to stimulate industrial development within Sweden itself. See Lawrence Paul Stryker, “The Swedish Monarchy and the Copper Trade: The Copper Company. The Deposit System and the Problems of Free Trade, 1600-1640,” Ph.d. thesis, University of Virginia, 2012, pp. 10-28 discusses Herkscher’s free-trade critique. See Eli Herkscher, An Economic History of Sweden, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1968.

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José Manuel Santos Pérez, “La conquista y colonización de Maranhão-Grão Pará: el gran Proyecto de la monarquía hispánica para la Amazonia brasileña (1580-1640),” Revista de Estudios brasileños, vol. 6, no. 11, 2019, pp. 33-47. Similar rumors of potential copper mines in southern Brazil also circulated. See AHU, Conselho Ultramarino. Caixa 1, doc. 13, Câmara of Rio de Janeiro to Philip III, 23 March 1619.

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Joseph C. Miller, Way of Death. Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade 1730-1830, Madison, Wisconsin University Press, 1988, pp. 56-60, emphasized the uniformity and durability of manilhas and ingots of copper in the shape of a cross made them preferred items of trade for central Africans.

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Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells. West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2019, p. 215, citing António Brásio, Monumenta misionaria Africana. Áfrical ocidental, 15 vols., Lisbon, Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1958-2004, vol. 2, p. 59. Eugenia W. Herbert, Red Gold of Africa: Copper in Precolonial History and Culture, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1984, p. 34, notes early Portuguese references to copper mines in Kongo and Angola, but insists that the rich mines of Katanga remained unknown.

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For example, Domingos de Abreu e Brito, Um inquérito a vida administrative e económica do Angola e do Brasil, Coimbra, Imprensa da Universidade, 1931, pp. 6-7. The author also suggests that salt and mines will make Angola more valuable than Peru, that sugar can be planted there as in Brazil, and that there will be a constant supply of slaves. These rumors of silver and copper mines were common. See, Frédéric Mauro, “Les métaux d’Angola,” in Le Portugal, le Bresil et l’Atlantique au XVIIe siècle (1570-1670), Paris, Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, 1983, pp. 468-71.

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Regimento dos governadores de Angola, par. 23 (Lisbon, 26 April 1611). A trained agent was to be sent to trade for all available copper with the king of Benguela and the king of Angola. The document is published as appendix 26 in Alfredo de Albuquerque Felner, Angola. Apontamentos sôbre a ocupação e ínicio do estabelecimento dos portugueses no Congo, Angola e Benguela, Coimbra, Imprenta da Universidade, 1933, pp. 442-448.

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Governor Cerveira Pereira to Felipe III , AHU, CU, Angola Caixa 1 doc. 95 (1618), doc.110 (1619); Bishop Manuel Batista to Felipe III (1619), doc. 112. This suggestion of shipping copper as ballast was repeated in later instructions (regimentos) for governos of Angola.

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Joseph Cuvelier et Louis Jadin, L’Ancien Congo d’après les archives romaines (1518-1640), Bruxelles, Académie royale des sciences coloniales, 1954, p. 18, 86, 168, and especially the correspondence of the Papal collector in Portugal Antonio Albergati in 1624. Alfredo de Albuquerque Felner, Angola. Apontamentos sôbre a ocupação e início do estabelecimento dos portugueses no Congo, Angola, e Benguela, Coimbra, Imprenta da Universidade, 1933, pp. 328-29 emphasizes the continual hope to find silver and copper mines in Benguela, but the disappointing results that made the conquest of that region seem to one observer in 1629 to be, “of greater danger and expense than profit (mayor perigo e despesa que proveito). p. 355. See also, Mariana Candido, An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World. Benguela and its Hinterland, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013, p. 40, 47.

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Nicolas Nikis and Alexandre Livingstone Smith, “Copper, Trade, and Polities: Exchange Networks in Southern Central Africa in the 2nd Millennium CE,” Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 43, no. 5, 2017, pp. 895–911.

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Manuel Pereira to the Count Duke of Olivares (São Felipe de Angola, 1 October 1622), ACA, Correspondencia del Conde Duque, cajá 118, f. 33. Pereira reports that Governor Luis Mendes de Vasconcelos had been asked by the crown to assist him but had refused, and that this was among the reasons why the governor had been arrested and sent back to Portugal as a prisoner. See António Oliveira de Cadornega, História geral das guerras angolanas, 3 vols., Lisbon, Agência-Geral do Ultramar, 1972, I, pp. 83-85.

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John Thornton, “The Kingdom of the Kongo and the Thirty Years War,” Journal of World History, vol. 27, no. 2, 2016, pp. 189-213. The Dutch made the attack on Angola in the interim before the new truce with Portugal had gone into effect. They did so with collaboration with the Kingdom of the Kongo. See also Charles Ralph Boxer, Salvador Correa de Sá and the Struggle for Brazil and Angola, 1602-1686, London, Athlone Press, 1952, pp. 240-292.

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Regimento do governador de Angola (October 4, 1666). Section 20. AHU, Codice 169 fls. 18-25. The king added once again that the copper could be used as ballast on the ships to Brazil and thus avoid shipping charges and the considerable costs to the royal treasury. (poderei tirar cada anno grande rendimento para minhas alfandegas, além de ser necessário para a artilharia, e mais serviços do Reyno e do Estado do Brazil, para donde poderá ir por lastro dos navios sem custar frete nenhum, cessando o muito dispêndio que se compra por conta de minha fazenda e ao menos melhorando no preço entre meus vassalos). See, António Brásio, Monumenta misionaria africana. África occidental (1666-1885), v. 13, Lisbon, Academia Portuguesa da História, 1982, pp. 17-25.

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The complex relationship between copper and cloth currencies in west central Africa is discussed in John Thornton, A History of West Central Africa, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2020, pp. 195-97. See also, Phyllis Martin, The External Trade of the Loango Coast, 1576-1870, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1972, pp. 51, 65-66.

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Negreiros’ use of the existence of copper mines as an excuse for the invasion of the Kongo kingdom is studied in Wesley Dartagnan Salles, “Tempos de crises. O império português, a crise açucareira, o trafico de escravos e a lei de arqueações (1640-1695),” Master’s essay, Universidade Estado de São Paulo, Assis, 2014, pp. 170-173. On Negreiros’ abuses see, Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, The Trade of the Living, Albany, State University of New York Press, 2018, pp. 284-91.

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Charles Ralph Boxer, Portuguese Society in the Tropics. The Municipal Councils of Goa, Macao, Bahia, and Luanda, 1510-1800, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1965, pp. 125-27. For a more detailed account see, Leandro Nascimento de Souza, “Entre libongos e moedas de cobre: A batalha de Ambuíla e as minas preciosas no Congo, 1665,” ANPUH-Brasil, 30th Simpósio Nacional de História, Recife, 2019.

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Hermann Kellenbenz, “Final Remarks: Production and Trade of Gold, Silver, Copper, and Lead from 1450-1750,” in Hermann Kellenbenz (ed.), Precious Metals in the Age of Expansion, Stuttgart, Klet-Cotta, 1981, pp. 307-362.

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ANTT, Desembargo do Paço, Livros de correspondência, 18, f. 14 (10/2/1638). I have summarized this argument previously in “Prata, açúcar e escravos: de como o império restaurou Portugal,” Tempo, vol. 12, no. 24, 2008, pp. 213-36. Various Spanish projects to develop copper mines in Spanish America also intensified in this period. See, Allison Margaret Bigelow, “Imperial Projecting in Virginia and Venezuela, Copper, Colonialism, and the Printing of Possibility,” Early American Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, 2018, pp. 91-123.

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AHU, São Tomé e Príncipe, caixa2, Gaspar Pacheco to King Philip III (march, 11, 1638). Curiously, in 1635 three ships, the São José sailing from Madeira to Maranhão, the Santo António sailing from Madeira to Pernambuco, and the Nossa Senhora da Penha da França from Lisbon to Brazil, all made unregistered forced landings in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Their varied cargos of textiles, wine, tiles and other goods, also included much copper including kettles, and copper tools necessary for making sugar. It is unclear if these copper tools originated in Portugal or Madeira, or were acquired in Brazil where the ships had called prior to their voyages to Puerto Rico. See, Jennifer Wolff, Isla Atlántica Puerto Rico. Circuitos antillanos de contraband y la formación del mundo Atlántico, Madrid, Doce Calles, 2022, p. 100.