Religion and Empire in Portuguese India – Angela Barreto Xavier


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How did the colonisation of Goa in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries take place? How was it related to projects for the conversion of Goan colonial subjects to Catholicism? And how did these contribute to the making of Goan identity?

In this closely argued work, Ângela Barreto Xavier asks these questions by reading the relevant secular and missionary archives and texts. She shows how the twinned drives towards conversion and colonisation in Portuguese India resulted in various outcomes, ranging from negotiation to passive resistance to moments of extreme violence.

She reveals that, in the process, Portuguese Goa emerged as a space with a specific identity resulting from these contestations and interactions. The Goan elites were also able to internalise this complex body of cultural resources to further their interests and narrate their own myths and histories.


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