Agency, Monopoly and Commerce, 1674 – 1774: The Administrators of the Junta do Tabaco

The Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government will organize an Academic Research Lecture in the Cultural Affairs Bureau Auditorium (Edifício do Instituto Cultural, Tap Seac Square, Macao) at 6:30pm on Thursday February 19. Dr. George Bryan Souza, adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas, will give a lecture on “Agency, Monopoly and Commerce, 1674 – 1774: The Administrators of the Junta do Tabaco”. This talk is about the agency of Crown-appointed merchants in the administration and the commercial activities of the Portuguese Crown’s monopoly of Brazilian tobacco, its trade and exchange for Afro-Asian commodities in local, regional, and global economies over the long eighteenth century. It traces and analyzes their actions and operations from the inception of the monopoly until 1774, when the Crown eliminated their positions. It relies upon archival research in materials on the Crown’s tobacco monopoly. The envisaged broader treatment of this topic will ask and answer questions like: for whom and how and why did Portugal and the Portuguese derive benefit from empire in the eighteenth century? How were the Crown’s commercial interests re-organized and what was their longer term impact upon the development of private Portuguese merchant activities? What was the importance of this commerce toward and within the rest of the Portuguese Empire and, in a broader context, in the Atlantic and global economies? To what degree did this re-dimensioning of Empire aid the Crown and local Portuguese society in recuperating, maintaining and defending its imperial presence from external indigenous threats in India and Africa in the long eighteenth century? George Bryan Souza is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas, San Antonio. Educated at Stanford University (B.A. with Departmental Honors in History), the School of Oriental and African Studies, at the University of London (M.A. in Southeast Asian Area Studies), and Trinity College, Cambridge University (D. Phil. in History), he is the author of The Survival of Empire: Portuguese Trade and Society in China and the South China Sea, 1630-1754, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986 and numerous articles. Over the past few years, he has received support for his research interests in global maritime economic history, the history of European expansion, and cross-cultural contact and exchanges in the early modern period from the following institutions: affiliated fellow, IIAS, Leiden University, the Netherlands; IANTT/FLAD research grants, Lisbon, Portugal; Bernardo Mendel fellowships, at the Lilly Library, Indiana University; research grant from the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies; Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore; Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University and is in Macao on a Fulbright grant. Upon completion in April 2009, Souza will take up his invited appointment as a Mercator Guest Professor at Tubingen University in Germany. The lecture will be given in English with Mandarin, Cantonese and Portuguese simultaneous interpretation. Entrance is free. For further details, please contact Ms. Chu of the Macao Historical Archives of the Cultural Affairs Bureau at 85986537.

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