De Escravos a Indígenas: o Longo Processo de Instrumentalização dos Africanos (Séculos XV-XX), which brings together a set of texts written over forty years and dispersed in publications of diverse nature, not always easily accessible, aims to contribute to a renewal of historiography on the relations between Portugal and Africa, in the specific field of the forms of instrumentalisation of Africans carried out by the Portuguese for almost five centuries. A long process, whose internal nature proved capable of metamorphosis and reconversion in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ensuring the continuity of the violent ‘use’ of African populations, resorting to a new classificatory apparatus – savages, indigenous, assimilated – aimed at keeping Africans within the sphere of Portuguese domination, contributing to legitimising their enslavement and fixing distorting interpretations of History.
If a first line of study aims to review the history of slavery and slave trafficking and their ideologies in spaces of Portuguese ‘occupation’ like Angola, a second line of study privileges iconographic documents as historical sources, emphasizing their historical and informative dimension. Finally, the third line of this study seeks to highlight the evolution of the process of Portuguese instrumentalisation of Africans, which resorts to unprecedented classificatory categories – savage, indigenous, assimilated – and to practices that emerge from the slave labour of the past to ensure the colonial exploitation of African populations.
Value judgments, commodification, objectification, exploitation, ridiculing of African men fabricated Portuguese imaginaries that reduced the black/African to slavery, the savage/indigenous to lazy, thieving and drunk, the assimilated/’civilised’ to a ridiculous and negative copy of the white/Portuguese, enshrining the inferiorization of Africans, and in the same movement, glorifying the Portuguese ‘race’, hierarchizing the humanities and valuing the dimension and nature of the Portuguese actions, first slave-owning and then colonialist, that have left their mark on Portuguese society to this day.
Henriques, Isabel C., De Escravos a Indígenas: o Longo Processo de Instrumentalização dos Africanos (Séculos XV-XX), Lisboa, Ed. Caleidoscópio, 2019.
In História de São Tomé e Príncipe: da descoberta a meados do século XIX, the author explains how the Portuguese navigators arrived on the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe in the third quarter of the fifteenth century and transformed them into a social context for their development, but in which human and institutional relations were complex and even unbearable for the most disadvantaged, particularly on the island of São Tomé. Conflicts of all kinds worsened, particularly after the transition from a residential to a plantation society, with the intensification of the slave trade and the production and export of sugar. The long distance of the islands from the central power, located in Lisbon, constituted an ingredient that favoured the fomentation of conflicts in which the disrespect for the established rules was permanent and maintained during the period of domination of the native elite since the 17th century, marked around the main families that disputed access to power and control of wealth. The author shows that, despite its harshness, the colonial slave model had dynamics of social mobility that allowed some enslaved people to become free and others to become powerful in economic and political terms, even during the 16th century, becoming dominant until the mid-19th century.
Espírito Santo, A. (2021). História de São Tomé e Príncipe: da descoberta a meados do século XIX. Lisboa: Edições Colibri.