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Merchants in Minas Gerais: social profile, activity and entrenchment of slave merchants (district of Vila Rica, 1725-1773)

Grant number: 12/51100-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2013
Effective date (End): April 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Modern and Contemporary History
Principal Investigator:Leila Mezan Algranti
Grantee:Aldair Carlos Rodrigues
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):14/23508-2 - Merchants in Minas Gerais: social profile, activity and entrenchment of slave merchants from the district of Vila Rica, 1725-1773, BE.EP.PD


The central theme of this project concerns the profile, role and social integration of the merchants of Minas Gerais, with special attention to the slave traders of Vila Rica (the judicial district), between 1725 and 1773. Such agents will be analyzed based on three main lines. First, we will try to define the contours of the social profile of that group, such as geographical origins, migration circumstances, age, occupation of their parents and grandparents, levels of wealth, among other things. Then they will be characterized according to their involvement with commercial practice and they will be situated in the commercial hierarchy of the Minas Gerais Captaincy and, in a wider perspective, of the Portuguese empire. In the third point, the focus is on the complex process of social rooting, seeking to clarify the tensions and accommodations that marked that phenomenon and the configuration acquired by the social status of merchants of blacks in this context. The development of the key issues of this project, besides the dialogue with the literature pertinent to the theme, will be informed by the researching in eighteenth-century handwritten documents preserved in Brazilian archives (Minas Gerais, mainly, and Rio de Janeiro) and Portuguese institutions. The research will be conducted through the prosopographical method, suitable for the study of life trajectories of the slave traders and their networks (business, credit etc). This procedure allows to focus the people, explaining the logic of their practices and actions. (AU)

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