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Languages of subalternity and collaboration: Portuguese in English settlements across the Bay of Bengal, 1620-1800 / S. Halikowski Smith, Stefan Halikowski-Smith

International Journal of Maritime History, Volume: 28, Issue: 2, Pages: 237 - 267

Swansea University Author: Stefan Halikowski-Smith

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Abstract

The substantial Portuguese populations across the Bay of Bengal, seeking protection inthe fortified settlements of the English East India Company, were more compliant thanthose populations in western India, for whom the English often remained an enemy. Onthe east coast of India there were not twenty...

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Published in: International Journal of Maritime History
ISSN: 0843-8714 2052-7756
Published: 2016
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa26747
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Abstract: The substantial Portuguese populations across the Bay of Bengal, seeking protection inthe fortified settlements of the English East India Company, were more compliant thanthose populations in western India, for whom the English often remained an enemy. Onthe east coast of India there were not twenty-four, but only one Portuguese fortress.Thus the Portuguese formed groups of subaltern collaborators, contributing to the wellbeingof English settlements in different ways including: through the provision of civildefence, freight services and active capital investment; as intermediaries in the diamondtrade, as tavern-owners, registrars, doctors and even aldermen, but also as concubinesand domestic slaves. Many Portuguese converted to Protestantism, supported bycontemporary Portuguese translations of the Book of Common Prayer, while others soughtother assimilationist strategies, including sending children to Britain for schooling. Whilescholars have attached due importance to renegadism and to service to various Indianrulers, these defections to rival Protestant powers have gone unnoticed.
Keywords: Bay of Bengal 1620–1800, colonial population, India Portuguese Empire, subalternity and collaboration
Issue: 2
Start Page: 237
End Page: 267