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This article investigates the possibilities of the local approach in revisiting traditional historiographical narratives on the decolonisation of Guinea-Bissau, a process which has mostly been analysed from national and imperial standpoints. Drawing from local archival sources from the region of Cacheu, it argues that the transition process at the local level was rather complex, with a new administration that took time to be installed and colonial officials who assured the continuity of administrative tasks. Moreover, local sources demonstrate that the Guinean liberation movement did not have a good knowledge of the region and mobilised local structures to collect information.

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In: e-Journal of Portuguese History
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The article revisits classic historiographical discussions about the concepts of Enlightened Despotism and Enlightened Absolutism with the aim of identifying the role played by the related notion of Enlightened Reformism. It draws inspiration from new theoretical and methodological perspectives that challenge the traditional view of Enlightenment as a phenomenon centered on a single diffusion center, as exemplified by Global History, which emphasizes the co-produced nature of the Eighteenth-century Enlightenment. A turning point is considered to be the investigations carried out by historians in the 1970s, such as Franco Venturi, who, by acknowledging a "reforming eighteenth century," expanded the scope of Enlightened Reformism, seen beyond the Enlightenment and Absolutism. Enlightened Reformism is a central theme in Ibero-American historiography, increasingly viewed as an organizing concept for governmental actions in the Atlantic empires between 1750 and 1830. With a broader scope of discussions, research addresses the relationship between Enlightened Reformism and topics such as the management of distant territories, slavery, agricultural development, mineral extraction, scientific voyages, and resistance. Studies also delve deeper into the critique of the vocabulary and theories that underpinned reformist discourses, some of which laid the foundations for the processes of independence in the American colonies in the early 19th century.

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In: e-Journal of Portuguese History

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In late 1999, Macau became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) under the administration of the People’s Republic of China and the “one country, two systems” principle, following a different, unique path compared to former Portuguese colonies. In light of such a reality, this paper uses postcolonial theory to situate the political debate involving the SAR’s establishment. Furthermore, it suggests that the two main factors that explain Macau’s potential exceptionalism in the Lusophone world, when it comes to decolonisation processes, are the retrocession concept and the Macanese political structure, which, in turn, helped to guarantee smooth repatriation proceedings.

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In: e-Journal of Portuguese History
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This article examines the history of Mozambican decolonization on the periphery of the new nation, in the province of Niassa. The article offers new insights into our understanding of Mozambique’s decolonization process “on the ground,” complicating Frelimo’s still dominant liberation narrative. As a central argument, the article challenges the romantic idea of the pioneering role of Niassa’s so-called “liberated zones” in Mozambique’s nation building process. It shows that it was not local (wartime) practices that informed national plans, but rather national directives that were imposed on local experiences. Drawing mainly on sources from the Arquivo Permanente do Gabinete do Governador in Lichinga, the article also hopes to highlight the potential of post-colonial archives in Africa, which continue to be neglected.

Open Access
In: e-Journal of Portuguese History

Abstract

This article reviews the main historiographical explanations for Brazil’s 1822 independence from Portugal while presenting a new interpretation of the country’s emancipation process. While previous interpretations emphasized the role of elites in the independence movement, new quantitative evidence sheds light on the profound impact of the Portuguese Empire’s fiscal turmoil, marked by excessive expenditures and inflation, which triggered generalized discontent in both Brazil and Portugal. Political unrest ensued, leading to demands for constitutional change and the end of absolutism. The differing effects of the fiscal crisis in Europe and South America ignited a unified call for reform. Political emancipation therefore occurred in a two-stage process: a liberal revolution followed by constitutional conflict, resulting in Brazil’s independence.

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In: e-Journal of Portuguese History

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The independence of Cabo Verde achieved on 5 July 1975 was not a straightforward process. From 1950s onwards, multiple anticolonial organizations having different ideas and interests challenged Portuguese colonial rule in the archipelago. Nonetheless, only the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cabo Verde (PAIGC: Partido Africano para a Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde) was recognized as the representative of the populations and gained access to the negotiations with Portugal in 1974. This paper aims to contribute to a greater understanding of how the PAIGC became a leading organization in the negotiations for the independence of Cabo Verde, sidelining other actors with alternative views for the territory.

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In: e-Journal of Portuguese History
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Abstract

In 1960, a small group of nationalists from São Tomé and Príncipe founded the archipelago’s first organization that demanded independence. As any activity within the islands was impossible, the activists remained abroad from where they pursued a modest anti-colonial struggle. When the Portuguese Revolution of 25 April 1974 created space for the struggle in the islands, Sãotomean students in Portugal were sent back home to wage the fight for total independence. This article traces these endeavours from the years in exile until the turbulent months in 1974 that paved the way for the archipelago’s independence on 12 July 1975.

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In: e-Journal of Portuguese History

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In this article, I study certain forms of public use of the past in the context of the bicentennial of Brazil’s Independence, focusing mainly on a specific case: the cultural memory of Maria Leopoldina. By analyzing a wide range of materials, I argue that Leopoldina’s character gains a prominent role in social imaginary in the context of the bicentennial commemorations. Also, I suggest that this is due to the transformations in Brazilian historiography during the period and to new popular demands regarding the national past.

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In: e-Journal of Portuguese History