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Justice in a New WorldNegotiating Legal Intelligibility in British, Iberian, and Indigenous America$
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Brian P. Owensby and Richard J. Ross

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479850129

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479850129.001.0001

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Dialoguing with Barbarians

Dialoguing with Barbarians

What Natives Said and How Europeans Responded in Late-Seventeenth-and Eighteenth-Century Portuguese America

(p.61) 2 Dialoguing with Barbarians
Justice in a New World

Tamar Herzog

NYU Press

Herzog’s essay examines the “dialogues” between Portuguese colonists and “not-yet domesticated” Natives of the Amazon basin. She aims to uncover the legal structures and understandings that gave meaning to what each side expected from and sought to gain from their agreements. She demonstrates that this interaction was more a matter of negotiation than of litigation or explicit legal contest. Natives sought to preserve autonomy. Portuguese wanted conversion and vassalage. While each side came to the encounter with goals in mind, their dialogues and mis-dialogues informed outcomes, especially to the extent that Europeans did little to investigate what Natives were saying and why.

Keywords:   Portuguese colonists, conversion, legal structures, Amazon basin, legal contest, autonomy

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