Copper Dreams and the ‘Hope of the North.’ Sweden, Portugal and Spain during the Portuguese Rebellion (1640-1668). Part II

Sweden’s Noblest Commodity and Japan’s Alternative Supply

Portugal, like the rest of the Catholic Monarchy, had after 1600 increasingly depended on a supply of Swedish copper, mostly coming from the great Stora Kopparberg mine at Falun, a profitable enterprise sometimes referred to as “the Swedish Indies.” Gustavus Adolphus and Oxenstierna had recognized the importance of copper to Sweden’s economy and considered it a divine gift to the country.1 As Oxenstierna wrote in 1630, “Copper is the noblest commodity that the Swedish crown produces and can boast of, wherein also a great part of the crown’s welfare stands.”2 Sweden’s exports of that metal increased fivefold from 1600-1650; its only real competitor in supply being Japanese copper imported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company and used by it as well to buy pepper and textiles in India.3 The Dutch West India Company, although no less interested in acquiring this metal, never found a reliable source in the Atlantic, although it sometimes flirted with the idea of seizing the Cuban town of Santiago and its nearby copper mine.4 Overall, copper and iron became commodities that tied Scandinavia into a growing system of global exchange that the Portuguese and the Dutch had already initiated.5

The European empires had discovered that for various reasons copper was a commodity that was in demand in many areas of the world and that its commerce was both profitable and served imperial interests and needs. The Portuguese in Asia had utilized the copper carried in the commerce from Japan to Macao where then both in Goa, and in the famous artillery foundry of Manuel Tavares Bocarro in Macao, it was made into bronze canons and mortars that became renowned throughout Asia.6 Moreover, the Portuguese, and later the Dutch, learned that China had also been a market for Japan’s copper, and that they could profitably become intermediaries in that trade. After the Tokugawa expulsion of the Portuguese from Japan in 1639, the Dutch trading station at Deshima became the only European purchaser of Japanese copper after 1646. From that time until c. 1680, the Dutch East India Company was not only using large amounts of Japanese copper to trade on the Coromandel coast in India, in China and in South East Asia, but also importing almost as much to Amsterdam as was being imported from Sweden as can be seen in Figure 1. Some of it was probably ending up in the Dutch trade with Portugal.

Figure 1. Swedish (brown) and Japanese (tan) Copper Imported to Amsterdam: Quantity and Price.  Courtesy of Arie Pappot. Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

Figure 1. Swedish (brown) and Japanese (tan) Copper Imported to Amsterdam: Quantity and Price.


Percentage of copper from Japan (blue line); price trends of Swedish and Japanese copper on the Amsterdam Exchange (price of Swedish copper in 1624 is 100% at fl. 64.55 per 100 Dutch lbs).


In a parallel manner, metals like copper and iron had become essential items in the growing slave trade in West Africa that by the mid seventeenth century had attracted diverse European participants. Although a wide variety of products such as tobacco, alcoholic beverages, firearms, and textiles were also used in the slave trade, African demand for copper to be used for ornamentation, a means of exchange or specie, a symbol of status and power, objects of cult, and as the base of alloys of bronze and brass for practical objects and weapons remained high. By the eighteenth century copper bars, the so-called “guinea rods,” along with “voyage iron” became regular items of exchange in the slave trade.7 Various contracts and treaties confirm that the African buyers were knowledgeable about the differing qualities of copper, and quite specific in their requirements for this commodity.

Copper, Salt, and Empire

The Spanish Habsburg embargo of 1635 and those before had complicated or disrupted not only the copper supply, but also Portugal’s salt exports, although Dutch ships sailing under other flags or with false papers had continued to be the principal carriers. These embargos, however, were measures of economic warfare imposed by Philip IV and Olivares that had been particularly disliked by interests in Portugal. Now, after the separation from the Catholic Monarchy, not only did Portugal hope to reestablish former commercial relations for its exports, but it sorely needed armaments and maritime supplies for its defense of the new dynasty, a fact that underlined the importance of the commodity chain of copper and its multiple connections to other economic activities.8 Whereas Portugal had hoped to establish a route to transfer copper directly from its African to its American peripheries as part of the sugar economy and its trade, it still continued to depend on European sources, now especially Baltic providers. Thus copper remained linked to the supply of timber, pitch and naval stores, to the Swedish and Dutch manufacture of armaments, to the ship building industries in the Netherlands, the Atlantic slave trade, and to the salt gathering pans of Portugal itself.9 There is a curious paradox between the Catholic Iberian need for, and dreams of, copper to fulfill its evangelical mission, and those of Lutheran Sweden in which its mines of copper and silver were seen as the providence of God that had enabled the defense of its faith.10

It is difficult to document how the copper was transported to Brazil. It does not appear as a major cargo item carried by the outbound ships of the Brazil fleets after 1648, nor do other shipping and tax records reveal its presence in quantity.11 However, there are occasional hints of its transport like the contract for the voyage in 1650 of the Santa Clara e Almas jointly owned by its Portuguese skipper (mestre) from Vila do Conde and by a Flemish merchant residing in Oporto. It was registered to sail from Oporto to Angola with a cargo of copper and then proceed to Bahia or Rio de Janeiro before returning to Viana do Castelo.12 It may be that, as had been suggested to the governors of Angola and Benguela, the crown was allowing the transport of this essential commodity as ballast in the outbound slaving vessels as an incentive to shippers. That would not have been strange to contemporaries since in Asia the Dutch East India Company often transported the heavy copper as ballast cargo.13

Other than its salt, Portugal had few resources to pay for the wars of its separation from Spain and defense of its empire against the Dutch except for the dye wood and sugar from its Brazilian colony. The previous income its crown had derived from the spices and pepper trade in the Indian Ocean had been seriously reduced by Dutch and English incursions and competition, and had fallen precipitously in the previous decade of the 1630s when less than 10,000 tons of shipping had arrived from India. By 1640, it was clear that India and its network of trade ports and commercial routes was no longer a dependable source of income, and that its role in the Portuguese imperial economy had been replaced by the south Atlantic complex of West Africa and Brazil.

While some modern observers have questioned the economic importance of the overseas territories to the Portuguese economy in general and have specifically dismissed their importance to the Bragança monarchy’s financing of the Restoration, there is much evidence that Dom João IV, his successors, and many of their contemporaries had no doubts about their value, nor about the growing economic significance of the South Atlantic to Portugal’s survival as an independent state.14 This was a theme that many project proposals (alvitrios) and advice to the crown and government addressed.15 During the 1641 negotiations for a truce with the United Provinces that were still in possession of Pernambuco, it was commonly said in Lisbon “ that without [all] Brazil. [D. João] was not king,” and in the same period the advisors of Maurits of Nassau, governor of Dutch Brazil, believed that without Brazil and Angola, D. João could not hold his throne.16 The Portuguese ambassador at the Hague reported in 1644 that the Dutch believed that the area they controlled in Brazil at that time was worth more than all of Portugal.17 Dom Joao IV himself calculated that if Portugal lost its colonies it could not remain independent, and he told an emissary of Cardinal Mazarin that the state of India was “a colossus that yields no benefits,” that were it not for the Catholic souls that would be lost, he wished he could honorably abandon it. As for Brazil, his “milchcow,” given the considerable profit that it gives him, along with that from the kingdom of Angola, the African stations, the islands of the Azores and Cape Verde; that he would not trade his situation for that of any other prince of Europe.”18 Finally, we should also recognize that Brazil had long served as an illegal outlet for Potosí silver smuggled from Buenos Aires, and after 1640 there were hopes that it would continue to do so. Unfortunately, for Dom João and his advisors, however, the debasement of Potosí minted coins in the period 1650-70 left such aspirations mostly unsatisfied since many merchants refused to accept them.19

The profit that Dom João IV and his successors hoped to gain from Brazil, however, was dependent on the political and economic conjunctures of the period. The loss of Pernambuco and its neighboring captaincies to the Dutch (1630-54) had deprived the Portuguese crown of some sugar revenues, although the Dutch controlled area’s share of Brazilian sugar production by that time was only about twenty percent. Thus, the income gained from the sugar trade of Bahia was crucial. So, when a Dutch expedition landed on Itaparica island in 1647 threatening to close the port of Salvador and disrupt the sugar exports from Bahia, Dom Joao IV, with an empty treasury, was willing to accept the advice of his Jesuit advisor, Father António Vieira, to raise the money for a fleet to expel the invaders by accepting a substantial loan from New Christian lenders whom he even met with personally.20

The rising against Dutch rule and the subsequent fighting in Pernambuco and its neighboring captaincies (1645-54) resulted in the burning of cane fields, the destruction of sugar mills, and the disruption of Atlantic commerce that lowered income for both the crown of Portugal and for the Dutch West India Company. Portugal was thus forced to finance the war by increasing taxes on sugar production and shipping in the areas it controlled at exactly the moment that capital was needed to rebuild and expand that industry. Then too, good prices for sugar in the 1630s had contributed to the English and French development of sugar producing colonies in the Caribbean on Barbados, Martinique, and other islands. By the 1640s, their production was reaching Europe, and as a result the percentage of Brazilian sugar in those markets declined. To some extent that drop resulted from mercantilist measures taken by England and France between 1651 and 1673 to protect the sugar producers in their own colonies by excluding Brazilian sugar. Moreover, the increase in Atlantic sugar production lowered the price of sugar. In Lisbon the price dropped by over 30 percent between 1659 and the end of the war with Spain in 1668, and it continued to do so until 1688, but the simultaneous increase in demand for labor in the new Caribbean colonies raised the price of slaves, one of the principal costs to Brazilian sugar planters. The result of these changes was growing stress on the Portuguese imperial economy that had become increasingly dependent on sugar, tobacco, and hides exported from its Brazilian colony.

While Dom João IV was correct that in the long term Brazilian production would be essential to Portugal’s imperial economy, in the short term the only way to preserve the commerce from that colony during the fighting with the Dutch in the empire, and to prevent their continuing seizure of Portuguese sugar laden vessels, was to pay an indemnity to the Dutch republic and its West India Company for the loss of its Brazilian colony. After long negotiation and threats of a Dutch blockade of Lisbon, the final peace treaty between Portugal and the Netherlands in 1661, and a supplementary treaty of 1669 required Portugal to pay an indemnity of 4 million cruzados, much of which was actually provided by duty free Portuguese salt from Setúbal.21 Salt was an item much desired by the Dutch, and for which there was already a well-established trade.22 The strategy of paying in the long term by placing a lien on an existing resource or flow of income had often been used by the Portuguese crown as a way to finance its objectives despite its limited financial assets.23 The result here was that in the short term, Setúbal salt paid for the protection and persistence of the Atlantic empire, although at the cost of losing Ceylon and other parts of its Asian possessions as well as concessions made to Dutch trade.24

Continuing Commerce and Diplomatic Hiatus

The importance of copper for Portuguese imperial objectives had continued during the period of economic downturn for sugar in the last half of the seventeenth century. After the acclamation of Dom João IV in 1640, and the reopening of trade with formerly prohibited nations, Swedish and Dutch ships began to visit Setúbal and Aveiro to carry away the famous Portuguese salt, widely preferred to French and Biscayan varieties because of its pure white color. That trade had flourished, and during the decade of the 1640s there was little that Spain could do to disrupt Swedish-Portuguese commercial exchange since Sweden was an enemy of the Habsburg Empire and, therefore, also of the Catholic Monarchy. Nevertheless, Swedish requests for direct trade with the Portuguese colonies, continued to fall on deaf ears as Portugal sought to maintain sole control of its colonial commerce.

Much changed, however, after the peace of Westphalia in 1648. Despite Axel Oxenstierna’s efforts to have Portugal present in the treaty negotiations, Spain successfully blocked the participation of “rebellious” Portugal, and Sweden, like its ally France, was not disposed to sacrifice the gains of peace for the interests of its former, but now less useful, Lusitanian ally.25 Spain’s monarch Felipe IV and his principal minister, the Count-Duke of Olivares, knew how to use that fact to their advantage, and to conduct a successful political and diplomatic campaign on a variety of levels. With the accession of the young Queen Christina to the Swedish throne, Spain increasingly emphasized its own Gothic history while seeking better relations with Christina, who, “by the grace of God ,[was] destined to be queen of the Swedes, Goths and Vandals.”26 During the negotiations at Westphalia, Diego de Saavedra Fajardo, a distinguished Spanish diplomat and intellectual who in 1645 had published his La corona gótica, castellana y austriaca struck up a friendship with the Swedish diplomat Schering Rosenhane. That relationship reflected the growing influence of Spain at the Swedish court.27 Then too, the arrival of Antonio Pimentel del Prado at the Swedish court in 1652 brought a significant improvement in Spanish representation. Pimentel became an intimate councilor to the young queen. His published correspondence, reveals him as a subtle and effective diplomat who from the moment of his arrival, used his influence to, in his own words “undercut the negotiations of the rebel king of Portugal.28 For example on 7 September 1652 he wrote to Phillip IV about his efforts to interfere in the relationship between the queen and the Portuguese, and to convince her of the advantages of better relations with Spain. Pimentel wrote:

“It seemed a good opportunity to talk to her about the Rebel of Portugal, telling her that her vassals did not need to go to that kingdom for salt which is the thing that most obliges them to deal with the Portuguese because the coasts of Galicia and Viscaya are closer, and from them the same amount of salt can be had for less costs and in less time than in Portugal.”29

Pimentel also understood that his objective had to be pursued carefully. He wrote to Phillip IV from Stockholm on 2 November 1652 that the queen was of “subtle intelligence and very devoted to the welfare of her state and her subjects for whose benefit she would spare no effort, and thus I believe that one must proceed with great circumspection and care in dealing with her in all things.”30

As Spanish influence increased, Queen Christina’s image at the court in Spain improved. There the “gifts (prendas)” of the Queen caused admiration. One account by an anonymous Spanish cleric found her “simpática”, “energetic,” “almost supernatural”, and not very feminine– her voice and gestures that of a man, “an ideal king in skirts (faldas).”31 Described as just, courteous, intellectual, powerful, a Maecenas of the arts a stupor mundi, this ecclesiastic observer found her only fault to be “her lack of the true religion.” In the streets and in the corridors of state as well, her image was celebrated as the “Hope of the North (Esperanza del Norte),” a sobriquet with millenarian implications. The “Avisos” of Jerónimo Barrionuevo for the years 1652-58 are full of gossip, rumors, and positive notices about her majesty and intellect, rumors about her library of 50,000 volumes, her intention to visit the Spanish court, or after her conversion, to become a nun at the convent of the Descalzas in Madrid.32

Equestrian portrait of Christine, Queen of Sweden (1626-1689) by Sébastien Bourdon, Prado Museum, Wikisource.

Equestrian portrait of Christine, Queen of Sweden (1626-1689) by Sébastien Bourdon, Prado Museum.

Spanish influence on the Queen grew, and that of Portugal declined. Although as late as 1651 she was still seeking the right to trade directly with Brazil and Goa and expand trade with Portugal, she was more invested in increasing commerce with Spain.33 In 1653, supporters of Felipe IV, probably employed by Pimentel even dared to invade the residence of the Portuguese ambassador in Stockholm with seeming impunity. The final blow was her surprising and abrupt severing of relations with Portugal and expulsion of its ambassador. Only ten days before her abdication of the Swedish throne Christina wrote:

“I order Linde [palace courtier] that he make known on my behalf to the resident of the intrusive king of Portugal that his service at this court is useless as I have resolved to no longer recognize the Duke of Bragança as king of Portugal, since that title belongs only to Philip IV, king of Spain and his successors, and I will always consider the said Duke as an unworthy usurper . . . and that the prince, my successor, will treat him in the same manner as me.”34

The core of this missive reproduces exactly the arguments that the jurists and supporters of the Habsburgs had been using against the Duke of Bragança since 1640, and seems to directly reflect the influence of Pimentel del Prado, the Spanish ambassador.35 Portugal’s representative, António da Silva e Sousa and his staff were forced to move to Hamburg, and then to Amsterdam. Rather than anger or panic, however, the Portuguese response was temperate. A few months after the Queen had abdicated (Uppsala, 6 June 1654), and then under Spanish protection later converted to Catholicism, Dom João IV sought to renew relations with Christina’s successor. He sent a letter to her cousin who took the throne as Charles X, promising that “the ships that from here forward come to my kingdoms will encounter there the good treatment that they have always received, and even better, if better might even be possible.”36 To Silva e Sousa, his representative who returned to Stockholm, the Portuguese king emphasized that “after reputation, commerce is the most useful thing that can be gained from the friendship with that kingdom as experience has revealed.”37

Despite Christina’s warning that her successor would also reject the Bragança claim to the Portuguese crown, Sweden still needed its trade with both Spain and Portugal, and thus favored neither.38 The new king almost immediately made clear that he was not inclined to break relations with Portugal, and Christina herself did not push the matter any further.39 Subsequently, in fact, Christina’s relations to the Spanish Hapsburgs had become strained after 1656, and then after Portugal and Spain had come to terms (1668), she demonstrated continuing common interests and affinity with Bragança supporters, especially because of the millenarian expectations that she shared with many of them. Nevertheless, since she was no longer queen, and after 1655, resided in Rome, she had no further role in relations between Sweden and Portugal. Although the two monarchies still traded, Portuguese interests were represented by only a consul, and there was no formal exchange of envoys between the two countries from 1659-1662 despite common interests such as enmity toward the Dutch. Sweden continued to press for trading rights to Brazil and São Tomé, and Portugal negotiated for the continued provision of Swedish warships and armaments. This diplomatic hiatus with Sweden probably contributed to the growing Portuguese dependence on commercial and diplomatic ties to England.40

The threat to the Portuguese economy that Christina’s withdrawal of recognition had created apparently did not affect the supply of copper, most of which was still carried by the Dutch since they were allied to Portugal at the time, at least in Europe. Even though the Dutch West India company could have sought to limit the supply of copper to Portugal and its Brazilian colony as a way to cripple Portuguese Brazil’s sugar production and its competition, the fact that the copper trade and much of the sugar trade remained in the hands of private merchants and not in the control of the Dutch West India Company determined that these trades did not diminish. Moreover, even when after the Treaty of Múnster (1648) the rebellious provinces of the Netherlands concluded a peace with Spain and an active commerce between them began again, Portugal had other Baltic sources that could bring it the needed grain, naval supplies, armaments, and copper that were essential to its struggle for independence and for the maintenance of its empire.41 Evidence of the continuous access to copper in Portuguese Brazil is provided by the records of copper purchases made by the Jesuit sugar mill Engenho Sergipe do Conde in Bahia in which the price remained relatively stable throughout the first half of the seventeenth century at between 200 to 300 réis per pound. The occasional rise in price apparently due to manipulations of supply by the Swedish royal monopoly, rather than shortages in Brazil. In fact, a decrease in price during the sugar harvest (safra) of 1655-56 following Queen Christina’s break of relations with Portugal seems to confirm that Portugal was able to maintain its access to this essential commodity.

Figure 2. Average cost of Copper at Engenho Sergipe (Bahia), in selected years, 1622-23 to 1655-56 (reis per pound)    Source: Documentos para a história do açúcar, 3 vols., Rio de Janeiro,1956, v.ii, Engenho Sergipe do Conde. Livro de Contas (1622-54); ANTT, Cartório dos Jesuítas, maço 17, n. 22 (1655-56).

Figure 2. Average cost of Copper at Engenho Sergipe (Bahia), in selected years,

1622-23 to 1655-56 (reis per pound).


Source: Documentos para a história do açúcar, 3 vols., Rio de Janeiro,1956, v.ii, Engenho Sergipe do Conde. Livro de Contas (1622-54); ANTT, Cartório dos Jesuítas, maço 17, n. 22 (1655-56).

“New Christian” Agents in the Baltic

The apparent ability of Brazil to maintain its access to copper underlines another aspect of Portugal’s mercantile strategy for survival after 1641, and the importance of its relations to northern Europe. Iberia already had a long medieval tradition of trade with the Hanseatic cities of the Baltic sea42 Portugal’s early modern trade with Sweden and the Netherlands was paralleled by an active commerce with a number of Baltic cities such as Lübeck, Glückstadt, and Danzig, but the most important of which was Hamburg. That port had maintained an active trade to Iberia prior to, and during the time Portugal was part of the Iberian Catholic Monarchy, exporting primarily grains, textiles, and Hungarian copper while importing spices, sugar and salt, but after the Portuguese rebellion, the nature of the trade shifted. Sweden began to replace Hungary as the major source of copper during the Thirty Years War. In the 1630s only about 10% of Hamburg’s exports to Portugal had been raw metals (copper and iron), metal products, or armaments, but by 1647-48, those items became over a third of the trade.43 Sugar alone became almost 72% of Hamburg’s imports from Portugal.44 Commercial agents of both nations established their legitimacy as resident alien merchants, in the other country, paying taxes and contractually constrained in their mobility, but also permitted certain rights in terms of religious practices and business dealings.

Here, we should emphasize that in Hamburg as in Amsterdam there was a substantial community of people of “the nation,” that is “New Christians,” or conversos, the descendants of converted Jews who had left Spain or Portugal because of laws of exclusion and persecution by the Inquisition.45 Many of them had become involved in international trade and had maintained networks of commerce and contacts with the Iberian world.46 Within the Catholic Monarchy itself, the Count-Duke of Olivares had improved the conditions for conversos in Spain and had brought some of them into his financial plans despite objections from various quarters that eventually contributed to his fall from favor. Nevertheless, the majority of the Sephardic communities that had taken up residence outside of Spain and Portugal, saw in the separation of Portugal, and in the Bragança need for commercial and financial capital and expertise, a possibility for a considerable improvement in their situation. The Sephardi communities in southern France, Hamburg, other Baltic cities, and Amsterdam believed the alliance of the Netherlands and Portugal against their common enemy, Spain, created a collaboration with potential benefits in terms of their financial opportunities and their social and religious position.

Those expectations, in fact, proved exaggerated in the long run, but for a few decades, and especially during the brief period of 1641-60, the Portuguese crown was willing to make financial and social concessions to gain the support of these communities and their commercial networks.47 We see the evidence of this in the mercantilist creation in Portugal of the General Company of Brazil in 1648 whose founding charter encouraged New Christian participation by excluding their investments from seizure by the Inquisition, and in the employment as a diplomatic agent of the Jesuit António de Vieira, a well-known advocate of reintegrating the New Christians into Portuguese society and encouraging the return of the New Christian expatriates and their capital to Portugal.48

Although João IV of Portugal, sorely needed the support of the Portuguese nobility and the Inquisition both of which opposed such policies, he, and later his widow, were not entirely opposed to making concessions to the expatriate New Christian merchant communities whose commercial networks were essential to Portugal’s financial survival; an attitude also supported by some of his key diplomats like the Count of Vidigueira, who represented the Bragança court in Paris, and whose translator, unofficial secretary, and confidant Manuel Fernandes Vila Real was a young New Christian expatriate with ties to the Portuguese community in Rouen.49 The Portuguese ambassador in Holland, Tristão Mendonça Furtado wrote to Dom João IV emphasizing the continued affinity that the expatriate New Christians, the nação hebrea of Amsterdam, felt toward their patria despite their persecution by the Inquisition; an attitude that was surely reinforced by their expectations that the alliance of Portugal and the Netherlands would open new commercial prospects, and perhaps improve their social acceptance. This combination of Bragança need and New Christian expectations produced the seeming anomaly of concessions of nobility or gowns of knighthood in the military Order of Christ to about 70 New Christians in the period 1641-70, and even to a few who were now practicing Jews living abroad.50 These rewards made in recognition of their financial and commercial services, in fact, at times had been essential to the operations of the diplomatic effort. Cases in point being the actions Duarte Nunes da Costa in Hamburg, and of his son, Jerónimo Nunes da Costa in Amsterdam, both of whom provided funds directly to the Portuguese ambassador and his staff, or of Diogo Lopes de Ulhoa, former sugar planter in Brazil, merchant in Antwerp, fidalgo of the royal house, member of the Amsterdam Sephardi community, and influential advisor to the Portuguese ambassadors in their negotiations with the Netherlands.51 It should be noted that to balance these concessions to the New Christians, Dom João IV never repudiated or abolished governmental debt contracted under the previous Habsburg administration, over seventy percent of which was held by the Portuguese nobility or ecclesiastic institutions; a strategy that insured the reputation of government obligations and reduced their objections to the needed social concessions made to the expatriate New Christians.52

From Copper Dreams to Millennial Hopes

Swedish copper, armaments, timber, and tar carried in Dutch vessels that returned to Holland, Hamburg, and other northern ports laden with Portuguese salt and Brazilian sugar in commercial arrangements made between Protestants, Catholics and Jews underlined the reality and complexity of international commerce, the irrelevance of flags of origin or religious difference, but also the particularly strong Sephardi networks in the commerce of the period.53 It is within this context that the seeming contradictions of diplomatic relations, religious politics, commercial ambitions, and millennial expectations involving Queen Christina, Sweden, and both Iberian monarchies should be seen. Despite determined resistance from their Inquisitions, elements of the nobility, and the general populations, the monarchs of both Spain and Portugal sought support and service from their resident and expatriate Sephardi communities during the period of the Bragança rebellion and the subsequent war of “Portuguese restoration” (1641-68).54 Both crowns employed agents in northern Europe to represent their competing commercial and occasionally political interests and needs. Habsburg Spain depended on conversos like Manuel de Belmonte who lived as a Jew in Amsterdam, and Manuel López Pereira who returned from Amsterdam to Madrid as a Catholic to become a confidant of Olivares, and an influential policy advisor on Flanders and Spain’s war against the rebel provinces of the Low Countries.55 There were also paradoxical cases like that of Jacob Rosales, also known as Manuel Bocarro Francés, a Portuguese New Christian physician who had written a pro-Bragança millenarian poem, but who eventually resided in Hamburg where he acted as a commercial agent for Hapsburg Spain, even after 1640.56 And, there were others like him. In fact, Christina after her abdication had resided in Antwerp in the home of Garcia de Illian, a converso contractor whom she had meet through Pimentel, and she also long depended on the financial support of Diego Teixeira, a wealthy Portuguese New Christian who had handled Spanish-Swedish relations in Antwerp, but had later converted to Judaism and became a leading figure in the Jewish community in Hamburg; a conversion to which Christina seemed indifferent, and that did not impede her occasional residence at his home in Hamburg, even after his relations with Spain had soured.57 In a similar fashion, Dom João IV of Portugal sought comparable support from these Sephardi communities in northern Europe, his diplomats often underlining the financial, informational, and commercial networking advantages that members of these communities could provide. Probably the most significant of these agents for Portugal were members of the Nunes da Costa (Curiel) family that served the crown throughout the seventeenth century, and were even granted honorific memberships in the knightly military religious orders and royal stipends despite their religious beliefs or background.58 To some extent these relationships revealed the conundrum faced by the kings of both Spain and Portugal, both of whom needed the trade networks, financial skills, and resources of the conversos, but also required the support of the nobility and the Inquisitions that opposed them.59 Nevertheless, these dealings were perhaps not as strange or contradictory as they appear, since even before the Portuguese rebellion of 1640, and the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648, Sephardic merchants in southern France, Amsterdam, Hamburg and other Baltic towns had served as intermediaries in the illegal trade that had continued between the Netherlands and Iberia. In fact, the somewhat less restrictive policy in Iberia in this period paralleled a more general acceptance of Jewish communities in most of western Europe as was evidenced by the readmission of Jews to various cities in Germany, and to England by 1656. That openness or tolerance, although it eventually waned by the 1690s, had been generated mostly by practical commercial and financial considerations, but alongside these was also deeply held multi-denominational Christian millennial expectations which often involved the presence of, and eventual conversion of the Jews.60 Although many Christians also opposed these ideas, such millenarian sentiments could be manipulated with other goals in mind. For example, the Sephardi rabbi of Amsterdam Menasseh Ben Israel, whose own millenarian text The Hope of Israel began to circulate in England in 1650 and whose approaches to Sweden and England for Jewish resettlement underlined pragmatic advantages, was not oblivious to Christian millenarian hopes, even though he was no advocate for their goal of Jewish conversions.61

Portrait of Samuel Menasseh ben Israel (1604-1657), etching by Rembrandt.  Wikimedia Commons

Portrait of Samuel Menasseh ben Israel (1604-1657), etching by Rembrandt.

Sweden too had considered the admission of Jews although Oxenstierna’s Council of State could not find enough economic benefit in their settlement to balance the Lutheran clergy’s objections. Nevertheless, Queen Christiana had long exhibited a definite philosemitic attitude, learning Hebrew, employing a Jewish physician, dealing with converso bankers in Antwerp for financial reasons, and sharing her deep interest in messianic and millenarian beliefs and expectations in correspondence with rabbi Menasseh ben Israel in Amsterdam and with the French theologian Isaac La Peyrère.62 The contact with La Peyrère was particularly important because his Du Rappel des Juifs (1643) had expressed a kind of “marrano eschatology” that made the presence of Jews and their eventual conversion essential to his millennial project. That book was in Christina’s extensive library, and she was also attracted to La Peyrère’s argument that a royal political messiah would precede and pave the way for the arrival of the spiritual messiah.63

After her abdication, and conversion to Catholicism in 1654, Christina moved to Rome and established a court where in the heated prophetic and millenarian atmosphere of the mid-seventeenth century, she began to see a role for herself as that “political messiah” who could prepare the way for a new millennial age as the “Agiatrix of Peace.”64 But, to do so, she needed a crown. In this period of heated millenarian expectations that were shared across religions and denominations, and in which her own Jewish physician and her financial agent had become ardent followers of Sabbatai Sevi, who had been widely accepted in Jewish communities as the messiah, Christina’s own religious conversion from Lutheran to Catholic made little difference as far as her eschatology was concerned. She was, after all, the daughter of Gustavus Aldophus who had seen himself as the “Midnight Lion” who would defeat the Papacy and the Eagle of the Holy Roman empire, and bring an eternal peace, according to the prophecy of Paracelsus.65 After her abdication and conversion the Catholicism, and in a period of solar eclipses and the comet of 1652 that generated a veritable explosion of tracts of a millenarian nature, Lutheran expectations shifted to her successor Charles Gustavus. These hopes provided an opportunity for Portugal to reinforce the new Swedish monarch’s rejection of Christina’s break in relations with the Braganza regime. In 1655, Antonio de Silva e Souza, Portugal’s representative in Sweden published in Stockholm, Ivizio o Vaticinio Politico al Noble Reyno de Svecia, a text in Spanish designed to flatter the new king, who the author referred to as a “valiente caudillo” (valient leader). Silva e Sousa, trained as a lawyer, and a loyal supporter of the Bragança regime, used this text to emphasize the judicial responsibilities of a king to his subjects, and the new Swedish king’s ability to do so. He also made clear to a broad audience, the failure of Spanish kings to provide justice to Portugal, a failure that justified the Bragança cause. To this argument he added the common interests of Sweden and Portugal.66

Festivities in honor of Queen Christine of Sweden in Rome, at Palazzo Berberini, February 28, 1656. Filippo Guardi & Filippo Lauri. Wikisource

Festivities in honor of Queen Christine of Sweden in Rome, at Palazzo Berberini,

February 28, 1656.

Christina’s own millenarist ambitions, however, remained firm. While her political aspirations to become perhaps the vicereine of Flanders or Naples with Spanish backing were discussed with, and probably promoted by, Pimentel, by 1656, her popularity and usefulness to Spain was in decline. In Rome, she became involved in Vatican politics and began to court support from the French ambassador. A visit to Paris in that year during which she was warmly welcomed by Cardinal Mazarin with whom she discussed the possibility of assuming the crown of Naples or Sicily with French backing, made clear a shift in her alliances and cost her support in Spain.67 When the playwright Calderon de la Barca penned an auto sacramental about her conversion to Catholicism, Phillip IV prevented its performance because, “ the matters of this lady are no longer in the same state as they were at first.”68 Ultimately her ambitions were frustrated by political realities, and when Spain and France concluded the Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659, she had little to offer either. In a way, she had become politically irrelevant, but her value to the papacy as an icon of the Catholic reformation assured its favor. The mini-court and cultural salon she developed in Rome became an intellectual and spiritual focal point that drew her toward individuals and ideas that satisfied her millenarian and mystic interests and aspirations. Influenced by Spanish and Portuguese Jesuits in her conversion to Catholicism, and joined in Rome as her confessor by her former ambassador to Portugal, Lars Skytte who had become a Franciscan, Christina by the 1670s was increasingly drawn toward those who shared those millenarian expectations.69 No one did so better than the Portuguese Jesuit Padre Antonio Vieira, whose own struggle against the Portuguese Inquisition and in favor of the reintegration of New Christians paralleled Christina’s tolerant attitude toward Jews. Moreover, his writings incorporated a long Portuguese prophetic providential tradition into a national messianism centered on the role that Dom Joao IV could play in the creation of a “Fifth Empire,” and then in Portugal’s destiny to reunite all of Christendom had appealed to the former queen.70 In Rome, Vieira preached for Christina and dedicated a sermon to her, but he declined her invitation in 1674 to become the Queen’s resident preacher, and did so again in 1679, despite the urgings of his Jesuit superiors.71 He returned to Brazil. Their common faith and their shared millenarian expectations were not enough to hold him. The former queen’s hope to become a providential monarch facilitating millenarian prospects remained unfulfilled, and those expectations slowly diminished in Europe as a new century approached. Trade between Portugal, Sweden and other Baltic states exchanging salt, wine, and Atlantic colonial products for grain, metals, timber and maritime materials not only continued, but grew.72 Copper had remained essential for armaments. The final major battles of Portugal’s war for independence from Spain (Ameixial, 1663; Montes Claros, 1665) finally led to peace in 1668. Portugal continued to supply Sweden’s growing demand for sugar without a problem. Despite fluctuations, its price remained relatively stable from 1624-1694 while the general price index in Sweden was rising.73 Brazil remained a major source. In 1700, French agents sought to convince Swedish sugar refiners to end their dependence on Brazilian sugar in favor of France’s Caribbean colonies, and by the 1730s, Portuguese Brazil no longer remained the principal origin of Sweden’s sugar imports.74 Nevertheless, in the eighteenth century, the commerce between Portugal and Sweden expanded considerably.75 It did so, however, within a new diplomatic and commercial context in which the former political alliance between these countries no longer played the role it had in the mid-seventeenth century.


This complex story of European diplomatic, political and military maneuvering for three decades in the mid-seventeenth century by second rank or declining imperial powers might seem to have a limited importance for a broader global history. Nevertheless, the history of the unbraiding of the first global empire and of the multifaceted political and commercial relations that accompanied that process questions long-accepted assumptions about the early development of capitalism, the role of colonial trades in it, and the study of commodity chains a global history.76 In this case, the linking of Japanese and Swedish copper and Baltic grains, pitch and timber to the sale of Portuguese salt, Brazilian sugar, South Asian spices, and African slaves demonstrates the difficulty of separating the commodity chains of “luxury” goods from basic or utilitarian items. Portugal’s need for copper and the manner in which that metal was acquired demonstrates the ways in which mundane goods like salt and copper and exotic goods such as sugar and spices were so intertwined that separating their study makes little sense. It also questions an over-emphasis on the expansion of “luxury” items such as spices, silk, tobacco, or sugar as the key to the growth of demand as the principle driver of mercantile expansion by diminishing the role of state mercantile control of large scale purchases. Moreover, the idea that colonial areas were always the suppliers of raw materials to Europe was inverted in this case by the export of central European and then Swedish copper and copper based metals to Africa and India, where instead of a dumping ground for baubles, Europeans often found a well-informed and highly selective demand. The differing value of copper between Africa and Europe based on cultural, social, and esthetic perceptions makes clear that commodity chain analysis can not be limited to the economic dimensions of supply and demand, or those of production and market. Cultural, political, diplomatic, fiscal. monetary, and military needs and decisions had much to do with the way in which these specific links became articulated. Finally, in addition to the relations between Sweden, Spain and Portugal, the varying and shifting roles of the Dutch United Provinces and England as transporters, commercial intermediaries, contrabandists, rivals, political opponents and allies can not be separated from the narrative of the mercantile contacts and commodity exchanges between the Baltic lands and the Iberian monarchies and their global empires.

L’auteur souhaite remercier pour leur aide et leurs suggestions généreuses Cátia Antunes, Fernando Bouza Álvarez, Pedro Cardim, Enrique Corredera Nilsson, Thiago Krause, Catarina Madeira-Santos, Jason Moore, Arie Pappot, Geoffrey Parker, Edgar Pereira, Amelia Polónia, Klas Rönnbäck, José Manuel Santos Pérez, Daniel Strum, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, John Thornton, Francesca Trivellato, Carl Wennerlind, David Wheat, Ângela Barreto Xavier et Bartolomé Yun Casalilla.



ACA: Archivo de Condes de Alba (Madrid)

AHU: Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (Lisbonne)

ANTT: Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo (Lisbonne)

BL: British Library (Londres)

BNL: Biblioteca Nacional (Lisbonne)

BNM: Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid)

Unfold notes and references
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Erik MacDonald Thomson, “Chancellor Oxenstierna, Cardinal Richelieu, and Commerce: The problems and possibilities of governance in early-seventeenth century France and Sweden,” Ph.d. thesis, Johns Hopkins University, 2004, pp. 36-37. On the Swedish crown’s control of the mine see also, Lawrence Paul Stryker, “The Swedish Monarchy and the Copper Trade: The Copper Company. The Deposit System and the Problems of Free Trade, 1600-1640,” Ph.d. thesis, University of Virginia, 2012, pp. 61-107.

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Lawrence Paul Stryker, “The Swedish Monarchy and the Copper Trade: The Copper Company. The Deposit System and the Problems of Free Trade, 1600-1640,” Ph.d. thesis, University of Virginia, 2012, p. 380. English ambassador to Sweden John Robinson in his An Account of Sueden (London, Tim Goodwin, 1694, pp. 13-14), estimated that the value of production at Falun amounted to £200,000 of which the crown received 25% and also received a tariff of 25% on the copper exported.

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Michael Roberts, The Swedish Imperial Experience 1560-1718, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1979, p. 49; Ryuto Shimada, The Intra-Asian Trade in Japanese Copper by the Dutch East India Company during the Eighteenth Century, Leiden, Brill, 2006; Kristof Glamann., “The Dutch East India Company’s trade in Japanese Copper. 1645-1736,” Scandinavian Economic History Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 2011, pp. 41-79, emphasizes that the Dutch who were the main carriers of the Swedish copper trade and had also invested in Swedish copper mining used much of the copper they acquired in Japan for trade in India for spices, much as the Portuguese had done in the sixteenth century. See also, Manuel Nunes Dias, O capitalismo monárquico português, 2 vols., Coimbra, Universidade de Coimbra, 1963, II, pp. 321-54, 383-400.

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In 1629 the WIC ordered Cornelis Jol to take the town. The issue also arose on other occasions, but was never successful. Some Spanish ships carrying copper in the Caribbean also were seized by Dutch privateers. See Coprnelis CH. Goslinga, The Dutch in the Caribbean and on the Wild Coast, Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 1971, p. 208, 232-36, 348.

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Kristine Bruland and Keith Smith, “The Global Context of the Scandinavian Copper Industry”, in Kristin Ranestad and Kristine Bruland (eds.), Skandinavisk kobber. Lokale forhold og globale sammenhenger i det lange 1700-tallet, Oslo, Cappelen Damm Akademisk/NOASP, 2020, pp. 210-219.

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Charles Ralph Boxer, The Great Ship from Amacon. Annals of Macao and the Old Japan Trade, 1555-1640, Lisbon, Centro de Estudois Históricos Ultramarinos, 1963, p. 8, 18-20. Kristof Glamann, “The Dutch East India Company’s trade in Japanese Copper. 1645-1736,” Scandinavian Economic History Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 2011, pp. 41-79, provides in detail Dutch purchases and sales into the eighteenth century.

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Eugenia W. Herbert, “Aspects of the Use of copper in Pre-colonial West Africa,” Journal of African History, vol. 14, no. 2, 1973, pp. 173-194; Cris Evans and Göran Rydén, “‘Voyage Iron’: An Atlantic Slave Trade Currency, its European Origins, and West African Impact,” Past and Present, vol. 239, no. 1, 2018, pp. 41-70. 

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Magnus Morner, Episodios de la historia de las relaciones hispano-suecas, Madrid, Fundación Berndt Wistedt, 1996, p. 27.

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Cátia Antunes, “The Commercial Relationship between Amsterdam and the Portuguese Salt-Exporting Ports: Aveiro and Sétubal, 1580-1712,” Journal of Early Modern History, vol. 12, no. 1, 2008, pp. 25-53.

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Oskar Garstein, Rome and the Counter-Reformation in Scandinavia. The age of Gustavus Adolphus and Queen Christina of Sweden, 1622-56, Leiden, Brill, 1992. On the centrality of copper to Sweden’s economy under Gustavus Adolphus see, Erik MacDonald Thomson, “Chancellor Oxenstierna, Cardinal Richelieu, and Commerce: The problems and possibilities of governance in early-seventeenth century France and Sweden,” Ph.d. thesis, Johns Hopkins University, 2004, pp. 160-240.

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The notarial records of Amsterdam involving transactions made by the Jewish community prior to 1639 make only scattered references to copper shipments. These records were published serially in Studia Rosenthaliana between 1967 and 1986.

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Arquivo Distrital do Porto, Cartórios notariais. PO 1, 3a série Livro 185, f. 13v. and 144.

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Kristof Glamann, “The Dutch East India Company’s trade in Japanese Copper. 1645-1736,” Scandinavian Economic History Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 2011, p. 56.

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Admittedly, the role of colonies and of colonial trades to the economic growth of western European empires has indeed been long debated, and is still in question, although the pendulum of interpretation has now swung back in favor of their importance. See, Robert Allen “Progress and poverty in Early Modern Europe,” Economic History Review, vol. 57, 2003, pp. 403-43. In the Portuguese case, once the colonial trades had shifted to tropical slave plantations and then after 1700 to mineral extraction, the colonial contribution raised the “historical real wage” by about 20 percent by 1800. It should also be emphasized that earlier evaluations of the reduced value of colonial income did not take fiscal contributions to state resources into consideration, nor did it treat the positive incentives that access to colonial products or trade had on attracting capital and creditors, or in treaty negotiations with England, Sweden, France, and Holland all made clear. See Leonor Freire Costa, Nuno Palma and Jaime Reis, “The Great Escape? The contribution of the empire to Portugal’s economic growth, 1500-1800,” European Review of Economic History, vol. 19, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-22. See also, Anil Mukerjee, “Financing the Empire in the South Atlantic. The Fiscal Administration of Colonial Brazil, 1609-1703,” Ph.d. thesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2009. For a contrary view see, the review by Rafael Valladares, “MARTÍNEZ SHAW, Carlos y MARTÍNEZ TORRES, José Antonio (directores): España y Portugal en el mundo (1581-1668), Madrid, Ediciones Polifemo, 2014, 484 págs. ISBN: 978-84-96813-94-6.”, Hispania, vol. 76, no. 254, 2016, pp. 889-893.

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Vinicius Dantas, “Los arbitristas y la América portuguesa (1590-1640),” Anuario de estudios americanos, vol. 71, no. 1, 2014, pp. 145-170; Graça Almeida Borges, “¿Un imperio ibérico integrado? El arbitrismo y el imperio ultramarino portugués (1580-1640),” Obradoiro de historia moderna, vol. 23, 2014, pp. 71-102.

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Evaldo Cabral de Mello, O negócio do Brasil. Portugal, os países baixos, e o nordeste, 1641-1669, Rio de Janeiro, Topbooks, 1998, pp. 39-44.

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Sousa Coutinho to the king (6 April 1644), Edgar Prestage and Pedro de Azevedo (eds.), Correspondência diplomática de Francisco de Souza Coutinho, 3 vols., Coimbra, Coimbra University, 1920, 1, pp. 127-129.

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Edgar Prestage and Pedro de Azevedo (eds.), Correspondência diplomática de Francisco de Souza Coutinho, 3 vols., Coimbra, Coimbra University, 1920, 1, p. 45. His discussion with the chevalier de Jant is reprinted in Visconde de Santarém, Quadro elementar das relações políticas e diplomáticas de Portugal, 18 vols., Lisbon, 1842-76, IV, pp. 148-151. For similar comments on the importance of colonial commerce see, Rodrigo Ricupero, “O exclusive metropolitano no Brasil e os tratados diplomáticos de Portugal com a Inglaterra (1642-1661),” Revista de História, vol. 176, 2017, pp. 16-20.

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Kris Lane, “The Hangover. Global Consequences of the Great Potosí Mint Fraud, c. 1650-1675,” in Rossana Barragán and Paula Zagalsk (eds.), Potosí in the Age of Global Silver, Leiden, Brill, in press, pp. 388-424.

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Charles Ralph Boxer, Salvador Correa de Sá and the Struggle for Brazil and Angola, 1602-1686, London, Athlone Press, 1952, pp. 244-45.

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Evaldo Cabral de Mello, O negócio do Brasil. Portugal, os países baixos e o nordeste, 1641-1669, São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 2011, pp. 249-53. Cátia Antunes, Lisboa e Amsterdão. 1640-1705. Um caso de globalização na história moderna, Lisbon, Livros Horizonte, 2009.

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Cátia Antunes, Lisboa e Amsterdão. 1640-1705. Um caso de globalização na história moderna, Lisbon, Livros Horizonte, 2009, pp. 68-9, points out that in the decade 1659-1668, 843 Dutch ships carried away about 460,000 moios of salt from Setúbal. See also, Jonathan Israel, Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740, Oxford, Claredon Press, 1989, pp. 235-6.

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Leonor Freire Costa, “Poder patriarchal, dívida pública e o Brasil,” unpublished paper, and Leonor Freire Costa and Susana M. Miranda, Restoring credibility. How Portugal financed its political independence (1640-1682), 40º Encontro APHES, online, 2021.

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Cátia Antunes, “Dutch-Portuguese Diplomatic Encounters, 1640-1703; Exchanges, Sovereignty and ‘World Peace’,” Journal of Early Modern History, vol. 23, 2019, pp. 458-74.

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Cabral de Mello, O negócio do Brasil. Portugal, os países baixos e o nordeste, 1641-1669, São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 2011, p. 95; Pedro Cardim, “‘Portuguese Rebels’ at Munster. The Diplomatic Self-Fashioning in mid-17th century European Politics,” Historische Zeitschrift, vol. 16, 1998, pp. 300-305.

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Enrique Johan Corredera Nilsson, Todos somos godos. Las relaciones hispano-suecas desde 1640 hasta la paz de Oliva, Madrid, Editorial Complutense, 2009, explores various aspects of the relationship. He also points out that the Swedish nobility had conflictive view of Spain as a hostile Catholic monarchy linked to the Austrian Habsburgs, but also as a related Gothic people. See, Enrique J. Corredera Nilson, “Conceiving and perceiving the other: The Swedish elite’s image of the Hispanic monarchy during the first half of the 17th century,” in Enrique García Hernán and Ryzard Skoron (eds.), From Ireland to Poland. Northern Europe and Spain in the Early Modern World, Valencia, Albatros ediciones, 2015, pp. 289-304.

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Carta escrita de la ciudad de Stalhan (20 junio 1654), Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid [BNM], 2387, fs. 149-150v. Rosenhane in 1646 had written to Christina also emphasizing the common Gothic heritage of the two countries.As Swedish envoy to France, after the peace of Westfalia he had informally discussed with Saavedra Fajardo a posible marriage of Queen Christina in Spain. See, Erik Thomson, “Le travail du diplomate et la diffusion des idées politiques à l’époque moderne : la Fronde vue par le résident suédois Schering Rosenhane (1648-1649),” Histoire, économie & société, vol. 29, no. 1, 2010, pp. 13-23.

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Pimentel to Felipe IV (2 Nov. 1652), Nils Berencreutz, Don Antonio Pimentel’s despecher från drotting Christinas hov 1652-1656, Stockholm, Kungl, Boktryckeriet P.A. Nordstet & Söner, 1961, pp. 30-31.

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Pimentel to Felipe IV (Stockholm, 7 September 1652), Nils Berencreutz, Don Antonio Pimentel’s despecher från drotting Christinas hov 1652-1656, Stockholm, Kungl, Boktryckeriet P.A. Nordstet & Söner, 1961, p. 17

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“de subtil ingenio y muy aplicada al beneficio de su Estado y vasallos por cuyo bien no perdonara qualquier diligencia y assi creo que se deve caminar con gran circumspeción y cuidado en todo lo que se trata con ella . . .” Pimentel to king Felipe IV (2 November 1652) Nils Berencreutz, Don Antonio Pimentel’s despecher från drotting Christinas hov 1652-1656, Stockholm, Kungl, Boktryckeriet P.A. Nordstet & Söner, 1961, p. 31.

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“Relación curiosa de la persona, vida, y costumbres de la reyna de Suecia,” BNM, ms. 2384, fls.183-9. This text was written in October 10, 1653, prior to Queen Christrina’s abdication.

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A. Paz y Mélia (ed.), Avisos de D. Jerónimo de Barrionuevo (1654-58), 4 vols., Madrid, M. Tello, 1892. These commentaries on every day events and news were drawn from Barrionuevo’s correspondence. Women are often mentioned, but usually in a negative context. See, Deborah Compte, “Damning Female Portraits: The ‘Avisos’ of Jeronimo de Barrionuevo (1654-58),” Hispania, vol. 95, no. 2, 1958, pp. 201-210, See also “Relación del viaje de la Serenissima reyna Christina de Suecia desde el día que salió de Bruselas hasta el que salió de Insbruck. . . (1655),” BNM 2384, fs. 163-182.

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Erik MacDonald Thomson, “Chancellor Oxenstierna, Cardinal Richelieu, and Commerce: The problems and possibilities of governance in early-seventeenth century France and Sweden,” Ph.d. thesis, Johns Hopkins University, 2004, p. 525. Swedish ships on their way to the colony at New Sweden (Delaware) stopped at the Canaries, crossed to the Caribbean and then sailed up the North American seaboard. A 1649 vessel that called at Puerto Rico was seized and its goods taken, but in 1654, a Swedish ship carrying a passport from the king of Spain (signed in 1651) with a Swedish agent, colonists, and goods such as tools, textiles, armaments, iron, and copper arrived in San Juan. The agent sought compensation for the ship seized in 1649, but given the state of the island’s treasury, he received only a fraction of the value. Many of the Swedish passengers from the first ship had married on the island and become Catholics. They refused to depart for Delaware. The incident is studied in Francisco Moscoso, “Retrato de Puerto Rico en 1654: El informe del gobernadora Diego de Aguilera Gamboa,” Clío (Academia Dominicana de la Historia), vol. 205, 2023, pp. 163-210.

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Curiously, Carlos Roma du Bocage, Subsidios para o estudo das relações exteriors de Portugal em seguida a Restauração, Lisbon, Academia das Sciencias, 1916, p. 132, claims that after the treaty of 1641, Portugal and Sweden remained the closest of allies until the time of his writing in the 20th century, thus ignoring Queen Christina’s expulsion of the Portuguese embassy in 1653.

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Letter to Antonio de Silva e Souza (24 September 1654), “os navios que de aqui em diante vierem a meus Reynos acharão nelles o bom tratamento que siempre experimentarão e ainda melhor si melhor puder ser.” BNL [Biblioteca Nacional Lisbon], Correspondencia de António Silva e Sousa, 1653-58. Fundo Alcobaça 2ª serie, códice 1477. p. 88.

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D. João IV to Silva e Souza (26 October 1655), BNL [Biblioteca Nacional Lisbon], Correspondencia de António Silva e Sousa, 1653-58. Fundo Alcobaça 2ª serie, códice 1477. p. 88. Some of Silva e Souza’s correspondence has been published in Um diplomata português da restauração, Lisbon, Biblioteca Nacional, 1940.

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The failure’s of Christina’s rule in Sweden due to her fiscal excesses and the inflation of honors that resulted in concentration of land under the control of an expanding nobility is made clear in Michael Roberts, “Queen Christina and the General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century,” Past and Present, vol. 22, 1962, pp. 36-59, but Geoffrey Parker, Global Crisis. War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century, New Haven Yale University Press, 2013, pp. 231-35, also emphasizes the climatic conditions that produced disastrous harvests in 1650 and 1652 throughout Scandinavia.

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In fact, she quickly admitted that her action was impulsive and had been a mistake. See, Karl Mellander and Edgar Prestage, The Diplomatic and Commercial Relations of Sweden and Portugal from 1641-1670, Watford, Voss & Michael, 1926, p. 185, 220, emphasizes that Spanish demand for copper maintained its price and was thus an essential element in the Swedish economy.

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Karl Mellander and Edgar Prestage, The Diplomatic and Commercial Relations of Sweden and Portugal from 1641-1670, Watford, Voss & Michael, 1926, pp. 117-120. After 1670 commercial relations continued between Sweden and Portugal, but there were few shared political interests and no full ambassadorial exchange until the end of the eighteenth century. Rafael Valladares (La rebelión de Portugal 1640-1680, Valladolid, Junta de Castilla y León, 1998) provides the best analysis of the complex relations between Portugal and England that eventually resulted in the Stuart-Bragança alliance formalized by the marriage of Charles II and Catherine of Bragança in 1662. See also, L.M. E. Shaw, Trade, Inquisition and the English Nation in Portugal, Manchester, Carcanet Press, 1989.

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Cátia Antunes, Susana Münch Miranda and João Paulo Salvado, “The Resources of Others, Dutch Exploitation of European Expansion and Empires,” Tijdschrift voor Gesschiedenis, vol. 131, no. 3, 2018, pp. 501-19, suggests the importance of non-“national” firms, individuals, networks, and states in the creation of all early modern empires. Dutch relations with both Portugal and Sweden seem to substantiate this assertion, but the historical changes in politics between states and the often conflicting interests of imperial and private interests complicate the way and timing of how and when such “non-national” action was effective.

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Thomas Weller, “Entre dos aguas: La Hansa y sus relaciones con la Monarquía Hispánica y las Provincias Unidas en las primeras décadas del siglo XVII,” in Bernardo J. García García. Manuel Herrero Sánchez, and Alain Hugon (eds.), El arte de la prudencia: La tregua de los doce an1os en la Europa de los pacificadores, Madrid, Fundación Carlos de Amberes, 2012, pp. 179-200; Thomas Weller, “From the Baltic Sea to the Iberian Peninsula. Danzig (Gadańsk), the Hanseatic League and the Spanish Monarchy in the late Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” in Enrique García Hernán and Ryzard Skowron (eds.), From Ireland to Poland. Northern Europe and Spain in the Early Modern World, Valencia, Albatros ediciones, 2015, pp. 155-182.

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Yuta Kikuchi, “Trade through Lübeck Instead of the Sound – Route Choice in Early Modern Hamburg’s Baltic Trade,” in Jan Willem Veluwenkamp and Werner Scheltjens (eds.), Early Modern Shipping and Trade. Novel Approaches Using Sound Toll Registers Online, Leiden, Brill, 2022, pp. 95-112 emphasizes that Hamburg merchants had depended on Hungary for copper, but by the seventeenth century had shifted to Swedish supply.

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Jorun Poettering, Migrating Merchants. Trade, Nation and Religion in Seventeenth-Century Hamburg and Portugal, Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 2018, pp. 16-27.

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Hugo Martins, Os judeus portugueses de Hamburgo. A história de uma comunidade mercantile no século XVII, Florence, Firenze University Press, 2021, pp. 35-62. See also the earlier study of Hermann Kellenbenz, Sephardim an der unteren Elbe: ihre wirtschaftliche und politische bedeutung vom ende des 16. Bis zum beginn des 18. Jahrhunderts, Wiesbaden, F. Steiner, 1958.

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For their importance in the Brazilian sugar trade. See, Daniel Strum, The Sugar Trade. Brazil, Portugal and the Netherlands. 1595-1630, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2013; Christopher Ebert, Between Empires: Brazilian Sugar in the Early Atlantic Economy, 1550-1630, Leiden, Brill, 2008; Yda Schreuder, Amsterdam’s Sephardic Merchants and the Atlantic Sugar Trade in the Seventeenth Century, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

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Jonathan Israel, “Dutch Sephardi Jewry, Millenarian Politics, and the Struggle for Brazil (1640-1654),” in David S. Katz and Jonathan I. Israel (eds.), Sceptics, Millenarians and Jews, Leiden, Brill, 1990, pp. 76-97 emphasizes that the revolt on Portuguese settlers in Dutch Brazil after 1645 significantly changed the pro-Bragança attitude of the expatriate Sephardi communities. See also, Claude B. Stuczynski, “Ex-converso Sephardi New Jews as Agents, Victims and Thinkers of Empire: Isaac Cardoso once again,” in Avriel Bar-Levav, Claude B. Stuczynski, and Michael Heyd (eds.), Paths to Modernity. A Tribute to Yosef Kaplan, Jerusalem, Zalman Shazar Center, 2018, pp. 209-32; Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, A Nation on the Ocean Sea, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007.

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Virginia Rau “O padre António Vieira e a fragata Fortuna,” Studia, vol. II, 1958, pp. 91-102, deals with Vieira’s negotiations with Jerónimo Nunes da Costa and his father Duarte Nunes da Costa who financed the building in Holland of a large warship for Portugal.

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Carsten Wilke, “Manuel Fernandes Vila Real at the Portuguese Embassy in Paris, 1644-1649: New Documents and Insights,” Journal opf Levantine Studies, vol. 6, 2016, pp. 153-177; Henry Méchoulan, “Manuel Fernandes Vila Real, un marrane en politique,” Nova Renascença, vol. 67, no. 71, 1998, pp. 305-16.

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Fernanda Olival, As ordens militares e o estado modern. Honra, mercê e venalidade em Portugal(1641-1789), Lisbon, Estar Editora, 2001, pp. 283-297.

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Daniel M. Swetschinski, “The Portuguese Jewish Merchants of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam: A Social Profile,” Phd. thesis, 2 vols. Brandeis University, 1979, II, pp. 211-43; Cátia Antunes, “Dutch-Portuguese Diplomatic Encounters, 1640-1703; Exchanges, Sovereignty and ‘World Peace’,” Journal of Early Modern History, vol. 23, 2019, pp. 466-7. On the Sephardic community of Flanders, see Florbela Veiga Frade, As comunidades sefarditas e a nação portuguesa de Antuépia (séculos XVI-XVII), Lisbon, Edições. Colibri, 2021. Her study does not cover the Antwerp New Christian community and the question of its allegiance in the period after 1640.

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Leonor Freire Costa, “Reputational Recovery Under Political Instability: Public Debt, Portugal, 1641–1683,” Journal of Economic History (in press).

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Andrew R. Little, “The Dutch entrepreneurial networks and Sweden in the Age of Greatness,” in Hanno Brand (ed.), Trade. Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange, Hilversum, Verloren, 2005, pp. 58-74; Sune Dalgård, “Hamburg-Iberian Trade, 1590-1625,” Scandinavian Economic History Review, vol. 9, no. 2, 1961, pp. 195-204; Torsten dos Santos Arnold, “Hermann Kellenbenz and the German-Portuguese Economic Relationships during the Sixteenth Century,” Conference: Renaissance Craftsmen and Humanistic Scholars: European Circulation of Knowledge between Portugal and Germany, 2017, pp. 91-102.

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They were not alone in this practice. Cardinal Richelieu depended on Alfonso López, a Spanish converso or morisco, for information on internal matters in Portugal and Spain. See I.S. Revah, Le cardinal de Richelieu et la Restauration du Portugal, Lisbon, Institut Français au Portugal, 1950.

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Jonathan I. Israel, “Manuel López Pereira of Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Madrid: Jew, New Christian and Advisor to the Conde-Duque de Olivares,” in Empires and Entrepots. The Dutch, the Spanish Monarchy, and the Jews, 1585-1713, London, Hambledon Press, 1990, pp. 247-64.

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Francisco Moreno-Carvalho, “A Portuguese Jewish Agent of the Philips and a Sebastianist. The Strange Case of Rosales/Manuel Bocarro,” in Luís Filipe Silvério Lima and Ana Paula Megiani (eds.), Visions. Prophecies, and Divinations, Leiden, Brill, 2016, pp. 164-178. See also, Luís Felipe Silvério Lima, “Prophetical hopes, New World experiences and imperial expectations: Menasseh Ben Israel, Antônio Vieira, Fifth Monarchy Men, and the millenarian connections in the seventeenth century Atlantic,” Anais de história de além mar, vol. 17, 2016, pp. 359-410.

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Susanna Äkerman, Queen Christina of Sweden and her Circle, Leiden, Brill, 1991, pp. 188-89. Supposedly Christina entered Hamburg in a carriage accompanied by Illán and Teixeira and spoke out loud in perfect Spanish so all could hear; who could tell the mother who bore me that they had seen me were I am and in the company of two Hebrews.” Barrionuevo, Avisos, I, 14 Oct, 1654.

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Jonathan I. Israel, “Duarte Nunes da Costa (Jacob Curiel) of Hamburg, Sephardi Nobleman and Communal Leader, 1585-1664,” in Empires and Entrepots. The Dutch, the Spanish Monarchy, and the Jews, 1585-1713, London, Hambledon Press, 1990, pp. 333-354. On Duarte’s son, see Daniel M. Swetschinski, “The Portuguese Jewish Merchants of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam. A Social Profile,” 2 vols., Ph.d. thesis, Brandeis University, 1979, I, pp. 211-243.

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The complexity of Spain and Portugal’s common need for the services of expatriate Sephardi agents is embodied in the actions of Lopo Ramírez of Amsterdam who served both crowns, at times simultaneously as a double agent. See, Jonathan Israel, “Lopo Ramirez (David Curiel) and the Attempt to Establish a Sephardi Community in Antwerp in 1653-54,” Studia Rosenthaliana, vol. 28, no. 1, 1994, pp. 99-119.

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Johnathan I. Israel, European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1985, pp. 256-7; Luís Felipe Silvério Lima, “Prophetical hopes, New World experiences and imperial expectations: Menasseh Ben Israel, Antônio Vieira, Fifth Monarchy Men, and the millenarian connections in the seventeenth century Atlantic,” Anais de história de além mar, vol. 17, 2016, pp. 365-72.

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Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel, calling himself “a Portuguese with a Batavian spirit,” as well as some of his supporters were reprimanded by the governing board of the Amsterdam synagogue for openly supporting the Bragança cause, a position that divided the city’s Sephardic population since it maintained relations with both Spain and Portugal. See Daniel M. Swetschinski, “The Portuguese Jewish Merchants of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam. A Social Profile,” 2 vols., Ph.d. thesis, Brandeis University, 1979, I, pp. 203-11. See also, David S. Katz, “Menasseh ben Israel’s Mission to Queen Christina of Sweden, 1631-1655,” Jewish Social Studies, vol. 45, no. 1, 1983, pp. 57-72.

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Susanna Ākerman, Queen Christina of Sweden and Her Circle, Leiden, Brill, 1991, pp. 178-213. See the discussion of Christina’s ties to Menasseh Ben Israel in Henry Méchoulan and Gérard Nahon (eds.), Menasseh Ben Israel: Hope of Israel. The English Translation of Moses Wall, 1652, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1987, pp. 41-42. Christina’s employment of the rabbi as a supplier of books ended with her abdication, and his positive reception in England where his project for the readmission of Jews succeeded. Katz, “Menasseh ben Israel’s Mission, 69-70.

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The way millenarian expectations could be manipulated for or against states or by minorities or political factions in this period is underlined by Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Du Tage au Ganges au XVIe siècle: Une conjuncture millénariste à l’ echelle eurasiatique,” Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, vol. 56, no. 1, 2001, and the debate that followed with Francisco Bethencourt, “Le millénarisme: idéologie de impérialisme eurasiatique,” Annales, vol. 57, no. 1, 2002, pp. 189-94; and Subrahmanyam’s response, “Ceci n’est pas un débat…,” Annales, vol. 57, no. 1, 2002, pp. 195-201.

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Susanna Ākerman, Queen Christina of Sweden and Her Circle, Leiden, Brill, 1991, p. 196.

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Carl Wennerland, “Atlantis Restored: Natural Knowledge and Political Economy in Early Modern Sweden,” American Historical Review, vol. 127, no. 4, 2022, p. 1687. On the millenarian pamphlets of the Thirty Years War see, Carlos Gilly, “The ‘Midnight Lion’, the ‘Eagle’ and the ‘Antichrist’: political, religious and chiliastic propaganda in the pamphlets, illustrated broadsheets and ballads of the Thirty Years War,” Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis, vol. 80, no. 1, 2000, pp. 46-77.

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Pedro Cardim, “O embaixador seiscentista Segundo António de Silva e Sousa, autor de Instruicçam política de legados (Hamburgo, 1656),” in Zília Osório de Castro (ed.), Diplomatas e diplomacia. Retratos, cerimónias e práticas, Lisbon, Livbros Horizonte, 2004, pp. 178-9.

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Queen Christina’s contacts with France were made know to Spain by one of her courtiers. She did eventually conclude an agreement with Mazarin. See the detailed narrative of these negotiations in Curt Weibull, Christina of Sweden, Stockholm, Svenska Bokförlaget, 1966, pp. 174-80.

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Barrionuevo, Avisos, II. 416. The classic negative account of Christina’s separation from Spain is Marqués de Villa-Urrutia, “La reina cristinia de Suecia y los españoles,” Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, vol. 100, 1932, pp. 411-422.

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It should be noted that Skytte had become a Franciscan, and that the Portuguese Franciscan order had become ardent exponents of a providential millenarianism that emphasized the role of the Bragança kings as the “divinely elected” leaders of Portugal’s role in bringing a new millennium. See, Ângela Barrto Xavier, “Looking through the Visão por Xpo a el rey Dom Affonso Henriques (1659) Franciscans in India and the legitimation of the Bragança monarchy,” Culture and History Digital Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, 2016.

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Sussana Äkerman. “Queen Christina of Sweden and Messianic Thought,” in David S. Katz and Jonathan I. Israel (eds.), Sceptics, Millenarians and Jews, Leiden, Brill, 1990, pp. 142-160; J. Lúcio de Azevedo, História de António Vieira, 2 vols., Lisbon, Clássica editora, 1992, II, pp. 128-140; Luís Filipe Silvério Lima, “Dreams and Prophecies. The Fifth Empire of Father Antonio Vieira and Messianic Visions of the Bragança Dynasty in Seventeenth-Century Portugal and Brazil,” in Anne Marie Plane and Leslie Tuttle (eds.), Dreams, Dreamers, and Visions, Philadelphia, Upenn Press, 2013, pp. 104-121. See also, Pedro Cardim and Gaetano Sabatini (eds.), António Vieira, Roma e o universalismo das monarquias portuguesa e espanhola, Lisbon, Centro de História de Além Mar, 2011.

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By 1674 Vieira was 65 years old, suffering from a number of illnesses, and not attracted by the prospect of living in Rome which he considered to be akin to being sentenced to the galleys. See the details provided in João Lúcio de Azevedo, História de António Vieira, 2 vols., Lisbon, Livraria Clássica, 1931, II, pp. 156-159.

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In fact, Portuguese trade greatly expanded after 1670 and rose steadily from 1720 to 1800. See, Ana Sofia Ribeiro et al., “Portugal and the Baltic Trade. An Overview, 1634-1800,” in Amélia Polónia and Cátia Antunes (eds.), Seaports in the First Global Age. Portuguese Agents, Networks and Interactions (1500-1800), Oporto, CITCEM and University of Oporto Press, 2016, pp. 109-120.

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Klas Rönnbäck, “The price of sugar in Sweden. Data, source & methods,” Göteborg Papers in Economic History, vol. 10, 2007. Sugar in Sweden remained a luxury and Swedish consumption of sugar lagged far behind that of Britain and the Netherlands until the mid-nineteenth century. See, Klas Rönnbäck, “Transforming consumption in the European periphery-colonial commodities in Scandinavia during the early modern era,” paper presented at 12th European Business History Association conference, Bergen, 2008.

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Eric Schnakenbourg, “Sweden and the Atlantic. The Dynamism of Sweden’s Colonial Projects in the Eighteenth Century,” in Magdalena Naum and Jonas M. Norden (eds.), Scandanavian Colonialism and the Rise of Modernity, New York, Springer, 2013, p. 233.

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Leos Müller, Consuls, Corsairs, and Commerce. The Swedish Consular Service and Long-Distance Shipping, 1720-1815, Uppsala, Uppsala University Press, 2004, pp. 94-105; Maria Cristina Moreira et al., “Early Modern Trade Flows Between Smaller States. The Portuguese-Swedish trade in the eighteenth Century as an example,” Revue de l’OFCE, vol. 140, no. 4, 2015, pp. 87-109.

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Bartolomé Yun Casalilla, Os impérios ibéricos e a globalização da Europa, Lisbon, Circulo dos Leitores, 2021; Serge Gruzinski, Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d’une mondialisation, Paris, Editions de La Martinère, 2004.