Prosopography of the Resident and Itinerant Portuguese Communities in the Philippines (1582-1684)



Code . PTDC/HIS-HIS/114992/2009

Start . 2011

Duration . 42 months

Principal Investigator Elsa Penalva (CHAM)


Funding Entity

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Main Research Unit

CHAM — Centro de Humanidades

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas / Universidade Nova de Lisboa



Given the acquired experience of the project’s head researcher with the documental set and problematic pertaining to Macau, specifically between the late 16th century and the mid-17th century, we intend to broaden the horizon of analysis around the social order, social hierarchy mechanisms and power relations in this international port city, refining the research towards traces of the Portuguese presence in the Philippines, and especially in Manila. In this sense, we will do a Prosopography of the Portuguese-speaking communities residing or passing in the Philippines between 1582 and 1654, respectively corresponding to the year the news of the Union of Iberian Crowns reached Macau, and the formal termination of the political-economic relations between this city and Manila.

Macao is a multicultural city sustained by a dominant partnership, made up of the trading elites with access to power, Jesuits and Chinese associated with «parentelas» [kinship] of Portuguese descendants. Based on perceivable political actions and ideological and cultural changes identified by us – some of which related to dynamics of integration and conflict within the context of the Iberian Monarchies –, we will look to focus the action of groups of Portuguese origin, tracking them from the documentation of the Archivo General de Indias (Seville). In addition to indexes of geographical analysis, we will consider other types of coordinates, such as business associations (given the ethnic origin and its mechanisms of association) and thematic, sorted based on the established correlations.




A group of researchers with experience in the Macau-Manila axis will conduct a cooperative study of the Portuguese presence in East Asia in conjunction with the New Spain. The team will also include undergraduates as trainees. The results will be systematised and disclosed to the scientific community firstly in digital media, and later on available online.

We seek to achieve five objectives:

• Based on the Fonds of the Archivo General de Indias, to develop a seldom explored research path, tracing the Portuguese presence for which the studies that the researchers involved have forwarded;

• To strengthen and complement the expertise of the scientific community and researchers acting on the research, whose works focus on Macao, East Asia and New Spain;

• To promote the cooperation between national research centres and foreign universities;

• To provide the undergraduate researchers an opportunity to develop their experience in analysing documental sources;

• To disclose the project’s results to the scientific community through a workshop and an online database;

• To disclose the results achieved in a cycle of lectures. 





Elsa Penalva   .   Coordenator
Alberto Baena Zapatero (CHAM)
Catarina Santana Simões (CHAM)
Daniele Frison (CHAM)
João Luís Ferreira (CHAM)
José Miguel Moura Ferreira (CHAM)
Manuel Enverga (AMU)
Miguel Rodrigues Lourenço (CHAM)
Pedro Luengo (CHAM)
Romulo da Silva Ehalt (TUF)
Rui Manuel Loureiro (CHAM)