Sources for the History of the Estado Português da India in the 17th-18th centuries. The Junta da Real Fazenda do Estado da Índia Collection




Code . POCTI/HAR/60027/2004

Start . 2006

Duration . 24 months

Principal InvestigatorMaria Augusta Lima Cruz (CHAM)



Funding Entity

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Main Research Unit

CHAM — Centro de Humanidades


Coordenator Institution

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas / Universidade Nova de Lisboa


Centro de Estudos Damião de Góis


The administrative and financial reforms in the kingdom made by the Marquis of Pombal reached across the various overseas territories and, particularly, the archipelago of the Azores, the Estado da Índia and Brazil. In addition to the Royal Treasury, in 1761, were created Treasury Offices in several captaincies general. This had already happened in Rio de Janeiro (1760) and will continue in the Azores (1766), Pernambuco (1769), Minas Gerais (1771), Madeira (1775) and Maranhão (1779). 

 On April 10th, 1769, by royal charter, the Junta da Real Fazenda do Estado da Índia was created. The «delay and decay» [atrazamento e decadencia] in collecting government revenue, were pointed by the King as the main cause of the «deviations» [descaminhos] verified in the Royal Treasury. This situation was fully blamed on the officers of this office, triggered by their «oversights and malice» [descuidos e malicia], along with some inexperience. Later, in the instructions given by D. José I to the Governor of the Estado da Índia, D. José Pedro da Câmara, in 1774, the Marquis de Pombal noted that, seeing that the royal revenues were the «political epicentre of the Portuguese heartburn» [nervos do corpo político da Azia Portugueza], these were largely «absorbed» by the Administration and, above all, by the wages and emoluments of the viceroys and governors, ministers, bailiffs and the Treasury. Hence the imperative need for financial cleansing, with the Royal Treasury as main instrument.

But other measures would be effective immediately, such as the prohibition of the use of public debt notes denominated “razos”, establishing rules for public revenue accounting bookkeeping, trade regulations and customs rights of Daman and Diu as a way of freeing the traders of these strongholds from the harassments and extortions, the extinction of the tobacco administration, the establishment of new regiments for the arsenal of the “Ribeira de Goa” and this city’s customs, etc.

The documentary set traditionally named “Junta da Real Fazenda do Estado da Índia”, at the Institute of National Archives/Torre do Tombo, includes not only documentation of this State public finance managing institution, but also from the Junta do Estanco do Tabaco, incorporated to it, and from the organisms that preceded it: “Casa dos Contos” and the Treasury Council and, perhaps, others. Originally from the Estado da Índia, it comprises about a hundred codices and a sheaf of book pages. Its chronological window extends from the second half of the 16th century to the early 19th century, although the 18th century period is obviously the greater portion of the collection.

These codices, containing various topics, are for the most part considerably degraded, due to everyday wear and thus, without restoration, will not be accessible. In addition to registry of permits for appointment of administrative positions, we find letters of pardon, permits, provisions, registration of ownership, Royal Treasury bills and varied correspondence.




The summarise of the collection “Junta da Real Fazenda do Estado da Índia” began in 1997 in the framework of the activities of the extinct Damião de Góis Study Centre (CEDG), an organism resulting from a collaborative protocol between the National Committee for the Commemorations of the Portuguese Discoveries and the Institute of National Archives/Torre do Tombo. 

The project had the supervision by Prof. Dr. Artur Teodoro de Matos (CEDG's director) and the technical coordination of Dr. Pedro Penteado (senior technician of the Institute of National Archives/Torre do Tombo).

 This project sought to disclose the contents of this collection to all researchers and general public interested in the study of the Portuguese presence in the East during the 17th and 18th centuries. To this end, we opted for the summarising of the documents at the expense of a full transcript in order to avoid a slow progression. Moreover, the existence of microfilm version of almost all the codices enables an easy access to this information. In addition to the summaries, which contain information considered relevant, we drafted lists, sorted alphabetically, of all the anthroponyms and toponyms present in the documents, thus allowing for the recovery of any secondary information. 

Several vicissitudes, including the poor state of the documentation, hindered the full implementation of the project. Of the approximately 100 codices that compose this collection, 62 books were summarised. Part of the remainder is in a poor state of conservation, which prevents its conversion to microfilm, without previous restoration work, as well as their summarising. Out of the works summarised, three volumes were published, by CEDG and CHAM, including the summaries of 9 codices, respectively books 1, 2, 3, 6, 17, 18, 31, 32 and 41 (Junta da Real Fazenda do Estado da Índia, dir. Artur Teodoro de Matos, vols. 1 and 2, Lisboa, Comissão Nacional para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses/Centro de Estudos Damião de Góis, 2000; and vol. 3, Lisboa, Centro de História de Além-Mar (Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas – Universidade Nova de Lisboa), 2001).

With the extinction of the CEDG, in the late year 2000, the Commissioner-General of the National Committee for the commemorations of the Portuguese Discoveries, Prof. Doutor Joaquim Romero Magalhães, and the Director of the IAN/TT, Prof. Doctor Bernardo Vasconcelos de Sousa, acting on a proposal from Prof. Dr. Artur Teodoro de Matos, agreed to assign this project to the CHAM, in order to finish the work and to publish the summaries. In 2004, the Centre presented a draft to the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Maria Augusta Lima Cruz, entitled "Sources for the History of the Estado Português da India (17th-18th centuries)». The collection “Junta da Real Fazenda do Estado da Índia”, which was approved and funded.

This project seeks to contribute to a better understanding and usage of the aforementioned collection. To this end, the project envisages the creation and the provision of research instruments that will help researchers to better understand the importance of this primary source, as well as to best focus their research according to their own interests. The project will also proceed with the review of the summaries previously made by the CEDG team, a total of 53 CEDG codices, the final review of the books to be published and the preparation of detailed analytic and chronological indexes for each of the books. Finally, this project seeks to stimulate the historiographic production on the political, financial, economic, administrative and social evolution of the Estado Português da India during the 17th and 18th centuries.








Maria Augusta Lima Cruz   .    Coordenator

Alexandra Pelúcia (CHAM)
Ana Fernandes Pinto (CHAM)
André Murteira (CHAM)
André Teixeira (CHAM)
Artur Teodoro de Matos (CHAM)






Documentations transcriptions  - see here