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Almeida quite correctly notes the remarkable figures of D. Nieremberg and his understanding and explanations of the unfolding natural history of the Americas.

Part 3, "Knowledge Productions: Local Contexts, Global Empires," is the flip side of part 2 in that it "focuses on the importance of local scientific traditions that developed in the empire," with emphasis on [End Page ] the reality that Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE. Only in Morocco, starting with the capture of Ceuta in , and for a brief period a hundred years later, was there an aggressive policy of conquest. The early-sixteenth-century aggression was in fact the viceroy Afonso de Albuquerque's d. He focused on commercial chokepoints such as the Straits of Malacca and Hormuz, and identified Goa, which he captured in , as key to transoceanic routes.


The uninhabited nature of most of Portuguese islands excluded them from discussions about indigenous rights, in sharp contrast to the Canaries and the Caribbean Islands where contact with native peoples triggered intense debate. In the case of the Canaries this happened as early as the mid-fourteenth century in the writings of Petrarch d. The Portuguese sphere of economic interests is not mapped in Janet Abu-Lughod's influential study of medieval world systems. The decision to retain Ceuta, flying in the face of military logic and at huge cost, surely does not differ so much from English attempts to hang on to Calais the last vestige of Henry V's ambitions until against all the odds.

Similarly the Portuguese Atlantic islands were subjected to deliberate colonialist policies from the s, involving the mass implantation of European institutions, tax systems, commercial activities, agriculture and slavery a mode of production common in Mediterranean sugar production. None of this means that settlement was straightforward or non-negotiable: the islands had a diverse population of Portuguese peasants and artisans, merchants of Jewish, Flemish, Italian and Iberian backgrounds, and enslaved peoples from the Canary Islands and North and West Africa.

Recognizing a colonial context to Atlantic and intra-Peninsular expansion does not run counter to the widely accepted crusading, reconquest or chivalric motives for it; it simply suggests that colonialism was both an economic and an ideological phenomenon that flourished in the name of different ideologies and within a variety of economic systems. The foregoing discussion of medieval colonialism explains why there are few studies of medieval colonial medicine.

The question implies that medieval medicine was colonial; perhaps, it would make more sense to ask whether medieval medicine was colonial. The rest of this essay will argue that there was indeed a medieval colonial medicine in territories where there was colonization. The grand narrative of medieval medical history focused on institutional and intellectual matters, often interpreted in a positivist way from a nationalist perspective.

The daily practice of healthcare tended to be neglected in favour of intellectual developments. Even since the s, health encounters between Normans and English or Syrians and Franks are rarely seen in the same way as similar encounters in early-modern India or Mexico. Most text books refer simply to disembodied centres of translation in southern Italy and Spain.

There is much less focus on the multi-cultural interface in the Eastern Mediterranean. The implication in this neglect of the Eastern Mediterranean is that crusaders were more intent on killing than healing, but this approach seems simplistic. As far as the Western Mediterranean is concerned there are many detailed studies of medical practice, especially for well-documented Catalonia and Valencia.

Yet when these discuss health encounters between Muslims, Christians and Jews they tend to draw on the conventions of Convivencia. If convivencia remains a useful term, it no longer refers solely to peaceful interactions. Even within formal medicine, historians working on licensing systems in the Iberian Peninsula have interpreted new legislation in Valencia in as a method of limiting the practice of medicine by non-Christians, just over ninety years after the conquest of the city in It is well-known that the medical licensing systems of the New World were based on those of fifteenth-century Spain.

Similarly, King Manuel of Portugal r. Yet comparisons are rarely made between other aspects of colonial and Iberian medicine. Such research could draw on debates and approaches developed by early-modern historians of science who have looked at the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic or who follow the trajectories of particular commodities and practices. In contrast, Marcy Norton argues in the case of chocolate that both the equipment and the rituals associated with the drink in elite Aztec culture travelled with it to Spain; not via European learned texts but through the undocumented daily pragmatism of travellers.

Acquisition and Circulation of Medical Knowledge within the Early Modern Portuguese Colonial Empire

The original identities of the non-Christian authors were of limited interest; even the ancient Greek medical authority Galen became quasi-Christian in the late Middle Ages. The knowledge within these texts was itself a commodity that travelled from one cultural context to another, adapted for new purposes. Alongside the texts also travelled the materials they mention sugar, figs, raisins, lemons, saffron , many of which became desirable foodstuffs among the same northern elites that collected manuscripts.

There are of course differences between Iberian and later intellectual contexts. There was considerable respect already in the twelfth century amongst Latin scholars for medical and natural philosophical learning written in Arabic or Hebrew but based on shared Graeco-Roman theories.

Muslim and Jewish practical knowledge about foods, magic, drugs and treatments circulated as a by-product of a search for Aristotle, Galen and Ptolemy. Yet there was a similar respect for Ayurvedic medicine in sixteenth-century India, perhaps because it recognized concepts akin to the humours. The transmission of Albucasis was not a smooth circulation of ideas.

First translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona d. The accompanying images were often distorted by copyists who did not understand their function. Most owners were practising physicians and surgeons who may have understood the precise clinical detail. The present essay's premise is that differences between medical encounters in often fraught contexts such as post-conquest Andalusia and Mexico may be quantitative rather than qualitative. All these encounters are grounded in daily life and practical needs.

Pratt uses the term. The first example of a medieval biocontact zone is Granada. Harvey argues was likely to have been the new Archbishop of Granada, Hernando de Talavera d.

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She was ironically the kind of Muslim healer that Cisneros tried prematurely to ban in ; not only did her community still need her but so did he! As noted earlier, it was decades before anyone seriously attempted to limit indigenous practice in post-conquest Valencia and Goa. Although these Granadan examples of medical practice seem to have been conducted according to the ideals of peaceful convivencia , Harvey sets them in the context of growing tensions within the Muslim community, partly due to Cisneros's harsh approach to conversion, which led to the revolt of the Alpujarras in —, and the burning of all books in Arabic in , except notably for medical texts.

The methods of healing are significant; the imam behaved like some saints in both Muslim and Christian traditions; that is to say, his touch may have caused the illness in the first place as he had previously kissed the Christian's hand. Both these cases can usefully be compared to accounts of cross-cultural clinical encounters in sixteenth- to eighteenth-century India, Brazil, Mexico and West Africa, several of which saw conflicts of opinion, divergent practices and considerable therapeutic success, but also worked symbolically to reflect community tensions. The second example of a Spanish biocontact zone that should be seen as medieval is the Caribbean in the s.

In a letter to the municipal council of Seville, Chanca used his medical skills of observation to describe the food and environment of the new world in which he found himself, including accounts of illness, poisonous fruit and cannibalism. He played a crucial role in examining the wound of an indigenous ruler said to have been injured in a conflict related to the deaths of the Europeans whom Columbus had left behind on Hispaniola.

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Chanca did not believe that the ruler was injured, thereby suggesting that the local people had lied about what happened. Strangely, Chanca's account has not been much studied from a medical point of view, except in relation to the history of disease, or discussed much in the light of colonial discourse, except in relation to cannibalism.

Yet it seems artificial to separate Chanca from earlier medical writers. Although Chanca wrote to the councillors of Seville, he was also a royal physician.

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His role on the expedition was therefore similar to that of the Catalan physician Arnau de Vilanova d. The final biocontact zone to be studied here is the island of Madeira. On 27 April , the town councillors of Funchal, the main settlement on the island, discussed the case of a man called Andre Janoes, newly arrived on Madeira and probably from Genoa, who claimed to be able to cure a disease called boulhas. He said he could cure it within nine or ten days, eighteen to twenty at the most, as long as the sick person kept to the regimen that he recommended.

The council ended by granting the newcomer a licence to practise. Boulhas is similar to the word bubas widely used from the late s to refer to the apparently new disease much later known as syphilis. For example, in the symptoms of a woman who died of pestilence pestenencia were described as an ingoa swelling on the leg and a vergam pustule? Whether the disease was new or not, it is highly significant that the first person on the island to be treated for it was an unidentified enslaved woman. The relative attractiveness of the climate and the gradually less intensive agriculture moving for a variety of reasons from a sugar to a wine economy meant that Madeira saw considerable European immigration and needed far fewer slaves, compared to the other Portuguese archipelagos further south where conditions seemed much harsher.

Portugal's Empire Spanned the Planet

It has been suggested that most of the enslaved people to be found on Madeira by the mid-sixteenth century c. Despite this relative ease of absorption into the population, life was not easy for slaves. They were likely to have been most vulnerable to the frequent periods of dearth, bad weather and pestilence experienced by the isolated islanders.

He buried her in his house to conceal the death but the body was found and he had to flee, later in and seeking royal pardons which document the crime. However, it is also the case that the dead slaves referred to above had become the objects of an increasingly bureaucratic state; their deaths reflect the expansion of legal process, not care for individuals. This situation intensified when Duke Manuel of Beja, the feudal lord of the islands, became king of Portugal in , shifting their administration towards Lisbon. Similarly, the anonymous female slave's medical treatment represented an investment in her person which no doubt was intended to have a positive economic outcome.

One should not sentimentalize her care; her treatment by a previously unknown and untested itinerant healer could be seen as a form of medical experimentation on an expendable patient. The possible venereal nature of the woman's illness suggests that she may have been sexually vulnerable, a condition that she shared with earlier Mediterranean slaves.

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Yet that woman of Goa was considered a suitable wife, at least in India; Mariam's honour could be upheld by the king; and Andre Janoes was permitted to practise medicine on other islanders, not necessarily slaves. His licence implies that the authorities believed that an enslaved person's symptoms and cure could be repeated on non-enslaved bodies; there was no fundamental humoural or physical difference between peoples. Medicine here can be seen as a tool of empire in that cases involving sex, health and injury allowed royal authorities to intervene in local politics in order to expand imperial power.

These incidents also enabled increased European colonial settlement. He failed to get a local wife on that occasion but was not punished because his medical skills were desirable in the precarious new colony. Race, power, inequality and disease were as significant in Granada, Funchal, Hispaniola and Goa in the fifteenth and early sixteenth century as they were already in West Africa, as Hugh Cagle demonstrates elsewhere in this issue, and would be later in Asia and the Americas. This essay has argued that healthcare encounters between conquerors and the conquered across Europe and the Middle East as well as in the Iberian Peninsula and its early colonies should be studied as forms of colonial medicine.