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Historiography of the Structure and Functioning of the Portuguese Inquisition in Colonial Brazil



Few people outside of Portugal and Brazil know that the Inquisition reached its tentacles across the Atlantic and took hold in Portugal’s Brazilian colonies. Not only did it take hold, but it played a significant role in the formation of Luso-Brazilian society and the exercise of power in the colonies. Research on the structure and functioning of the Inquisition in Brazil continues to demonstrate that this institution and the records that it kept can tell us much about the creation, use and abuse of power, daily life, social hierarchies, sexuality, concepts of honor and prestige, ethnic discrimination, and competing forms of religiosity.