“On behalf of the of Inquisition” Portuguese Inquisition agent in

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“On behalf of the of Inquisition” Portuguese Inquisition agent in
“On behalf of the of Inquisition”
Portuguese Inquisition agent in Bahia in the Eighteenth
Century
Grayce Mayre Bonfim Souza
Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia
On the contrary of what it happened in some places of Spanish America and the capital of
the Portuguese State in India, Brazil did not come to have a Court of Inquisition. Nevertheless,
the Inquisition of Lisbon had in the Brazilian colony its action marked for visitations and
inquiries, but also for the formation of a net of agents – commissioners, familiars, qualifiers and
notaries – who, duly qualified, had acted in its name. The rescue, the systematization and the
analysis of the documentation to those men and its actions make possible the deepening and
renewal of debate concerning the structure and the functioning of Court of Inquisition in
Portuguese America. Those individuals, to a great extent, had been responsible for hearing
confessions and delations, preparing summaries, organizing diligences, capturing and sending
the guilty ones to Lisbon when it was determined. In fact, they were the “tips of spear” and
incontestable representatives of the Court. The litigants to the positions had to declare and
prove, among others things, in agreement with the Inquisition Regiment, who were men of
Christian-old origin, above suspicion, of immaculate behavior and possessors of considerable
fund. In theory, we must consider that the qualified ones were pertaining to colonial elite. To
great extent, they were noble, of an hereditary, civil and political nobility, connected to
agricultural and mercantile activities of the Colony. Taking for source the processes of
qualification circumscribed to Bahia in eighteenth century, we search presenting an analysis of
the social status, privileges and perpetuation of those agents, as well as the power played in the
captainship.
Keywords: Portuguese Inquisition; Officials of Inquisition; Colonial Bahia.

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