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    The Matrioshka Principle and how it was overcome: Portuguese and Habsburg attitudes toward Imperial Authority in Sri Lanka and the responses of the rulers of Kotte (1506-1656)

    Biedermann, Zoltan (2009) The Matrioshka Principle and how it was overcome: Portuguese and Habsburg attitudes toward Imperial Authority in Sri Lanka and the responses of the rulers of Kotte (1506-1656). Journal of Early Modern History 13 (4), pp. 265-310. ISSN 1385-3783.

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    Abstract

    This article explores the process that led from diplomatic dialogue to military conquest during the first century of European presence in Sri Lanka. It looks at the shift in Portuguese imperial policy through the lens of Lankan political and cultural processes, putting into practice the paradigm of "Connected Histories". Portuguese imperialism, it is argued, was as much a product of processes on the periphery as in the centres of the Empire. For about eight decades after the first contacts in 1506, Portuguese-Sri Lankan diplomacy and a succession of vassalatic arrangements suggest that the two nations shared certain political notions within a framework of relative commensurability. The article then moves into the latter part of the century, to the aftermath of the incorporation of the Portuguese Crown into the Catholic Monarchy of Philip II in 1580. A new policy of territorial conquest was put into practice during this period by the Portuguese authorities. It is argued that this change had to do with the Iberian Union of Crowns, although the Spanish influence on Portuguese imperial policy in Asia was not straightforward. Again, Sri Lankan political processes are mobilized to explain historical developments in the Empire, connecting the local with the global and, along the way, suggesting that it may be possible to work towards an understanding of Empire as a stance rather than an entity, a set of performative acts rather than a rigid territorial and institutional structure.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Empire, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, diplomacy, connected histories
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > Cultures and Languages
    Depositing User: Zoltan Biedermann
    Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2013 17:29
    Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014 10:55
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5461

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