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Princeton University Library Catalog
Adrift on an inland sea : misinformation and the limits of empire in the Brazilian backlands / Hal Langfur.
Stanford, California : Stanford University Press, 
xiii, 437 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm
"From 1750 until Brazil won its independence in 1822, the Portuguese crown sought to extend imperial control over the colony's immense, sea-like interior and exploit its gold and diamond deposits using enslaved labor. Carrying orders from Lisbon into the Brazilian backlands, elite vassals, soldiers, and scientific experts charged with exploring multiple frontier zones and establishing royal authority conducted themselves in ways that proved difficult for the crown to regulate. The overland expeditions they mounted in turn encountered actors operating beyond the state's purview: seminomadic Native peoples, runaway slaves, itinerant poor, and those deemed criminals, who eluded, defied, and reshaped imperial ambitions. This book measures Portugal's transatlantic projection of power against a particular obstacle: imperial information-gathering, which produced a confusion of rumors, distortions, claims, conflicting reports, and disputed facts. Drawing on interdisciplinary scholarship in the fields of ethnohistory, slavery and diaspora studies, and legal and literary history, Hal Langfur considers how misinformation destabilized European sovereignty in the Americas, making a major contribution to histories of empire, frontiers and borderlands, knowledge production, and scientific exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries"-- Provided by publisher.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Introduction : navigating the imperial unknown
Civilization, barbarism, and the tall tale
Turning frontier fictions into private property
Forest knowledge networks
Natives, smugglers, soldiers, spies
Sovereign rule and its disenchantments
The enlightened savant and the black prospector king
Diamonds, love songs, and the alchemy of exploration
Anthropophagy and the body politic
Epilogue : how to tame an empire.
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