Piecing Things Together
PART II: Constructing/Constructed extra-literary identities home and abroad
Pa r t i i Constructing/Constructed Extra- Literary Identities Home and Abroad interior_blayer.indd 99 8/9/11 3:30 PM interior_blayer.indd 100 8/9/11 3:30 PM 8. Home Away from Home Visual narratives of the Portuguese Court in Brazil Memory Holloway on november 29, 1807, dom João, Prince Regent of Portugal, his family and the entire royal court stood on the quay in Belém on the River Tejo (fig. 1). Thirty ships awaited their departure, and a squadron of British naval ships waited off the Lisbon shore as protection. With napoleon’s army only hours from the city, the king had two options: remain and live under the rule of France, or depart for Brazil and rule the Portuguese empire from abroad. The country was wedged between France, the invader, and Britain the protector and principal trade partner. To turn away from Britain would result in commercial disaster, since Portuguese trade with its new World colonies would be intercepted by the British navy. With his limited options and after equivocating over weeks, dom João made his final decision. he would move the government of some 10,000 people, the necessary records, and his family. As they sailed into the Atlantic, they were on their way to Rio de Janeiro (fig. 1), a home away from home, and a Portuguese diaspora on a royal and monu- mental scale.1 The place where the royal family stood in Belém, on that cloudy day in november, just to the east of...
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