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The Town Council of Vila Rica and the consolidation of local elites, 1711-1736

Grant number: 12/02086-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2012
Effective date (End): April 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal researcher:Laura de Mello e Souza
Grantee:Luiz Alberto Ornellas Rezende
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

This research aims to study Vila Rica's Town Council and local elites were represented in it, since its inception in 1711, where local elites began to be institutionalized until 1736, and when the potentates pioneers of the region of the mines were subdued, ultimately, by royal agents in the wilderness of San Francisco River.The Town Councils, when instituted in recent population spots, where the elites were still being formed, and constituted a decisive room for consolidation and reproduction of the power of local factions. Minas Gerais' case is singular because the Town Councils were created at least fifteen years after the effective occupation of the territory. Thus, there was elite before the creation of the institution, but that lived in a strong instability.What took place in Minas Gerais in the early eighteenth century, as in the northeast of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was a creation of institutions that could stabilize and cooperate the elites, consolidating the power of some local groups, usually more flexible concerning to the interests of the king, at the expense of other groups. The big challenge for the various local factions was to try to keep ahead of Town Councils, to consolidate its power over other groups.The period covered by this research in the specific case of the Town Council of Vila Rica, corresponds to a time of radical change in the attitude of official of the Town Council against the royal power and its agents. In summary, until 1718, it is noted that there was an apparent trend of entrenchment of a group more resistant to regal power, less flexible though. Over the elections of 1719 and in 1721, there was the so-called reorganization of power, in the other words, visible changes in the composition of the Town Council. People have assumed major roles in most of the time, did not keep any tie with the previous local government, representing other interests.From 1722, there is a return of a group that we consider intermediary, that had occupied positions in the dome Town Council (ordinary judge, alderman and attorney) before 1718, and that can reoccupy these positions after 1722. It is a group numerically small, minoritarian in both periods, but with such a great importance for the understanding of past changes in the institution. From 1722, it seems to change not only the profile of the official of the Town Council of Vila Rica, but mainly the position of the institution before the royal power and its agents.We believe that this last big reordering in the early 1720s, was much less radical than the previous, but much more effective, insofar that the oscillation of individuals falls in relation to other rearrangements, but there is a time shift in strategy of the dome Town Council in relation to royal power and its agents. There was, apparently, a deal among these new groups incorporated into the institution and to the impossibility of using the same resistance strategies implemented by previous groups against the crown. This shift ensured the maintenance of this faction at the head of the institution for longer, which was crucial for the consolidation of power in this part of the local elite. This consolidation, it seems, was directly linked to a longer-lasting control of the administrative routines of the Town Council of Vila Rica, especially the tax routines.On this basis, we intend to identify these local groups, their interests, strategies and the means by which they appropriated the institutional room of Town Council to expand and consolidate their own dominance in the region at the expense of other local groups. This appropriation of institutional room, from the standpoint of daily life, passes through the control of certain administrative routines and tax routines affecting, directly or indirectly, the local society.

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
REZENDE, Luiz Alberto Ornellas. The Municipal Council of Vila Rica, and the consolidation of local elites, 1711-1736. 2014. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD) São Paulo.

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