By Alfredo Bosi
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Additional info for Colony, Cult and Culture
If this deadly contagion is not eliminated, not only will the conversion of the unfaithful fail to progress, but it will weaken day by day and inevitably decline. (334) 51 ALFREDO BOSI Such was the ﬁrst century of missionary activity in Brazil. Anchieta's fears were conﬁrmed by the facts, as illustrated in his description of the ﬂight of the Amerindians from São Tomé: Suddenly all the people of São Tomé rose up, rebelling such that the Devil seemed to be walking among them. ” Father Gaspar Lourenço, witnessing this upheaval, gathered them together and made them understand how grave it would be if they abandoned the church because of the lies told to them.
Manuel answer the riddle of their mysterious identity: they are the Ganges and the Indus, the sacred rivers of Asia, which ﬂow from heaven to earth to offer their “tribute” to the Portuguese sovereign. This episode is revealing of certain ideas that are dear to Camões: the size and strangeness of a hostile world, “whose necks were never before yoked,” and the fatal power of the Portuguese Crown, to which nature and men from the remotest regions anxiously and even insistently give themselves over.
Portuguese colonizers in the Americas, in Asia and in Africa were inspired by the project of spreading the faith, just as they sought to expand the empire: “dilatando / a Fé, o Império,” as Camões had it. And the Puritans who came ashore on the beaches of New England similarly declared themselves ready to perform the ways of God. Colonization is a totalizing process whose dynamic forces can always be found at the level of colo: in the occupation of new land, the exploitation of its resources, and the submission of its inhabitants.
Colony, Cult and Culture by Alfredo Bosi