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(Dis)connected EmpiresImperial Portugal, Sri Lankan Diplomacy, and the Making of a Habsburg Conquest in Asia$
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Zoltán Biedermann

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198823391

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198823391.001.0001

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Translatio Imperii in the Tropics

Translatio Imperii in the Tropics

Colombo, the Spectre of Cortés in Asia, and the Unification of Iberian Empires

(p.143) 6 Translatio Imperii in the Tropics
(Dis)connected Empires

Zoltán Biedermann

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 analyses the transformations that paved the way, in the 1580s and 1590s, for a policy turn towards an officially sanctioned Iberian conquest of Ceylon. The 1580 donation of Kōṭṭe to the Portuguese crown, which would itself fall into Habsburg hands soon after, emerges as a key moment along with the dramatic military and political developments in other parts of the island. The growth and collapse of the rival empire of Sītāvaka in the interior is shown to have triggered perceptions of opportunity among Portuguese leaders, but wider connections were also essential for change to occur. Crucial new links emerged between Colombo, Malacca, Manila, and Madrid, the imperial capital where, ultimately, conquest orders were issued. Even so, the local initiatives of Luso-Lankan and Sinhalese war-makers remained a driving force.

Keywords:   Iberian Union of Crowns, warfare, conquest, global communications, Catholic Monarchy, Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean

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