Project Identification: E-Cyclopaedia of Portuguese Expansion, 15th-18th centuries

Project Manager : João Paulo Oliveira e Costa

Scientific Coordinator: Alexandra Pelúcia

Responsable Identity : CHAM

Partnerships: Instituto de Estudos Medievais e Círculo de Leitores

Research Team :
- Alexandra Curvelo
- André Murteira
- André Teixeira
- Andreia Martins
- Francisco Caramelo
- José Damião Rodrigues
- Pedro Cardim
- Rui Manuel Loureiro
- Teresa Lacerda
- Zoltán Biedermann

Financing: POS - Conhecimento (Programa Operacional Sociedade do Conhecimento)

- Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
- Casa de Bragança Foundation
- Lagos Municipality

Project Description:
Currently the CHAM, along with the University of Azores, is developing a project named EVE – Virtual Encyclopaedia of Portuguese Expansion (15th-18th centuries), an electronic encyclopaedia that wants to fulfil a gap in the Portuguese historiography.

The History of Portuguese Expansion has known major developments in the past years, on a national and international level. It is important to produce a reference guide susceptible to produce an active debate of the research and also stimulate new research and further developments on the field.

Presently, the multimedia contents directed to the public interested in the History of Portuguese Expansion are still limited. There are a few portals of Portuguese General History, namely the "Portal de História" (practically with no references to the Portuguese Expansion period) and the "Navegações Portuguesas", housed by the Camões Institute but at a standstill since 2003. However, the mentioned tools are of a fragmentary nature and there impact is still small, mainly because they are present only in Portuguese. Also, they remain, for a larger part, without a dynamic toll which allows searching the entire contents of the database.

The panorama of traditional supports, i. e. written reference guides and books is also similar and in need of renovation. Since the publication of the Dictionary of the History of Portuguese Discoveries, edited by Luís de Albuquerque in 1994 nothing else was done. The referred work, on the other hand, is also necessarily limited, not only due the nature of the contributions (the articles for the most part do not follow a structure or order) but mainly because it is confined largely to the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Virtual Encyclopaedia of Portuguese Expansion intends to create a media instrument comprised by relevant contents related to the History of the Portuguese presence in the world, from the 15th to the 18th centuries.
These will be presented in a website available for free access and therefore will not require a subscription fee. One of the main features of the project will be a search tool, that will allow the user the access all the contents. This will be achieved by setting all the contents in a dynamic database (written in ASP language). The end-user can therefore immediately access the data (s)he is interested in. The articles will be succinct, presenting accurate and scientifically valid information.

Main Objective:
This project intends to provide access to knowledge produced on the Portuguese Expansion. The contents are mainly directed to the academic world, national and international, encompassing scholars to students. Notwithstanding, this project should also be open to a non-academic public.

One of the innovative aspects of this project will be the production of auxiliary material, comprising chronological lists, thematical bibliographies, maps of correspondence between several coins used in the world during the Modern Period and so on. Also new will be virtual tours throughout places where the Portuguese passed, for example, a visit through the baroque churches of Ouro Preto; the Portuguese fortresses of the Indian Malabar coast, etc.

Within this global objective, the internationalization of the knowledge produced in Portugal is one of its chief aspects, as the international production on this area is still based on dated literature.

Another objective will be to form an international network of collaborators, who will contribute with articles to the database. This collaboration will possibly provide a greater contact with international scholars, thus providing access to the international forum on various subjects as the problematic of colonization (where the Portuguese case is usually overlooked or superficially analysed). When successful, the Encyclopaedia will promote internationally the interest on the Portuguese expansion process vis-à-vis other similar European dynamics.

Centre for Overseas History - FCSH-The new University of Lisbon / University of Azores