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This article assesses how Lutheran and other Reformation doctrines spread and were countered in the Portuguese seaborne empire. Portugal's inquisitorial and episcopal repression of ‘Lutherans’ was extended to Brazil and Asia, where it was supported by the Society of Jesus. The Portuguese empire's transcontinental connections favoured the emergence of interconnected histories, facilitating the circulation of books, engravings and beliefs and thus provided non-Portuguese people with links to the reformed world that spread amongst and disturbed the Portuguese living in India and Portuguese America. By opening up routes the Portuguese, paradoxically, functioned as vectors for other ways of interpreting Christianity.
The Imprensa Evangelica, published between 1864 and 1892 in Brazil by Presbyterian missionaries, furnished Brazilian Evangelical minorities with a means of crafting new religious identities and of asserting their presence in the public arena. Its editors defended the political rights of non-Catholics in the country, took part in religious controversies with Catholic publications in Brazil and Portugal, and intervened in on-going public debates on the separation of Church and State and the abolition of slavery. This article also examines how the periodical's circulation generated new reading practices in Brazil.