Manoel da Paz

Pablo Cañón (European University Institute)

Date of birth: Olinda, 1580

Date of death: Madrid, 1640.


Link to BRASILHIS Database:

Merchant of Portuguese origin. He developed his business in both Asia and Brazil, using his accumulated capital to become involved in the affairs of the Crown of Castile. In this way, he became one of Philip IV’s main financiers, standing out as an example of the close interrelation between the commercial circuits of the Iberian Atlantic and the Carreira da Índia.

Manoel da Paz was born in Olinda in 1580. He was the son of Diogo Fernandes Camaragibe and Ana de Paz, both from families with fortunes based on business with Brazil. After the death of his mother, his father’s second marriage brought Manoel into the Tinoco family, closely linked to the Carreira da India business. As a result of this union, Manoel grew up in Lisbon with his half-brother, Fernando Tinoco (Boyajian, 2001: 479).

Manoel married Isabel Dinis Pacheco on 8 January 1618, through whom he was connected to Duarte Gomes Solis, and André and António Faleiro, important merchants in Antwerp, Hamburg, and Venice. Later, his relationship with Gomes Solis became even closer when his daughter Violante de Paz married Felipe Dinis Pacheco. (Almeida, 2009: 526). 

On his parents’ side, Manoel was closely connected to the sugar and slavery business in Brazil. On his father’s side, he was the nephew of Duarte Fernandes do Brasil, Simão Rodrigues do Brasil and António Días do Porto, sugar, and slave traders. On his mother’s side, he was related to important sugar mill owners. (Almeida, 2009: 526).

Despite this, and the fact that after his father’s death in 1608 he inherited a large Brazilian fortune, Manoel began his professional career managing the Tinoco family business in Asia. For this purpose, that same year he embarked for Goa together with his cousin Francisco Tinoco de Carvalho. Once there, the two often traveled along the west coast of India as apprentices to the merchants Pedro Fernandes d’Aires and Francisco d’Aires. Manoel da Paz mainly traded diamonds, pearls, precious stones, silks, cotton, porcelains, and indigo, and often sent bags of diamonds to his relatives in Hamburg, Antwerp, and Amsterdam. (Almeida, 2009: 526). 

Years later, in 1616, Manoel returned to Lisbon. On the return journey, the ship on which he was travelling, Nossa Senhora da Luz, sank on the island of Faial (Azores). Once in Lisbon, Manoel acquired the status of fidalgo da Casa Real and Cavallero da Ordem de Cristo. Also from Lisbon, Manoel continued to invest in the Eastern trade, employing his cousin Francisco Tinoco de Carvalho as his correspondent. In fact, later in 1630 he participated in the financing of the Companhia Portuguesa das Índias (Portuguese Companhia das Índias). (Almeida, 2009: 526). 

In 1627 he received royal permission to move to Madrid with his family and property. There he settled on Carrera de San Jerónimo, next to the Palacio del Retiro, whose construction he financed. This move may have been due to the fact that, from 1626, Manoel had become a contractor for Philip IV’s Treasury Board. That same year, and until 1639, he participated as an advisor to the Crown, by which time he was already one of the most important financiers. The seat he signed in 1626, along with those of the merchants Nuno Días Mendes de Brito, Duarte Fernandes, Simão Soares, João Nunes Saraiva and Manoel Rodrigues de Elvas, amounted to a total value of over 400,000 ducats, all payable in Flanders (Almeida, 2009: 5). (Almeida, 2009: 527; Gruzinski, 2006: 233; Hutz, 2014: 78). 

From Madrid, Manoel continued to manage his business in Asia, as well as operations related to the sugar and palo brazil trade through his agent in Salvador de Bahía, Francisco Duarte Tinoco, and his cousin Manuel Rodrigues do Porto in Olinda. To carry out this business he associated with Gonçalo Nunes de Sepúlveda, a former slave trader and prominent capitalist in Madrid. It was partly this connection that paved the way for Manoel to become a settler for the Crown. (Alencastro, 2000: 103)

After the Count-Duke of Olivares announced the Crown’s bankruptcy in 1627, he replaced the Genoese bankers who had hitherto financed his companies with Portuguese businessmen. Other names were added to those already mentioned, such as Simão and Lourenço Pereira and Duarte Dias Henriques in 1627, and Marcos Fernandes Monsanto, Garcia d’Ilhão and Pedro de Baeça da Silveira in 1629. (Boyajian, 1983: 24). In the following years, some relatives of Manoel de Paz also participated in the asiento, such as his half-brother Simão Tinoco, his brother-in-law Manuel Álvares Pinto e Ribeiro, or his cousins Manuel Fernandes Tinoco, Francisco Tinoco de Carvalho, and António Ribeiro de Carvalho. But other merchants also: Captain Gonçalo Nunes de Sepúlveda, Rui Lopes da Silva, Jorge Ribeiro Quaresma, Francisco Fernandes Solis, and Francisco Días Mendes de Brito. (Almeida, 2009: 527; Boyajian, 2001: 479; Álvarez Nogal, 1997: 98-99).

Finally, in 1639, with his career as a businessman now over, Manoel da Paz retired from the seats, being replaced first by his half-brother Fernando Tinoco, and then by his son-in-law Phelipe Denis Pacheco, who continued his financial activities until at least 1650. (Boyajian, 1983: 29).

Bibliographic references

Alencastro, L.F. de (2000). O trato dos viventes: formação do Brasil no Atlântico Sul. São Paulo: Companhia das letras.

Almeida, A.A. (dir.) (2009). Dicionário Histórico dos Sefarditas Portugueses. Mercadores e Gente de Trato. Lisboa: Campo da Comunicação.

Álvarez Nogal, C. (1997). Los banqueros de Felipe IV y los metales preciosos americanos (1621-1665). Madrid: Banco de España; Servicio de Estudios de Historia Económica, nº 36.

Boyajian, J.C. (2001). New Christians and Jews in the sugar trade, 1550-1750: two centuries of development of the Atlantic economy. En Bernardini, P., Fiering, N. (eds.). The jews and the expansión of Europe to the West, 1450-1800. New York: Berghahn Books.

Boyajian, J.C. (1983). Portuguese Bankers at the Court of Spain, 1626-1650. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Gruzinski, S. (2006). Mundialización, globalización y mestizaje en la Monarquía Católica. En Chartier, R.; Feros, A. (dirs.). Europa, América y el mundo. Tiempos históricos. Madrid: Marcial Pons

Hutz, A. (2014). Homens de Nação e de Negócio. Redes comerciais no mundo ibérico (1580-1640) (Tesis de Doctorado). Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo.

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