From 1550 until 1850 most of Brazil and Angola formed a system sustained by the slave trade and inter-colonial traffic that complemented, albeit often contradictorily, exchanges between these regions and Portugal. Merchants, militiamen, royal servants and missionaries fostered relations between Portuguese enclaves on either side of the ocean. However, these exchanges were interrupted by the end of the Brazilian slave trade in 1850. Nevertheless, after the independence of the Lusophone nations in Africa, direct communications and relationships were reestablished between the two sides of the Atlantic. In the meantime, Brazil had become the nation with the largest population of people of African descent outside of Africa. Today, an economic, linguistic and cultural network again connects different countries and peoples within the South Atlantic, and new geopolitical extensions have appeared with the creation in 2003 of IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa Forum). This latest volume of Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies explores the historical, geopolitical and cultural aspects of the South Atlantic, past and present. In addition to this thematic focus, this special issue features sections dedicated to critical essays and reviews.
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