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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

As an early modern enterprise, the Society of Jesus established networks that relayed information from far-flung missionaries back to superiors in metropolitan centers. At the same time, Jesuits linked to colleagues serving in other locales by sharing letters, maps, and devotional objects that helped forge a worldwide, imagined community. Through these informal means, Jesuits in New Spain developed particularly strong ties to Asia as the colonization of the Philippines and establishment of the Manila Galleons turned their viceroyalty into a transpacific contact zone. Beginning with a sixteenth-century debate over forceful conversion, this chapter traces confrontations and comparisons engendered by this communication. It tracks religious devotion to Japanese martyrs in the Americas to better understand the function of hagiography in colonial contexts. Martyrs also factored into transpacific competition and cooperation, leading Jesuits in Mexico, China, and Spain to connect their personal sacrifices to the larger effort to convert the Pacific.

Keywords: Jesuits, Pacific Ocean, missionaries, conversion, martyrdom, Japan, China, Mexico

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