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Revista Brasileira de História

Print version ISSN 0102-0188On-line version ISSN 1806-9347


PEREIRA, Hugo Silveira  and  KERR, Ian J.. Railways and Economic Development in India and Portugal: The Mormugão and Tua Lines Compared, ca. 1880 to ca. 1930, and Briefly Onwards. Rev. Bras. Hist. [online]. 2019, vol.39, n.81, pp.209-234.  Epub July 29, 2019. ISSN 0102-0188.

In the late decades of the 19th century, Portugal undertook the construction of two narrow-gauge lines in the mainland province of Trás-os-Montes and in its colonial possession of Goa, India, two languishing territories under Portuguese rule. Both were practical applications of the Portuguese large public works programme historically known as ‘Fontismo’ that aimed to raise capital in international markets and apply it to improve the Portuguese transportation system, hoping to develop economically the regions served by railways and create enough economic activity to repay the loans. In this paper, we aim to perform an exercise of historical comparison, using the methodology of comparativism suggested by Michel Espagne. We will highlight the differences and commonalities between the two lines either during the decision-making process and during operation. We will demonstrate how similar projects had entirely different outcomes, according with local circumstances, but also how these outcomes change according with the time frame within which they are analysed. In the end we hope to add to the debate about the feud between generalities and specificities in historical process.

Keywords : comparativism; Fontismo; progress; colonialism.

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