This paper focuses on the rôle of the estrangeirados ('Europeanized' intellectuals) as significant diffusion channels for the new scientific and technological ideas and practices stemming from the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. A definition of 'network' is introduced in this paper as a methodological tool to characterize the estrangeirados. We argue that given their heterogeneous social origins, backgrounds and careers, they should not be seen as a homogeneous group. Rather, they were part of a fluid network, although they did not consider themselves as such. What they definitely shared was a common scientific culture. Analysis of the links they established on a voluntary and often informal basis accordingly enables us to identify the aims and strategies deployed to introduce the new sciences in 18th-century Portugal, and to understand better why their reforming endeavours had so little practical impact. In effect, the estrangeirados formed an élite which remained marginal to Portuguese society at large. In many instances their political options and their links to central power made them vulnerable to political and religious persecution. This considerably undermined their agenda, which aimed at bringing the country into the forefront of advanced European nations.
- 'Europeanized' intellectuals
- 18th-century scientific culture