James W. Nelson Novoa
This article deals with the manner in which Portuguese New Christians developed into a political entity, eventually becoming tantamount to a national group in the deliberations of the Holy See in the first part of the sixteenth century. This was, in part, accomplished through the efforts of a group of Portuguese conversos who had been present in Rome since the initial concession to Portugal of a tribunal of the Inquisition in 1531. The article considers how these men acted as procurators in a way similar to other such agents who represented the interests of national groups and who maintained a constant presence in Rome for centuries. It demonstrates how they sought to abolish or mitigate the effects of the tribunal in Portugal, seeking reprieves for people accused by the Inquisition or imprisoned in the kingdom and helping to set up safe havens in the Italian peninsula where they could settle.