Research Group

The core team is composed of six researchers: the PI, two postdoctoral researchers, and three PhD researchers. The project also welcomes several research associates from other case-studies who collaborate in the same framework.

Principal Investigator

Manuel Bastias Saavedra

Since 2022, he holds the chair for History of Latin America at the Leibniz University Hannover. He has studies in history and philosophy, and in 2012 was awarded a PhD in History of Latin America at the Free University of Berlin. His research focuses on political, social, and legal history of Latin America and the Iberian World, with regional specialization in Chile, Brazil, and the Philippines.

Email: | ResearchGate | GoogleScholar

Post-doc researchers

Camilla de Freitas Macedo​

Camilla de Freitas Macedo holds an MA (2016) and a PhD (2022) in history. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the legal history of indigenous lands in Brazil.

Her main research approaches are those that connect land and social relationships, considering law as one among many other facets of social relationships. Her academic background took place mainly in the University of the Basque Country, the region that is now her focus for postdoc research. Therefore, she applies this social approach to analyse the legal history of lands in the Basque Country (Spain), during the early modern period (17th – 18th centuries).


Roger Lee de Jesus

Roger Lee de Jesus holds a PhD in History (2021), with a thesis on the role of the governor D. João de Castro in the construction of the Portuguese Estado da Índia (1545-1548). His MA (2012) in Early Modern History (University of Coimbra) is a case study on the second siege to the Portuguese fortress of Diu (1546), in India.

He is interested in the history of the Portuguese Empire and its presence in Asia from political, social, economic-financial and military perspective, especially in the implementation and adaptation of European institutions and warfare (16th-17th centuries). He is the co-founder of the Portuguese podcast Falando de História.

Email: | ResearchGate | GoogleScholar

PhD candidates

Sarah Limão Papa

Sarah Papa is a certified Brazilian lawyer since her graduation in Law in 2018 at the Federal University of Ceará, where she also did a Master in Law in 2020. She is now a PhD candidate in Law at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main.

She is specialized in legal history of colonial Brazil (17th and 18th century), having worked with a wide range of topics, such as public law, family law, moral theology, and canon law. As a PhD researcher at IberLAND, Sarah studies conflicts over lands rights in Portuguese America. She is particularly interested in the interconnections between religion, public and civil law in the resolution of agrarian conflicts in colonial Brazil, and how this local normativity is related to the European legal tradition of the ius commune.


Alina Rodríguez Sánchez

Alina Rodríguez holds a Master’s degree in Global History from the Freie Universität Berlin and a Bachelor’s degree in History from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation, which focuses on rights over land, resource extraction, and uncultivated land in New Spain during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Her broader interests include early modern cultural history and media history. 


Edson Edy Correia de Brito

Edson Edy Correia de Brito has a Master’s degree in Early Modern History by the University of Coimbra (Portugal, 2012) with a thesis on the Portuguese fiscal administration on the Atlantic´s archipelagos.

Researcher since 2013 at the Institute of Cultural Heritage (IPC) in Cape Verde where he published several works related with tangible and intangible cultural heritage. His main focus is the administrative history and land access of Cape Verde (15th-18th centuries), and Morna as a musical world cultural heritage.


Research associates

Íñigo Ena Sanjuán

Íñigo Ena Sanjuán was awarded a PhD in history at the European University Institute in 2022 with a thesis on state formation in the former Crown of Aragon in the 18 th century. Since April 2023 he is an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow at Leibniz Universität Hannover.

Although his main research interests are political, fiscal, and financial history, he has recently widened the scope to legal and environmental history, always maintaining a markedly local perspective. His current research focuses on the Pyrenean pastures located between Spain and France.

Email: | GoogleScholar | ORCID

Patricia Souza de Faria

Patricia Souza de Faria is Associate Professor at the Department of History at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. PhD in History at Federal Fluminense University with a thesis published with the name “A Conquista das almas do Oriente: Franciscanos, Catolicismo e Poder Colonial Português  em Goa (1540-1740)”. Post-doctoral studies at the University of Évora (Portugal) and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (France).

Her research themes are related to the Portuguese Empire in Asia, especially the religious orders, the Inquisition, and slave populations in Goa (16th and 17th centuries).
Her current research focuses on land administered by the Jesuits in Goa and Bassein.

Email: | Lattes

Marlen Donají Palma Silva

Marlen Donají Palma Silva holds a Master’s degree in advanced studies and research in History from the University of Salamanca, and a Bachelor’s degree in history from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
She is working on her doctoral thesis, which focuses on studying the situation of the indigenous nobility of the community of Cuilapan in Oaxaca, New Spain during the 16th-17th centuries.
Her lines of research are interethnic relations and the creation of the “other” in Colonial Oaxaca; the role of the indigenous nobility; the representation of space and land tenure in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca.


Thiago H. Mota

Thiago H. Mota is Professor of African History at the Federal University of Viçosa (Brazil). He was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania (USA); a Marie-Curie Visiting Scholar at the Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal) and a CAPES/AUL Visiting Scholar at the University Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique). He also attended as a non-resident consultant at the Nanjing Agricultural University (China). Currently, Dr. Mota is a non-resident member of the Center for History at the University of Lisbon (Portugal) and holds a Research Productivity Grant (Brazil).
His interest lay in the connection between Islamic expansion and land ownership in Early Modern West Africa, focusing on the region of nowadays Guinea-Bissau.

Email: | ResearchGate | GoogleScholar | Lattes

Tomás Catepillán Tessi

Tomás Catepillán Tessi has a PhD in History at El Colegio de México with a thesis on state formation in Chile and postdoctoral studies at the University of Bristol.
He is currently working on a research project about indigenous identitites, political organisation, and land tenure in the Chilean central zone between the 18th and 19th centuries.

Email: | ResearchGate

Carolina Jurado

Carolina Jurado was awarded a PhD in History at Buenos Aires University (Argentina) with a thesis on the impact of Spanish rule on the leadership hierarchies and territorial control of the Aymara groups in North Potosí (Charcas, Viceroyalty of Peru) during the 16th and 17th centuries.
She is a permanent researcher at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and teaches Latin American History at the Department of History of Facultad de Filosofía y Letras of Buenos Aires University. She is currently leading a research group funded by the University of Buenos Aires related to the analysis of territoriality, royal agents, and administration of justice in Charcas, at the beginning of colonial rule.
Her research focuses on colonial social relations linked to land ownership, including the legal, political, and economic perspectives, royal land claims during the processes of regularization or composiciones de tierras, local royal agents, and indigenous agency in the región of Charcas (Vicerroyalty of Peru) during the 16th-17th centuries, also focusing on methodological approaches to colonial documentary.


Administrative assistance

Sonja Westphal

After graduating from school, Sonja Westphal trained as an industrial clerk first. Afterwards she studied media management and worked as an online marketing manager for ten years. She has already lived one year in the southern states of the USA during her 11th grade in school. Also during her media management studies Sonja spent her ERASMUS semester at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain. Therefore, she has always enjoyed working in an international environment.

She is very happy and proud to support the IberLAND project team in their administration processes.

Thomas Czerner

Thomas Czerner studied History, Political Science and Social Psychology at the Universities of Hanover and Salamanca and holds a PhD in Medieval History. He has worked in various international research projects, such as Papal charters of the early and high Middle Ages, where he worked in the sub-project Iberia Pontificia on the relations of the papacy with the historical landscapes of Spain and Portugal up to the year 1198. He is currently administrative coordinator in the BMBF-funded joint project Maria Sibylla Merian de Estudios Latinoamericanos Avanzados (CALAS) and in the EU project Connected Worlds: the Caribbean, Origin of Modern World.

His research interests include Papal and Ecclesiastical History, the Political and Diplomatic History of the late Middle Ages with a focus on letters and letterbooks, Communication History and Urban History in the late medieval Holy Roman Empire.


Student assistants

Léon Charlé

Léon Charlé holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Politics from Leibniz University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Atlantic Studies and History.

He has been working as a student assistant for the professor of the Chair of “History of Latin America and the Caribbean” since his bachelor’s degree and in this role has contributed to numerous projects in research, editing and organisation.

He is pleased to participate in the IberLAND project, as legal history is an unfamiliar subject area and he is eager to learn about new fields of research. He also enjoys supporting the other researchers in their work.

Marcus M. de Melo

Marcus M. de Melo is a student pursuing a Master’s degree in Atlantic Studies at Leibniz Universität Hannover. He completed his undergraduate studies at the State University of Maringá (UEM – Brazil), where he obtained a degree in history education.

During his time at UEM, he actively participated in two projects: the Dynamic Interdisciplinary Museum (MUDI) and a research and development project focused on indigenous history, which aimed to enhance history courses at universities in Paraná. In both projects, Marcus contributed to the organization and research efforts, supporting his fellow faculty members.

He finds great joy in assisting project members and helping them accomplish their goals.

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