Under the Iberian Union, the Portuguese discourse on empire had been both relatively muted and intertwined with Spanish debates. The Braganza Restoration presented a radical break from this tradition. A new network of preachers, theologians and jurists from the four corners of the Portuguese empire made the case for the recovery of independence. Instead of buttressing a common moral universe and the old pan-Iberian network of higher learning, the new network focused its energies on the establishment of the particularity of the Portuguese imperial and missionary enterprises. The contribution explores the importance of networks in establishing intellectual independence and the strategies employed by the partisans of the newly independent Portugal. It was no longer good enough for Portugal to be the other Iberian empire; her very raison d'être was now to become the only Iberian empire.