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Portuguese Empire

The Portuguese Empire was one of the earliest overseas empires. There are several reasons for its early colonial flourishing: Hemmed in territorially on all sides by Spanish kingdoms, Portugal had nowhere to expand besides seawards. This resulted in the first and largest colonial empire of the 16th century.

Table of contents
1 Early Discoveries in the West
2 Early Discoveries in the East
3 Expansion to the Far East
4 External link

Early Discoveries in the West

Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal is often considered the founder of the Portuguese empire. His interest in exploration and technological advancements combined with his great energy and enthusiasm sparked a wave of great Portuguese explorers. Under his patronage Pedro Alvares Cabral claimed Brazil for Portugal; Joao da Nova discovered Ascension and Saint Helena; and Tristan da Cunha was the first to sight the archipelago still known by his name. These explorers laid the way for the waves of colonization that were to found the Portuguese empire.

Early Discoveries in the East

In East Africa small Islamic states along the coast of Mozambique, Kilwa, Brava and Mombasa were destroyed or became subjects or allies of Portugal. Pedro de Covilham had reached Abyssinia as early as 1490. In the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, one of Cabral's ships discovered Madagascar (1501), which was partly explored by Triste da Cunha (1507); Mauritius was discovered in 1507, Socotra occupied in 1506, and in the same year D. Lourenco d÷£lmeida visited Ceylon.

Expansion to the Far East

At the height of its power, the Portuguese Empire had bases in west Africa, India and Japan. Its major colonies in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Goa, Sao Tome and Principe, Macau, Cape Verde, and East Timor.

See also:

External link