The Portuguese Colonization of thAmericas

เวลา:2023-01-26  เรียกดู:

TodayPortugalhas sunny cities, delicious food, wine, and stunning natural sceneries. However, in the fifteenth century, Portugal was the leading country in Europe for world exploration. During the fifteenth century, Portugal set the stage for discovering the new world.

The Portuguese were one of the first tocolonizethe Americas. Some old nautical maps even show that Portuguese sailors discovered the Americas beforeColumbus. The nautical charts suggest the Portuguese discovered theNew Worldas early as 1424. Portugal successfully colonizedSouth Americaand unsuccessfully attempted to colonize parts ofNorth America(Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia in Canada).

At the time, Portugal had many reasons for colonizing. One reason was to become more powerful. To increase their economic power as a country, colonization provided more opportunities. The Portuguese wanted to create more demand for their products. Portugal started colonies to trade for spices, gold, agricultural products, and other resources. There were also religious motives for Portugals colonization, such as spreadingCatholicism.

The Treaty of Tordesillas was a treaty made on 7 June 1494, signed inTordesillas, Spain. The Portuguese and Spanish Empires divided the newly discovered land outside Europe in the treaty.

A meridian of 370 leagues divided the Americas. Leagues were a unit of length in western Europe. In English-speaking countries, a nautical league is roughly equivalent to three miles. The line was between theCape Verdeislands, off the west coast ofAfrica, and modern-dayCubaandHispaniola. Lands east of the Meridian belonged to Portugal. AlthoughSpainand Portugal signed and respected the treaty, other European powers did not.

Early Portuguese Exploration of North America

Map of Newfoundland and Labrador by Fernão Vaz Dourado in 1576. Image credit Creative Commons

Portugal was unsuccessful in colonizing North America. However, they did have influence over some communities in modern-day easternCanada. The Portuguese crown claimed it had rights over the area in North America, explored by John Cabot from 1497 to 1498. John Cabot was an Italian explorer commissioned by the King of England who voyaged to the coast of North America. Based on terms from the Treaty of Tordesillas, the Portuguese had rights to parts of North America. Shortly after this, the Portuguese sailor João Fernandes Lavrador visited the Northeast Atlantic Coast, andGreenland.

In 1501 and 1502, the Corte Rel brothers explored and charted both Greenland andNewfoundland and Labrador. The Portuguese empire claimed Greenland and Labrador. Portugal founded a couple of colonies in Canada, including Portugal Cove-St. Philips, Portugal Cove, and St. Johns Island. Canadas rich fishing opportunities incentivized Portuguese colonization. The abundance of fish prompted King Manuel I of Portugal to create a tax for cod fisheries in Newfoundland. Later, the Portuguese established fishing outposts in Newfoundland. However, Portugal abandoned these efforts to focus on colonizing South America.

Remnants of defensive fortifications surrounding Colonia Del Sacramento, in the South American country of Uruguay. Image credit William Silver via Shutterstock

Portugal first discoveredBrazilon a voyage headed by Pedro lvares Cabral. When the ship landed on the coast of Porto Seguro on April 22, 1500, Cabral believed he landed on an island. He named the land Ilha de Vera Cruz (Island of the True Cross).

In 1508, Portuguese captains explored the River Plate estuary, in present-dayUruguayandArgentina. The Portuguese explored and colonized most of Brazil. By 1680 the Portuguese had gone southwards beyond Rio de la Plata, into what is known today as Uruguay.

Permanent residencies in Brazil by the Portuguese started in 1532. Martim Afonso de Sousa founded the city of São Vicente. However, the Portuguese established trade routes before permanent residency. They were exporting goods such as extracted brazilwood, used to dye European textiles.

Between 1534 and 1536 there were fifteen captaincy colonies in Brazil. With the establishment of permanent colonies, the sugar cane industry started. To meet the labor-intensive demands of the industry the Portuguese used the slave trade. They used locals and later imported African slaves to grow cash crops such as sugar, tobacco, cotton, and coffee.

Philip II of Portugal decided to divide Brazil into two separate autonomous colonies in 1621, the State of Maranhão and the State of Brazil. From 1630 to 1654 theNetherlandsattempted to take control of Brazil, but resigned, giving Brazils colonies back to the Portuguese. The State of Maranhão changed to the State of Grão-Par and Maranhão, in 1751. The state had a new capital and government. In 1772,  Grão-Par and Maranhão were spilt into two more states, the State of Grão-Par and Rio Negro and the State of Maranhão and Piau.

In 1775 all three Brazilian states, the State of Brazil, the State of Maranhão and Piau; and the State of Grão-Par and Rio Negro, merged into one. The states united as the State of Brazil and remained this way until colonization ended in Brazil. Portugals colonization lasted until 1822 when Portugal accepted the Brazilian Declaration of Independence.

Portugal had influence over some communities in the Americas and established many colonies in South America, particularly Brazil. The impacts of Portugals colonization are still seen today in South America. The Portuguese created the largest commercial and maritime empire the world had ever seen, extending from South America to theFar East, and along the coastlines of Africa and India.

All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2023

Back to list
Copyright © 2002-2022 Thb999 All Rights Reserved