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DisambiguationEdit

Portugal and Portuguese may refer to any of the following:

Rise of the ModernsEdit

Time of War: 1800Edit

  • Portuguese; or

Time of War: Rise of Kings 2:Edit

  • Portugal; or

The Age of ConquestEdit

HistoryEdit

The Portuguese overseas empire was the most long-lived of Europe's modern empires, beginning in the 16th century and ending only at the beginning of the 21st with the handover of Macao to the People's Republic of China. In the span of almost two centuries, Portugal had founded colonies around the African coast, granting it access to a steady supply of gold, commodities and slaves through trade, and was also making headway in the Amazon as well. It was this network of trade which maintained Portuguese prestige and power for at least 200 years, but the remoteness of Portuguese outposts and their ill-treatment of natives would attract the eye of other rivals. By the 17th century, Portuguese power in Asia would be usurped by the Dutch, and eventually the British would build their own empire over waters where the Portuguese once sailed supreme in Africa and Asia.

A Passage to IndiaEdit

The first phase of Portuguese exploration and colonisation began with the crusades. In an attempt to compete against the Islamic world, military expeditions were sent out under various orders to North Africa and beyond, but these soon became expeditions intent on creating wealth via trade or conquest instead. Maderia and the Azores were discovered in time for Duarte's successor, Alfonso V "the African" to inherit them; six decades later, Bartolomeu Dias reached Cabo de Boa Esperança (Cape of Good Hope).

Once the Portuguese had fully explored the African coast, their next target was Asia. The Battle of Diu in 1509, pitting the all-new Portuguese carrack against Venetian-built galleys off the Indian coast, securing the port of Goa for Portugal and opening the waters of Southeast Asia to the Portuguese.

An expedition was sent to Melaka in 1511. In its heyday, Melaka was the chief port along the Straits of Melaka. Sheltered from extreme monsoon rains, and located along the sealanes from China to the West, its significance was well understood by the Portuguese and a military governor, Afonso de Albuquerque was dispatched from India to establish a trade factory at Melaka. Intially at first relations between the Portuguese and Melaka were cordial, but once word reached the sultan of Portuguese atrocities committed against Indians (especially Muslims in particular), relations began to sour and the Portuguese soon decided to use force, starting a precedent used by many European powers in subsequent centuries against more underdeveloped native rivals. Although Melaka was heavily defended, the stubbornness and courage of the Portuguese managed to prevail.

However, much to the chargrin of the Portuguese, the abuses they committed against the "heathen" peoples of Asia resulted not only in the loss of trade in Melaka, but poorer relations with other nations such as China and Japan too. In the wake of the 1511 expedition, other nations began to fill in the gap left by Melaka, such as the Bugis tribes in distant Makassar, and the Achehnese sultanate. To make matters worse for both Portuguese and Malay alike, a new invader appeared on the horizon: the Dutch, who became more successful and with the British would eventually become the masters of the Malay Archipelago.

Rivalry with the Dutch in BrazilEdit

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Portugal was also making its own influence felt in the New World. In 1500, Brazil was sighted by an expedition led by Pedro Alvares Cabral, but little headway was made initially, as the Portuguese were more interested in wresting the monopoly over spices from the Muslims. However, in the wake of this oversight by the Crown, several other powers began to move in. In 1555, the French were in control of Rio de Janeiro, but most problematic for the Portuguese were the Dutch chartered companies, the GWC in the Americas and the VOC in the East Indies. The Portuguese would solve this problem by creating "captaincies-general" which were in effect feudal fiefs carved out of Brazillian territory for Portuguese noblemen. Fifteen captaincies-general were created, but of all of them only Pernambuco and São Vicente managed to thrive.

The death of king Sebastian in 1578 resulted in a succession crisis at home, which was resolved with the Iberian Union, in which Portugal was "obliged" to ally with Spain, in effect becoming a part of the Spanish kingdom. This had direful consequences for the Portuguese empire, as it made Portuguese possessions overseas fair game for Dutch rebels fighting for independence from Spain. Subsequently, the Dutch tried to take Brazil in 1624. After a harsh battle, Salvador was taken from Portugal but a Spanish fleet cut short Dutch control. After many battles and the continuous blocking of Brazilian harbours by ships of the Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie, or Chartered West Indies Company (GWC), the Dutch finally settled on land. Within years, large parts of Brazil were colonised, including Pernambuco, Paraiba and Itamaraca. The colony was called "New Holland". Although commercially successful, the Lusitanian residents of New Holland rebelled with success and the West Indies Company finally lost New Holland in 1654 to Portugal.

However, in Asia it was all another story. The Dutch would continue to remain a threat however, and would even take Melaka from the Portuguese in 1641 with help from the Sultanate of Johor, but the tide was changing. Disputes with another maritime power, England, soon led to all-out war and a blockade of the Netherlands in 1652. For almost five decades afterward the English and Dutch would be embroiled in rivalry on the high seas and in the New World, giving Portugal the breathing space it needed. From that point on in time, Brazil would become the crown jewel of the House of Braganza, the noble family that would eventually overthrow the Iberian Union. As would be seen later, the course of history would tie the fate of both lands ever closer than before.

Restoration and RecoveryEdit

Although the Spanish monarch, Felipe II, wisely left the rule of Portugal to trusted Portuguese subjects and retained Portugal as a result, his grandson Felipe IV instead attempted to limit Portuguese influence at home and even threatened to assimilate Portugal as a province of Spain. This, along with Spain's inability to protect Portugal from Dutch rebels, soon resulted in unrest and eventually all-out bloodshed.

War broke out at the beginning of 1641. The 8th duke of Braganza, Joao, was declared king and despite her proximity with Spain, luck was with Portugal all the way. The Thirty Years' War was raging in Europe, and Spain and France were indisposed, and shrewd politicking secured an alliance between Portugal and the English Commonwealth, then ruled by Oliver Cromwell. A bloody war of attrition broke out between Spain and the Portuguese rebels, but by 1668, it was all over. The Treaty of Lisbon recognised Portuguese sovereignty throughout Portugal and her overseas colonies at the cost of Ceuta off the African coast, but a consequence of this was that Portugal was internally devastated and starving. It was by a stroke of luck that collapse was thoroughly averted. In 1683, gold and diamonds were discovered near present-day Minas Gerais in Brazil, or the "general mines". The discovery of this mineral wealth would enrich Portugal once more, and increased Brazil's importance all the mor for the Portguese, even as their former Spanish occupiers were now slowly sliding into decline.

From that point on, Portugal would continue to enjoy relative peace and prosperity well until the French Revolutionary Wars, but there were two events of note. In 1755, a massive earthquake razed Lisbon and caused a tsunami that reached as far as Algeria, killing hundreds of thousands. Portuguese prime minister, the Marquis de Pombal, sprung into action, and while his heavy-handed measures ensured that Lisbon was up and running in as early as a year later after the earthquake, they inadvertedly the seeds that would result in the downfall of Portugal's monarchy over the next century.

Decline and Fall of the MonarchyEdit

From the 19th century onward, Portugal's empire and monarchy was in decline. In 1807, French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte marched into Portugal, and although the invaders never were able to fully conquer Portugal, the damage that they wreaked on Portugal and her monarchy and empire was considerable. During the French occupation of Portugal, many Portuguese, including the royal family, were forced to flee across the Atlantic, where they founded the Kingdom of Brazil.

When the French left, however, Portuguese prestige was all but shattered. Although the monarchs did all they could to ensconce themselves in Brazil by investing in public works and infrastructure, this instead made Brazil more self-sufficient and less dependent on the mother country, making Portuguese control of Brazil even more contested. Equally problematic was that the Portuguese monarchs were not popular with the landowning classes which had for many years had little if no contact with the mother country herself. A soldiers' mutiny in Rio de Janeiro in 1821 soon resulted in the king Joao VI, being driven out of Brazil, while his son Pedro stayed behind and became Brazil's first emperor, Dom Pedro I.

However, the loss of Brazil was not the last of Portugal's troubles. Despite Pedro I being an enlightened invididual who did much to improve life for the Brazilians, constitutional crises as well as intrigues in Europe did much to frustrate his rule, and by 1831, he abdicated and retook the title of Duke of Braganza, leaving his son to rule as Dom Pedro II. Dom Pedro would be the last monarch in Brazil, as tensions between the crown and the agricultural oligarchs who controlled the Brazillian economy. A coup was launched in 1889 and Dom Pedro II, by now weary, disillusioned and in poor health, simply acquiesced and left for Paris in exile, never to return ever again to Brazil alive.

Meanwhile in Portugal, there was a civil war between two different claimants to the throne: Maria da Gloria, supported by liberals, and Miguel, who was supported by landowners and the church. Although Miguel intially enjoyed the backing of the Spanish, Maria soon had the support of England and France, and Spain soon saw the light. Miguel was subsequently deposed, and Portugal was at peace once more. Even so, this did nothing to ameliorate the situation. The Portuguese monarchy was often at odds with the British over the status of their possessions in Africa, while the extreme poverty of the nation continued to bedevil national growth and fostered anti-royalist sentiment, which soon turned violent. Carlos I was assasinated in 1908, and his successor Manuel II tried to reform the country but to no avail - after a brief coup, the royal family set sail for England, and Portugal was now a republic. The empire, now consisting of Goa, Timor, Macau and parts of Africa would however continue to survive until the late 21st century.

See alsoEdit

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