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History Of Portugal Essay

669 words - 3 pages


Under King Emanuel, Portuguese power reached its height. From 1497 to 1499 Vasco da Gama made the first voyage to India following the route discovered by Dias, and inaugurated a lucrative trade in spices and other luxuries between Europe and South Asia. Led by Afonso de Albuquerque, the Portuguese occupied Goa, India, in 1510, Malacca (now Melaka, Malaysia) in 1511, the Moluccas (in present-day Indonesia) in 1512-14, and Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf in 1515. During the same period they opened up trade with China and established relations with Ethiopia. As other Portuguese kings had done, Emanuel dreamed of uniting Portugal and Spain under his rule and successively married two daughters of King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I. Under pressure from his Spanish relations, he followed their example by expelling Jews and Muslims from his domains in 1497, thus depriving Portugal of much of its middle class. His son, John III, promoted the settlement of Brazil and (again influenced by the example of Spain) introduced (1536) the Inquisition into Portugal to enforce religious uniformity. By the time he died in 1557, Portugal had begun to decline as a political and commercial power. This trend continued under King Sebastian, who was killed during another expedition against Morocco in 1578. On the death of his successor, King Henry, in 1580, the Aviz dynasty came to an end.

When Henry died, seven claimants disputed the succession to the throne. The most powerful was Philip II, king of Spain, who in 1580 became Philip I of Portugal. The annexation of Portugal to the Spanish Habsburg monarchy subjected it to the heavy expenses of Spanish wars in a period known as the Sixty Years’ Captivity. After 1600, Portuguese domination of trade with the East Indies was lost to the Dutch and the English. Under Philip I, Portugal enjoyed considerable autonomy, but his successors, Philip II (Philip III of Spain) and Philip III (Philip IV of Spain), treated it as a Spanish province, provoking widespread discontent. After unsuccessful revolts in...

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