Portuguese colonial history

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The Discovery Monument in Lisbon

The Portuguese colonial history spans 500 years. The Portuguese colonial empire was the first real world empire and the longest existing colonial empire in Europe . Its history began in 1415 with the conquest of Ceuta and the Age of Discovery with expeditions along the African coast and ended with the return of the last Portuguese overseas province of Macau to the People's Republic of China in 1999.

When Vasco da Gama discovered the sea ​​route to India in 1498 , Portugal rose to become the leading trading and sea ​​power of the 15th and 16th centuries as part of the Indian trade . The kings from the house of Avis , especially Manuel I (1495–1521), led the country to its peak. By the 17th century, Portugal acquired colonies in America , Africa , Arabia , India , Southeast Asia, and China .

Portugal was initially less interested in taking possession of larger territories. In order to secure the trade routes to and from India (1526–1857 Mughal Empire ) and to eliminate competitors, bases (" factories ") were built on the coasts of Africa and Arabia and cities were conquered, as were the places of production of goods. The small population of Portugal did not allow the country to take possession of large areas. Brazil was an exception due to the small size of the native population. Later Angola and Mozambique were added as larger colonies in terms of area.

The decline of the Portuguese colonial empire began as early as the 17th century: the British , French and Dutch also began to expand in Asia and wrested a large part of their Asian colonies from the Portuguese.

Portugal was able to hold some of its colonies a little longer than the other colonial powers, namely until the 1970s. The colonial policy of the authoritarian regime ( Estado Novo ) under Salazar (1889–1970) contributed to this. Many other colonies became independent in 1960 ( African year ) (see Decolonization , Decolonization of Africa ).


The situation in Portugal before expansion

The Kingdom of Portugal had fought bloody battles against the Moors in the Reconquista . It ended in 1251 for Portugal with the conquest of the Algarve . After that there were still some clashes with Castile , which ended with the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. The Portuguese upper bourgeoisie, the Fidalgos , had lost their field of military activity and were practically unemployed. They looked for ways to prevent the Fidalgos from arguing against the king. The king looked for ways to gain more national fame.

It was less the pursuit of power and prestige than economic necessities that prompted the Portuguese to expand their territory outside of Europe. The rural exodus in the 13th century made Portugal dependent on grain imports, as its own agriculture could no longer feed the almost one million inhabitants. It was felt as a shame to have to import grain from the Muslim Maghreb (also from Sicily , the Baltic States , Normandy and Brittany ). Cloth, iron, copper and weapons also had to be bought abroad. The consequence was an outflow of means of payment and precious metals (gold and silver). The only goods they sold were salt, cork, olive oil and wine. At that time Portugal already had factories in Malaga , Rouen and Honfleur , trading offices in Flanders and traders in Montpellier , Marseille and Montagnac , but the volume of foreign trade was insufficient to boost the country's economy. After all, it was possible to negotiate freedom of trade for the respective merchants with England in 1353 . At the end of the 15th century, only two trade routes led to Castile; Portugal was oriented towards the sea. Since the 12th century they had a modest navy that was used in the Reconquista against the Moors . Under Fernão I (1345-1383) the Companhia das Naus was founded to promote the merchant fleet . At the beginning of the 15th century, Portugal was linked with the rest of Europe by two important sea routes: one led through the Bay of Biscay and via Dieppe to Bruges , the second to Seville . The build-up of the fleets, however, led to a further loss of workers in agriculture and a greater need for ship biscuits, so that even more grain was lacking in the country. The eye fell on the Arab wholesalers and the grain market in Morocco , the then North African granary .

At the end of the 14th century, Portugal also suffered from a massive gold shortage. After 1383, not a single gold coin was minted in Portugal. For 50 years only foreign gold and copper coins were in circulation. In addition, there was a shortage of silver from 1460 onwards, as Portugal's traditional silver suppliers in Germany increasingly failed due to the plague and famine. Gold was laboriously imported from sub-Saharan Africa via caravan routes. Other commodities from the region included sugar, copper and salt as well as slaves . The end point of these caravans was Ceuta , which was also considered the best port in Morocco. The city on the Strait of Gibraltar became the first destination for Portuguese expansion outside Europe.

The Catholic Church also saw an expansion the opportunity to pagan territory proselytize . It became a crucial factor in Portuguese ventures overseas.

Expeditions under Henry the Navigator

Henry the Navigator. Detail from a 15th century painting

In 1415, under John I , Portugal conquered Ceuta, its first possession outside of Europe. Heinrich the Seafarer (1394–1460), a prince of the Portuguese royal family, initiated the Portuguese voyages of discovery along the African coast from 1418: to secure trade with the African empires south of the Sahara, to find the eastern sea ​​route to India and to deal with the spice trade to bring under the control of Portugal. Heinrich is considered to be the organizer of the voyages of discovery. Madeira was taken over in 1419 and the Azores in 1427 . 1434 orbited Gil Eanes the Cape Bojador , which was hitherto considered impassable. In 1436 Afonso Gonçalves Baldaia discovered the Rio do Ouro and in 1441 Nuno Tristão and Antão Gonçalves reached Cabo Branco . In 1445 Dinis Dias came to Cabo Verde , the westernmost point of Africa.

In 1446, the discoverer Nuno Tristão and 18 of his men (while trying to take in fresh water) were killed by locals. The incident south of the Gambia River was the first of its kind. From then on, the Portuguese naval artillery was reinforced and the landing commandos armed. Attempts to make alliances with the local African rulers on Cabo de Não and Cabo Verde to secure the exchange of goods and the slave trade failed. The Portuguese negotiators never returned.

After these failures, no further trips to explore the African coast were initially sent out. The reason was the high costs and the meager profits up until then. The slave trade was not yet lucrative enough; this was criticized at home. But prospects for economic success were there. On the Rio do Ouro the Portuguese had received gold dust as a ransom for Moorish prisoners, the West African empires of Mali , Kanem and Songhai presented themselves as potential trading partners. In the years that followed, an economically viable basis was created. In addition, with Castile, a European competitor was now facing Portugal, who feared that they would be excluded from the possible wealth of the south due to Portuguese claims to the previously explored areas. The dispute over the Canary Islands did the rest; between 1451 and 1454 the two neighbors fought for the islands. On January 8, 1454, Pope Nicholas V intervened in the conflict between the two Catholic powers with the Bull Romanus Pontifex and granted the Portuguese the property rights for the areas from Cape Bojador to the southern tip of Africa, although the extent of the areas was still unknown . This secured the investments for the voyages of discovery at least politically. The Canaries remained in the hands of Castile.

In addition to the economic problems, there were practical problems. With increasing distance, more and more provisions had to be transported on board the ships; unknown ocean currents and winds had to be mastered. The increasing hostility and defensiveness of the African coastal inhabitants to the south also had to be taken into account.

The Portuguese Colonial Empire in 1500 and the areas explored by Portugal (blue)

In 1455 the first expeditions penetrated again into unknown areas. The Gambia River was explored. It was believed that the river was a tributary of the Nile and that one could reach the Empire of Ethiopia through it . In the 15th century there were frequent diplomatic contacts with the Christian empire in East Africa, but these were made more difficult by the journey through Muslim Egypt. Portugal hoped for a strong ally against Islam in Africa. However, the Gambia did not lead to the empire 6000 kilometers away and Ethiopia was not particularly enthusiastic about the idea of ​​a war against its strong Muslim neighbors.

One of the expeditions to explore the Gambia River got off course in 1456 under Alvise Cadamosto and discovered the eastern islands of Cape Verde . About five years later, other expeditions discovered the western islands as well. This gave Portugal a third base in the Atlantic, where its ships could pick up provisions on their way to southern Africa and later to Brazil.

The discovery of the sea route to India

When Henry the Navigator died in 1460, the Portuguese had explored the west coast of Africa as far as Cabo Mesurado in what is now Liberia . Due to the chronic shortage of money, however, it was to be almost 10 years before Portugal's seafarers went on a voyage of discovery again. Another reason for the waiting time was King Alfonso's little interest in exploring the climatically unhealthy and previously unprofitable areas of West Africa, despite his nickname of the Africans . Alfons V initially devoted himself to conquering other cities and trading centers in Morocco. Already in 1458 Alcácer-Ceguer and in 1471 Tangier and Arzila . It was not until 1468 that the businessman Fernão Gomes undertook to research another 100 iguanas annually on the African coast. In return, he received all economic rights in West Africa for five years (the contract was extended by one year in 1473). The Arguim trading post and the Atlantic Islands were excluded . In 1470 Cabo Três Pontas was reached and in 1471 João de Santarém and Pêro Escobar reached the Gold Coast with the Shama ( Samma ) gold mine in present-day Ghana and Cabo Formoso in the Niger Delta . Between 1471 and 1474, the islands of São Tomé , Príncipe , Fernando Póo and Annobón were discovered. In 1474 Lopo Gonçalves and Rui de Sequeira also crossed the equator for the first time and advanced to what is now Gabon .

Portuguese map of North America and Greenland 1519

João Vaz Corte-Real went on a joint Portuguese- Danish expedition to Greenland in 1473 and there are indications that she came to Newfoundland ( Terra Nova do Bacalhau ). Later there were even Portuguese attempts to settle in the region and Portuguese expeditions possibly penetrated to Florida in 1500 . Portuguese names on maps from the beginning of the 16th century allow this conclusion.

The discoveries under Gomes Agide and the gold from Shama boosted the Portuguese economy. Both caused Castile to drive to the Gulf of Guinea despite the papal bulls and to ship slaves to Seville . Then there was the War of the Castilian Succession (1474–1479). In 1479 Castile finally renounced in the Treaty of Alcáçovas for sovereignty over the Canary Islands , on ownership claims on Madeira, on the Azores and all areas south of Cape Bojador and thus on the exploration of the eastern route to India. For his part, the Portuguese king renounced the throne of Castile.

Symbol of possession: a padrão in Sagres

The Portuguese built Fort São Jorge da Mina ( Elmina ) on the Gold Coast in 1482 . The post, occupied by a garrison of 63 men, became an important trading center for the exchange of goods for gold . The Senhor de Guinea has now joined the long title of the Portuguese kings ( rei de Portugal e do Algarve, Senhor de Septa, Senhor d'Alcacere em Africa ) . From now on, the explorers were instructed to set up stone columns ( Padrões, singular: Padrão ) at prominent points on the coast instead of wooden crosses , which underlined Portugal's claim to ownership. The year of installation, the name of the navigator and the ruling king were written in Latin and Portuguese on the pillars . The first discoverer to set these pillars was Diogo Cão , who discovered the mouth of the Congo in 1482 .

The division of the world between Spain and Portugal

Back in Lisbon, Cão was approached by a man named Christopher Columbus , who asked him for help with his project of exploring the western sea route to India. However, Columbus found no support in Portugal. Today it is assumed that the Portuguese king was informed about the cold, poor country in the west from Corte-Real's secret trip in 1473 and therefore did not consider exploring it to be worthwhile. In addition, it was known in Portugal that Columbus was wrong in calculating the circumference of the earth and the distance to India. In addition, there was the successful Diogo Cãos trip, which gave hope that he would soon circumnavigate Africa. Nevertheless, King John II is said to have bitterly reproached himself when Columbus stopped in Lisbon in 1493 on his way back from his first trip and reported on his discovery. However, it did not take the king long to establish that the newly discovered areas lay south of the Canary Islands and that, according to the Treaty of Alcaçovas, they belonged to Portugal. The claim was immediately forwarded to the Spanish royal family and a squadron under Francisco de Almeida was prepared to occupy the islands. A dispute between Spain and Portugal threatened. Finally, Pope Alexander VI shared . the world in the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) into an eastern, Portuguese sphere and into a western one for the then competitor Spain , which was specified in the Treaty of Saragossa (1529). From the American continent, the east of Brazil was intended as the Portuguese sphere of influence. In principle, the treaty was in force until 1777, but many parts of it were not adhered to. The Portuguese carried out expeditions and possibly also colonization attempts in North America. In Brazil, they quickly expanded beyond the treaty limit. In return, Spain occupied the Philippines and became involved in the Moluccas .

In 1485 Diogo Cão probably came to Walvis Bay in Namibia on a second trip . Three years later, Bartolomeu Dias finally circled the Cape of Good Hope and drove to the Groot-Visrivier River in the east of what is now South Africa . As early as 1487, the Portuguese Pêro da Covilhã and Afonso de Payva set out to travel the coasts of the Indian Ocean on Arab ships and with the further aim of forging an alliance with the Christian Emperor of Ethiopia against the Arabs . They came to the Red Sea from Alexandria and Suez . De Payva separated from his companions in order to travel directly to Ethiopia, but disappeared on the way there, while de Covilhã traveled to Aden and on to the Malabar coast of India, to the trading town of Sofala in what is now Mozambique and possibly to Madagascar . On another trip he visited the port city of Hormuz . Finally, in 1493, de Covilhã reached the court of Emperor Na'od I of Ethiopia in Aksum . De Covilhã stayed in Ethiopia until his death in 1530. The Portuguese-Ethiopian military alliance with the aim of stopping Islam in Africa did not materialize, but de Covilhã had already sent his travel reports from Cairo to Lisbon beforehand. They are no longer preserved today; it is believed that they were available to Vasco da Gama when he went on his journey. In principle, his task was only to research the route from Groot-Vis to Sofala, because the route from the East African trading city to Goa in India was already one of the most traveled sea routes and was served by Arab traders.

The three caravels São Gabriel , São Rafael and São Miguel were subordinated together with the supply ship Berrio da Gama. The ships were equipped with the most modern ship artillery of the time , as an armed conflict with the Arabs was expected. They would not let their trade monopoly in the Indian Ocean be taken away without a fight. Da Gama set sail on July 8, 1497. Bartolomeu Dias traveled to the Cape Verde Islands as a consultant. In order to avoid the lulls in the Gulf of Guinea , da Gama did not drive along the African coast, but south in the middle of the Atlantic, until he then turned east and reached the South African coast at the beginning of November. In St. Helena Bay , the ships were overhauled and trade contacts were established with the locals. Only after several attempts did the circumnavigation of the Cape of Good Hope succeed on November 22nd and da Gama landed on November 25th in Angra de São Braz ( Mossel Bay ), where he set up a padrão and abandoned the supply ship. At Christmas they reached a stretch of coast in South Africa, which Vasco da Gama called Natal ( Christmas ). On January 10, 1498, the fleet anchored in Delagoa Bay , where Maputo , the capital of Mozambique, is today . Because of the friendly residents, Vasco da Gama called the land Terra da Boa Gente ( Land of the Good People ). Sofala was missed on the onward journey, but on January 22nd they reached the mouth of the Zambezi , where another padrão was established. The Ilha de Moçambique was discovered in March . On April 7, 1498, the fleet came to Mombasa , where Arab merchants first tried to prevent da Gamas from continuing their journey. Here one met Christians from Ethiopia and Syria and Chinese traders. The Portuguese found support in Melinde ( Malindi ), a trading town a little further north that competed with Mombasa. From here the Arab pilot Ahmad ibn Majid (Melemo Cama) led Vasco da Gama through the waters. On April 29, 1498 the equator was crossed and on May 17 or 18 the Indian mountains of the Western Ghats came into view. The squadron anchored on May 20, 1498 in the small port town of Capocate north of Kalikut . A trade agreement was signed with the Samorim (ruler) of Kalikut, but when, after some incidents with Arab traders, the mood gradually turned against the Portuguese, they left the city at the end of August. They drove a little north to the Angediven , before finally leaving India on October 5th with the holds full of spices. After a quarter of a year drive they reached Mogadishu . It went on to Melinde, past Mombasa, a little later the São Rafael had to be given up because the team had been decimated too much by illness. The last padrão was set up on the Mozambican island of Ilha de São Jorge . On June 10, 1499 the first ship from da Gama's fleet reached Lisbon, Vasco da Gama did not return to his home country until September due to the illness of his brother Paulo , where he was received with great honors. A quarter of the crew perished on the trip. The poet Luís de Camões wrote the history of the ride in the Portuguese national epic The Lusiads ( Os Lusiades down).

Control of the Indian Ocean

Afonso de Albuquerque (picture from the 16th century)

Immediately after Vasco da Gama returned, a second trip to India was prepared. On March 9, 1500, 13 ships with a crew of 1500 under the command of Pedro Álvares Cabral set sail. Like da Gama before, Cabral made a wide arc to the west from the Cape Verde Islands to avoid the trade winds . On April 21, a mountain came into view, which was baptized Monte Pascoal ( Osterberg ) and on April 23, 1500, Cabral landed as the first European on the coast of Brazil near today's Porto Seguro and took possession of the land for Portugal. In the first few years, Brazil only served as a stopover on the Europe – India route until its riches ( Brazilian wood , diamonds) were discovered. The discovery did not attract much attention during this period either. This may be because Cabral initially thought Brazil was a larger island or because it was already known of its existence. The coast may have been sighted by other sailors before, with some reports suggesting Portuguese expeditions to South America in the 1490s. On Cabral's voyage across the South Atlantic, several caravels were lost in a storm. Bartolomeu Dias, the discoverer of the Cape of Good Hope, was among the victims. The fleet had been torn apart in the storm. While Cabral made a stopover in Mozambique, Diogo Dias sailed north along the east coast of Madagascar until he reached Mogadishu and finally Berbera at the entrance to the Red Sea. The ships met again at the East African Quíloa ( Kilwa ). It went on to Melinde and with Arab pilots hired there to Kalikut. Again there were fights with Arab traders. Eventually the Portuguese trading post was stormed and 28 Portuguese later killed. Cabral did not drive away like da Gama, he confiscated the cargo of an Arab fleet in the port and burned the ships. Then Cabral shelled the city. Over 600 residents are said to have died. Cabral drove on to Cochin with his squadron . The city-state, like its neighbors Cannanore ( Kannur ) and Coulão ( Kollam ), was subject to the ruler of Kalikut, which is why they gladly entered into an alliance with Portugal against him. This gave Portugal trade bases on the Malabar coast . The now beginning spice trade finally brought the income to cover the investments. Cabral was still exploring the Monomotapa gold mines (now in Zimbabwe and Mozambique) before returning to Lisbon in 1501.

In 1503 the Seychelles ( Ilhas do Almirante ) and Socotra ( Socotorá ) were discovered. In the same year Afonso de Albuquerque received permission from the ruler of Cochin to build the first Portuguese fortress in India. The Italian-Arab monopoly in trade with India was broken. Of course, the former merchants tried to defend themselves against the Portuguese competition. The Egyptian sultan of the Mamluks threatened to destroy Palestine and the holy places if the Portuguese did not withdraw, but Portugal was not intimidated by the threats. The Portuguese began now with the systematic establishment of a base system to secure their presence and the associated lucrative trade. 1505 proclaimed King Manuel I the commander Francisco de Almeida for the first Viceroy of Portuguese India, and sent him with 22 ships and 2,500 men, including 1,500 Marines to India. In the same year, de Almeida captured the East African trading cities of Sofala, Quíloa and Mombasa, which had previously been in opposition to Portugal. The latter was also previously a competitor of the Portuguese-friendly Melinde. Near Goa , de Almeida went ashore in India and built a fort and a trading post in friendly Cannanore. Cochin became the first capital of the Portuguese in India. De Almeida's son Lourenço meanwhile drove further south and was the first Portuguese to set foot on Ceylon , which was to be conquered by the Portuguese in the course of the 16th century. On the way back Lourenço de Almeida destroyed the fleet of the ruler of Kalikut on March 17, 1507 near Cannanore.

In 1507 Afonso de Albuquerque occupied the island of Socotra and the important city of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf in the Strait of Hormuz . A fortress was built straight away, but because there were too few men, the city had to be abandoned again in 1508 for the time being. With the conquest of Socotra and Hormuz, the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf were closed to Egyptian and Venetian ships, which is why the Sultan of the Mamluks sent a war fleet. When the fleets met in 1508 near today's Mumbai , Lourenço de Almeida was killed, whereupon his father began a campaign of revenge and sacked the cities of Chaul ( Tschoul ) and Kalikut. At the end of the year Albuquerque reached the Malabar coast and brought Almeida the order from the king that Albuquerque should take over the office of governor of India and that de Almeida was deposed. De Almeida refused, however, on the grounds that he must first avenge the death of his son, after which he would resign. On February 3, 1509, de Almeida destroyed the Egyptian fleet in the naval battle of Diu , thereby gaining supremacy in the Indian Ocean for Portugal. De Almeida resigned from office and returned to Portugal. However, near what is now Cape Town , he and 64 other Portuguese were killed when they fought with locals.

The Portuguese colonial empire in the 16th century (green)

On November 25, 1510, Albuquerque finally succeeded in conquering Goa. The Portuguese were able to take Goa as early as the spring of 1510, but lost it again for a short time to the Adil Shahi dynasty. Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula were reached for the first time. At the end of 1510, the center of power Kalikut also fell into the hands of Portugal. The first attempt to conquer Malacca on the strait named after it failed, but in 1511 it was taken with great losses. This meant that the largest spice market and Indo-Chinese trade was in the hands of Portugal. Trade agreements were concluded with the rulers of Burma , Java and Kochinchina . In 1513 Albuquerque planned the conquest of Mecca and Suez , but in the same year the capture of Aden failed . The further plans to conquer the Red Sea were then abandoned.

In 1515 Albuquerque conquered Hormuz for the second time. On the way back he received the news of his dismissal by Manuel I. Albuquerque's success had raised fears that one day he might turn against the king. Albuquerque died bitterly in Goa on December 16, 1515.

The exploration of East Asia

Ruins of Sao Paulo in Macau

After the initially unsuccessful conquest of Aden in 1513, expansion continued towards the east. As early as 1511/12, António de Abreu and Francisco Serrão explored the islands of Southeast Asia with three ships. Java, Timor , Ambon , Seram ( formerly: Ceram ), the Banda Islands and Alor are among their discoveries. They were the first to reach the Western Pacific. De Abreu also described the coast of New Guinea , where he did not land. Only Jorge de Menezes entered the first European to the island in 1526 and is considered Guinea European explorers. Serrão came in a second voyage to the northern Moluccas Islands of Ternate , where a Portuguese trading post was established in 1513. The Portuguese used the rivalry between the local sultants Ternate and Tidore to establish a trading base here. Later Serrão also explored the north coast of Borneo . Diogo Lopes de Sequeira visited the ports of Pedim and Pacém on Sumatra and sighted the Nicobar Islands .

Portuguese carrack on Japanese painting

Jorge Álvares was the first Portuguese to sail to China and landed in May 1513 (other sources: 1515) at the mouth of the Pearl River on the island of Lintin , where he set up a padrão . He was followed from 1514 to 1516 by the Italian Raffaello Perestrello , who visited Canton for Portugal on the junk of a Chinese merchant . In 1517, under Fernão Pires de Andrade near Tamão (Tuen Mun 屯門) in the later New Territories of Hong Kong , fighting with the Chinese army took place. In 1519 Tamão was occupied by the Portuguese. Perestrello had reported that the Chinese emperor wanted good relations with Portugal, whereupon Albuquerque sent Tomé Pires to Beijing on a diplomatic mission via Nanjing in 1520 . There Pires was first placed under arrest on the advice of the former ruler of Malacca. It was only when Emperor Zhengde arrived in Beijing that Pires could audition for him. Since Zhengde died shortly afterwards in 1521, Pires was sent back to the Pearl River until the new emperor would send him new instructions. Emperor Jiajing was hostile to the Portuguese. In the same year, all Portuguese except Pires were executed in Tamão. It was not until 1543 that the Chinese resumed trade and in 1557 the Portuguese were allowed to settle in Macau, from which the center of Portuguese trade in East Asia developed. In 1543 the Portuguese reached the Japanese island of Tanegashima . Portugal organized trade between China and Japan in the following century (see China trade ). They were excluded from Japanese trade in 1639 in favor of the Dutch, whose settlement in Japan was restricted to Dejima in Nagasaki Bay .

A 16th century map seems to prove that Portuguese explorers, not British or Dutch, were the first Europeans to discover Australia. The map shows exact geographic details along the Australian east coast in Portuguese. The Portuguese Cristóvão de Mendonça led a fleet of four ships into Botany Bay in 1522 , almost 250 years before James Cook .

Decline of colonial power

Personal union of Spain (yellow) and Portugal (green) around the year 1600 (light yellow: claimed by Spain)

If the spice trade over the Mediterranean came to a standstill between 1505 and 1515, from 1516 goods came back to Europe from India via Alexandria. The Portuguese could not stop trade on the pilgrimage route to Mecca either. Neither about the Silk Road and the port cities of Palestine and the Black Sea .

Profits from trade with India and Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries were considered the private property of the Portuguese king. Under Manuel I (1495–1521) they were not profitable, but invested in magnificent buildings and court rulings. The Manueline style still bears witness to this today. Other profiteers were the church, the nobility and the upper class, who participated in the trips with investments. Most of the people came away empty-handed. Corruption was rampant among colonial officials. Under Johann III. (1521–1557) the foreign debt rose immeasurably. In 1549 the Portuguese branch in Antwerp had to be closed. Sebastian I (1557–1578) had to declare national bankruptcy .

The Portuguese colonial empire in 1700

In 1578 King Sebastian I was killed in the battle of Alcácer-Quibir while trying to conquer all of Morocco . His successor was Heinrich I , who as a cardinal remained childless. With him, the last male member of the House of Avis died and Portugal fell to Spain in a personal union. In addition, 40,000 Portuguese and mercenaries perished in the Moroccan adventure, which led to a long weakening of Portugal's military clout. Most of the treasury had to be used to release Portuguese prisoners from Moroccan captivity. Larger reserves had not been created anyway, so that one could no longer keep up in the competition with the other European nations.

The Portuguese colonial empire in 1800

The territorial decline of the Portuguese colonial empire began in the 17th century, when the Dutch began to also get involved in Africa, America and Asia and wrested a large part of their Asian colonies such as Malacca, Ceylon and the Spice Islands from the Portuguese ( see also Dutch-Portuguese War ). In addition, Portugal was automatically enemies with England in a personal union with Spain, which is why England now also proceeded against the colonies of its previous closest ally Portugal. On the east coast of Africa, Oman conquered most of the Portuguese possessions.

On November 1, 1755, the kingdom was hit again with the earthquake in Lisbon . The capital was almost completely destroyed. Portugal became the pawn of the more powerful European states and Lisbon was occupied by Napoleon's troops in 1807 . The Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro became the new seat of government. After the end of the war, Brazil received the status of a kingdom ruled in personal union with Portugal in 1815. When Brazil was to regain its colony status, the Portuguese Crown Prince was crowned Emperor of Brazil as Peter I and declared the country's independence in 1822, with Portugal finally losing its largest and richest colony. Mozambique and Angola as well as some small estates in West Africa, India and East Asia were the last remaining territories in the 19th and 20th centuries . It was only at this time that the hinterland of these colonies came under the real control of Portugal. Before that, beyond Brazil, it was limited to trading posts, thin coastal strips and protection treaties with local rulers. Real colonial power was only built in the claimed areas after the loss of Brazil. In the liberal constitution of 1822 , the Portuguese nation was described as the "Union of all Portuguese in both hemispheres", which strengthened the unity between the motherland and the colonies. The following constitution, the Charter of 1826 , stated in Article 1 that the Kingdom of Portugal forms the political association of all Portuguese. Article 2 listed the areas and Article 3 emphasized that Portugal did not waive the rights to these areas. Portuguese was defined in Title II, Article 7: "All who were born in Portugal and its possessions and who are currently not Brazilians."

The natives of the colonies had already been given the opportunity to obtain Portuguese citizenship rights as Assimilado . Five conditions had to be met for this. You had to be over 18 years old, master the Portuguese language, be able to support your family, acquire the knowledge to fulfill your duties as a citizen, and ultimately you couldn't have been a deserter or a conscientious objector.

Portugal's plan to connect the South African colonies, the Mapa Cor-de-Rosa 1886

In 1885 Portugal failed with its claims to the territory of the Belgian Congo due to Germany's objection. Portugal only received a guarantee for its possessions in Cabinda, Angola and Mozambique, but without the establishment of internal national borders. The requirement here was that troops and civil servants had to be sent to occupy the claimed areas. The dream of a land bridge between the possessions in Angola and Mozambique collided with the British plans for an English colony from Cape to Cairo . Even if France and Germany supported a Portuguese buffer, Portugal could not find the resources to occupy it effectively, despite the erupting national enthusiasm for colonialism. After all, some expeditions were sent to what is now Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe , so that in 1887 Portugal's Foreign Minister Henrique Barros Gomes presented the colonial powers with a map on which the areas claimed by Portugal were colored pink, the Mapa Cor-de Rosa . Great Britain rejected the claims and in January 1890 set an ultimatum for Portugal to withdraw from Rhodesia and Nyasaland . Otherwise they threatened to break off diplomatic relations and even sent a warship to Lisbon. The retreat of the Portuguese king from the British threat and the Portuguese defeat in the battle of the Pembe ford (1904) against rebellious Ovambo were to be responsible for the triggering of the events that were to lead to the overthrow of the monarchy in Portugal in 1910.

Portugal received its last territorial gain after the First World War , when it received the Kionga triangle back through the Treaty of Versailles as compensation for the German occupation of the north of Mozambique . In the Second World War, Portugal remained neutral. Nevertheless, Portuguese Timor and Macau were occupied by the Japanese ( see: Battle for Timor ). Portugal got the two colonies back after the end of the war.

Portuguese colonial empire since 1945 and decolonization

Portugal's overseas provinces in the 20th century with year of loss
Portuguese soldiers in
Luanda in the 1960s
Situation in Portugal's African colonies at the end of 1970
PAIGC control
post 1974

In contrast to other colonial powers such as Great Britain or France, Portugal held its last colonies in Portuguese Guinea, Angola and Mozambique until the 1970s, despite the bloody colonial war . This imperial insistence against the general trend towards decolonization and against economic reason was the result of the colonial policy of the authoritarian Estado Novo ( Portuguese : " The New State ") under António de Oliveira Salazar and his successor Marcelo Caetano . In Great Britain and France, liberal democracies had formed after the First World War , which granted their colonies limited autonomy. The aspirations for autonomy of the British and French colonies, which were strengthened by the emergence of liberalism, led to the complete independence of most of the colonies after the Second World War . Portugal, on the other hand, had scarcely deviated from dictatorial principles until 1974. After the crisis-ridden First Portuguese Republic, the monarchy gave rise to the dictatorship of the so-called New State under António de Oliveira Salazar (1889–1970), which tried to preserve an important role for Portugal. The aspirations for autonomy in the Portuguese colonies were suppressed by military force. In the end, Portugal had more soldiers in the African colonies than in its own country (in 1974 it was 80% of the army) and military spending consumed almost 60% of the national budget. It was only after the Carnation Revolution , which ended the authoritarian regime in 1974, that the now democratic government released its African colonies into independence. The Indian possessions had already been annexed by India in the 1950s and 1960s . The same thing happened to Fort São João Baptista d'Ajudá , which was occupied by Dahomey in 1961 . The annexations were only recognized by Portugal after the Carnation Revolution. Portuguese Timor ( East Timor ) was to be prepared for independence at this time, while Macau was only granted internal autonomy in 1976, as the People's Republic of China demanded clarification of the Hong Kong issue before taking over .

In Portuguese Timor a civil war broke out between the leading parties and the growing threat from Indonesia forced the local FRETILIN to unilaterally declare independence on November 28, 1975 . Just nine days later, East Timor was occupied and annexed by Indonesia . Neither the declaration of independence nor the annexation by Indonesia were recognized by Portugal. For the UN , too , East Timor remained "dependent territory under Portuguese administration" until 1999 when the former colony came under UN administration .

In Macau, the Portuguese administration existed until the peaceful return to the People's Republic of China on December 20, 1999. This ended the more than 500-year-old colonial history of Portugal.

The consequences for the present

Today, in addition to continental Portugal, only the two archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira belong to the Portuguese territory. They now have an autonomous status.

Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, dark blue: member states; light blue: observer status; red: seat of the CPLP

Portugal and the seven former colonies that use Portuguese as their official language are organized in the Community of Portuguese- Speaking Countries (CPLP). Mauritius and Equatorial Guinea have observer status; the People's Republic of China applied for it for Macau in 2006. The Jogos da Lusofonia ( Lusophonic Games ), a sporting event in which Portuguese-speaking countries and regions compete against each other, have been taking place regularly since 2006 . In addition to the Jogos da Lusofonia members Macau and the states with Portuguese as the official language, Equatorial Guinea, India and Sri Lanka are associated. Ghana , the Indonesian island of Flores and Spanish Galicia , whose regional language Galician is related to Portuguese, are considering participation.

Portugal was already a destination for immigrants from the former colonies with the independence of the colonies and increasingly after its accession to the European Community . In 2006, 418,000 foreigners were living legally in Portugal, 68,000 of whom came from Cape Verde, 64,000 from Brazil, 34,000 from Angola and 25,000 from Guinea-Bissau. The number of Chinese, mostly from Macau, is increasing steadily.

In the former colonies, the Portuguese also left their mark on the population. In all of them there is a mixed population with the respective indigenous ethnic groups, which is called Mestiços , with a different proportion of the population , in some cases there is also a remaining Portuguese population. Portuguese Creole languages ​​are spoken in Sri Lanka, Malacca, the Cape Verde Islands and Flores.

The economy in the Portuguese colonial empire

Map of West Africa from the 16th century

Before expanding overseas, Portugal was predominantly an agricultural country. After the voyages of discovery began, trading posts were set up along the African coast, from which trade with the hinterland was carried out. Fortresses ensured that trade routes and spheres of influence were secured. In 1444 the Companhia de Lagos was founded, which received the trade monopoly for Africa.

Antão Gonçalves brought the first black African slaves to Portugal as early as 1441. Before that, the Moors and the indigenous people of the Canary Islands had been enslaved, but this was difficult because both peoples were very defensive. The hunt was easier with black Africans. You caught them yourself, mostly they were bought from Moorish or Black African traders. From the Arguim trading base founded in 1448 (in today's Mauritania ) a lively slave trade began , which financed further expeditions of the Portuguese; other riches had not been found until then. Only the sugar production, for the most part in Madeira, also brought profits.

In 1444, 280 slaves arrived in the Portuguese city of Lagos , 46 of which were the profit share for Henry the Navigator. Around 1450, 700 to 800 slaves came to Portugal annually. With the discovery of the Congo River in 1482, the slave trade increased sharply. Every year 12,000 people were sold in the slave markets of Lisbon and Lagos. During this time the Congo developed as the main supplier of slaves, later it became Angola.

Most of the slaves were sold to Castile, Aragon and the rest of Europe. Only a part remained in Portugal and was used there in agriculture (such as the sugar cane plantations on Madeira) or in the home. Half a ton of gold came from Elmina every year and Guinea pepper ( Afromomum melegueta ) from West Africa was the first spice. In 1493/94 1711 quintals were imported, then between 1498 and 1504 2440 quintals. Other commodities were gum arabic , civets , cotton and ivory . These goods were exchanged for wheat, fabrics, clothing, coral necklaces and silver. Further profits came from fishing, whaling and the hunting of seals.

In order to advance the exploration of the foreign areas, the trading rights on the African coast were given to Fernão Gomes for a total of six years in 1469 and the rights of use from Brazil to Fernão de Noronha in 1502 . For this, the businessmen committed themselves to explore a fixed length of the coast every year.

The backbone of the economic power of Portugal: a caravel around 1500

When Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India in 1498, the way to the Asian market was open. With Vasco da Gama's second trip to India in 1502, profits were higher than investments for the first time. The Portuguese royal family made a profit of 400 percent. The Arab and Italian competition was eliminated by the occupation of areas on the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Aden . Other cities were conquered on the East African coast and in India, as well as Ceylon and areas in Southeast Asia . Various commercial goods came to Portugal from India: Pepper ( Piper nigrum ), the most expensive spice in the Middle Ages (in Lisbon, pepper brought a profit of 500 percent), ginger , cloves , nutmeg , camphor , borax , wormwood , cardamom , turmeric , abel musk , Opium , sarsaparilla and aloe . Ceylon contributed cinnamon, which was pressed as a tribute to the local rulers for protection agreements. Upon reaching the Spice Islands , Portugal gained control of the production facilities of spices such as cloves from the Moluccas and nutmeg from the Banda Islands .

From Africa, the slave trade began to Arabia and America. Other commodities were ivory, gold, diamonds and precious woods such as Brazil wood from South America and sandalwood , which was exported from Timor to China, where Portugal set up trading posts in the mid-16th century as part of the Chinese trade. Since it was forbidden for both Chinese and Japanese to leave their country, Portugal operated via Nagasaki in the era of the Nanban trade (1571-1638) between the two empires and brought silk and firearms to Japan in exchange for silver .

In Brazil, sugar cane plantations began to be built in the 16th century . If Indians were first used here as cheap labor, they were soon replaced by African slaves, who were less susceptible to European diseases. In 1649 the General Society of Brazilian Trade ( Companhia Geral do Comércio do Brasil ) was founded, which had extensive trade monopolies in Brazil. It should exist until 1720. Coffee was also grown in the colonies from the 19th century (Brazil 1805, Portuguese Timor 1815).

During the personal union with Spain (1580-1640), the Portuguese were increasingly harassed by Spaniards in their trading areas. Portugal threatened to be relegated to a simple Spanish province. In addition, Persians, Arabs from Oman as well as the Netherlands and England, who were at war with Spain, increasingly displaced Portugal from their colonies. After the liberation from Spanish rule, Portugal suffered further losses from the Netherlands, for example in India, Southeast Asia and on the Gold Coast. The Dutch were driven out of Brazil again, but the lucrative trade between Japan and China was lost to the Netherlands after the Shimabara uprising . Oman not only drove Portugal out of the Middle East, but also a large part of the east coast of Africa and the associated slave trade was lost.

As early as the second half of the 17th century, English sugar from Jamaica and Barbados and tobacco from Virginia flooded the market, causing the prices of these Portuguese export goods from Brazil to fall sharply. England received free trading rights in Portugal and its colonies through several treaties, while Portuguese traders there were disadvantaged by English taxes. Although an import ban on woolen fabrics was obtained at the end of the 17th century to protect the local market, England and Portugal signed the Methuen Treaty in 1703 . He stipulated that England could again export textiles to Portugal and its colonies without any obstacles, while Portugal had to pay lower taxes in England for its wine exports than its French competition. Although this promoted port wine production in the north of the mother country, the domestic textile production that was just beginning perished, which later also delayed the industrial revolution in Portugal. The trade deficit of Portugal with England was tried to be financed with gold and diamonds from Brazil. Payments increased from 447,347 pounds of gold (1741) to 1,085,558 pounds of gold (1760).

The destruction of the capital Lisbon by the earthquake of 1755 let Portugal fall back to the bottom of the economic powers of Europe. In the competition with other colonial powers, Portugal was increasingly left behind. During the Napoleonic Wars , France tried three times to occupy the Portuguese mother country. The beginning industrialization came to a standstill. The country was devastated by the scorched earth tactics used by both the French and the English. Between 1810 and 1820 Portugal became a de facto protectorate of Great Britain itself. When Brazil's most important colony gained independence in 1822, the end of economic power was sealed.

Slavery in Brazil. Painting by Jean-Baptiste Debret (1768–1848).

Great Britain banned the slave trade as early as 1807 ( Slave Trade Act 1807 ) and from then on also actively fought the slave trade in other European countries. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, slavery and the slave trade were outlawed. Slavery was finally abolished in Portugal and its colonies in 1869.

The colonies developed more and more into a losing business. Portugal was unable to develop Mozambique, which is why in 1891 almost a third of the land was leased to the British companies Mozambique Company and Niassa Company . As a result, the colony was practically ruled by British and South African capital and the British pound was more widespread than the Portuguese escudo. In the Angola Treaty , Germany and Great Britain agreed on a joint loan on August 30, 1898, for which the Portuguese colonies were provided as collateral. In the event of the expected insolvency of Portugal, Angola, northern Mozambique and Portuguese Timor should go to Germany, and southern Mozambique to Great Britain. As early as 1899, however, the treaty was undermined by the extension of the British guarantee of protection for Portugal and all of its possessions. The First World War finally saved Portugal's colonies from further German expansion efforts in Africa.

The administration of the colonies

Francisco de Almeida , the first Portuguese viceroy of India, in a 16th century portrait by an unknown hand, National Museum of Ancient Art , Lisbon
Capitanías Hereditarias in Brazil in 1534

Since the distances between Portugal and the Indian possessions were too great to be able to administer them effectively from Portugal, the Portuguese set up the Estado da Índia , under the rule of a governor or viceroy appointed by the Portuguese monarch who had far-reaching powers. In contrast to the Spanish colonial empire, however , the title of viceroy was only a title that was sporadically awarded to people of great merit. Not every governor of the Estado da Índia was automatically made viceroy. For example Afonso de Albuquerque ("Afonso the Great"), who laid the actual foundation stone of the Portuguese colonial empire in Asia and Africa, remained only governor. Goa on the west coast of India became the capital . From here the possessions in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and East Africa were administered.

The Brazilian coast was divided by King John III. in the 16th century in 15 Capitanías Hereditarias and gave them to nobles and people from the middle class. In 1549 São Salvador da Bahía de Todos os Santos , today's Salvador da Bahia , was installed as the capital of all capitanías and a governor-general .

Angola ( Portuguese West Africa ) was declared a colony in 1575 and a crown colony in 1589 . The Cape Verde Islands formed several crown colonies as early as 1495, which were united into a single one in 1587. Cacheu on the West African coast became a Capitanía in 1640 . In 1696 Bissau was separated from it as an independent Capitanía and in 1753 it was placed as a separate colony under the sovereignty of the Crown Colony of Cape Verde.

From 1702 Timor had its own governor, who first resided in Lifau and later in Dili and was responsible for the entire possessions on the Lesser Sunda Islands. The respective captain general had previously taken on these tasks. The sovereignty of Goa remained.

In 1714 Brazil was elevated to the status of a viceroyalty and in 1763 the capital was relocated to the economically emerging south of Rio de Janeiro . The Indian possessions received the right to send representatives to the Portuguese Parliament in 1757.

Subordinate to a captain general under the suzerainty of Goa since 1569, Mozambique (a colony under Goa since 1609) became a colony directly under the rule of Portugal in 1752.

After the Portuguese royal family had to flee Lisbon before Napoleon, Rio de Janeiro became the seat of government of the empire. In 1815, Brazil received the status of a kingdom that was ruled jointly with Portugal. When Brazil later lost this rank and Portugal was to be subordinated again, Peter I declared independence from Portugal.

In 1844 Macau was declared an independent overseas province ( província ultramarina ), with sovereignty over the Southeast Asian possessions, but as early as 1883 Macau and the Portuguese Timor, which remained as the last possession in the Indonesian archipelago, were merged with the Estado da Índia and administered from Goa.

Bissau and Cacheu were reunited as a colony of Portuguese Guinea in 1879. In 1883 Cabinda ( Portuguese Congo ) became the Protectorate of Portugal. In 1932 Cabinda was placed under the sovereignty of Angola, from 1934 it was considered a dependent territory of Angola . In 1946 Cabinda was restored as an independent district, which remained until 1975. Cabinda unilaterally proclaimed an independent republic that was not recognized by Portugal and was eventually annexed by Angola.

Since the colonies and the mother country were officially treated on an equal footing from 1822, administration was now carried out by the respective ministries in Lisbon. However, the consequence was that the colonies were constantly disadvantaged. From 1835 the Ministry of the Navy was responsible for the administration of the colonies, from 1851 the newly established Ministry for Overseas Territories ( Conselho Ultramarino ) took over the task. But that was dissolved again in 1868 for lack of money and the administration went back to the Ministry of the Navy. The governors of the colonies were restricted in their freedom of choice. All matters had to be coordinated with the administration in Lisbon.

In 1946, Portuguese India was given the designation overseas province , which from 1951 was also used for the other Portuguese colonies. In this way, they no longer wanted to be regarded as a colonial power, but as a “multiethnic and pluricontinental nation” (Nação Multirracial e Pluricontinental), whose overseas provinces are an integrated and inseparable part. The term Portuguese Colonial Empire ( Império Colonial Português ) was also no longer used. This did not result in any real administrative differences, but the Portuguese colonies were given the right to be represented in the Lisbon Parliament . In addition, Macau and Portuguese Timor became independent overseas provinces without Goa suzerainty. A few years later, the Portuguese territories in India and Ajudá in West Africa were lost.

At the beginning of the 1970s there were again minor reforms, Mozambique and Angola were appointed state ( estado ) within Portugal in 1971 . The inhabitants of Portuguese Timor received limited Portuguese citizenship in 1972 with the transformation of the overseas province into an autonomous region . The Carnation Revolution eventually put most of Portugal's possessions on the road to independence. After brief interim administrations, the African areas were given independence. The annexations of individual Portuguese possessions by India and Dahomey were recognized.

Shortly after Portuguese Timor unilaterally declared itself independent in 1975, it was occupied by Indonesia. Since the occupation was never recognized internationally, East Timor officially remained Portuguese territory until its independence in 1999.

Macau was officially declared a Chinese territory under Portuguese administration in 1976 and the possession was granted internal autonomy. The People's Republic of China was gradually given more and more rights to appeal until Macau was finally returned to China in 1999.

The former colonies and bases of Portugal


Henry the Navigator during the conquest of Ceuta in 1415. Imaginative historical depiction by Jorge Colaço (1864–1942) on wall tiles in the vestibule of the Porto São Bento train station

Africa was the first destination of Portugal's expansion efforts. What first began with a continuation of the Reconquista in Morocco, under the leadership of Heinrich the Navigator, became a targeted exploration of the African coast with the sea ​​route to India as the final destination. These secured bases that were built or conquered like a pearl necklace along the African coast. They also served as trading posts with the inland for gold, ivory and slaves. In 1454 Pope Nicholas V granted Portugal the property rights for the west coast of Africa. Portugal ruled the island of Hormuz from 1515 (with interruptions) to 1622.

On the east coast of Africa, the Portuguese were pushed back from Oman by the Arabs and the other great powers of Europe gradually took over the spheres of influence of Portugal, which with its small population could not hold the sprawling empire over the long term. In addition, there was the personal union with Spain, which temporarily degraded Portugal to a province. In 1869 slavery ended in Portugal and its colonies. In Africa, only a few small colonies remained until the 20th century, which were finally granted independence after colonial wars with many losses and the Carnation Revolution of 1974. This was insufficiently prepared; in several cases there was chaos, dictatorship and civil war, which had consequences for the countries for decades.


Portugal's former possessions on Morocco's coast

In 1415, Portugal conquered the port city of Ceuta from the Moors during the Reconquista . It became Portugal's first base in Africa. In 1437 the Portuguese failed to conquer Tangier, so they had to bury their plans to attack Tunis and Cairo as well. In 1458 they did not succeed in taking the city either, but in 1471 Tangier was finally conquered. Today's Moroccan region of Tangier-Tétouan around Cape Spartel was named Algarve ultramar ( Algarve beyond the sea ). Around 1520 Portugal finally ruled almost all port cities in Morocco on the Atlantic. Most of them were abandoned between 1541 and 1550 for economic reasons. The constant attacks by the Moors made the cities unprofitable. In 1578, against all advice , King Sebastian I tried to conquer all of Morocco with a large army and to make himself Christian Emperor of the Maghreb . On August 4, 1578, the "day of shame", the Portuguese army was defeated at the battle of Alcácer-Quibir . Out of 17,000 Portuguese soldiers, only 60 returned to Lisbon. The king fell too. After the liberation of Portugal from the personal union with Spain (1580-1640), Ceuta and Isla Perejil remained the only Portuguese colony after the Treaty of Lisbon in 1668 with Spain. Tangier was given in 1661 together with Bombay as a dowry for Catherine of Braganza to the English King Charles II (England) . In 1769 Portugal gave up Mazagão ( today El Jadida ), its last city in Morocco. The population was evacuated to Brazil, where they founded the place Nova Mazagão in what is now the state of Amapá .

Alcácer-Ceguer ( Alcazarquivir, El Qsar es Seghir, al-Qasr al-Kabir ) 1458 1550 Conquered in 1458, abandoned for economic reasons in 1550
Arzila ( Asilah ) 1471 1589 Conquered in 1471, abandoned for economic reasons in 1541, Portuguese again in 1577, lost again in 1589
Azamor ( now Azemmour ) 1486 1541 1486 vassal of Portugal and paying tribute, conquered by Portugal in 1508 after revolt, conquered again in 1513 after failure to pay tribute, abandoned by Portugal in 1541 for economic reasons
Ceuta 1415 1668 Conquered by Portugal in 1415, in 1437, after a failed attempt to conquer Tangier, Portugal is supposed to renounce Ceuta, but does not, in 1640 Portugal liberates itself from its personal union with Spain and in 1668 renounces Ceuta as a colony in favor of Spain
Mazagão ( Mazagan, today El Jadida ) 1502 1769 Conquered by Portugal in 1502, expanded into a port fortress in 1506, the fortifications were rebuilt in 1541, attacks by the Moors repelled in 1562, abandoned by Portugal in 1769
Mogador ( Essaouira ) 1506 1525 1506 Construction of the Fort Castelo Real de Mogador , conquered by the Moroccans in 1525
Safim ( Safi ) 1488 1541 Founded in 1488 as a Portuguese trading post, abandoned in 1541 for economic reasons
Santa Cruz do Cabo de Gué ( Agadir ) 1505 1541 Founded in 1505 as a Portuguese trading post, conquered by the Wattasids in 1541
Tangier 1471 1661 1437 and 1458 attempt to conquer Tangier failed, 1471 Portugal conquered Tangier, in 1661 as dowry to England

Between Morocco and the Gold Coast

Roll call of the PAIGC rebels in 1974

Heinrich the Navigator organized several expedition trips along the African coast with the aim of discovering the sea route to India. In 1434 the Portuguese circled the dreaded Cape Bojador and reached Cape Verde in 1445 , in 1448 the trading post and fortress of Arguim were built, which became an important trading post for slaves. In 1455 the Italians Antoniotto Usodimare and Alvise Cadamosto explored the Gambia River for Portugal . In 1456 Cadamosto discovered the eastern Cape Verde Islands. Some historians have ascribed the discovery to the Genoese António da Noli ; however, this version has since been disproved. In 1461 Diogo Afonso also discovered the western islands of the archipelago. In the same year, da Noli, as the first governor of Cape Verde, built small military stations on the island of Santiago and Fogo and in 1462 the first settlement Ribeira Grande (today: Cidade Velha ) in the south of Santiago, the first permanently inhabited European settlement in the tropics. The first settlers were Portuguese exiles, pardoned offenders, Flemish and Genoese adventurers, and Sephardic Jews from the Iberian Peninsula. Until 1480, the entire coast of Guinea was known. In 1487 a trading post was set up in Oden ( Ouadâne ), a junction of caravan routes about 550 km inland in present-day Mauritania. In 1532 Ribeira Grande received city rights and the independent diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde was established. It was from here that the missionary work of West Africa began. In 1614 the colony of Cacheu and in 1753 the colony of Bissau was founded on the mainland, which was under the sovereignty of Cape Verde until its unification as the colony of Portuguese Guinea in 1879. Parts of the land claimed by Portugal on the mainland were annexed by France . It was not until 1915 that Portugal was able to subdue the previously independent tribes. In the 1940s, Bissau, the capital of Portuguese Guinea since 1941, had a certain importance as an alternate airport for the Panamerican clipper . During the Estado Novo , Cape Verde gained notoriety through the Tarrafal concentration camp on the island of Santiago, where many insurgents from the colonies and regime critics from the motherland were imprisoned. From 1963, a war of independence raged in Portuguese Guinea, in which the insurgents managed to bring a large part of the country under their control and to set up a provisional government. On September 24, 1973, the PAIGC declared the independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verdes as a common state, but it was not until 1974 that Guinea-Bissau became the first overseas province after the Carnation Revolution. Cape Verde declared its independence in 1975, separated from Guinea-Bissau.

Between Morocco and the Gold Coast
Possession Acquisition loss story
Arguim 1448 1633 1448 construction of a Portuguese fortress (other source: 1440/1455), 1461 construction of a fortress, lost to the Netherlands in 1633 (today Mauritania )
Cape Verde Islands 1456/61 1975 Discovered in 1456 (eastern part) and 1461 (western part), settled from 1462, granted independence in 1975
Oden ( Ouadâne ) 1487 16th century Portuguese trading post established in 1487, fell into disrepair again in the 16th century
Portuguese Guinea (today Guinea-Bissau ) 1614 1974 1446 arrival of Nuno Tristão , 1614 founding of the Cacheu colony , 1753 founding of the Bissau colony , 1879 unification of the two colonies to Portuguese Guinea , conquest of the hinterland by 1915, granted independence in 1974
Ziguinchor (today in Senegal ) 1645 1888 Founded by the Portuguese in 1645, lost to France in 1888

Portuguese gold coast

Fort São Jorge da Mina in Elmina

Under Afonso V. “the African” (1443–1481) Portugal explored the Gulf of Guinea to Cape St. Catherine. In 1471, the Portuguese under João de Santarém and Pedro and Pêro Escobar first sailed the Gold Coast . Under John II (1481–1495) the first fortress São Jorge da Mina was created there in 1482 by Diogo de Azambuja , which became the main base of Portugal in West Africa until 1637. The Portuguese bases served more as trading centers than as starting points for large-scale conquests. The gold, ivory and slave trade in particular flourished. The income of the crown doubled in one fell swoop. With the discovery and colonization of America , the slave trade, which had previously been mainly operated by Arab states, experienced an upswing. England entered the lucrative business as early as 1553 and other European nations followed shortly afterwards: Sweden , Denmark , the Netherlands , Brandenburg and France , which in turn set up bases. In the 17th century, the Portuguese possessions on the Gold Coast were lost to the Netherlands. In 1690 the time of the Portuguese ended in what is now Ghana .

Portuguese gold coast
Accra 1557 1578 Portuguese fortress burned down by locals
Fort Duma 1623 1636 at the mouth of the Ankober (Rio da Cobra)
Fort St. Antonio in Axim 1500 (1502?) 1642 1500 (1502?) Portuguese trading post, destroyed by locals in 1514, again Portuguese trading post in 1515, reconstruction in 1541, captured by Dutch on February 8, 1642
Fort San Sebastian in Shama ( Samma ) 1526 1600 1526 Portuguese; until 1558 English; from 1558 Portuguese; 1590 start of the extension, abandoned again in 1600, French (?) Between 1600 and 1640, lost to the Netherlands in 1640
Fort São Jorge da Mina ( St. George's Castle or Elmina Castle ) in Elmina ( El Mina ) 1482 1637 1482 construction of the Portuguese fort, 1486 São Jorge da Mina receives town charter, 1540 reconstruction of the fort, 1596, 1606, 1607, 1615, 1625 unsuccessful attacks by the Dutch, conquered by the Netherlands in 1637
Cape Coast Castle ( Fort Carolusburg , Fort Karlsborg) in Cape Coast hist.Ogua (Ugwà) 1637 before 1637 Portuguese base, 1638 Dutch
Fort Dom Pedro in Anashan 1683 1690 British 1640, Portuguese 1683–1690 (after they had cleared Fort Cará again)
Fort Cará (today's Osu Castle (Osu, Ossu, Ursue)) 1558 1683 Portuguese lodge in 1558, destroyed by locals in 1576, French in 1580, Portuguese in 1583, later abandoned, Swedish in 1650, construction of fortresses begun by Sweden in 1652, Danish in 1658, Dutch in 1659, Danish in 1661 (after official purchase from the Portuguese), Portuguese in 1679–1683 (The Danish commander sold the fort back to the Portuguese.) 1683 under the control of the local Akwamu

Between the Gold Coast and the Cape of Good Hope

Portuguese fortress on Sao Tome
Portuguese troops in the colonial war in Angola

In 1471 São Tomé was discovered by João de Santarém and in 1472 Principe in 1474 Lobo Gonçalves crossed the equator . In 1482 Diogo Cão came to the mouth of the Congo . In 1485 Diogo Cão went on a second trip to the Congo again and made contact there with the Mani-Congo , the ruler of the Congo Empire . The ruler was converted to Christianity, the Portuguese built churches and schools. However, some Congolese nobles rejected the missionaries' request to abolish polygamy . The revolt broke out. The previous king swore off Christianity, but was overthrown in 1507 by his cousin, who was himself baptized in 1491. His dynasty ruled the Congo until it was overthrown by the Portuguese in the 18th century.

In 1488 Bartolomeu Dias reached the Cape of Good Hope . From 1491, Portugal expanded its sphere of influence to the region south of the Congo estuary and began proselytizing the locals. From 1520 to 1526 the Portuguese Baltasar de Castro and Manuel Pacheco explored the Congo River. In 1576 the Portuguese founded Luanda . The Dutch occupied Angola from 1641 to 1648. They could not stay there, but in 1652 the Dutch managed to establish themselves at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1721 Portugal built Fort São João Baptista d'Ajudá to re- establish itself on the Gulf of Guinea after the bases on the Gold Coast had also been lost to the Netherlands. However, you could only bring the immediate environment under your control. São João Baptista d'Ajudá only played a certain role in the 18th century as the regional center of the slave trade. On September 10, 1885, however, Portugal signed a treaty with the Kingdom of Dahomey in the hinterland of São João Baptista d'Ajudá , through which Portugal took over the protectorate over its entire coast in early 1886. In 1892, however, Dahomey fell to France. Likewise, in 1885 Portugal's claims to the opposing Belgian Congo failed because of Germany's objection and in 1890, under British pressure, Lisbon had to renounce the connection between Angola and Mozambique to form a closed South African colonial empire. On August 1, 1961, the newly independent Dahomey occupied today's Benin , São João Baptista d'Ajudá. The uprising of national forces in Angola, which began in the early summer of 1959, was brutally suppressed in 1964. Another armed uprising led by the Marxist MPLA in 1972 was brutally suppressed in 1973. It was only after the Carnation Revolution in Portugal in 1974 that Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe gained independence. Cabinda was annexed by Angola, although it was originally intended to become a separate state. Shortly thereafter, Angola plunged into decades of civil war.

Between the Gold Coast and the Cape of Good Hope
Possession Acquisition loss story
Angola , also Portuguese West Africa 1575 1975 In 1483 the Portuguese navigator Diogo Cão landed in the region, 1576 founding of the capital Luanda , 1484 occupation of the coastal strip, 1641–1648 Dutch subordinate rule, then again Portuguese, 1840 founding of Moçâmedes , 1886 area between Kunene and Kubango Portuguese, 1891 area between Kubango and Kassai Portuguese, 1894 Luanda (Northeast) Portuguese, granted independence in 1975
Annobón 1474 1778 Discovered and settled in 1474, ceded to Spain in 1778 (today: Equatorial Guinea )
Benin 1486 1852 Establishment of a Portuguese trading post by Afonso de Aveira , British protectorate in 1852 (today in Nigeria )
Fernando Pó ( Bioko ) 1474 1778 Discovered in 1472/73, taken over in 1474, occupied by the Netherlands from 1642–1648, ceded to Spain in 1778 (today: Equatorial Guinea )
Portuguese Congo ( Cabinda ) 1883 1975 Battle of Ambuila on October 29, 1665: Portugal gains control of the region, since 1883 a protectorate, from 1956 under a joint governor-general with Angola, in 1975 Cabinda was to become independent as a separate state, but was annexed by Angola.
Ouidah with the São João Baptista d'Ajudá fort 1680 1961 1680 construction of a fortress, shortly thereafter abandoned, 1721 fortress São João Baptista de Ajudá rebuilt, 1727 city conquered by King Dossou Agadja von Dahomey, 1728 again Portuguese, 1822 Brazilian, after Brazil gives up the fortress in 1844, again Portuguese, but also Portugal gives up the fortress in 1858, in 1861 Dahomey gives the fortress to France, 1865 Portugal successfully reclaims the fortress, annexed by Dahomey in 1961 , annexation recognized by Portugal in 1975
Rio Muni 1778 only trading rights between the Niger and the Ogooué River , ceded to Spain (today: Equatorial Guinea )
Sao Tome and Principe 1471/72 1975 between 1469 and 1471 discovery of São Tomés, 1472 discovery of Principes, 1493 first successful settlement, 1500 first settlement on Principe, 1641–1648 Dutch occupied, 1648 French occupied, 1975 granted independence

East Africa

Fort Jesus in Mombasa / Kenya
Ilha de Moçambique
Portuguese soldiers in the colonial war in Mozambique

After circumnavigating the Cape of Good Hope, the way to the Indian Ocean was open. Vasco da Gama drove north towards India in 1498 along the African coast, which had previously belonged to the sphere of influence of the Arabs. On the way he made a pact with the city of Melinde . The tactics of the Portuguese in the years that followed consisted of driving heavily armed ships into the ports and demanding that the ruler there make himself subject to the Portuguese. If this requirement was not met, the city was looted.

The action was justified as a holy Christian war. Since even the big cities were not used to having to defend themselves and were also inferior in terms of weapons, the Portuguese had an easy game. In 1503, Ruy Lourenço Ravasco attacked Zanzibar , forcing the city to pay a tribute. In 1505 Sofala was taken and a Portuguese fortress was built there. Francisco de Almeida looted Kilwa , Mombasa and Baraawe in the following years . The same fate befell Zaila ( Saylac ) a second time in 1517 and 1528 . Until 1506 Portugal extended its claim to power to the entire coast of Tanganyika . This rule only existed on paper because Portugal did not colonize this area. In the following years Portugal built a number of bases on the rest of the East African coast and conquered all Muslim sultanates between Sofala and Cape Guardafui by 1520 in order to secure the sea route to India.

In contrast to West Africa, early attempts were made to penetrate the interior of the country in the hunt for gold. As early as 1501, Pedro Álvares Cabral had visited the Monomotapa gold mines in what is now the border area between Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and in 1514/15 António Fernandes reached today's Zimbabwe by bypassing the kingdom of Monomotapa in the interior of Mozambique. In 1543 Portuguese auxiliaries under Cristóvão da Gama defended the Negus of Ethiopia against the Muslim Somali ruler Ahmed Graññ's , but the conversion of the Ethiopian Orthodox country to the Catholic faith failed. The slave trade was also carried out. The abducted Africans were primarily sold to the Arab countries.

The Yaruba dynasty from Oman gradually began to conquer the Portuguese bases in the 17th century, followed by European competitors. In the end, Mozambique remained as the last colony, in the south of which (Delagoa Bay) Portugal faced Dutch, British-South African and Austrian colonial claims. In 1890, under British pressure, Portugal had to forego a land connection to Angola, its colony on the west coast of Africa. During the First World War, German troops occupied northern Mozambique, for which Portugal received the Kionga triangle as compensation in 1919, which was connected to Mozambique. The armed struggle of FRELIMO against the Portuguese colonial rulers began in 1964 , but it was only after the Carnation Revolution in Portugal that Mozambique was granted independence after a one-year transition period.

East Africa
Possession Acquisition loss story
Brava ( Baraawe ) 1506
Grande Comore 1500 1505 occupied by Portugal for five years
Lamu island

Melinde ( Malindi ) 1500 1630 1498 Vasco da Gama reached Melinde, 1500 alliance between Melinde and Portugal, Portuguese trading post, 1593 relocation of the Portuguese main base to Mombasa, 1630 abandoning the trading post
Mogadishu 1698
Mombasa 1500 1729 1498 Vasco da Gama reaches Mombasa, conquered by Portugal in 1505, another attack by Portugal in 1528, conquered by Portugal in 1593, construction of Fort Jesus , lost to Oman in 1698, Portuguese again from 1728 to 1729, then lost to Oman
Moçambique ( Mozambique ), also Portuguese East Africa 1502 1975 1498 Vasco da Gama reached Mozambique and took possession of it for Portugal, in 1502 occupied Ilha de Moçambique and Sofala as bases, 1510 Fort São Sebastião de Moçambique on the island, 1530 founding of Sena , 1537 founding of Tete on the Zambezi , 1544 founding of Quelimane and Laurenço Marques ( Maputo ), 1875 Delagoa Bay in the south becomes Portuguese, 1885 occupation of the hinterland, 1893 border of the areas around the Zambezi established, 1897 final border with the British colonies, 1917–1918 north of Germany occupied, 1919 Kionga triangle annexed, 1964–1974 FRELIMO's War of Independence , 1975 granted independence
Pemba island
Quíloa ( Kilwa Kisiwani ) 1505 1512 1502 Vasco da Gama visited, 1505 Francisco de Almeida destroyed the city and builds a fort in 1512 conquered by Arabs back Swahili - city state
Zanzibar 1503 1698 Reached by Vasco da Gama in 1499, Portuguese trading post from 1503, occupied by João Homere for Portugal in 1505 , lost to Oman in 1698
Ilha do São Lorenço , also Santa Apolonia ( Madagascar ) 1506 1550 August 10, 1500 Diogo Dias is the first European to set foot on Madagascar, in 1506 a naval base in Matatane on the east coast, supposedly the southern and southeastern coast of the island owned by Portugal until 1550


The historian Cordeiro reports that the Portuguese João Vaz Corte-Real reached Newfoundland ( Terra (Nova) do Bacalhau ) and Greenland in 1473 in a joint Portuguese- Danish expedition . His secret reports from the poor country on the other side of the Atlantic are said to have been one of the reasons why Portugal did not finance Christopher Columbus' expedition to the west. In 1498, João Fernandes Lavrador explored the coast of the Labrador Peninsula named after him . On May 12, 1500, Manuel I. Gaspar Corte-Real , a son of João Vaz Corte-Real, transferred the property rights of "some islands and the terra firma" in the Northwest Atlantic. Gaspar also went on expeditions to Newfoundland, Labrador and Greenland. He disappeared on one of his trips, as did his father and brother Miguel .

There is speculation about the Portuguese navigator João Álvares Fagundes , who explored the south coast of Newfoundland in 1520. Some scientists trust Fagundes that he reached the Gulf of St. Lawrence . Fagundes is said to have received a Capitania as a reward over the areas he discovered and founded a colony there. However, like a colony of the Corte Reals on Labrador, this is said to have been abandoned after a short time. It was said to be too cold for the settlers to try their luck further west. The new colony is said to have been near Ingonish or Mira Bay , both on Cape Breton Island . Hostile Indians are said to have forced the colony to give up. There is no certainty about the existence of the Portuguese colonies in North America, but maps from around 1500 show Newfoundland, Labrador and even Greenland as Portuguese territory ( cantino planisphere ). The areas are also called Terra Cortereal and Terra del Rey de Portuguall here . What is certain is that Portuguese fishermen have been coming off the coast of Newfoundland since then to catch fish as the basis for the Portuguese national dish Bacalhau .

Map of Brazil from the 16th century

In 1500 Pedro Álvares Cabral was the first European to reach the coast of Brazil, other Portuguese expeditions explored the coast of Brazil from 1501. Amerigo Vespucci was the helmsman of one of them . In 1502 they reached Uruguay and the Río de la Plata . Brazil soon grew into the largest and richest colony in Portugal. In 1531/32 expeditions were sent inland for the first time from Rio de Janeiro and São Vicente .

In 1807 Lisbon was occupied by Napoleon's troops, the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro became the new seat of government. After the end of the war, Brazil received the status of a kingdom in 1815, which was ruled jointly with Portugal. After the death of Maria I in 1816, the Prince Regent in Rio de Janeiro was named Johann VI. crowned king of Brazil and Portugal. When asked to return to Portugal in 1820, he followed suit, but the Crown Prince refused, was crowned Emperor of Brazil as Peter I and declared Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822, making Portugal its largest and richest colony lost.

The fourth Portuguese Indian fleet reached the island of Trindade in 1502 on the way to India and in the same year Fernão de Noronha discovered the island named after him Fernando de Noronha . De Noronha originally named the island São João . Fernando de Noronha was settled and, like Trindade, came to Brazil after its independence.

Possession Acquisition loss story
Barbados 1536 1620 discovered by Pedro Campos , outpost by Brazilian Jews , abandoned in 1620
Brazil 1500 1822 1500 discovery of Brazil, from 1530 colony, 1624 to 1654 northeast as New Holland Dutch, 1714 viceroyalty, 1815–1822 personal union United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarve , 1822 independent
Cisplatina (today Uruguay ) 1808 (?) 1822 Occupied by Portugal in 1808, other source: Occupied by Portugal in 1816, United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarve 1815–1822 , independent as part of Brazil in 1822
Colonia do Sacramento ( Colonia del Sacramento ) 1680 1777 1680 foundation of the colony, occupied by Spain in the same year, 1681 returned to Portugal, 1705–1715 as no man's land under Spanish-Argentine administration, 1715–1722 Spanish-Argentine, 1722 administered by Portugal, occupied by Spain in 1735 and removal of the Portuguese governor in 1737 , 1762 another attack by Spain, 1763 again to Portugal, 1777 cession to Spain
French Guiana 1809 1817 occupied by Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars

Labrador (?) 1499 1526 Discovered by João Fernandes Lavrador in 1498 and named after him, colony in 1499, abandoned in 1526
Terra Nova ( Newfoundland ) (?) 1521 1526 Already discovered by João Vaz Corte-Real in 1473 and named as Terra Nova do Bacalhau ( New Land of Stockfish ), explored by Portuguese expeditions in 1500, building of a colony in 1521, abandoned in 1526, since then only visited by fishermen


middle East

In 1507 Afonso de Albuquerque occupied several cities on the Gulf of Oman and on the Strait of Hormuz for Portugal . The aim was to eliminate competition from traders from Arabia, Egypt , Genoa and Venice by blocking their ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf . In the same year Afonso de Albuquerque landed on the island of Socotra , near the capital Suq, believing that they would free Christians there from the Arab-Islamic yoke. When they realized that they weren't so welcome after all, the Portuguese left in 1511. In 1513 the attempt to conquer Aden failed. The plan to conquer Mecca and Suez was then abandoned. The other possessions in the Arab world were gradually lost in the 17th century. Persia conquered from the Portuguese Bahrain (1602), Gamru (1615) and with the help of the English the possessions on the Strait of Hormuz (1622). Nasir ibn Murshid and his cousin Sultan ibn Saif I from the Yaruba dynasty expelled the Portuguese from Oman by 1650 . Later the Yaruba also conquered the Portuguese possessions in East Africa and sacked Bombay in 1655.

middle East
Possession Acquisition loss story

Bahrain ( Arad Fort ) 1521 1602 Lost again to Persia after 81 years
Gamru (today: Bandar Abbas / Iran ) 16th century 1615 Acquisition depending on the source in 1506, 1515 or 1521, city fortified by the Portuguese, conquered by Persia in 1615,

Hormuz ( Ormuz, Hormuz ) 1507 1622 1507 conquest of Hormus, construction of Forte de Nossa Senhora da Vitória , abandoned in 1508, 1515 Albuquerque conquers Hormus again, construction of Forte de Nossa Senhora da Conceição de Ormuz on Gerun , 1621 construction of Forte de Queixome on Qeschm , 1622 Persia takes with him English help Hormuz and the forts
Muscat 1507 1650 Vasco da Gama was the first Portuguese to reach Muscat on his way to India, in 1507 Portugal conquered Muscat, recaptured in 1523 and 1526 after revolts, occupied by the Turks 1550–1552, destroyed again by the Turks in 1581, rebuilt by the Portuguese in 1588, 1650 by Sultan ibn Saif I. and the Oman lost
Quriyat ( Curiate, Kuriyat ) 1507 1648 1507 Portugal conquered the city and fortress, 1522 revolt, 1607 fortress rebuilt in 1648 by Nasir ibn Murshid conquered and the Oman lost
Socotorá ( Socotra ) 1507 1511 1507 Portuguese, abandoned in 1511, to the Sultan of Mahra
Suhar ( Zohar ) 1507 17th century 1507 Portugal conquered the city until 1649 Nasir ibn Murshid forces deduction to which Oman lost
Sur 1507 17th century by Nasir ibn Murshid conquered and the Oman lost

Further bases were the Fort Sibo ( El Sib ) near Muscat, Calayate ( Qalhat, Kalhat ), Matara ( Matrah ), Borca ( Barkah , Al Batha ) and Cassapo ( Khasab ) in Oman.

Portuguese India

Portuguese possessions in India
Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji

In 1498 the Portuguese Vasco da Gama succeeded in what European seafarers had tried for a long time to reach India by sea. Portugal began to conquer areas in India from 1505 and set up trading bases there. Under the first viceroy of the "Estado da Índia" ( State of India ) Francisco de Almeida and his successor, Governor Afonso de Albuquerque, the Portuguese position of power was systematically expanded. In 1507 Lourenço de Almeida led a punitive expedition against Quilon, as the Portuguese head of the trading post had been murdered there shortly before. A year later, Chaul and Kalikut are sacked by Francisco de Almeida. In 1509 he destroyed the Arab-Egyptian fleet off Diu and Portugal received complete naval control in the Indian Ocean. In 1510 Goa and Kalikut were conquered. In 1535 the important trading center Diu fell into Portuguese hands. In 1538 and 1546/47, sieges of Diu could be repelled. Initially the Muslims (Egyptians and Turks) and the Indian empires were the opponents, from the 17th century the Netherlands, England and later other major European powers appeared as competitors. Then there was the war against the Marathas in the 18th century. Portugal lost most of its bases and was only able to hold a small remainder into the 20th century. In 1954, local Indian nationalists took control of the Portuguese possessions of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and created a pro-Indian administration. The Republic of India denied Portuguese troops access to the enclaves through its territory. In 1961 India occupied the last enclaves Goa, Diu and Damão (Daman). The small Portuguese garrison of 3,000 men could not oppose the overwhelming force. In the fight, the NRP Afonso de Albuquerque was destroyed. In 1974, the annexation by India was recognized by Portugal.

Portuguese India (Estado da India)
Possession Acquisition loss story
Baçaím (Bassein, today Vasai-Virar ) 1534 1739 In 1530 and 1531 the city was burned down by the Portuguese, in 1533 the whole coastline was devastated, 23 December 1534 the area was handed over to the Portuguese, in 1720 the Marathas conquered the port of Kalyan , 1737–1739 the remaining territories were lost to the Marathas
Bom Bahia (Bombay, now Mumbai ) 1534 1661 In 1508 the Portuguese Francisco de Almeida reached the bay and called it Bom Bahia ( Good Bay ), December 23, 1534 Treaty of Baçaím transfers the region to the Portuguese, 1626 attack by the English, 1655 Sultan ibn Saif I from Oman sacked Bombay, 1661 as a dowry to England
Cannanore (Kannur) 1502 1663 1502 trading base, 1505 construction of St. Angelo Fort , lost to the Netherlands in 1663
Chaul ( Tschoul ) 1521 1740 1507 sacking of Chaul, 1521 construction of a fort on the south bank of the Kundalika river , 1531 new fort Santa Maria do Castello made of stone, a city emerges around the fort, a treaty of 1558 prevents its fortification, 1570/71 destruction of the city by Ahmadnagar , reconstruction and Fortification of the city, new fortress Morro de Chaul on the north bank of the river, further attacks on the city are repulsed, expansion of the fortifications until 1613, siege by the Marathas March to October 1739, ceded to the Marathas in 1740
Chittagong 1528 1666 1528 Establishment of a trading post, conquered by the Mughals in 1666
Cochin 1502 1663 In 1500 the Portuguese Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in Cochin, 1502 founded a trading post, 1503 first European fortress in India (Fort Manuel), until 1510 capital of Portuguese India, 1524 Vasco da Gama died in Cochin, lost to the Netherlands in 1663
Coulão ( Quilon, Kollam ) 1502 1661 1502 construction of a Portuguese trading post, 1507 punitive expedition against Quilon, 1518 construction of Forte de São Tomé , lost to the Netherlands in 1661
Cranganore ( Kodungallur ) 1523 1661 In 1502 the Syrian Christians of the city asked the Portuguese for their protection, in 1523 construction of a Portuguese fort, in 1565 enlargement of the fort, lost to the Netherlands in 1661 (another source gives the time of Portuguese rule 1536–1662)
Dadra 1779 1954 Portuguese in 1779 (other source: 1785), local nationalists take control in 1954, officially annexed by India in 1961
Damão ( Daman ) 1559 1961 1523 Diogo de Melo landed as the first Portuguese in Damão, 1534 destruction of the fortifications by the Portuguese, 1559 conquest of the city of Damão, 1588 part of the Portuguese-India colony, 1614 conquest of the area of Damão Pequeno on the right bank of the river, December 18, 1961 occupied by India , annexation recognized by Portugal in 1974
Diu 1535 1961 1513 establishment of a trading post fails, 1531 attempt at conquest fails, 1535 conquest; The Sultan of Gujarat permits the construction of a Portuguese fortress and the stationing of a garrison within an alliance against the Mughal Empire , sieges to expel the Portuguese fail in 1538 and 1546/47, attacks by the Dutch are repulsed at the end of the 17th century, December 18, 1961 by India occupied, annexation recognized by Portugal in 1974
Goa 1510 1961 1510 conquest and establishment of a Portuguese settlement in Velha Goa ( Old Goa ) , 1512 suppression of a revolt, in 1603 and 1639 Dutch attacks are repulsed, at the end of the 17th century the Marathas conquer the northern parts of Goa, 1737–1739 The Marathas overrun almost all of Goa , only the arrival of the fleet prevents the loss, 1759 Pangim ( Panaji ) becomes the new capital of the colony, territorial gains: Bicholim (1781), Satari (1782), 1787 rebellion against the Portuguese, last territorial gains: Pernem (1788), Ponda , Quepem , Sanguem and Canacona (all 1791), 1799–1813 British occupation of Goa, 1843 Panaji becomes the capital of Goa, 1955 attempt by unarmed men to raise the Indian flag on the Fort of Tiracol, occupied December 18, 1961 by India , 1974 annexation recognized by Portugal
Hughli ( Hooghly, Hugli ) and Bandel 1579 1632 1536 Portuguese get permission to trade; In 1579 the city was founded by the Portuguese
Kalikut ( Calicut, Kozhikode ) 1510 1663/1664 In 1498 Vasco da Gama landed on a nearby beach for the first time in India, in 1507 the sack of Kalikut, in 1510 the conquest of Kalikut, in 1512 the construction of Fortaleza de Diu , in 1525 the fortified post was abandoned, in 1528 and 1538 defeats by Zamorin against Portugal and again Construction of a fortress, monopoly of the spice trade for Portugal in 1540, destruction of the fortress in 1571, Portuguese settle again in the city in 1588, rebellion in 1600 suppressed, lost to the Netherlands in 1663/1664
Laquedivas ( Lakshadweep ) 1498 1545 Conquered by the Portuguese in 1498 and building a fort on Amini , lost again in 1545 due to the local rebellion
Masulipatão ( Masulipatnam, Machilipatnam ) 1598 1610 Occupied by Portuguese from 1598–1610
Maldives 1558 1573 1558 Portuguese garrison and trading post on Viador (Viyazoru), expelled from the islands by the local Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al-Azam
Mangalore ( Mangalore ) 1568 1763 1505 first Portuguese fortress, 1565 conquest of Mangalore, 1568 construction of a new fortress, 1659–1660 suzerainty through Raja Shivappa Nayaka of Keladi (1645–1660), 1695 Arabs burn Mangalore down, 1714 return of the Portuguese, 1763 Portuguese become through Mysore - King Hyder Ali expelled
Nagapattinam ( Negapatam ) 1507 1657 Lost to the Netherlands in 1657
Nagar-Aveli ( Nagar Haveli ) 1779 1954 Portuguese in 1779 (other source: 1783), local nationalists take control in 1954, officially annexed by India in 1961
Paliacate ( Pulicat ) 1518 1610 Lost to the Netherlands in 1610, in 1612 the Portuguese destroy the Dutch trading post, but the place is no longer occupied (other sources: 1609 construction of a Dutch fort; Portuguese rule: 1518–1619)
Salsete Island ( Salsette, Sashti ) 1534 1737 December 23, 1534 in the Treaty of Baçaím to Portugal, 1737 the Marathas conquer the island
Sao Tome de Meliapore ( Mylapore ) 1523 1749 1516 Construction of the French mission Nossa Senhora da Luz , Portuguese settlement 1523–1662 and 1687–1749,
Surate ( Surat ) 1540 1612 1540 Conquest and destruction of the city by Portugal, construction of a fort, 1608 arrival of the first English ships, 1612 destruction of Portuguese supremacy by England after the naval battle of Suvali ( Swally )
Thoothukudi ( Tuticorin ) 1548 1658 Re-founded by the Portuguese in 1548, lost to the Netherlands in 1658


The son of Francisco de Almeida , the first viceroy of Portuguese India, Lourenço was the first Portuguese to reach Ceylon in 1505, which until now had primarily sold cinnamon to Arab traders. In 1517 the Portuguese built their first fort in Colombo , which was abandoned in 1524. In 1545 Jaffna became a tribute, and in 1591 the Portuguese even installed a new king in Jaffna. In 1592 they gain sovereignty over the kingdoms of Kotte and Sitawaka . The kingdom of Kandy was briefly occupied, but the last kingdom on the island existed until the 17th century. In 1597 Kotte finally fell to the Portuguese crown, in 1621 Jaffna followed and parts of Kandy were conquered by 1629, until the Portuguese suffered a defeat against Kandy a year later. In 1639 the Dutch gradually began to conquer the island from the Portuguese. Colombo fell in 1656 and Jaffna was the last to fall in 1658.

Possession Acquisition loss story
Ceylon ( Ceilão , today Sri Lanka ) 1517 1658 1505 Lourenço de Almeida reached Ceylon, 1517 Colombo conquered and fortress built, in 1545 Jaffna paid tribute, in 1592 sovereignty over Kotte and Sitawaka , lost to the Netherlands between 1656 (Colombo) and 1658 (Jaffna)

Back india

The remains of the Portuguese fort A Famosa in Malacca

In 1509, the Portuguese Diogo Lopes de Sequeira visited the trading city of Malacca . In the following year an attempt to conquer Malacca failed, but in 1511 Afonso de Albuquerque succeeded in conquering one of the most important trading cities in East Asia with great losses. In the same year the Fort A Famosa was built. Portugal began to forge alliances with the surrounding rulers of the Malaya peninsula . The former Sultan of Malacca tried several times to recapture his city from Johor , and Atjeh also attacked several times. In 1583 Johor made peace with Portugal. Albuquerque built a new administration in Malacca and its own mint. In 1521 a church was built, which was consecrated as a cathedral in 1558. Many Portuguese began to settle in Malacca. Descendants of the Portuguese who speak a Portuguese Creole language still live in this city today. From 1602 the Dutch began to attack the city again and again. It was not until 1641 that a fleet from Johore and the Dutch succeeded in conquering Malacca.

The Portuguese adventurer Filipe de Brito e Nicote , who was based in Syriam (now Thanlyin / Myanmar ) in the late 16th century , formed a footnote in the story . He made himself warlord over the area and fought against the Burmese until he was captured and killed in 1613. Syriam did not belong to the Portuguese possession for long.

Back india
Possession Acquisition loss story
Malacca ( Malacca ) 1511 1641 First visited by Portuguese in 1509, attempt at conquest fails in 1510, conquered by Portugal in August 1511, lost to the Netherlands in 1641

East asia

Nanban merchant ships in Japan

In 1513 (1515?) Several Portuguese expeditions visited Canton , Nanjing and Beijing for the first time . The first post in China was established in Tamão in 1519. In 1543 the Portuguese Antônio da Mota , Antônio Peixoto and Francisco Zeimoto reached the Japanese island of Tanegashima . After several attempts in other places in China, the Portuguese settled in Macau in the mid-16th century, which became the center of trade in East Asia. Since the Japanese and Chinese were forbidden to leave their country, the Portuguese served as traders between the two Asian empires in the 16th and 17th centuries. During the era of the Nanban trade , silk was brought from China to the Portuguese trading post in Nagasaki. Firearms also found their way to Japan through the Portuguese. In 1634 an artificial island was built as a trading post in the port of Nagasaki, but after the Shimabara uprising the Portuguese had to leave Japan in 1638 and the Dutch took their place. On December 20, 1999, Portugal returned its last overseas possessions, Macau, to the People's Republic of China . Portuguese remains an official language in Macau.

East asia
Possession Acquisition loss story

Lampakkau ( Lampacao ) 1553 ? 1553 After relocation from Sanchuang to Lampakkau,
Liampó , China ( Ningbo, Ningpo ) 1533 1545 1542 construction of a Portuguese settlement, settlement destroyed by the Chinese in 1545, move to Sanchuang (other source: settlement from 1540 to 1549)
Macau ( Macao, Aomen ) 1553 1999 1516 Portuguese land in Macau, 1553 founding of Macau as a trading and missionary center, 1557 Portuguese administration and sovereignty of China, 1680 first Portuguese governor, but still under Chinese sovereignty, 1849 Portugal declares Macau's independence from China, 1851 occupation of Taipa , 1864 occupation of Coloane , 1887 China recognizes Portugal's permanent right to the occupation of Macau, 1890 Ilha Verde is connected to Macau by a dam, 1938 islands Dom João, Lapa and Montanha occupied by Portugal, 1941 Dom João, Lapa and Montanha occupied by Japan, 1943– 1945 All Macau Japanese protectorate, 1945 return of Dom João, Lapa and Montanha to China, 1976 Macau officially Chinese territory under Portuguese administration, 1999 to the people's Republic of China returned
Nagasaki ( Dejima ) 1571 1638 1542 Portuguese reach Japan for the first time, 1571 Portuguese trading post, 1634 construction of the artificial island Dejima, 1637 Shimabara uprising, 1638 expulsion of the Portuguese
Sanchuang 1549 1553 After Liampó gave up, the settlement in Sanchuang was re-established, in 1553 the settlement was abandoned and relocated to Lampakkau
Tinceo 1547 1549 1547–1549 Portuguese
Tamão (Tuen Mun 屯門) 1519 1521 Occupied by the Portuguese in 1519 (other source: 1519), recaptured from China in 1521


Dutch picture of Ternate 1720 with the former Portuguese fort
Portuguese possessions in the Moluccas in the 16th and 17th centuries

With the Spice Islands ( Moluccas ) the Portuguese achieved one of their main goals in 1511, access to spices such as nutmeg, mace and cloves. The most important ally of the Portuguese on the Moluccas was the Sultanate of Ternate , which in addition to the island of Ternate, half of the island of Moti , the north of Halmahera (Portuguese Moro , the empire in the northwest of Jailolo was annexed by Ternate with the help of Portugal), the island of Ambon , ruled the east of Ceram and the northeast of Sulawesi . In 1522 the sultan allowed the construction of a Portuguese fort on Ternate and enabled the Portuguese to trade in his empire, which is why some sources incorrectly list the entire empire as Portuguese property. It is similar with Tidore , Ternates' major competitor, who had allied themselves with Spain. In addition to its own island, Tidore ruled over the greater part of Halmahera, the other part of Moti, the island of Makian and parts of western New Guinea . These areas are often listed as Spanish, although there was only one alliance between Tidore and Spain in 1527–1534 and 1544–1545. In the Treaty of Saragossa , Spain renounced activities on the Moluccas in favor of Portugal in 1529, but Spain tried again and again to gain control of the region until 1545 when the army of Villalobo was defeated by the Portuguese. But Portugal could only benefit from the victory for a short time. The fort on Ternate had to be abandoned in 1575 when the Sultan rebelled against his former allies. During the personal union of Spain and Portugal, Spain sent several military expeditions from 1583 to regain control of the region, but the last attack on Ternate in 1602 was unsuccessful. For this, the Dutch were able to conquer the Spanish fort on Tidore in 1605. It was not until 1606 that the Spaniards and Portuguese were able to recapture Tidore and finally regain control of the Moluccas. The Sultan of Ternate was brought to Manila with his family . But the Dutch, allied with the Sultan of Ternate, remained the opponents of the Spaniards, while they continued to rely on the Sultan of Tidore. The Spaniards were able to stay on Ternate until 1663, other smaller Spanish bases existed a little longer on smaller islands in the Moluccas, for example on Siau (1671–1677). At that time, Portugal no longer had any influence on the Moluccas. After their expulsion from Ternate, Ambon initially became their new center in the region, but until 1580 it was constantly threatened by Muslim attacks. In 1609 the Dutch conquered Ambon.

Possession Acquisition loss story
Ambon 1521 1609 1511/1513 Portuguese reach Ambon, 1521 trading post, 1569 fort on the north coast, 1572 fort on the south coast, 1576 Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Annunciada , lost to the Netherlands in 1605
Batjan ( Bacan ) 1513 1851/59/61 1513 trading post,
Banda Islands ( Bante ) 1512 1621 Discovered in 1511, trading post in 1512 (another source indicates that there was no permanent Portuguese post), ceded to the Netherlands in 1621
Ternate 1513 1575 1513 Trade office, June 1522 Construction of the São João Baptista de Ternate fortress, July 15, 1575 Ternate is abandoned after the local population revolted

Sunda Islands

Portuguese sphere of influence on the Lesser Sunda Islands in the 16th and 17th centuries

With the loss of Malacca in 1641, Makassar increased in importance as a trading center for silk, sandalwood and diamonds. The trading post was established in 1521 and operated under the protection of the Sultan of Makassar. In the 1620s there were 500 Portuguese traders living in Makassar at all times; in 1660 there were 2,000. In 1660 a strong Dutch fleet attacked Makassar. The Panakkukang Fort was stormed and the Sultan was forced to sign a treaty requiring the expulsion of the Portuguese. The sultan delayed this until 1665 for economic reasons, but then the last Portuguese left the city.

Governor's Palace in Dili / East Timor

In addition to the spices, the Portuguese also traded sandalwood from Timor . At the beginning of the 16th century, António de Abreu discovered the island. The first Dominicans came to Timor as missionaries as early as 1515 . In the area of ​​the former kingdoms of Oecussi and Ambeno , the Portuguese settled on Timor for the first time. In 1556 the Dominicans founded Lifau ( Lifao ) to secure the sandalwood trade and in 1566 they built a fortress on the island of Solor , northwest of Timor. The sandalwood from Timor was then exported annually via Solor. Portuguese administration, military garrisons and trading posts were initially absent on Timor. They were built up gradually in response to the threat posed by the Dutch, who increased their influence in the region more and more. Dutch traders first reached Timor in 1568. 1586 large parts of Timor was a Portuguese colony ( Portuguese Timor ). In Timor and the other Lesser Sunda Islands, too, Portugal had to gradually cede a large part of its possessions to the Netherlands. In 1656 the Dutch captured the Portuguese post at Kupang in West Timor . The power of the Dutch was initially limited to the area around Kupang. However, when an attack by the Portuguese and Topasse on Kupang in 1749, despite their superior strength, ended in disaster, the rule of both in West Timor collapsed. Most of the regional rulers of West Timor signed treaties with the Dutch in 1756. In 1846 the Netherlands began talks with Portugal to take over Portuguese territories, but Portugal initially turned down any offer. In 1851 the Portuguese governor José Joaquim Lopes de Lima came to an agreement with the Dutch about the colonial borders in Timor, but without authorization from Lisbon. In it, most of West Timor was ceded to the Dutch. In addition, the eastern part of Flores, Solor, Pantar and Alor were sold to the Dutch at the same time. Needless to say, the governor fell from grace and was ousted when Lisbon found out about the treaty. But the agreements could not be reversed, even if the treaty on the borders was renegotiated in 1854 and was only ratified as the Lisbon Treaty in 1859 . The various small kingdoms of Timor were divided under Dutch and Portuguese authority.

Dutch (orange) and Portuguese Timor (green) 1911

The disputes were not settled until 1916, when the final border was drawn between Dutch West Timor and Portuguese East Timor. Before that, both colonial powers had enclaves without sea access in each other's territory. In addition to the territory on Timor, Portugal only had the islands of Atauro and Jaco left. After the Carnation Revolution, East Timor should also be given independence. But there were power struggles between the East Timorese parties, which Indonesia used to occupy areas near the border. The FRETILIN party , which was troubled as a result , therefore declared independence on November 28, 1975 , but only nine days later Indonesia began openly with the occupation of the country , which lasted until 1999. In 1999 the United Nations took over the administration and finally brought East Timor into independence in 2002. Since the proclamation of independence in 1975 and the Indonesian occupation were never recognized internationally, East Timor was officially considered a "dependent territory under Portuguese administration" until 1999 . In East Timor, Portuguese is still the official language, a Portuguese Creole language is spoken by a minority in Flores.

Indonesian soldiers pose with a captured Portuguese flag in Batugade, East Timor, in November 1975
Sunda Islands
Possession Acquisition loss story
Adenara ( Adonara ) 1851/59/61 Assigned to the Netherlands by the governor in 1851, assignment confirmed in 1859, transfer to the Netherlands in 1861
Alor ( Ombai ) 16th century 1851/59/61 Assigned to the Netherlands by the governor in 1851, assignment confirmed in 1859, transfer to the Netherlands in 1861

Flores 1570 1851/59/61 1544 first sighting of the island by Portuguese, 1570 first Portuguese settlements, 1595 Portuguese fort in Ende , 1667 parts of Flores lost to the Netherlands, 1851 last enclaves in the eastern part of the island ceded to the Netherlands by the governor, 1859 assignment confirmed, 1861 handover to the Netherlands takes place
Lomblen 16th century 1851/59/61 Assigned to the Netherlands by the governor in 1851, assignment confirmed in 1859, transfer to the Netherlands in 1861
Macassar ( Makassar , today: Ujung Pandang ) 1512 1665 1512 Portuguese trading base, 1660 Dutch storm Makassar and force the Sultan to expel the Portuguese, 1665 the Portuguese leave Makassar
Pantar 16th century 1851/59/61 In 1814 Portuguese sovereignty was recognized, ceded to the Netherlands by the governor in 1851, cession confirmed in 1859, handover to the Netherlands in 1861
Portuguese Timor 1586 1975 (1999) Discovered in 1512, found Lifau in 1556 , formation of the colony in 1586, beginning of the Dutch occupation of the western part of the island in 1640, Kupang is destroyed by the Netherlands in 1653 and conquered in 1656, in 1701 Lifau becomes the capital of the colony, in 1756 most of West Timor is lost to the Netherlands , 1769 Dili becomes the new capital, 1916 final border with West Timor , 1975 independent and shortly afterwards occupied by Indonesia , 1999 UN administration until 2002, officially "dependent territory under Portuguese administration" until final independence in 1999
Solor 1556 1851/59/61 1556 foundation of a Portuguese settlement, 1566 construction of a fortress, 1589 the Fort Laboiana is partially burned down in a local rebellion , 1602 attack of the Bugis repulsed, 1613 lost to the Netherlands, 1630 regained by defection of the Dutch commander from Portugal, 1836 attack of the Netherlands repelled, shortly thereafter abandoned and reoccupied by the Netherlands in 1646, in 1656 a Dutch military expedition is wiped out by the Topasse , Topasse rule over Solor, 1787 alliance between Portugal and Topasse on Solor, from 1836 part of the colonies of Portugal, 1851 by the governor to the Netherlands assigned, assignment confirmed in 1859, transfer to the Netherlands in 1861


The Azores island of Terceira in a picture from the 16th century.

The archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira form the last possessions of Portugal away from the mainland. The islands were probably already known to the Phoenicians . 1419 is considered to be the date of the rediscovery of Madeira by the Portuguese João Gonçalves Zarco , from 1420 the flower island was settled. The Azores were discovered by Portugal in 1427 (other sources: 1429 or 1432) and settled from 1439. Initially colonies, the islands later became overseas provinces and in 1976 autonomous regions of the Republic of Portugal. In contrast to the other overseas possessions of Portugal, the islands were almost exclusively populated by Europeans and also had no indigenous population. In addition to the Portuguese, Flemings and Italians also settled here .

The Canary Islands were never Portuguese. However, since their discovery in 1312 by the Genoese Lancelotto Malocello , they have been the subject of controversy between Portugal, Aragon and Castile. Henry the Navigator demanded that Castile give Portugal the right to occupy the Canary Islands, and in 1425 the attempt to occupy it failed. Heinrich's goal was to build El Hierro into a base for further exploration of the African coast. The attempt to buy the sovereign rights from the Norman ruler of the Canaries Maciot de Béthencourt, who is under the protection of Castile, also failed for unknown reasons. When Castile insisted on his sovereignty, Heinrich turned to the Pope in 1433 and the Pope - obviously ignorant of the Castilian claims - complied with the Portuguese request. Heinrich then received extensive rights of disposal over the Canary Islands from his brother Duarte I. From 1451 to 1454 there were armed clashes between the two countries over the Canary Islands. Portugal finally waived its claims in the Treaty of Alcáçovas in 1479 . In return, Spain renounced all areas south of Cape Bojador and thus the exploration of the eastern route to India.


The third Portuguese armada to be sent to India discovered several islands in the South Atlantic under João da Nova . Ascension was discovered on March 25, 1501 and called Ilha de Nossa Senora da Conceição . Two years later the island was "rediscovered" by Afonso de Albuquerque on May 20, 1503. He named her Assunção because he saw her on Ascension Day . The island was not taken into possession. The island of St. Helena was also discovered in 1501. The Portuguese later imported fruit and built some houses, including a chapel. The location of the island was initially kept secret. The first long-term resident of the island was Fernão Lopez , who had been banished by the governor of Goa but did not want to return to Portugal. Lopez died on St. Helena in 1530. Around 1600 the Portuguese gave up St. Helena, which was immediately occupied by the Dutch.

In 1505 the island of Gough was probably discovered by Gonçalo Álvares and entered on the maps under the name Ilha de Gonçalo Álvares .

The island of Tristan da Cunha was discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese Tristão da Cunha and the eighth Portuguese Indian fleet. But since he could not land, Portugal did not take possession of it.

Possession Acquisition loss story
Azores 1427 Discovery by the Portuguese in 1427 (other sources 1429 or 1432), settlement in 1439, colony until 1766, administration by a captain general (1766–1831), overseas province (1831–1976), autonomous region since 1976
Madeira 1419 owned by Portugal since 1420, colony (1580–1834), district (1834–1976), autonomous region since 1976
St. Helena 1501 1600 Discovered in 1501, abandoned in 1600 and occupied by the Netherlands

See also


  • Peter Feldbauer: Estado da India. The Portuguese in Asia 1498–1620 . Mandelbaum, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-85476-091-4 . (Revised new edition: The Portuguese in Asia: 1498–1620 . Magnus, Essen 2005, ISBN 3-88400-435-2 )
  • Michael Kraus, Hans Ottomeyer (Ed.): Novos mundos. New worlds. Portugal and the Age of Discovery. Sandstein Verlag, Dresden 2007.
  • António Henrique de Oliveira Marques : History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 385). Translated from the Portuguese by Michael von Killisch-Horn. Kröner, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-520-38501-5 (Original title: Breve história de Portugal. ).
  • Malyn Newitt: A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400-1668. Routledge, London 2005, ISBN 0-415-23980-X . (English)
  • Malyn Newitt (Ed.): The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415-1670: A Documentary History. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al. 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-76894-8 . (English)
  • Teresa Pinheiro: Appropriation and Rigidity . The construction of Brazil and its inhabitants in Portuguese eyewitness accounts 1500–1595. Steiner, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-515-08326-X . (= Contributions to European overseas history . Volume 89, also dissertation at the University of Paderborn 2002)
  • Anthony JR Russell-Wood: The Portuguese Empire, 1415-1808: A World on the Move. Johns Hopkins University Press , Baltimore 1998, ISBN 0-8018-5955-7 . (English)
  • Fernand Salentiny : The Spice Route. The discovery of the sea route to Asia; Portugal's rise to become the first European maritime and trading power . DuMont, Cologne 1991, ISBN 3-7701-2743-9 .

Web links

Commons : Portuguese Colonial Empire  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Fernand Salentiny: The Spice Route: The discovery of the sea route to Asia. Portugal's rise to become the first European sea and trading power. Cologne 1991, ISBN 3-7701-2743-9 .
  2. a b c d e A. H. de Oliveira Marques: History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire . Kröner, 2001, ISBN 3-520-38501-5 .
  3. The Lusiads . In: World Digital Library . 1800-1882. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  4. ^ Edmonds: China and Europe Since 1978: A European Perspective . Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-521-52403-2 .
  5. Jonathan Porter: Macau, the Imaginary City: Culture and Society, 1557 to the Present . Westview Press, 1996, ISBN 0-8133-3749-6 .
  6. ^ Business Guide to the Greater Pearl River Delta . China Briefing Media publishing, 2004, ISBN 988-98673-1-1 .
  7. a b Lindsay Ride, May Ride, John K. Fairbank: The Voices of Macao Stones: Abridged with Additional Material by Jason Wordie . Hong Kong University Press, ISBN 962-209-487-2 .
  8. ^ Map proves Portuguese discovered Australia: new book . Reuters, March 21, 2007
  9. a b c d e Monika Schlicher: Portugal in East Timor. A critical examination of the Portuguese colonial history in East Timor from 1850 to 1912 . Abera, Hamburg 1996, ISBN 3-931567-08-7 , ( Abera Network Asia-Pacific 4), (also: Heidelberg, Univ., Diss., 1994).
  10. ^ Brockhaus' Conversations-Lexikon , 13th edition. Supplement volume, p. 17 (Africa) and 602 (Portugal). Leipzig 1887.
  11. Exploration of North America by the Corte Reals. Libraries and Archives of Canada
  12. João Álvares Fagundes . Libraries and Archives of Canada
  13. Goa churches ( Memento of January 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 4, 2013.