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A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400-1668 (Chapter 6-8), part 2

Brazil and the Atlantic

* Portuguese slow-moving ships from America with silver, large amount of passengers and soldiers with slightly gunned were vulnerable to attack by English and Dutch faster and heavily gunned vessels at South of Africa.

* In 1621, the founding of Dutch West India Company threatened West Africa as well which targeted to the sugar plantations in Brazil by establishing settlements on mainland of America and trading bases on Caribbean Islands.

* Since the end of 16 century, rapid expansion of sugar growing along the coast of northern Brazil led a large extent undefended while towns were self-governing.

* In May 1624, Dutch fleet seized the city of Salvador de Bahia which was the seat of governor and the main city of the north while other ships attacked Luanda and Elmina.

* For the same reason of Portuguese fortresses were too strong, Dutch counldn’t capture the towns but their soldiers were massacred by local Africans who paid by Portuguese.

* In 1624, Dutch captured Bahia while Spanish was threatened by the war in Germany and Low Countries.

* In 1631, a Dutch fleet occupied Olinda and Recife and fortified them, so the Portugal’s armada of 56 sails couldn’t evict the Dutch in 1632.

* By 1632, Dutch controlled of the sea and offered favorable terms to whose obeyed the company. Portuguese defenders of northern Brazil were driven from one post after another.

* By the following 3 yrs of 1637, all sugar planting area of north was in Dutch hands. Portuguese sugar planters either accepted the rule of Dutch or retreat southwards.

* The Dutch Brazil governor Johan Mauritz brought the north under Roman-Dutch Law and freedom of worship to all Christian and Jews. He also persuaded the West India Company to introduce the limited free trade.

* In August 1637, an expeditionary force from Brazil captured Elmina where was the main gold trading fort of Mina coast.

* At this stage, Dutch controlled both of slaves and sugar trade from Brazil and the gold trade from West Africa.


The carriera da India in the 1630s

  • In 16301629, in spite of a great deal of opposition in Portugal, Olivares had pushed ahead with the establishment of an East India Company to take over the royal pepper monopoly
  • The Crown’s intention to involve New Christian capital in the financing of the company, and was strongly opposed by the nobility and the church which effectively boycotted the new company
  • In 1630 and 1631, India had experienced disastrous famines which had seriously affected the hinterland of Goa
  • In 1634, the Dutch unable to attack Goa directly but began a blockade when ships would normally enter or leave the city
  • In 1635, Goa and its inhabitants had become the English’s prisoners in their own oriental Rome, although the Portuguese made peace with the English East India company
  • The Dutch were arrogant and ruthless in establishing commercial supremacy as the Portuguese had been


Portuguese religious policy

  • 1540s, the Jesuits and the Dominicans expand their missions in Goa
  • they supply educated manpower for diplomatic missions, for running government establishments in Goa and for providing social infrastructure, like schools and hospitals
  • Alliances with local rulers on which the Portuguese had depended since they first came to the East was to be used to spread Christianity
  • Educating in Goa members of ruling families and the heirs to thrones, and then installing them as Christian rulers in Asian and African kingdoms
  • Christianity spread rapidly in Japan and in the Moluccas through the influence of chrianised ruling elites

East Africa and Ethiopia

  • In 1631, the sultan of Mombasa rose in rebellion
  • While Portugal was facing strong local hostility in eastern Africa, opposition was also rising in Ethiopia
  • In spite of Portugal had no major commercial interests in Ethiopia, but it also had a symbolic importance, as the land of Prester John had been one of the objectives sought
  • In 1636, the king of Ethiopia expel the Jesuits and most of the Luso-Ethiopian community
  • Ethiopia remained effectively closed to Europeans for the next hundred and fifty years
  • These increase pressure from Jesuits and Dominicans to achieve conversions and had begun to cause vigorous local reaction


  • In 1590s, the Japanese dictator Ieyasu was suspicion the Christians grew and there was renewed persecution of the Christian community, so that the Portuguese started to lose their dominant position in the trade
  • In 1620s, persecution of Christianity continued with numbers of high-profile martyrdoms and 10,000 of Christians being forced to apostatise
  • In 1630s, the shogun began to sever ties with the outside world and refuse passports to trade abroad in their own ships
  • In 1637, revolt broke out among the largely Christian populations of Amakusa and Shimabara near Nagasaki
  • In 1639, the Portuguese were finally expelled and Japanese ports were closed to them
  • And caused Hideyoshi and his successors to regard Christianity as dangerously subversive religion

Sri Lanka

  • In 1636, a new blockade of Goa had begun
  • In 1638,the Dutch helped to expel the Portuguese from Sri Lanka, so the Dutch control of the sea rapidly put the Portuguese on the defensive
  • So the king of Kandy signed a treaty giving the Dutch a monopoly of the cinnamon trade and allowing them to garrison the captured fortresses
  • In 1640, the success of the Dutch was halted when the Portuguese retook Negombo, and captured the year’s cinnamon production before it could be delivered to the VOC


  • In 1605, the Dutch naval victory off Malacca , it meant that the Portuguese lost control of the straits while Malacca was blockaded by Dutch warships
  • In 1641, the fall of Malacca was truly a catastrophe for the Portuguese
  • Without Malacca and with the Japan trade gone, the Portuguese in Indonesia and the Far East became merely private merchants trading out of Macao or Timor
  • Although Portuguese private trade survived and even prospered it was now clearly and unequivocally the trade of a minor caste of Asian traders settled in Dutch or Indonesian ports and no longer part of a global empire aspiring to military dominance and commercial monopoly


  • In 1618, Calicut worked with the Dutch and made the southern Indian waters from Manar to Goa extremely dangerous for Portuguese shipping
  • The Portuguese injudicious support weapons to the king of Banguel led to the fortress of Mangalor being attacked and to the defeat of a Portuguese force that attempted to relieved it
  • the Portuguese seize and fortify the island of Cambolim
  • This action led to lengthy negotiations with the new Nayak who demanded that the Portuguese give up Barcelor in return for their control of Cambolim
  • So they sign a new agreement to buy pepper at a higher prcie

1640-1648, the years of crisis

  • In Feb. 1640, revolt broke out in Catalonia, encouraged by the French
  • A group of nobles seizing control of the royal palace in Lisbon and declaring Braganza king as Joao IV
  • In June 1641, the Dutch signed a treaty with Portugal
  • In 1642, a real opportunity to end the war presented itself
  • In 1643, the French won the victory at Rocroi. Portugal was saved simply by there being no Spanish army available to mount a serious invasion
  • In 1645, the first moves for a general European peace were made and that revolt against the Dutch broke out in Brazil

The carreira da India in the 1640s

  • During the 1635~1642, the Dutch sea power seen at its most effective in the prolonged blockade of Gao
  • In 1643, Joao IV was not able to send any reinforcements to the East
  • During the 1640s, 42 ships left Lisbon, nine more than in 1630s, and 24 ships successfully made the return voyage, nine more than in the previous decade
  • Muslim power with significant maritime capacity threatened Portugal’s position in the Gulf
  • The Portuguese was that they were now able to work closely with the English East India Company which sold shipping space to Portuguese merchants

A decade to define the future, 1648~1658

  • In 1648, the Portuguese retake the sugar-growing regions of northern Brazil from the Dutch
  • In March 1649, on the back of that bold, if transient, move the Brazil Company was launched
  • In October 1950, the Tagus was blockade by Commonwealth ships under Robert Blake and it was only when Blake intercepted the Brazil fleet in Septempber
  • In 1650~1651, the English parliament passed a series of Navigation Acts, highly protective measures on which the success of English commercial capitalism was to be based, which struck at the Dutch carrying trade
  • In 1652, the revalry between the two spilled over into a war which lasted two years and which had the effect of greatly weakening the ability of the Dutch to relieve Brazi
  • In 1654, the garrison of Recife, the last Dutch stronghold and surrendered
  • In 1655, when the Dutch sent major reinforcements from Batavia, did matters come to a head
  • In November 1656, the siege of Colombo began and the city eventually surrendered n May 1656 after a heroic defence
  • Two years later the Dutch took Jaffna and Manar, the last Portuguese fortresses in Sri Lanka


War and peace, 1656~1668

  • In 1656, Joao IV had died and internal affairs in Portugal reverted to a factional anarchy that made decisive policy making
  • In 1659, Spain and France eventually signed the Peace of the Pyrencees and brought an end to nearly 25 years of warfare
  • During 1659, negotiations were underway for there turn of the king and in 1660 Charles II was restored to the throne
  • In 1663, Spanish forces came down from the mountains and captured Evora, Portugal’s third city
  • In 1667, Schomberg’s army had won a number of significant victories over the Spanish and Portugal had been cleared of invaders
  • In 1668, Portugal’s independence was last recognised


Chapter 8–Understanding Portuguese Expansion

The period covered by this book is two and a half centuries and there were another two and a half centuries of Portuguese expansion to follow. p. 252

The first period, which lasted to 1469, was characterized by medieval ideologies and institutions military and financial arrangements and mental outlooksIt is the period which saw the expeditions to the islands and to Morocco between 1415 and 1437, which witnessed the establishment of feudal island captaincies and the capture of the bridgehead of Ceuta, all of which were guided by the desire of the Infante Dom Henrique and his brothers to secure lands and revenues for themselves and rewards for their military followersIt was a period when the booming slave tradecommercial arrangements were still confined to limited medieval forms single voyages, piracy, the patronage of the nobility, the personal monopolies secured by the Infantes and partnerships with the Genoese. p. 253

The second period, which began with Fernao Gomes's contact in 1469 and lasted until Vasco da Gama's voyage to Indiasaw the emergence of much more radical and far-reaching ideas of commercial monopolyDuring these years the systematic exploration of western Africa was planned, and rivalry with Castile led to the two partition treaties of Alcacovas (1479) and Tordesillas (1494)…” p. 253

The third period from 1499-1550 witnessed the establishment of the Estado da India and the system of royal monopolies over the trade in spices between Europe and the countries of the Indian Oceancreated a bureaucratic maritime state in the western Indian Oceanlevying taxes and attempting to establish a high degree of centralized control over affairs in the Eastthe Bullsthe jurisdiction of the Portuguese Crown over all Christians in the eastern half of the world. p. 253

The forth period, which lasted from 1550 to 1580, saw the dismantling of the royal monopolies and the centralized bureaucratic state and its replacement by a new decentralized, privatized empire with the fortress captains enjoying a high degree of independence and the royal monopolies being sold off to private consortiaThis period also saw the beginning of the great missionary endeavor…” p. 253

[The fifth period] From 1580 to 1620 the Portuguese faced strong competition from the newly formed Dutch and English East India companiesPortuguese private commercial capital expanded its activities in every part of the Hispanic world, and the profits of the carreira da India and the sugar production of Brazil achieved unprecedented growth. pp. 253-254

The final period from 1620 to 1668 when Portugal was caught up in the wars in Europe the Thirty Years War, the Anglo-Dutch Wars and the Franco-Spanish War. It was also the period when Portugal faced unprecedented opposition from within Asian and African states, from Japan to EthiopiaOnly in East Africa and north-western India was Portugal able to hold its ownThis was a period when Portugal failed to modernize its institutions to meet the challenge of the Dutch and English. p. 254

Portuguese migration to mainland Africa and Brazil was not planned or controlled by the Portuguese Crown. p. 255

All these unofficial Portuguese settlements survived through intermarriage with local communities and through developing commercial networks which extended to all the cities and commercial centres of the East. p. 255

To these informal and increasingly ethnically mixed Portuguese' communities were added, especially after 1540, the increasing numbers of religious converts whose adoption of Christianity brought them under the jurisdiction of the padroado real and made them, in some sense, members of the worldwide Portuguese' community. [However] The importance of the Portuguese diaspora cannot be overemphasized. p. 255


many of whom knew nothing of Portugal but who formed part of a unique worldwide, distinct Portuguese' community[Moreover] it is becoming apparent that many of those who left Portugal also left behind their Portuguese Christian identity. p. 255

Among the causes of Portugal's imperial failure was the deterioration in the Portuguese race caused by intermarriage with native races. From this intermarriage two results stand out prominent a loss of vigor and a loss of prestige. p. 256

…ethnically mixed Portuguese' in the wider Portuguese diasporagave rise to deep and very human contradictions. On the one hand, it enhanced the consciousness of racial distinctionsOn the other hand, the Portuguese who settled in the empire had no inhibitions about intermarriage, and adopted local customs with regard to dress, foodThe Portuguese settlements all depended on the local missed-race Portuguese' to provide manpower in every sphere of public life from the military to administration, commerce and the church. p. 257

there were two, partly independent forces creating Portuguese expansion official enterprises and the unofficial diasporaOne upheld the primacy of white, European-born and Old Christian Portuguese as the only people to be trusted to hold office in church or state…” p. 257

Eastern empire of trade, western empire of settlement p. 258

Indeed the Estado da India has even been represented as being in essence little more than a network of trade routes. p. 258

The Portuguese assumed that they were stepping into the shoes of the previous Indian rulers and their main concern was to collect port…” p. 258

In Sri Lanka the Portuguese built their first fortress in 1518…” p. 259

The forth area of settlement was eastern AfricanThere were also Portuguese who settled on the islands along the coastbuilding fortified houses, monopolizing local trade and staking revenues from the Swahili inhabitants. p. 259

During the two and a half centuries covered by this study, the Portuguese established a worldwide trading system. At first their trade outside Europe was narrowly restricted to following the opening of the sea routes to Brazil and India and the subsequent voyages by Portuguese navigators to the Far East…” p. 260

“…linked both western and eastern Asia and therefore made centralized inter-Asian trade possible…” p. 260

“…it indubitably contributed to the advancement of commercial technique and prosperity in this quarter of the globe. p. 260

Their influence on global trade should not be overemphasized.

In Asia Portuguese trade formed only a tiny fraction of the trade carried on by Asian merchantsIn most of Asia Portuguese played a secondary role to Gujaratis, Chinese, Javanese, and Japanese'. pp. 260-261

New products were launched onto the world markets and, most important of all, huge quantities of silver and gold were pumped into the world economy. p. 261

(evidence of its further evidence: Spanish silver reales had become the world's first international currency of exchange. p. 261)

Portuguese expansion brought other, possibly more profound, changes to human societies on a truly global scale. The most important of these in the lond term was the dispersal of plants and animals. (for example, horses and domestic cattle of Europe were introduced to the New World…”) p. 262

the caravels also carried diseases smallpox, measles and typhus from Europe, yellow fever from Africa, new strains of syphilis from America. p. 262

The Portuguese transformed the age-old trade in slaves across the Sahara to Mediterranean into a worldwide commerce. Africans were forcibly incorporated into the Portuguese global system as sailors, soldiers…” p. 263

A further consequence of the growth of the Portuguese global empire was the use of Portuguese as the first global languagebut Portuguese became, for two centuries or more, the language of maritime commerce throughout the world. p. 263

the creation of a new international world orderthe Papal Bulls granted to Portugal in the fifteenth century allocated rights and jurisdictions over newly discovered lands and also over populationsSpain and Portugal not only demarcated jurisdiction over their own settlements but over lands and seas which had not yet even been discovered. p. 264

a whole new international order of diplomacy and interstate relationsclaim sovereign authority over them [people of Africa, America and Asia]. p. 264

Portuguese expansion led to a rapid globalization of knowledge[for example] surveying and mapping the world…” p. 265

through experiencing Otherness that the Portuguese created a certain awareness of what it meant to be European. p. 266

The dissemination of European technology, languages, religion, law and scientific and medical knowledge really began with the Portugueseprofoundly influenced the rest of the world. p. 266

However, some scholars argued the influence not that much:

largely unknown outside the areas of Muslim influence. In Africa these aspects of European culture made only limited impact…” p. 266

Asians and Africans proved relatively slow in absorbing the lessons of this new technology and adapting it for their own purposes. pp. 266-267

A general question to the sources of Portuguese power: How could such small numbers of Europeans from a poor and underdeveloped country establish themselves as a power in three continents and maintain this power for so long…” p. 267

Answer to this question: it was sea power which proved decisiveSea power enabled the Portuguese to move men and supplies quickly to any threatened point and it was their ability to concentrate resources where they were needed p. 268

Failure of the modern state

In the end the Portuguese empire failed because the Portuguese state failed to modernize. The aspirations of Dom Manuel simply could not be met and the privatization of the empire, which took place so rapidly after 1540, prevented Crown from remodeling its domestic institutions. Portugal modernized neither its armed forces nor its education system nor its bureaucracy, and the empire…”p. 269

As Portugal gained access to untold riches through piracy, extortion and tradeking like Dom Manuel enjoyed unprecedented wealth, Portugal itself got progressively poorer and relatively more and more economically backwardMoreover those with access to wealth in the form of rent or tribute will have no patience with, or understanding of, the need for long-term investment. p. 270

the stagnation and the total lack of enterprise that they showed at home. p. 271

Class struggle between New Christian Bourgeoisie and the Inquisition was to prove especially debilitating and prevented Portugal developing the capital resources…” p. 271

Afterward: In the second half of the seventeenth and early part f the eighteenth century, Portuguese settlers and traders opened up the sertao of Brazil producing a new wave of migration from Portugal to the New Worldpenetrated deep into modern Angola and Central Africaestablished themselves in the USA, Brazil, South America…” p. 272

there were continuities with the earlier phase of expansion. Slaves continued to be shipped from Portugal's African ports to Brazil until 1851…” cultural influence as well as language pp. 272-273



[1] Malyn Newitt, A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400-1668, (London: Routledge, 2005), P. 174.



[2] Ibid., p. 176.



[3] Ibid., p. 176.



[4] Ibid., p. 178.



[5] Ibid., p. 179.



[6] Ibid., p. 183.



[7] Ibid., p. 186.



[8] Ibid., p. 190.



[9] Ibid., p. 190.



[10] Ibid., p. 195.



[11] Ibid., p p. 195-196.



[12] Ibid., p. 196.




A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400-1668 (Chapter 6-8), part 2 - 半省堂 - 1