4月 222009



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

(Ma Guang, Roger, Matt and Saul)


Chapter 6–Chanllenge and response

Portugal under Philip

King Philip I of Portugal (Philip of Spain) was acclaimed in 1581, and remained resident in Portugal until 1583.[1] When Portugal had been devastated by two outbreaks of plague, the defeat in Morocco and takeover by Spain had occurred at one time.

Philip needed more money to finance his European wars, which led to a more relaxed attitude towards the New Christians. After 1580 Portuguese New Christians get the grant to supply slaves to Spanish America while a small group of New Christian merchant families took control of the private trade. The spread of the New Christian banking networks were considered to be “one of the maim consequences of the union of the Crowns.”[2]


Piracy and the destruction of the island economies

By 1580 the policies pursed by Philip in northern Europe had led not only to the effective independence of the northern Netherlands but to open hostility with England and France.[3] When Spain and the northern European states grew in intensity, pirates got this chance to prey on the easy targets offered by the Portuguese.

       The only way that Philip’s government in Portugal could respond in is to begin a massive program of coastal defences, which was immediately expensive but “came too late to save the economy of the islands.”[4]


Angola, Brazil and the development of the sugar and slave complex

       In 1580 the vast continental land mass of Brazil was still almost totally undeveloped but forty years later Brazil almost became the most prosperous places in all the European settlements in the Americas. The most important reason for this big change was sugar, which was also the driving force of Portuguese imperial expansion in the 15th century. [5]

       Between 1600 and 1620 the sugar and slave linked Brazil and Angola together and they both became big profitable. Although Portugal’s economy was backward, it “pioneered one of the first great examples of global capitalist enterprise.” [6]


Patronage and royal power in the Estado da India on the eve of the Dutch and the English challenge

       There were many differences between the Estado da India and the way had been conceived in Albuquerque’s day. By 1580 the Estado da India had become the greatest source of patronage at the disposal of the Portuguese Crown.

       In order to got more money, the Crown had to sell monopolies and trading privileges for ready cash, for the idea of service and reward still dominated the political system. [7]


The Estado da India on the eve of the Dutch and the English challenge: morality and imperial decline

       Corruption was the main reason for the moral decline and rottenness at the heart of the empire and many losses due to shipwreck was also one the reasons. Many Portuguese began to seek their own profits and hunter private fortune instead of the ideal of service to the Crown.[8]


The informal empire

       While the official Estado da India faced mounting pressures on all forms, the unofficial empire continued to expand. There were some following reasons:

       Merchants set up independent communities under the protection of Asiatic rulers;

       Soldiers deserted because of the low pay and hard life;

       Convicts fled the Portuguese settlements to escape from the justice;

New Christians had every incentive to get beyond the reach of the Inquisition;

       The missionary orders tended to work.[9]

It was said that the Portuguese empire in the East was showing few signs of decline as late as 1621.


The Far East

       The trade of the Far East had become “the most profitable commercial activity of the Portuguese” and “the most prestigious mission filed for the religious orders at the end of the 16th century.”[10] Portuguese activity in the Far East was a partnership including the Crown, which sold the rights to the Japan-China voyage, the Jesuits, who had established a firm base in the port of Nagasaki, the Senado da Camara of Macao, who directed the affairs of wealthy Macao, and the Luso-Asiatic traders of the Moluccas and the other eastern island of Ambon, Flores, Timor and Banda.[11]

       This partnership managed “the great commercial enterprise of trading Chinese silk for Japanese silver,”[12] which served to stimulate the expansion of the whole Far Eastern economy.


Eastern Africa

    * In 1581, Portuguese settlement on Mozambique Island and trading factories on Zambezi in Eastern Africa.

    * In 1585, defeating the attack from migrant groups of Portuguese Cabires, Mumbos and Zimba coming from northern interior who looked for food and settlement since suffering droughts in 1580s.

    * By possessing firearms and recruiting local Africans.

    * Move their capital to Mombasa in 1585 and build Fort Jesus in 1593 to extend military commitment to North of East African Coast while the South from Cape Delgado was captaincy of Mozambique.

    * Mombasa operated customs house to tax on ivory trade.

    * Mozambique exercised the royal monopoly in gold and ivory as there were goldfields south of Zambezi.

    * For paying the monopoly fee to Crown within 3 yrs including $40K cruzados and the costs of fortress garrisons, the captain exploited both of Africans, Portuguese and Afro-Portuguese moradores.

    * Portuguese complaint, viceroy sent judges to investigate but only find the judges in turn accused of extortion.

    * Afro-Portuguese community set trading station at Sofala where was a old fort and the customary point of access to Zambezi where they established slaves for being employed in trade, mining, fighting and domestic agriculture.

    * During the last yrs of 16 century, Afro-Portuguese community had wealth and military power and started to effect African political affairs.


The English and Dutch Challenge

    * Since Philip of Spain became as the King of Portugal, Portugal was also involved in the was between Spain and northern European countries and the war was expanded from Europe to East.

    * English originally export their cloth to Russia and Mediterranean by merchants while Dutch expanded and dominated the trade in fish and wheat in Baltic and Mediterranean.

    * Both of them wanted to penetrate the markets of Spanish America and the East.

    * Starting from the last decades of 16 century, Portuguese Crown organized resources of manpower, shipping, armaments and capital to support their enterprise. No European rivals in 90s.   

    * In 1598, Philip of Spain closed his ports to Dutch ships causing Dutch couldn’t import any spices from Portugal.

    * In 1599, 8 companies organised expeditions to spice islands from Dutch. In 1602, VOC was created when 2 yrs after the English East India Company was founded.

    * Portuguese started to attack Dutch and English ships in East to disturb their spice trade to Europe.

    * Dutch and English thought they can take over the Portuguese empire by capturing its main fortress, towns and factories in Asia.  

    * In 1595, 1st Dutch ship arrived at Bantam, then established trading factories in Java, Macassar, Banda, Timor and Ambon in Indonesia and Moluccas while Portuguese was strong in western Indian Ocean.

    * As Dutch and English had no intention of spreading their religion in there, they could easily establish the network of political and commercial alliances with local empires like the king of Kandy in Sri Lanka against Portuguese.

    * In 1605, Dutch ousted Portuguese from their settlement in Tidore, Solor and Ambon. However, Dutch couldn’t occur Malacca where Portuguese possessed the well-defended forts and towns as well as the failure of capturing Mozambique in 1604.

    * In 1609, the “Twelve Year” truce brought a decade of peace to Europe, but not the East. Both of Portuguese and Dutch wanted to beat down each other whenever met in East.

* By 1615, Dutch firmly established at Pulicat in Coromandel where was located in the heart region of the commercial Portuguese community in Sao Tome and the official Portuguese in Malacaa in order to cut off Portuguese supplies of Coromandel textiles and individual Indian merchants by confiscating Portuguese-owned cargoes from their ships.


The Portuguese response

    * Dutch commanded their enterprises by experienced administrators, soldiers and men with mercantile background, not as Portuguese nobility with unskilled men from enlistment for each campaign. Dutch produced faster, lighter and less manned ships with carrying armament same as or greater than Portuguese.

    * Portuguese monarchy depended on nobility which finances relied on personal income of Crown and on loans from bankers. By the system of patronage which encouraged fortress captains to asset-strip their commands rather than developed them.

    * Dutch financial resources came from investors through a joint stock company provided infinitely.

    * Spanish Crown attempted to involve private finance to support the commercial and military needs of Estado da India from the New Christians bankers and hoped it could eventually form the joint stock enterprises as Dutch and English.

* However, the church opposed to relax the laws against heresy which effected the development of bourgeois capitalism in Portugal and caused the Crown still relying on the old financial and political system.


Conquest of Sri Lanka and East Africa

    * The increasing insecurity of Portuguese trading establishments persuaded viceroys to conquest of the Zambesian mines and Sri Lanka.

    * Portuguese had a fort and factory at Colombo since 1519 for declaring monopoly over the trade of cinnamon to Europe.

    * Portuguese actively supported the ruler of Kotte against his rivals and eventually was agreed the king of Portugal to be his heir.

    * Portuguese never controlled all of Sri Lanka but occupied a considerable portion of island and all maritime regions where the lands were more extensive than in India.

    * By 1593, Colombo became a large fortified city. There were a gunpowder factory, 2 parishes, 5 religious orders and 900 Portuguese families. The governors in there could kill anyone, including both of natives and Portuguese without any process of law. Soldiers always fought and killed each other without punishment later. Natives had their Portuguese names and were even widespread of Portuguese dress, music and dance.

* After the conquest of Sri Lanka, Portuguese were pursued to conquer the mines of central Africa. By the beginning of 17 century, Afro-Portuguese established the control over the populations of Zambezi valley and the coastal lowlands. Chiefs of area submitted to Portuguese captains and supplied soldiers, boatmen and carriers to them. Most of Portuguese were involved in gold trade. But no one could find out any silver mines as rumor.


Chapter 7–Defeat and survival, 1620-1668

Emigration and the manpower crisis

    * Portugal’s overseas expansion in late 15 and early 16 centuries had been propelled forward by the steady growth in population.

    * By 1620, Portugal’s population ceased to grow and started decline probably laid in the series of epidemics, famines, emigration, clerical celibacy and poor living conditions.

    * After 1621, Portugal’s economy declined as overseas trade suffered from war while repeated famines and disasters occurred in Portugal.

* Shortage of population caused shortage of men to crew ships and to volunteer for armed forces.


Portugal and the thirty Years War

    * By 1618, the revolt of Protestant nobles in Bohemia merged with the war between Spain and Dutch which resumed in 1621.

    * During the revolt, Spanish established the control of Rhineland and overland routes that linked Mediterranean with northern Europe and Netherlands, known as Spanish Road.

    * Meanwhile Philip IV ascended the throne and powered to Olivares who wanted to challenge Dutch and preparing not only for land war but rebuilding Spanish naval power of Atlantic and Mediterranean fleets by planning a union of port cities trading with Baltic and founding an East India Company as Dutch model to handle Portuguese trade with East to finance.


    * In 1621, when the Twelve Year truce came to end, West India Company was launched to possessions of Spain in West Africa and America.

    * In 1626, Olivares established the Union of Arms whereby Spanish kingdoms would all increase their financial and military contributions. Portugal was not in the Union but Portuguese New Christians were accepted as government loan contractors. That dried up the sources of finance for pepper fleets of Estado do India.

    * In 1628, the failure on war with France and Dutch led Olivares meeting financial crisis. He got a loan with low rates of interest from New Christians by providing free travel for them to Madrid, Seville and South America. Portuguese hated that as now “Jew” was equal to “Portuguese”.

    * By 1630, the financial, commercial and military structures of Spain, Portugal and their empires were completely interdependent. Spanish armies in Germany and Netherlands depended on silver from South America which only delivered by the contractors whose capital came from multilateral trade of empire. Any failure on any components would cause the failure of the entirely empire.

    * By 1635, Spain fought war in Low Countries on two fronts against both France and Netherlands. Olivares financed the war by borrowing more from New Christians and other  parts of Crown and forfeiting the private consignment of silver from America.

    * In 1637, revolt among peasants and artisans broke out in Evora and quickly spread to rest of kingdom.


The Estado da India

    * After the Dutch failure to take Mozambique in 1607, they built their headquarters at Java in 1619 where long way from any important trade center of Portuguese causing Portuguese remained dominant power in western India Ocean by bases in Sri Lanka, western India, eastern Africa and Gulf.

    * English were proving greater threat to Portuguese while English East India Company ships used Mozambique Channel and did threaten to seize the diplomatic initiative from Portuguese. In 1621, English East India Company formed an alliance with Persians to attack Portuguese base at Ormuz where surrendered in 1622.

    * The loss of Ormuz caused Portuguese couldn’t dominate the trade of Gulf.

    * In 1623, Dutch and English came to blows with each other. The Amboina massacre led the expulsion of English from spice islands and also the hostility and suspicion between Protestant allies which was against Portuguese.

    * In 1623, Dutch attack on Macau was beaten off while Portuguese also took control of East Africa, including goldfields south of Zambezi and in Manica.

    * However, due to the problem of manning and navigation of fleets as well as the Dutch attack caused over 2/3 of ships couldn’t come back to Lisbon from East during that decade of 1620s.




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