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Old 07-19-2010, 04:27 PM
 
866 posts, read 3,824,577 times
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Hi,

I'm trying to help my 12 year old niece with her summer school homework.

Even though I consider myself pretty sharp on history, this one kind of got me.

I actually always thought that it was England, France, and Spain that were first to colonize, but I have been proven wrong.

The most logical answers that I could come up with for this question were:

1. The Portugese were very good shipbuilders
2. Portugal was not fighting any wars at the time (neutral state)
3. Portugal had a strong/stable government at the time

Any other suggestions? They would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:40 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Plus they had Prince Henry the Navigator pushing the voyage around the Cape of Good Hope pushing for trade and colonization.

Henry the Navigator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Earth
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TBF, Outremer occurred before the Portuguese colonial maritime empire did. It just wasn't that successful.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:35 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Maybe geography was a factor. Portugal is a small state on the very edge of Europe. There was no option to expand eastward. Castile was a much larger and more powerful state on the same peninsula. Mediterranean already had way too many players in it (and Porgutal didn't have ports in the Mediterranean regardless). The only directions to expand were south and west. And if there was a way to get to India around Africa, Portugal was uniquely positioned to take advantage of it.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
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I think it was Henry Hudson who sailed up what came to be called the Hudson River in1609 in a little Dutch schip called the Halve Maen in search for trade route to China (?) when he discovered a large land mass; it was what we call New York state today. The Dutch were settled in New Amsterdam and old Long Isalnd before the English Navy salled up the Hundson River and claimed it for England. I think by this time the Finns and Swedes had an enclave farther north and maybe VA had its first English settlers.

I will not swear I am right, but . .
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Plus they had Prince Henry the Navigator pushing the voyage around the Cape of Good Hope pushing for trade and colonization.

Henry the Navigator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Portugues had been able to eject the Moors and consolidate their state earlier than the Spanish. As someone has mentioned the Med was already a turmoil of conflicting interests from the Catalans to the Ottomans, including Venetians, etc. The Portugues did their trading and sailing to England, Holland and the Hanseatic League.

Being perched right above Morocco they developed trade connexions with the Morrocans, and from the Arabs in Africa learned of the great potential trading areas down the African coast.

Prince Henry started a navigation school in Sagres, not far from where I live, where he gathered all the available navigational and astronomical information of the day from Europe and Muslims. He started a virtual school and consolidated the materials available into something like navigational science. In Portugal he is known as the Infante de Sagres because of his associations with the place, and this endeavor.

All of this prepared the Portugues for the exploration of the west coast of Africa and the Atlantic, and their efforts carried them in the end all the way to India and Japan.

These voyages received an epic and fantastical verse treatment by Luís Vaz de Camões, who had himself served in India, which was published in 1573....or close to that. Os Lusíadas enjoys a great reputation in literature, but it doesn't draw many actual readers nowadays among English speakers.

Not inappropriately, I shall sign off for lunch now, and on my way pass a large statue of Henry staring out to sea and end up at a cafe in our Praça de Camões.

Last edited by kevxu; 07-20-2010 at 05:55 AM..
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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The reasons you have listed are very good ones. I think a focus on Prince Henry the Navigator is important as he was the driving force behind the technological advances that made the exploration possible. The Portugese had little choice but to pursue exploration to secure trade routes that were not influenced by the Moors. The capture of Ceuta in North Africa in 1415 is seen as the beginning of the Portugese empire. The reason for colonization was simply an economical one. The Portugese established trading outposts througout the land they explored to process and collect goods for shipment back to Portugal.

Basically, they had the knowledge and the cajones to do it.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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Also, think. Geographically Portugal has always been a naval country. They have a small landmass, and border the Atlantic and own many islands off their coast. Its like England in a way, so with a small population you really can't field a large army and hope to dominate Europe. Your only alternative is to build ships and make money off of trade.

And trade of information, a well created chart or map was more valuable "back then" then any cargo they could haul. So they became excellent navigators, cartographers. Naturally when the world went exploring they would be one of the first to go.
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