Little Portugal Fills Big Shoes

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Lying west of Spain and East of the North Atlantic Ocean is a small country no bigger than the state of Indiana (World Factbook). Portugal, this mistakenly insignificant land, quickly made an impression on European exploration beginning in the early thirteenth century. It was not long before neighboring areas looked to this successful country for tactics concerning discovery. But exactly how did this small piece of land with few inhabitants manage to stand above its competition for quite some time? Portuguese motives, leaders, tactics, and innovations must be further examined in order to fully comprehend just how the Portuguese dominated early trade and exploration. Due to these three aspects, Portugal became the country that all strived to surpass; however, it was this competition that eventually lessened the power of the once unstoppable empire. In the beginning, Portugal sought new lands because more resources were necessary in order to ensure the survival of the people. Since the country had few resources of its own, its inhabitants yearned for the discovery of lands that would make items, primarily Asian spices, more easily accessible. Proper lands and the latest crops however were not the only motivation for early exploration. The Portuguese wanted to leave an impression on the areas they encountered; they strived to spread an important aspect of their lives, Christianity. Portuguese motives can easily be recognized through the voice of a prominent mariner of the land, Vasco Da Gama. When his purpose was questioned by local authorities of Calicut in 1498, he stated, “Christians and spices” (Bentley 370). Trading posts were quickly established in a number of areas by the Portuguese, and these connections permitt... ... middle of paper ... ...1. • Morison, Samuel Eliot. Admiral of the Ocean Sea; a Life of Christopher Columbus,. Boston: Little, Brown and, 1942. • Morison, Samuel Eliot. The European Discovery of America: the Southern Voyages, A.D. 1492-1616. New York: Oxford UP, 1974. • Sterling, Keir B. "Exploration of America, Early." Dictionary of American History. Ed. Stanley Kutler. 3rd ed. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. 283-287. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. • The World Factbook 2009. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2009. • "Tordesillas, Treaty of." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 1009-1010. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. • Warmenhoven, Henri J. Western Europe. Guilford, CT: Dushkin Pub. Group, 1989.

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