In “Encompassing the Globe,” Portuguese voyages led the first real interactions among many countries. It was the first interchange of knowledge, techniques, imagery and ideas that inspired the creation of highly original works of art. All the paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, maps, and other works of art they transported show the formation of a modern view of the world.
According to “The Age of Explorations and Isolation,” during the European global exploration Portugal took the lead in overseas exploration. Most was due to strong government support but Portugal sitting on the Atlantic Ocean was also a big factor. Portugal established trading posts along the shores of Africa and then traveled to the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Islands, Asia and South America. The strong government support mainly came from Prince Henry’s desire to expand his empire. The main reasons why Prince Henry began his voyages were to know the countries beyond Cape Bojador, to establish trade relations advantageous to Portugal and to determine the strength of the enemies in the region. There was also underlying reasons which were to spread the word of Christianity and to seek allies to help wage battles against the enemies of Christianity.
The Muslims controlled the trade market with the land links in East Asia. Europe was in desperate need to find an all-water route to India, the Spice Islands, and China. The Portuguese had been establishing forts all along the west coast of Africa. Eventually they found a sea route that took them to India by going through the Indian Ocean after sailing around Africa.
The goal of Portuguese exploration was to gain control over the system of maritime trade that linked the countries of southern Asia from China to the Red Sea. Portugal achieved this by discovering a practical sea-route into the Indian Ocean by navigating around the southern tip of Africa. They established a base of operations on the Malabar Coast which gave them a good focal point to either head east, west or north back to Portugal.
Their travels took them to Brazil where they found and imported Brazil Wood, which produced a red dye that was used in Europe’s textile industry. Portugal helped to colonize Brazil and eventually their economy shifted from harvesting Brazil Wood to producing and harvesting sugarcane. Slaves were brought from Africa to work the sugar industry, which became a source of private wealth. Bringing slaves in from Africa produced sugar at a high and efficient rate, helping to grow economies all around the globe.
Portugal took control of cities, forts and seized the Strait of Malacca, giving them control of the Indian Ocean and the Moluccas Islands, which were rich in spices. With their new control they crushed the Muslim-Italian domination over Asian trade and broke old trade networks from the East. Portugal brought back goods from Asia at a fifth of what they cost when purchased through the Arabs and Italians, which meant more Europeans’ could afford them.
Portugal had established a commercial network that spanned the entire globe. They transported germs, goods and people, but primarily they spread the European culture and practices throughout their empire. They scattered information about Asian, African, Amerind, and Brazilian cultures everywhere they went. Portugal’s success in Asia attracted the attention of other European nations, especially Spain.
Christopher Columbus used the rivalry between Spain and Portugal to persuade Spain, with talk of wealth and empire, to…