Alfonso IV Declares the Canaries to be Portuguese


Soon after declaring the Canaries for Portugal he sent a slave-raiding expedition to the islands. These slaves would be forced to work on sugar plantations in Cyprus, Sicily and Madeira. Later he licensed a sugar plantation in the Algarave, to Giovanni della Parma. This plantation also exploited the local Guanche population.

Capture of the port city Ceuta


Capture of this North African Port city is argued as initiating the first sustained effort of exploration, colonization and trade in the Atlantic.

Argium Island

1445 - 1520

First trading post

Solar Tables for Navigation Invented


Solar Tables are created to assist mariners. Portuguese were the first to use wind and currents in navigation. This led to the whole of exploration in the Atlantic.


Treaty of Alcacovas


After a failed expedition led by Prince Henry, this treaty gave title of the Canaries to Castile while Portugal kept it's monopoly over African Trade.

Golden age of Guinea Trade

1480 - 1530

African trade is monopolized by Portugal. During this time, the Guinea coast held 12 to 15 trading houses. They were all controlled by the crown captaincy of Mina.

The Treaty of Tordesillas


This treaty divided the undiscovered pagan world between Castile and Portugal.

Sugar in Brazil


Brazil becomes the world's larger sugar producer, surpassing its other colonies of Sao Tome and Madeira.

Portugal Loses Independence

1580 - 1640

Due to the failed attempt of turning Morocco into a client state, the king is killed and Felipe the II of Spain is able to take over Portugal.

Dutch Brazil - New Holland

1581 - 1661

Seven years after Dutch surrenders, a peace of treaty between Portugal and Dutch Republic is signed -The Treaty of The Hague (1661)

Spain recognizes Portugal's Independence


Portugal had attained its independence in 1640, but the Spanish continued to try to assert their control for the next twenty-eight years, finally accepting Portuguese independence in 1668.

Slave Trade Ends in Brazil


Effective end of slave trade in Brazil.

Slavery abolished in Brazil



Fernao Gomes

1469 - 1481

Fernao Gomes

Set sail to explore 100 leagues of coastline a year.

Bartolomue Dias

1487 - 1488

Pedro Alvares Cabral Discovers Brazil


Pedro Alvares Cabral sails to the coast of Brazil and lands south of the bulge (close to what is now Salvador). He thought he had discovered an island. He named it “True Cross.”

Amerigo Vespucci - Letters From A New World


Vespucci joined a Portuguese voyage to Brazil. With his letters, he propelled the idea that the recently discovered lands were new and vast. This inspired many explorers (Christopher Columbus!) to make the journey. The notion of a new world spread rapidly.


The Kongo Experiment


King Joao II thinks he found a Christian ally in Africa. In order to colonize this kingdom, the Portuguese indoctrinated their religion into the Kingdom of Kongo. This failed due to interracial offspring not wanting to trade their own people.



1519 - 1585

King Manuel sent first expedition which failed. Later in 1571, Paulo Dias de Novais was awarded governship of Angola.

Colonization of Brazil


Sao Vicente was the first colony in Brazil. Soon to follow were Pernambuco and Bahia. These were ruled as Captaincies by a Donatary at no cost to the Monarchy. By 1549 Portuguese royal government is officially established in Brazil.