Portuguese Empire


The Portuguese Empire was established from the 15th century and eventually stretched from the Americas to Japan. Very often a string of coastal trading centres with defensive fortifications, there were larger territorial colonies like Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique. White Europeans dominated trade, politics, and society, but there was also a significant mixing of races, and in many places, people of mixed ancestry rose to positions of wealth and power in the colonies.

More about: Portuguese Empire


  • 1420
    The Portuguese colonize the Madeira archipelago.
  • 1439
    The Portuguese colonize the Azores archipelago.
  • 1462
    The Portuguese colonize the Cape Verde archipelago.
  • 1486
    The Portuguese colonize the islands of São Tomé and Principe.
  • 7 Jun 1494
    Portugal and Spain sign the Treaty of Tordesillas which divides the world into two spheres of influence.
  • 8 Jul 1497 - Aug 1499
    The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama sails around the Cape of Good Hope and on to India and back.
  • 24 Apr 1498 - 18 May 1498
    Vasco da Gama crosses the Indian Ocean for the first time by sailing from Malindi to Calicut, India.
  • 1500
    The Portuguese mariner Pedro Álvares Cabral lands in Brazil.
  • 1502 - 1503
    Vasco da Gama sails a 15-ship fleet from Portugal to Calicut, India.
  • 1502
    The Portuguese establish the first trading station (feitoria) in Brazil north of Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1503
    The Portuguese colonize Cochin in western India.
  • 1505 - 1961
    The Estado da India is in existence, that part of the Portuguese Empire from East Africa to Japan.
  • 1505
    The Portuguese begin to attack cities and build forts along the Swahili Coast in order to control trade.
  • 1506
    The Portuguese coloinze Mozambique Island.
  • 1510 - 1961
    Goa on the west coast of india is a Portuguese colony.
  • 1510
    Afonso de Albuquerque conquers Goa in India for Portugal.
  • 1511
    Afonso de Albuquerque captures Malacca in Malaysia for Portugal.
  • 1511 - 1641
    Malacca in Malaysia is a Portuguese colony.
  • 1515
    Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf is colonized by the Portuguese.
  • 1518
    The Portuguese establish a fort at Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • 1519 - 1522
    Ferdinand Magellan's expedition circumnavigates the globe for the first time.
  • 1519
    The Portuguese establish a fort at Kollam in India.
  • 1521
    The Portuguese establish a fort at Chaul in India.
  • Apr 1524
    Vasco da Gama sails om his third voyage from Portugal to India.
  • 1530
    Portuguese Goa replaces Cochin as the capital of the Estado da India.
  • 1532
    The first Portuguese settlement in Brazil is founded at São Vicente.
  • 1533
    A papal bull establishes the archdiocese of the Estado da India.
  • 1533 - 1539
    The first sugar plantations are established in Portuguese Brazil at Pernambuco, Sâo Vicente and Rio.
  • 1543
    Three Portuguese mariners accidentally land in Japan, the first Europeans to do so.
  • 1546
    The Portuguese establish a formidable fortress on Mozambique Island.
  • 1549
    Brazil is made a Crown colony of the Portuguese empire.
  • 1560
    Portuguese Goa has it first archbishop appointed.
  • 1567
    The French colony of France Antarctique in Guanabara Bay, Brazil is taken over by the Portuguese.
  • 1571 - 1639
    The Portuguese control the port of Nagasaki in Japan.
  • c. 1571
    The Japanese daimyo Omura Sumitada grants the Portuguese control of Nagasaki.
  • 1571
    Foundation of the colony of Portuguese Angola.
  • 1572
    The Portuguese Crown establishes a viceroy in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1575
    The Crown appoints a governor of Portuguese Angola.
  • 1576
    Luanda on the coast of Portuguese Angola is founded. It will be the capital and a major hub of the Atlantic slave trade.
  • 1596
    The Dutch arrive in Southeast Asia and challenge the Portuguese and their empire.
  • 1603
    Dutch forces attack Portuguese Goa.
  • 1604
    A Council of State is established at Portuguese Goa.
  • 1610
    Dutch forces once again attack Portuguese Goa.
  • 1616
    The Dutch attack Portuguese Malacca for the first time.
  • 1621
    The Portuguese, with help from the Jaga, force the king of Ndongo to flee his kingdom in Portuguese Angola.
  • 1622
    The Persians, with English assistance, take control of Hormuz from the Portuguese.
  • 1624
    The Dutch capture Salvador in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1629
    The Dutch attack Portuguese Malacca for a second time.
  • 1630
    The Dutch capture Olinda and Recife in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1632
    The Dutch capture Pernambuco in Portuguese Brazil.
  • c. 1633
    The Portuguese conquer the southern African kingdom of Mutapa.
  • Dec 1637 - Apr 1638
    The Shimabara Rebellion in Japan, which the shogunate blames on Christians, leading to an expulsion of all Europeans.
  • 1638 - 1644
    Dutch forces attempt to blockade Portuguese Goa.
  • 1640 - 1668
    Spain is at war with Portugal.
  • 1641
    The Dutch attack and take over Portuguese Malacca.
  • 1641
    A Dutch force takes over Luanda, capital of Portuguese Angola.
  • 1648
    A military froce from Portuguese Brazil recaptures Luanda, the capital of Portuguese Angola, from Dutch control.
  • 1654
    Portuguese Brazil regains control of those parts of the colony taken over by the Dutch.
  • 1656 - 1663
    Dutch forces attempt to blockade Portuguese Goa for a second time. The blockade ends with a peace treaty.
  • 1656
    The Dutch attack and take over Portuguese Colombo.
  • 1663
    The Dutch attack and take over Portuguese Cochin.
  • 1663
    A peace treaty is agreed between Portugal and the Netherlands regarding Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1665
    An alliance of Angolan tribes and the Portuguese defeat the Kingdom of Kongo at the Battle of Mbwila.
  • 1670
    A Portuguese force is defeated by the Kingdom of Kongo at Soyo.
  • 1676
    The first bishop is appointed at Luanda, capital of Portuguese Angola.
  • 1683
    A peace treaty is agreed between the Portuguese and the Matamba kingdom in Portuguese Angola. This ends the Angolan Wars.
  • 1711
    French forces briefly take over Rio de Janeiro in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1755
    Amerindians in Portuguese Brazil are recognised as full and free subjects of the Portuguese Crown.
  • 1763
    Rio de Janeiro is made sole capital of Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1799 - 1815
    Portuguese Goa is occupied by the British during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • 1808
    Fearing for its safety, the Portuguese monarchy relocates to Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1822
    Brazil declares independence form Portugal.
  • 1853
    Brazil porhibits the importation of slaves, ending the slave trade from Portuguese Angola.
  • 1902 - 1915
    A series of rebellions within Portuguese Angola are put down.
  • 1951
    Angola becomes an Overseas Province of Portugal.
  • 1961
    Portuguese Goa is invaded by the Indian military.
  • 1975
    Angola gains independence from Portugal.
  • 1999
    Portuguese Macao is handed over to China.