The Portuguese Empire

The ships sailing for South Australia in 1836 passed the Cape Verde Islands, the Desertas, Madeira and Porto Santo – all part of the Portuguese Empire. Founded on maritime exploration in the fifeteenth and sixteenth centuries and built on trade in gold, spices, slaves and sugar, Portugal’s empire at it height included territories in Africa, South America (notably Brazil), India, the East Indies and China. By the 1830s, following conflict with other European imperial powers including France, the Netherlands and England, and Brazil’s independence in 1822, the Empire was in decline.

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