Why did Portugal fall?

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,787
UK
Portugal was the first truly global power, which Rome or China never could have been. But then it rose following Infante Henry's expeditions, but it couldn''t sustain it. The Spanish fell due to being out-competed by the English, French and Dutch, and its economy falling due to masses of silver and gold causing hyperinflation. Did the same thing happen to Portugal?
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,220
Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal was the first truly global power, which Rome or China never could have been. But then it rose following Infante Henry's expeditions, but it couldn''t sustain it. The Spanish fell due to being out-competed by the English, French and Dutch, and its economy falling due to masses of silver and gold causing hyperinflation. Did the same thing happen to Portugal?
Portugal was actually never really a global power, in the sense that it was a major economy or military hegemon...

Portugal had just an early advantage to dominate the spice trade and its supply to Europe during a brief period in early modern era.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,144
Portugal
Portugal was the first truly global power, which Rome or China never could have been. But then it rose following Infante Henry's expeditions, but it couldn''t sustain it. The Spanish fell due to being out-competed by the English, French and Dutch, and its economy falling due to masses of silver and gold causing hyperinflation. Did the same thing happen to Portugal?
Portugal was actually never really a global power, and the sense that it was a major economy or military hegemon...

Portugal had just an early advantage to dominate the spice trade and its supply to Europe during a brief period in early modern era.
Analysis can always fall in the matter of opinion.

No Portugal didn’t’ had the same problems that “Spain” with hyperinflation, and yes, I consider that for a short period of time Portugal was a global power, contradicting the perspective given by robto.

So why did it felt?

In my perspective, first, because of Greed. Portugal and Castile had an agreement, sanctioned by the pope that basically divided among them the world yet to be discovered. That made immediately changed all the wanna be powers to the status of enemies.

Portugal was a small kingdom, with small financial resources, with small human resources that in a short period of time was one of the richest and respected kingdoms of Europe, the major power in the Indian Ocean, and projected their power in the Pacific.

How could a kingdom with few financial and human resources send every year a fleet to the Orient? Maintain a war in Morocco and colonize Brazil?

It was an impossible task, doomed from the beginning. Any small defeat could have huge consequences, as we saw in Marmora (Morocco) in 1515.

Furthermore the greed that led the Portuguese to the Orient was immediately followed by the greed of English, Dutch, French, etc, etc, facing a strong opposition from Muslim powers and other local potentates.

The lack of financial resources for the huge task led to the continuous gathering of loans, especially among Italian and Flemish financial houses. The lack of human resources for huge geographic areas led to the confidence in non-Portuguese sailors and ships. The quick increase and needs of the naval construction led to the lack of quality of the ships. The hugeness of the empire and the lack of adequate control instruments led to the rise of corruption; the increase of the enemies led to an increase of the costs of maintenance;

Even so Portugal was most probably the richest country in Europe for some two decades (1500-1520), the dominating power in the West Coast of Africa and in the Indian Ocean (basically all the 16th century), and the kingdom that had an huge influence in China and Japan in the second half of the 16th century. So, yes, I think we can consider it a global power.
 
Nov 2013
1,077
Olisipo
Portugal was actually never really a global power, and the sense that it was a major economy or military hegemon...

Portugal had just an early advantage to dominate the spice trade and its supply to Europe during a brief period in early modern era.
I mostly agree with this, Portugal never was, and never could be the greatest Global empire, being a small european kingdom almost engulfed by a larger more powerful christian kingdom with similiar interests.

However it got the chance of being a pheripherical european western country that had the stability to persue it's own agenda, and made the right choice to pioneer and expand their influence by exploring, trading and colonizing. Taking advantage by the ongoing warfare and feuds in which the other european powers were involved at that time.

The great merit of the portuguese empire is how well it was mantained through the centuries, even when the other european colonial oversea empires started to appear, the portuguese one was the first to develop and one of the last to disappear, and the fact such a small populated country could project such power (for it's size).
 
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Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
5,017
India
Brazil separated out of Portugal because of political crisis for the Royal family. Anyway, Portugal had to give up their colonies in Asia and Africa after the new geopolitical scenario came into being after WW2 but it seems Salazar was adamant to hold on. The expensive war in Angola and Mozambique also made country bankrupt and foreign remittance was the main source of income in 1960s.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,144
Portugal
Brazil separated out of Portugal because of political crisis for the Royal family. Anyway, Portugal had to give up their colonies in Asia and Africa after the new geopolitical scenario came into being after WW2 but it seems Salazar was adamant to hold on. The expensive war in Angola and Mozambique also made country bankrupt and foreign remittance was the main source of income in 1960s.
I had the idea that notgivenaway was talking about the first Empire in the 16th century. Not the Brazilian one (usually known as second Empire) or the African one (third Empire).
 

LatinoEuropa

Ad Honorem
Oct 2015
5,222
Matosinhos Portugal
Portuguese Empire.

https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Império_Português

I already said in another post, portugal already had Brazil in 1500 and in the year 1527 the total population portugal 1million 362 thousand, I think that the size of the territory of portugal is small has nothing to see, what has to do is with the Population that had at the time, see today the total Dutch population 16 million area 41. 528 km 2 portugal population 11 million area 92,391 km 2.
If portugal had twice the population in 1527 1 million 362 thousand of certainty that the Portuguese empire was bigger.
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Eu já disse em outro poste,Portugal já tinha o brasil em 1500 e no ano 1527 a população total Portugal 1milhão 362 mil ,acho eu que o tamanho do território de Portugal ser pequeno não tem nada ver,o que tem a ver é com a população que tinha na época, vejam hoje a população holanda total 16 milhões area 41. 528 km 2 Portugal população 11 milhões area 92.391 km 2.
se portugal tivesse o dobro da população em 1527 1 milhão 362mil de certeza que o imperio português era maior.

«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««

( God created the white and the black, the Portuguese created the mulatto )

( Deus criou o branco e o preto,os portuguêses criaram o mulato )
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,220
Lisbon, Portugal
Analysis can always fall in the matter of opinion.

No Portugal didn’t’ had the same problems that “Spain” with hyperinflation, and yes, I consider that for a short period of time Portugal was a global power, contradicting the perspective given by robto.

So why did it felt?

In my perspective, first, because of Greed. Portugal and Castile had an agreement, sanctioned by the pope that basically divided among them the world yet to be discovered. That made immediately changed all the wanna be powers to the status of enemies.

Portugal was a small kingdom, with small financial resources, with small human resources that in a short period of time was one of the richest and respected kingdoms of Europe, the major power in the Indian Ocean, and projected their power in the Pacific.

How could a kingdom with few financial and human resources send every year a fleet to the Orient? Maintain a war in Morocco and colonize Brazil?

It was an impossible task, doomed from the beginning. Any small defeat could have huge consequences, as we saw in Marmora (Morocco) in 1515.

Furthermore the greed that led the Portuguese to the Orient was immediately followed by the greed of English, Dutch, French, etc, etc, facing a strong opposition from Muslim powers and other local potentates.

The lack of financial resources for the huge task led to the continuous gathering of loans, especially among Italian and Flemish financial houses. The lack of human resources for huge geographic areas led to the confidence in non-Portuguese sailors and ships. The quick increase and needs of the naval construction led to the lack of quality of the ships. The hugeness of the empire and the lack of adequate control instruments led to the rise of corruption; the increase of the enemies led to an increase of the costs of maintenance;

Even so Portugal was most probably the richest country in Europe for some two decades (1500-1520), the dominating power in the West Coast of Africa and in the Indian Ocean (basically all the 16th century), and the kingdom that had an huge influence in China and Japan in the second half of the 16th century. So, yes, I think we can consider it a global power.
Can you present me data which attests that Portugal was the richest kingdom in Europe in early 16th century? The Kingdom of Portugal during that time was very sidelined in European Geopolitics and it really never influenced anything inside that continent - which it's strange if Portugal was indeed the richest kingdom in the continent...

By the way, Portugal was an influential power in certain theaters, like the west coast of Africa and the East Indies, but even in the far east, Portugal was not in a position of an hegemon - they had to deal with far more powerful forces and they were only accepted to build "feitorias", Jesuit missions or merchant ports in various places in the far east because the local powers let them do it. The Portuguese could have been annihilated if Asians really wanted to. Even in the Indian Ocean, Portugal had to be very intelligent into making powerful alliances towards local lords and provide services as mercenaries and pirates in order for them to acquire special commercial privileges concerning the spice trade.

The Dutch East Indian Company and the English East India Company could assert their authority and military hegemony more effectively in the Asian continent than Portugal ever did.
 
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robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,220
Lisbon, Portugal
I had the idea that notgivenaway was talking about the first Empire in the 16th century. Not the Brazilian one (usually known as second Empire) or the African one (third Empire).
Only the second and third Portuguese Empires could be defined as "Empires" in the pre-modern definition of the term.

The first Empire was more of a collection of "feitorias", fortresses and merchant ports widely spread among the coast of Africa and the Indian Ocean, with no clear organization, very dependent on the local powers to survive, and with no clear management and in which the crown very ineffectively controlled all those possessions. The first Portuguese Empire was a trade enterprise more akin to the Venetian Republic in the middle ages than to the early modern Spanish Empire.
 
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Nov 2013
1,077
Olisipo
Can you present me data which attests that Portugal was the richest kingdom in Europe in early 16th century? The Kingdom of Portugal during that time was very sidelined in European Geopolitics and it really never influenced anything inside that continent - which it's strange if Portugal was indeed the richest kingdom in the continent...

By the way, Portugal was an influential power in certain theaters, like the west coast of Africa and the East Indies, but even in the far east, Portugal was not in a position of an hegemon - they had to deal with far more powerful forces and they were only accepted to build "feitorias", Jesuit missions or merchant ports in various places in the far east because the local powers let them do it. The Portuguese could have been annihilated if Asians really wanted to. Even in the Indian Ocean, Portugal had to be very intelligent into making powerful alliances towards local lords and provide services as mercenaries and pirates in order for them to acquire special commercial privileges concerning the spice trade.

The Dutch East Indian Company and the English East India Company could assert their authority and military hegemony more effectively in the Asian continent than Portugal ever did.
I agree with what you say except in the influence of the portuguese in the east indias, first you say that the "Asians" could have annihilated the portuguese easily, well if your talking in land power terms you are right, but in maritime influence in the indian ocean area we were indeed unbeatable at that time, except of course when we foolish tried to tackle the Chinese when we attempted to extend the influence to the sea of china, they where the only "Asians" that could best us in the ocean easily by numbers alone. Also the Asians weren't a united country and had their rivalries and geopolitical interests to mantain and we wisely took advantage of that. We mostly controlled coastal territories, but manage to successfully control the seas and the trade monopoly in the Indian ocean with authority, even if the Dutch and Englsih later could do it better.