Portuguese and Spanish Colonization with African Contact
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Portuguese, Spanish, African Contact
1415 - Portuguese forces conquer Ceuta and gain a foothold in Africa
c. 1418 - Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator establishes a naval exploration base at Sagres on Cape Saint Vincent and begins to sponsor explorations of Africa's coasts.
1419 - Portuguese navigators reach the Madeira Islands.
1427 - 1431 - - A Portuguese fleet under Diego de Seville reaches and explores the Azores island group off the coast of Portugal.
1434 - Portuguese sailor and explorer Joao Diaz rounds Africa's Cape Bojador.
1441 - Portuguese forces capture Africans near Cape Blanc, south of Morocco, and sell them into slavery.
1442 - The Mali Empire has an established trading system along the Niger River. The Yoruba and Hausa peoples of Nigeria have city-states ruled by royal families with nobility, court systems, and militias.
1445 - Portuguese sailor Diniz Diaz sights Cape Verde, on Africa's west coast.
Portuguese forces build a fort at Argvin on the west coast of Africa.
1448 - 1975 - - This is the time span generally ascribed to the Portuguese Empire, which includes colonies in Africa.
1455 - Cadamosto, a Venetian sailor, explores the Senegal River.
1456 - Ottoman forces capture Athens and begin almost 400 years of rule over Greece and the Balkans.
1462 - Portuguese sailor Pedro de Cintra sights Sierra Leone (Lion Mountains) in western Africa.
1464 - Sonni Ali becomes ruler of the Songhai (Songhay) Empire. His army captures Timbuktu in 1468 and he rules until 1492.
1470 - Spain acknowledges Portugal's monopoly on the trade in enslaved Africans.
c. 1470 - Portuguese sailors reach the Gulf of Guinea, on Africa's west coast.
c. 1479 - Ferdinand II and Isabella of Castile jointly establish the Spanish state. They are authorized by Pope Sixtus IV to appoint inquisitors to prosecute heresy. This marks the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition under the control and direction of both state and church. They drive out the Islamic Moors.
1482 - Portuguese forces build Fort Elmina on the Gold Coast of Africa.
c. 1484 - Portuguese navigator Diego Cam explores the mouth of the Congo River in Africa.
1486 - In Africa, the kingdom of Benin begins trade with Portugal and Portuguese navigators explore Angola.
1486 - Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Diaz sails around the Cape of Good Hope and arrives in Mussel (Mossel) Bay, South Africa. This journey opens an eastern sea route to India.
1492 - The Moorish kingdom ends when Granada falls to Spanish forces.
1492 - The Spanish Inquisition reaches its peak. Spanish Jews are given three months to either convert to Christianity or be expelled. Along with the Moors, most Jews leave Spain.
1493 - Columbus' second expedition to the Americas includes miner, colonists, Hispanicized Africans in bondage and conquistadors. They leave cattle, sugarcane, wheat, and other European animals and plants they have brought with them.
1493 - Pope Alexander VI issues a bull that divides the non-Christian world between Spain and Portugal, granting Spain the larger portion.
1493 - The Songhai (Songhay) Empire reaches its height under Askia Muhammad I, who succeeded Sonni Ali (1464). Muhammad I rules until 1528.
1494 - In the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed at Tordesillas, Spain, emissaries of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns "divide" the non-Christian world between the two countries along a line similar to that of the papal bull issued a year earlier. Under that edict, Spain controls all of the Americas and Portugal receives Africa and Asia. The new treaty moves the dividing marker just enough to give Portugal "legal" right to colonize Brazil. Since much of the world is unknown to those making this agreement, it comes to carry little weight as exploration by several European countries increases.
1494 - Christopher Columbus and his crew land on Borinquen. The island's Taino populaion is estimated at between 20,000 and 85, 000. Columbus claims the island for Spain and calls is San Juan Bautista. On this same voyage, Columbus' ships bring cattle, sugarcane, wheat and other European animals and plants to Hispaniola.
1494 - The first Spanish woman arrives in the Americas, sailing with the fleet of Antonio de Floras, who brings supplies to the Spanish colony of Hispaniola.
1496 - Jews are expelled from Portugal.
1496 - Spanish colonists establish a community on the southwestern shore of Hispaniola. Called Santo Domingo, it is the earliest continuously inhabited European community in the Americas.
1497 - Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama sails around southern African's Cape of Good Hope.
1498 - Vasca da Gama reaches Calicut, India. He becomes the first European to use this sea route around Africa's southern tip.
1498 - Portuguese explorers make Goa, India, a center for trade and Catholic missionary activity.
1500 - Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral leads an expedition that explores the coast of Brazil.
1500 - In may of Spain's American colonies, Europeans compel Indians to live in villages to facilitate christianization, tribute payment, and labor drafts. Workhouse where Native Americans are forced to produce textiles, pottery, and furniture as tribute are established.
1502 - 1508 - - Nicolas de Ovando, the new governor of Hispaniola, entices colonists to migrate from Spain with promises of encomiendas (grants of Indian labor). War soon breaks out as the native people resist Spanish attempts to enslave them.
1503 - The House of Trade in Seville is founded to regulate and license commerce between Spain and its American colonies, thus initiating a mercantalist economic relationship with America.
1503 - Portuguese merchants establish a trading post at Zanzibar in eastern Africa.
1504 - Oba Esigie assumes leadership of the kingdom of Benin (now southwestern Nigeria).
1504 - - This year marks the beginning of commercial fishing off the Grand Bank south and east of Newfoundland, as the first Norman fishing boat arrives. Soon French vessels are making two trips annually to fill their holds with fish. In the early years of this cycle, the catch (primarily codfish) is cleaned, heavily salted and stacked below deck. The discovery is soon made that cod can be sun-dried, which makes it not only easier to store and transport, but improves the taste as well. Following this discovery, French fishermen begin to build communities along Newfoundland's coast, where they can sun-cure their catch. Portuguese, English and Dutch fleets soon follow. The reputation of the Grand Banks area as the best cod-fishing region in the world will continue into the late twentieth century.
1505 - Established Portuguese communities exist on both the east and west coasts of the southern peninsula of Africa.
1505 - Portuguese explorer Francisco de Almeida becomes the first European to reach Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
1505 - Portuguese forces led by Francisco de Almeida destroy the African city-state of Kilwa when its leader Ibrahim refuses to pay tribute.
1505 - Affonso comes to power in Africa's Kongo (Congo) kingdom. He rules until 1545.
1508 - 1511 - - Spanish colonists establish communities on Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Cuba. They plant wheat, sugar, and tobacco, and use the land to graze pigs and cattle.
1508 - By this time, there are 15,000 Spanish colonists on Hispaniola. A growing shortabe of Indian labor leads to slave raids on surrounding islands and coastal Central America.
1508 - African Juan de Garrido is part of the Spanish expedition that conquers Puerto Rico.
1508 - Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon meets with Taino chief Abueybana in Puerto Rico.
1508 - Gold mining begins in Puerto Rico.
1509 - Juan Garrido is the first African identified in Puerto Rico. A free man, he arrived with the Ponce De Leon expedition. Garrido later participates in the colonization of Florida and serves with Spanish explorer Hernan Cortex in the conquest of Mexico.
1509 - A very few enslaved Africans arrive in Puerto Rico to provide domestic service.
1509 - A Portuguese expedition establishes a community in Sumatra.
1509 - 1515 - - Portugal's governor of India oversees and expands Portugal's trade interests in India. When Portuguese forces take Goa in 1510, Muslims lose their trade monopoly in the region. The seizure of Malacca by Portuguese forces marks the beginning of European colonization of the Malay Peninsula.
1511 - "Brazil" first appears as a place name on a map. The name comes from brazilwood, used as a dye and found along the country's coasts.
1511 - Spanish colonists and forces begin the colonization of Cuba. The Spanish governor has royal authorization to bring enslaved Africans to the island and the first ones arrive.
1511 - In Puerto Rico, Taino natives rise up against Spanish colonists for the first time.
1511 - A Dominican priest argues that Hispaniola Indians are humans who have souls and should not be enslaved.
1512 - The Laws of Burgos, Spain, give Spanish colonists the right to enslave American Indians found living on granted lands. They also regulate the treatment of enslaved people.
1512 - Pope Julius II decrees that Indians are descended from Adam and Eve.
1512 - Algiers becomes the principal center of Ottoman pirate activity against Christian shipping in the Mediterranean.
A Portuguese expedition explores New Guinea. Portuguese explorers sight Amboina, an island in the Moluccas.
1513 - The Spanish government approves special licenses permitting the trade in enslaved Africans in San Juan Bautista. By 1518, extensive traffic in enslaved Africans takes place on the island.
c. 1513 - Portuguese explorer Jorge Alvarez reaches Canton, China.
1514 - Silver mines are opened in Yunnan, China.
1515 - Portuguese forces capture Hormuz on the Persian Gulf.
1516 - Cardinal de Cisneros serves as regent of Spain and bans the importation of enslaved Africans to Spanish America.
1516 - The port city of Macau (Macao in southeast China), home to the oldest European community in the Far East, is a stopover port for Portuguese merchant seamen returning from trading in Japan.
1517 - Portugal's King Manuel I (1495) authorizes a trade mission to Canton (China).
1517 - More than 50 European ships, from Spain, Portugal, France, and England routinely fish the waters off the coast of Newfoundland.
1518 - The first known smallpox outbreak in the Caribbean island begins. Within 100 years, European disease epidemics of smallpox, measles and influenza exterminate more than 90 percent of the indigenous population throughout the Americas.
1518 - Spain initiates the asiento system, the granting of official licenses to merchants for importation of African people as slaves into the colonies. Over the next 300 years, 5 million enslaved Africans are brought to the Caribbean, and an equal number die en route. Conditions for enslaved Africans worsen as slavery becomes a permanent rather than a temporary condition, and as the mobility they enjoyed in early colonial times disappears.
1518 - Cortes sails from Cuba to the coast of Mexico. The expediton brings Arabian horses from Spain to North America. They land near Veracruz and by 1521 have conquered the Aztecs.
1519 - The community of Havana, Cuba moved to its new location on one of the best natural harbors in the Western Hemisphere and gradually becomes the center of Spanish shipping in the Caribbean.
c. 1520 - The great Mayan civilization in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador comes to an end.
1520s - The Kongo (Congo) kingdom in central West Africa becomes Portugal's primary source of enslaved Africans for trade.
1520 - Chocolate is brought from Mexico to Spain.
1520 - Portuguese traders build communities on the China coast.
1521 - Spain's holdings in North and Central America and the West Indies are loosely organized. Mexico City becomes the center of colonial rule.
c. 1521 - Spanish colonists in Mexico and the native peoples begin intermarrying. The offspring of these marriages are the first mestizos, ancestors of today's Mexicans and Mexican Americans.
1521 - Portuguese people begin the colonization of Brazil.
1522 - A slave revolt occurs on Hispaniola.
1522 - 1563 - Spanish explorations cover much of South and Central America and cities are established at Guatemala City, Santa Marta, Guadalajara, Cartagena, Lima, Asuncion, Bogota, Santiago, and Acapulco.
1523 - The first sugar refinery, owned by Tomas de Castellon, is established in Aasco, Puerto Rico.
1523 - Portuguese are expelled from China.
1525 - The potato, which probably originated in Chile, is brought to Europe.
1527 - A revolt against enslavement takes place on Puerto Rico.
1528 - Carib and Taino natives in Puerto Rico attack a Franciscan monastery in Aguada.
1528 - In Africa, Askia Mohammed I's rule of Songhai (Songhay) Empire ends.
1530s - Enslaved Africans brought from Spain and fluent in Spanish accompany the conquistadors on their South American expeditions. Many are rewarded for their service with grants of freedom, land, and Native American labor. In Peru and Mexico, such Hispanicized Africans work as drivers, farmers, miners, and artisans.
1530 - Puerto Rico experiences an economic crisis. With Puerto Rico's gold supply exhausted, many colonists move to other parts of the Spanish Empire. Others turn to agriculture with sugarcane and cattle as principal products.
1532 - Portuguese colonists make their homes in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Within one year, Brazil's first sugar mill is in operation.
c. 1537 - Some Amerindians, probably Caribs, are on the island of Barbados when Portuguese mariners stop there on their way to Brazil.
1538 - A Portuguese slave ship, the first in the Caribbean, reaches Puerto Rico.
1538 - The first known shipment of enslaved Africans arrives in Brazil. By the 1550s, people from the Dahomey, Yoruba, Hausa, and Bantu groups are working sugar plantations in Brazil.
1539 - 1542 - - Coronado reaches the Grand Canyon. They travel into presnt day Arizona, New Mexico, and western Oklahoma. Mississippi River is explored. Diseases are spread throughout the southern United States causing the deaths of thousands of Native Americans.
1539 - A land expedition northward reaches the presumed site of the city of Cibola. Estevanico is killed and the others return to Mexico with turquoise and tales of riches.
1540 - 1542 - - Coronado leads the first Spanish expedition into the northern borderlands of New Spain from New Mexico to current Arizona and then north to the area that is now Kansas. Colorado River sighted. Grand Canyon sighted.
1540 - DeSoto leads his group of Spaniards in raids of Indian villages in the Tennessee River Valley.
1541 - DeSoto's group explores the Mississippi River.
1542 - Spanish give horses to their Indian allies against the Mixton Rebellion.
1542 - The "New Laws" are established in Spain's American colonies. Bartolome de Las Casas, a priest and missionary, is mainly responsible for them. They require the humanitarian treatment of South American Indians in Spanish possessions, although Indians are still subject to forced labor. Conditions worsen for enslaved Africans as they become the primary labor force in Spanish America.
1544- 1545 - - Silver deposits are discovered at Potosi, Bolivia, and mines are opened under Spanish control.
1545 - A serious epidemic, possibly typhus, occurs in Cuba and New Spain, resulting in almost 500,000 deaths.
1546 - Silver deposits are discovered at Zacatecas, Mexico. Two years later, the first mining operation is established there. Mining attracts colonists and creates the need for a steady labor supply. Increasingly, Indians are used as rotating labor in the mines. In 1548, a gold rush in this area raises the need for new mining techniques, which are then developed by the native miners.
1555 - Tobacco is brought to Spain from America for the first time.
1560 - On the island of Hispaniola, the ratio of Africans to Europeans is 15 to one.
Englishman John Hawkins tries to end Portugal's monopoly on the sale of enslaved Africans by beginning to sell slaves in Hispaniola.
1562 - An expedition to Hispaniola by John Hawkins, the first English slave trader to the area, begins English interest in that activity. Hawkins' travels also bring attention to Sierra Leone.
1565 - Five ships, with approximately 500 soldiers, 200 sailors, and 100 colonists under the leadership of Pedro de Aviles sail from Spain for America and establish St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied Euripean community in the United States.
1567 - Spanish colonists begin to make their homes on the coast of Venezuela.
A fever expidemic hits South America, killing more than 1 million Indians.
c. 1568 - King Sebastian I of Portugal forbids the enslavement of Indians in Brazil.
1569 - The Inquisition arrives in the Americas to enforce religious orthodoxy. It particularly opposes Indian religions and Judaism.
1569 - The Mercator projection chart is developed by Flemish geographer, Gerardus Mercator as a device to assist in navigation.
1570 - 1600 - - Spaniards in Chihuahua, Mexico, begin to raid the native peoples to the north, capturing slaves to work the silver mines.
1570 - 1617 - - The African empire of Kanem-Bornu (Lake Chad area) is at the peak of its power.
c. 1570 - Portuguese colonists establish communities in Africa around Luanda and in the Zambezi valley.
1570s - In Brazil, missionaries and colonists dispute the fate of the Indians. Missionaries seek peaceful converts to the faith, and colonists generally seek enslaved labrorers. In 1570, Portugal's King Sebastian I, a devout Catholic, proclaims that Indians other than those takes as prisoners of war may not be enslaved. This continuing dispute encourages the enslavement and sale of African people.
c. 1570 - A cobblestone roadway called Las Cruces Trail is constructed in Panama, to ease transportation of precious metals to the Spain-bound galleons at Portobelo. Portions of the highway can still be found today.
1579 - Silver is discovered in Potosi (Bolivia). By 1650, Potosi is the largest city in South America. The area is the world's leading silver producer until the 19th century.
1570 - To encourage colonization and to discourage intermarriage with the natives, the Spanish monarch forbids married men from traveling to the Americas for more than 6 months without their wives and families. The edict is ignored.
1575 - Portuguese merchants establish a permanent community at Luanda (northwest Angola), on the western coast of Africa, in a vain attempt to locate salt and silver mines. Instead they begin to build the trade in enslaved Africans. Angola supplies most of Brazil's enslaved Africans for the next 250 years.
1575 - 1591 - - During this time, more than 50,000 enslaved Africans are exported to Brazil from Angola.
1577 - Francis Drake leaves England to sail around the world via the Cape Horn route.
1579 - The Portuguese establish a trading station in Bengal.
1580 - Ginger becomes a principal crop of Puerto Rico.
The potato is introduced in Ireland.
Chinese porcelain is brought to Europe.
1580 - 1600 - - In Spanish America, agriculture begins to replace the taking of tribute as a primary source of wealth. Products include sugar, wheat, wine, olives, silk, tobacco, indigo, cattle, and sheep.
1580s - Lundu warriors sweep up the east coast of Africa in an apparent challenge to Portuguese dominance.
1580s - 1600 - - This period marks the rise of racial categories or classes in Spain's American colonies. Gachupines (Spaniards living in America) receive the most desirable political posts. Creoles (people of European ethnicity born in America) are gaining economic and local political influence. Indians are socially and legally isolated within separate villages and courts. Mestizos, mulattoes (people of combined African and European ethnicity), zambos (people of combined Native American and African ethnicity) and enslaved Africans face respectively increasingly legal, professional and social restrictions.
c. 1582 - King Philip II of Spain sends some enslaved Africans to work in San Agustin (St. Augustine, Florida).
1582 - Antonio de Espejo discovers silver deposits in Arizona.
English merchants begin to travel to India and the Persian Gulf.
1584 - A Dutch trading post is established at Archangel, Russia.
1584 - Walter Raleigh leads his first expedition to Virginia having received the first patent to lands including the present state of Tennessee.
1585 - 1586 - - An expedition organized by Raleigh, consisting of 7 ships and approximately 100 men arrives at Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina as the first English colony in North America.
1585 - On the orders of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Drake leads attacks on Spanish communities in the West Indies.
1588 - King Philip II of Spain orders the launching of the Spanish Armada in an attempted invasion of England where she is crippled severely.
1588 - The Guinea Company is founded and obtains a monopoly from the English monarchy to trade in enslaved Africans.
1590s - African tribes attack Portuguese forts at Sena and Tete, in eastern Africa.
1591 - The first English expedition to reach the East Indies occurs.
1591 - The Portuguese government closes Brazil to all non-Portuguese immigrants except enslaved Africans.
1592 - A Portuguese colony is established at Mombasa, east Africa.
1594 - A Spanish colonial report from this year states that the Central American community of Sonsonate has more than 300 inhabitants and is a major cocoa producer.
1594 - The Portuguese trade monopoly in India is stopped by the English.
1595 - Dutch seamen establish trading posts in Africa, on the eastern coast of Guinea.
1598 - A group of Spaniards, mestizos (people of combined Native American and Spanish ethnicity) and native Mexicans establish a capital on the Rio Grande.
c. 1600 - The colonies of Bahia and Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil prosper as slavery-based sugar exporting communities.
c. 1600 - Spanish colonists introduce sheep into the southwestern area of what is now the United States. Native Americans there learn about wool and the loom.
1600 - Records indicate there are approximately 900,000 enslaved Africans in Latin America.
1602 - By Spanish law, mulattos (people of combined African and European ethnicity), convicts, and "idle" Africans may be shipped to Latin America and forced to work in the mines there.
1602 - English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold sails the coast of what is now Massachusetts and gives Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard their names.
1607 - The first permanent English community in North America is established by the London Company under Captain Christopher Newport at Jamestown (Virginia). Three German colonists, the earliest known in the Americas are part of the Jamestown colony.
1608 - Skilled Polish and German glass makers arrive in Jamestown, Virginia, to establish the first manufacturing operation in the colonies. Polish immigrants to the colony later demand, and receive, the right to vote.
1609 - John Smith leaves the Jamestown colony. The colonists experience "a starving time."
In the arena of exploration, Portugal is a merchant empire while Spains interests lie more in conquest and colonization. Both England and France refuse to recognize the division of the newly discovered Western Hemishpere between Spain and Portugal, and try unsuccessfully to find a northern water route across America to Asia. In this process, they begin the European colonization of the Americas.
At the same time, the Netherlands, England, and France are unwilling to relinquish the profitable trade with Southeast Asia to Spain and Portugal. In Africa, the Atlantic coastal kingdoms of Ahanti (Asante), Benin and Dahomey expand as trade centers. Portuguese, and later Dutch slave traders encourage fighting among African kingdoms or factions in order to increase the number of Africans for sale in servitude in Europe and the Americas. In South Africa, the Dutch Boers (Afrikaners) come in power and expand their territory.
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