Over a period of 250 years Portuguese became the global language of maritime trade, and Iberian silver circulated as the first worldwide trading currency. A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400–1668 provides an accessible survey of how the Portuguese became so influential during this period and how Portuguese settlements were founded in areas as far flung as Asia, Africa and South America.
Malyn Newitt examines how the ideas and institutions of a late medieval society were deployed to aid expansion into Africa and the Atlantic islands as well as how, through rivalry with Castile, this grew into a global commercial enterprise. Finally, he considers how resilient the Portuguese overseas communities were, surviving wars and natural disasters and fending off attacks by the more heavily armed and better resourced English and Dutch until well into the 1600s. Including a detailed bibliography and glossary, this volume is an invaluable textbook for all those studying this formative early period of expansion.
Malyn Newitt is Charles Boxer Professor of History at King’s College London. His many publications include The First Portuguese Colonial Empire (1986), A History of Mozambique (1995) and East Africa (2002).