From humble beginnings, in the course of three centuries the Portuguese built the world's first truly global empire, stretching from modern Brazil to sub-Saharan Africa and from India to the East Indies (Indonesia). Portugal had established its present-day borders by 1300 and the following century saw extensive warfare that confirmed Portugal's independence and allowed it to aspire to maritime expansion, sponsored by monarchs such as Prince Henry the Navigator. During this nearly 300-year period, the Portuguese fought alongside other Iberian forces against the Moors of Andalusia; with English help successfully repelled a Castilian invasion (1385); fought the Moors in Morocco, and Africans, the Ottoman Turks, and the Spanish in colonial competition. The colourful and exotic Portuguese forces that prevailed in these battles on land and sea are the subject of this book.

The Portuguese in the Age of Discovery 1340-1665

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