Portuguese caravel

Romanus Pontifex and the Age of Imperialism. January 8, 1455.

From the point of view of European History, the coast of Guinea has always been mainly associated to slavery. In fact, one of the names used commonly for this region is “The Slaves Coast”. When Portuguese arrived at the Atlantic coast of Africa around 1430, they were mainly interested in gold. Since Mansa Musa´s, king of the Empire of Mali, hajj to Mecca in 1325 with 500 slaves and 100 camels, each of them loaded with gold, the region was famous for its richness. The commerce of Subsaharan Africa had been until then controlled by the Islamic Empire that extended along the north of Africa. The commercial routes of the Muslims crossed the Sahara Desert. These routes had existed for centuries and the main goods were salt, textiles, fish, grain and slaves. When the Portuguese extended their in...

The Battle of San Juan de Ulúa. September 24, 1568.

The Battle of San Juan de Ulúa was a battle between English privateers and Spanish forces at San Juan de Ulúa (in modern Veracruz, Mexico). It marked the end of the campaign carried out by an English flotilla of six ships that had systematically conducted what the Spanish considered to be illegal trade in the Caribbean Sea, including the slave trade, at times imposing it by force. Subsequent to the beginning of the Age of Discovery and the European exploration of the New World it was determined that in order to minimize potential conflict between the two major naval powers of the world at the time, Spain and Portugal, that a demarcation line between the two spheres of influence would be necessary. In the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, dividing the New World into Spanish and Portuguese zones w...

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