History of the Discoveries and Portuguese Expansion
Cod: 31058
Department: DCSG
Scientific area: History
Total working hours: 156
Total contact time: 15

We build a diachronic approach of 5 themes, starting with “From the Expansion background to Portuguese presence in Morocco”. We contextualize the historical and geographical European background and explain Portuguese presence until the end of the expansionist policies in Morocco. The 2nd theme deals with Portuguese expansion from the Atlantic to the Pacific and with geographical and economic contexts. We outline the main vectors of the expansion and of the land travels. In a further stage we analyze the geographical and economic articulation in the Indian Ocean, as well as Portuguese presence in Eastern spaces. The 3rdtheme approaches Portuguese naval constructions and cartography (15th-16th centuries). The 4th theme analyzes the “ paths of Portuguese colonization”, namely Portuguese presence in African, Brazilian, and Eastern spaces, as well as the extra-European trade. In the 5th theme we study the consequences of the Discoveries at artistic, mental and cultural levels.

New Worlds

During the timely arch 14th – 16th centuries students are expect to:
- Understand the several stages of Portuguese presence in African, American and Asian spaces;
- Explain both the specificity of the improvements made by Portuguese cartography that allowed the navigation in different oceanic situations – the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans;
- Explain the repercussions of this “New Time” in Portugal and in the World;
- Analyse the diachronic changes of Portuguese presence in an extra-European space;
- Problematize the great issues that Portugal was confronted with in order to consolidate its presence in African, American and Asian spaces.

1.From the Expansion background to Portuguese presence in Morocco:
1.1. The Historical and geographical context
1.2. Ceuta and the Portuguese presence in Morocco
2. From the Atlantic to the Pacific:geographical and economic contexts
2.1. Paths of the Portuguese expansion(15th century)
2.2. Stages of Atlantic Exploration and land travels
2.3.From the Indian Ocean to the Pacific
3.Portuguese naval constructions and cartography (15th-16th centuries)
3.1.The vessels
3.2. The Portuguese Cartography
4. Paths of Portuguese colonization
4.1.The Atlantic space
4.2. The Asian space
4.3. the extra-European trade
5. Impacts of Portuguese Discoveries
5.1. mental and cultural levels
5.2. Artistic expressions

Avelar, Ana Paula, Representações de um Mundo Novo no Portugal de Quinhentos, Chamusca, Edições Cosmos, 2011.
Bethencourt, Francisco, Kirti Chaudhuri, História da Expansão Portuguesa, 5vols., Lisboa, Temas e Debates, 1988.
Oliveira, Aurélio de, História dos Descobrimentos e Expansão Portuguesa, Lisboa, Universidade Aberta, 2000.


Continuous assessment is privileged: 2 digital written documents (e-folios) during the semester (40%) and a final digital test, Global e-folio (e-folio G) at the end of the semester (60%). In due time, students can alternatively choose to perform one final exam (100%).