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Why Portugal was the First and the Last Colony Essay

Portugal is one of the many European nations that colonized different parts of the world. Its colonies spread from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Colonization has been defined as domination of a territory by a foreign power where the dominating power subjects the subordinate nation to exploitation, denial of freedom and direct ruling. Colonizing power usually impose their policies and control of most aspects of the local people. Portuguese domination of the foreign nation can be traced way back after the end of the Portuguese recapturing period in the twelfth century.

During this time they started moving to the other parts of the world, this is overseas expansion. In 1415 this European power conquered port of Cueta in the Northern part of Africa. In the subsequent years Portuguese continued moving along the coasts of Africa where they established forts, seaports, and trade posts. (Cook, S 1997) There are several reasons why Portugal became the first nation to colonize, firstly the nation has been described as the one which kicked off the age of discovery ,this was way back in the 1400s.

Portuguesese were the first to explore and sail through the Atlantic ocean, this enabled them to discover so many islands which they came to colonize. This discovery was propelled by the mobility of the citizens of this country. The information they gathered from these expeditions was very vital as far as conquering other parts of the world were concerned. Explorers such Vasco da Gama and Bartolomeu Dias helped in the establishment of ports and forts along the coastal regions of the areas they passed, this spread to as far as India.

These explorers were later followed by armed groups who were keen on taking regions that were rich in resources. (Field house, D (1981) Enrique, D (1981) brings out another perspective that gave Portugal an upper hand as far as colonization was concerned, this nation was the first to get important concessions from the church, this concessions recognized the ownership of the Portugal over the territory which had already been discovered and those which had not been discovered.

Pope also went ahead to give Portugal the exclusive rights to take over the lands in Africa. According to Sellsrtom, T (1999) Portuguese had a mentality that they were superior to other people and they had the right to live in the tropics and help in the assimilation of people from the entire racial group and make them one big nation. As a nation they clinged to the view of magnificent future through the guidance of an aura of dominance. This partly explains why this nation was clinging to their colonies.

They vehemently opposed the United Nations decolonization declaration which was passed in the early 1960s terming the idea as intelligible and can not be applicable to Portugal as a nation. Portugeese dictator Antonio Salazar was firmly opposed to this idea, he moved ahead and changed the constitution to incorporate the colonies as overseas provinces or states. These overseas provinces were taken as part of Portugal process of assimilation; they were part and parcel of this nation.

She wanted them to be recognized as part of her, this was strongly opposed by other nations as it was going against the declaration of decolonization. (McQueen 1997) (United Nation 1970) Portugal only came to grant independence to the country it was dominating after much pressure from the international community. Some of the last colonies in Africa Mozambique and Angola later came to be engulfed by the war which can be partly being blamed on this extended domination. Being the first nation to colonize and the last to grant independence places this European country at a unique position as far as colonial history is concerned.


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