THE British people, or more strictly the English—for Ireland, and Scotland most of all, took but little part in Imperial ventures till the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—had been early linked with the fortunes of Portugal. Portugal—the western third of the Iberian Peninsula—was, of course, at one time part of the Roman Empire, and its northern portion (including Galicia) had been much settled by Goths, while two-thirds of the south, from Algarve to the River Douro, had been conquered by the Moors. After the break-up of the Roman Empire, and under the succeeding Gothic kingdoms, all this western region of Hispania had developed a different dialect of the Latin from that which prevailed in Central Spain (the eastern parts of Spain to this day maintain a third Romance language—the Catalan, nearly allied to the Provençal of France). This westermost Romance dialect—Portuguese—is spoken even at the present day from the north-western part of Spain in Galicia to the frontiers of Andalusia. In the twelfth century a Burgundian noble in the service of the King of Leon and Castile had expelled the Moors from North-western Spain, and had followed up this exploit by the reconquest of the Douro Valley and the port at its mouth. This bore the name in Latin of Portus Calis, from which grew up the name of Portugal, applied first of all to a county, and later on to a kingdom. By the middle of the thirteenth century the Portuguese had driven the Moors entirely out of the territories west of the River Guadiana, and in so doing had received a great deal of assistance from the English and Germans, who latterly, instead of proceeding into the Mediterranean on a crusade against the Saracens, devoted their attention to the capture of Lisbon or some other city from the Moors of Spain or North Morocco. The first commercial treaty between Portugal and England was concluded in 1294; and a supplementary treaty (with London) in 1353. Between 1385 and 1438 political relations between England and Portugal were very close.
Consequently, when the Portuguese had obtained a good hold over the West Coast of Africa the English were not long in wishing to follow suit, as they were already made aware, by their trade with Portugal, of the spices, gold, slaves, and ivory which could be obtained from those regions...
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|