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Portugal is a small nation located on the Iberian Peninsula, just west of Spain. This country is moderately wealthy with their economy based on trade. During the Age of Exploration, many Portuguese explorers exploited goods from other nations. As a result, Portugal became a major colonial power in Europe. Prince Henry the Navigator began to spread Christianity to other parts of the world. Vasco da Gama also discovered a maritime route to the Indies. In 1518, Magellan voyaged to the Spice Islands, which was very beneficial to Portuguese trade. The Treaty of Tordesillas settled the dispute between the boundaries of Portugal and Spain. One of the most important Portuguese colonies was Brazil, which produced sugars, dye, timbers, and other exotic commodities. In the east, they established trading compounds. By the 16th century, the empire extended from Africa to the western coasts of India. Religiously, the Portuguese always had negative attitudes towards non-Christians. In 1497, Dom Manuel ordered that all Jews and Muslims who refused to be baptized would be forced to leave the country. During the late 1500s, the Spanish started to control Portuguese trade and economy. As Spain started to decline, so did Portugal. Spain’s enemies such as the Netherlands and Great Britain started to attack Portugal. During the 17th century, the Dutch acquired many colonies, such as Ceylon, the Indies, and the Cape of Good Hope. This was a major disadvantage, because these islands were an important source of trade. During the War of Spanish Succession, Portugal participated in the Grand Alliance. Later on, the Treaty of Utrecht was signed to declare peace between Spain and Portugal.
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