The Decline of the Eastern Empire and the Spanish Domination

Sea trade was, in the beginning, largely profitable, but the expenses of the upkeep of such a large and dispersed empire eventually became larger than the profits.

Sea trade was, in the beginning, largely profitable, but the expenses of the upkeep of such a large and dispersed empire eventually became larger than the profits. By the end of the 16th century a succession problem was added to the economical problems: King D. Sebastião disappeared in the Ksar el-Kebir battle against the moors in 1478, without an heir to succeed him on the throne. Several candidates appeared, but the Spanish king won over them all, becoming the new ruler of Portugal. Although at the beginning Portugal benefited from the union, by the second decade of the 17th century the situation was reversed, due to higher taxes and participation in ruinous wars (particularly against Holland and England).

King D. Sebastião, by Cristovão de Figueiredo. He was the last king of the second dynasty. His death in Morocco in 1578, without leaving an heir to the throne, set in motion the events that culminated on the 1580 annexation of Portugal by Spain. In fact, this annexation respected the Portuguese customs and the Portuguese language in official acts, and Philippe II of Spain became Philippe I of Portugal, which meant that he was a king with two crowns.



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