Architecture / Empire / Portugal

joss house: In the semi-English language of traders in the east, a Chinese temple. The term “joss,” meaning a divinity, seems to be a mispronunciation by the Chinese of the Portuguese word deos.

Portugese garden: Influenced by Roman, Moorish, and medieval garden-design, Portugal’s eclectic blend of foreign influences, combined with a climate favorable to the cultivation of gardens, led to some remarkably beautiful creations…

pelourinho: A decorative shaft or column set in a public square of a Portuguese city as a token of municipal rights.

barocco: Irregular; informal; unexpected; not according to the traditions of the schools. The term seems to be the Italian form of an original Spanish or Portuguese word, the French form of which is baroque. According to the tastes and opinions of the person who used it, the term is either one of reproach, or a mere qualification descriptive of the decorative art of a certain period.


AIfonso I (1128-1185)
Sancho I (1185-1211)
AIfonso II (1211-1223)
Sancho II (1223-1245)
AIfonso III (1248-1279)
Diniz (1279-1325)
AIfonso IV (1325-1357)
Pedro I (1357-1367)
Ferdinand I (1367-1383)
Joí£o I (1385-1433)

A Portuguese prince, Henry the Navigator, becomes fascinated by exploration down the coast of Africa and commissions successive voyages

c. 1420
The Portuguese, discovering the lush and uninhabited island of Madeira, send colonists to settle it

Duarte (1433-1438)
AIfonso V (1438-1481)

Portugal claims ownership of the region of Guinea, subsequently the centre of their slave trade on the west African coast

c. 1450
The caravel, a sailing ship developed in the Mediterranean and used down the west coast of Africa, is adapted by the Portuguese for Atlantic use

The Portuguese settlers on the Cape Verde islands are granted a monopoly on the new slave trade

The Portuguese establish a further presence on the west coast of Africa, at the mouth of the Congo river

Bartolomeu Dias, sailing for the king of Portugal, becomes the first European navigator to round the Cape of Good Hope

Pope Alexander VI draws a line through the Atlantic, dividing new discoveries between Spain (west) and Portugal (east)

Joí£o II (1481-1495)


In negotiations about the New World at Tordesillas, the king of Portugal insists on a new demarcation line which later brings him Brazil

Manuel I (1495-1521)

Manueline: Portuguese late-Gothic style of the reign of King Manoel I (1495-1521): highly decorative, it included ropes, corals, twisted piers, and the Cross of the Military Order of Christ, best seen at the Cristo Monastery at Tomar (from 1510). There was a 19th c. revival.

Manueline style: The last phase of Gothic architecture in Portugal, so named after King Manuel I (1495-1521).

Vasco da Gama reaches the southern coast of India, at Calicut, after sailing across the Indian Ocean from east Africa


Portuguese explorer Pedro Cabral, with a fleet of thirteen ships, makes landfall in Brazil

The Portuguese establish trading posts in east Africa, on the coast of Mozambique

Vasco da Gama wins a trading treaty for Portuguese merchants after bombarding the Indian port of Calicut into submission

The Portuguese set up a trading post on the east African island of Zanzibar

The Portuguese establish a presence in Sri Lanka, trading in the island’s crop of cinnamon

The Portuguese seize Goa and make it their colonial capital in India

The Portuguese take control of Malacca, in the Malay peninsula, as a base for trade further east

The Portuguese make treaties in the Moluccas (or Spice Islands), to trade in cloves and nutmeg

The Portuguese capture Hormuz and establish a garrison to control the Gulf of Oman


Joí£o III (1521-1527)
Sebastian (1557-1578)

The Portuguese force the local ruler to cede to them the island of Bombay

Brazil becomes a Portuguese royal province, under the control of a governor general

The first Portuguese governor general of Brazil selects Bahia (now Salvador) as his capital

c. 1550
Africans, bought in the Portuguese trading posts of west Africa, are shipped across the Atlantic as slaves

The Portuguese establish a trading post on Macao, a small peninsula off the south coast of China

Henry, cardinal (1557-1580)
Phillip I (1580-1598)
Phillip II (1598-1621)
Phillip III (1621-1640)

c. 1625
The Dutch gradually exclude the Portuguese from the immensely lucrative trade in cloves from the Spice Islands (or Moluccas)

Joí£o IV (1640-1656)

The Dutch expel the Portuguese from their trading posts in Malacca

After a six-month siege, the Dutch capture Colombo from the Portuguese in Sri Lanka

Alfonso VI (1656-1683)

The Dutch expel the Portuguese from the last of their trading posts in Sri Lanka

England’s East India Company is granted a lease on Bombay by Charles II, who has received it from his Portuguese bride


Pedro II (1683-1706)

A fleet from Oman evicts the Portuguese from Mombasa and Zanzibar


Joí£o V (1706-1750)
José I (1750-1777)

Colonial architecture : Architecture transplanted from the motherlands to overseas colonies, such as Portuguese Colonial architecture in Brazil, Dutch Colonial architecture in New York, and above all English Georgian architecture of the 18th century in North American colonies.

The capital of the Portuguese colony of Brazil is moved from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro

Maria I (1777-1816)

Tiradentes (the ‘puller of teeth’) leads the first rebellion against Portuguese rule in Brazil

The Brazilian rebel Tiradentes is beheaded in public in Rio de Janeiro as a warning to would-be revolutionaries

Brazil is given equal standing with Portugal, forming together the Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil

Joí£o VI o Clemente (1816-1826)

The 22-year-old Portuguese prince, Dom Pedro, is made regent of Brazil

The Portuguese regent, Dom Pedro, proclaims the independence of Brazil and three months later is crowned emperor, as Pedro I


Isabel Maria, president of council of regency (1826-1828)
Pedro IV de Alcí¢ntara, regent (1826-1828)
Maria II da Glória (1828, 1834-1853)

The Portuguese ban the shipping of slaves from the coast of Angola


Miguel I (1828-1834)
Pedro V de Alcí¢ntara (1853-1861)
Ferdinand II, regent (1853-1855)
Luí­s I (1861-1889)

Slavery is finally made illegal in the Portuguese empire

The imperial government in China formally acknowledges Portuguese territorial rights in Macao

Carlos I (1889-1908)
Manuel II (1908-1910)

Joaquim Teófilo Fernandes Braga (1910-1911, 1915)
Manuel José de Arriaga Brum da Silveira e Peyrelongue (1911-1915)
Bernardino Luí­s Machado Guimarí£es (1915-1917, 1925-1926)
Sidónio Bernardino Cardoso da Silva Pais (1917-1918)
Joí£o do Canto e Castro Silva Antunes (1918-1919)
António José de Almeida (1919-1923)
Manuel Teixeira Gomes (1923-1925)
José Mendes Cabeí§adas Júnior, acting (1926)
Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa , acting (1926)
António Oscar de Fragoso Carmona (1926-1951)
António de Oliveira Salazar, acting (1951)
Francisco Higino Craveiro Lopes (1951-1958)

The MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) is formed as a guerrilla movement to end Portuguese rule

Américo de Deus Rodrigues Tomás (1958-1974)

Frelimo emerges as a Marxist guerrilla group dedicated to winning independence for Mozambique

UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi, joins the fight for Angolan independence

António de Spí­nola (1974)
Francisco da Costa Gomes (1974-1976)

Portuguese Guinea becomes independent as Guinea-Bissau, with Luís Cabral as president

Portuguese East Africa becomes independent as Mozambique, with Frelimo as the only political party

The Cape Verde islands, off the west coast of Africa, become independent as the republic of Cape Verde


António dos Santos Ramalho Eanes (1976-1986)
Mário Soares (1986-1996)
Jorge Sampaio (1996-2006)

The island of Macau reverts from Portuguese ownership to the People’s Republic of China


Aní­bal Cavaco Silva (2006–2016)
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (2016–)


Also see Architecture index.


Sources Cited

Timeline: Portugese empire, Oxford Reference

Portugal: Kings, Queens and Presidents, InfoPlease