Saturday, May 31, 2014

Portugal's Manuel I was, indeed, fortunate

It is the birthday of Portuguese monarch Manuel I The Fortunate (1469), who presided over a period of economic expansion and prosperity that included Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a European sea route around Africa to India (1498) and opening of trade with that country as well as the discovery of Brazil (1500) by Pedro Alvares Cabral. These developments gave Portugal a vast overseas empire that brought great wealth despite the small land area of the country. Manuel was called The Fortunate because his father, King John II, designated him heir to the throne instead of stabbing him to death as happened with Manuel’s older brother Diogo, Duke of Viseu. How fortunate for Manuel.

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