Portuguese Empire

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Flag of Portugal (1667-1707).
Areas of the world that were once part of the Portuguese Empire

The Portuguese Empire (Portuguese: Império Português), was composed of the overseas colonies, factories, and the later overseas territories governed by Portugal. It was one of the longest-lived empires in European history, lasting almost six centuries from the conquest of Ceuta in North Africa in 1415, to the handover of Portuguese Macao to China in 1999. The empire began in the 15th century, and from the early 16th century it stretched across the globe, with bases in North and South America, Africa, and various regions of Asia and Oceania.


  • Arms and the Heroes, who from Lisbon's shore,
    Through Seas where sail was never spread before,
    Beyond where Ceylon lifts her spicy breast,
    And waves her woods above the watery waste,
    With prowess more than human forced their way
    To the fair kingdoms of the rising day:
    What wars they waged, what seas, what dangers past,
    What glorious empire crowned their toils at last!

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