The Rise of the Great Nations

时间:2015-01-06 单词数:3560

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Age of Seafaring: Portugal


Most historians believe that the year 1500 AD is an important boundary in human history as it is since that time that human history can be called the world history in real sense. Before that, humans lived separately in several lands and no one could definitely tell whether the earth is square or round and almost all the people on the different lands thought they were in the center of the world.


What is unbelievable is that it is not the European economic and cultural centers that unveil the world history, but the two small countries in the southwest of Europe—Portugal and Spain. And Portugal can be called the first colonial empire.


Portugal is located in the Iberian Peninsula. In the 15th century, under the command of Prince Enrique, generations of navigators in Portugal opened a navigation line from the Atlantic to India through way of Cape of Good Hope.


There are specific reasons for the small Portugal to unveil the curtain of navigation expansion. Firstly, it is the political reasons. At that time, Portugal was stable in politics and was able to conduct large-scale exploration. Secondly, it is the geographical reasons. As is known to all, Portugal is surrounded by lands and next to big countries. Small territorial area and limited resources force it to find way through the ocean. Yet, the most important reason is to explore gold, silver and spice. The popular book “The Travels of Marco Polo” described the East as a place filled with gold and silver, which induced the Westerner’ enormous longing for the East. Another important purpose was to preach the Christianity to other parts of the world.

小国葡萄牙拉开航海扩张有其独特的原因。首先是政治制度的原因。当时的葡萄牙国内政治稳定,有能力进行大规模的探险。其次是地理原因。众所周知,葡萄牙三面陆地,比邻强国,而自身又国土面积狭小,资源有限,除了从海上寻求出路,别无办法。最重要的是为了寻求黄金白银和香料。当年,《马可波罗游记》将东方描述成黄金白银遍地的地方,引起西方人对东方的无限向往。 另外还有一个很重要的目的在于向世界其它地区传播基督教。

Yet there is an ever lasting truth” when you have a boom, you have a bust.” The once-stellar Portugal inevitably declined and fell. Small population and territorial space have limited the development of Portugal and the most important reason is that Portugal haven’t developed its industry and commerce and only colonial plunder couldn’t support the development of the whole nation.