Loading...
Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents

Ecclesiastical Empire

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "undefined".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    CHAPTER III - THE SUEVI IN THE MIDDLE AGES

    ON the original and permanent settlement of the Suevi, in the Roman Empire, they occupied “the greater portion of Southern and Western Spain; and their capital was Astorga.” In the period between the departure of the Vandals into Africa, A. D. 429, and the coming of the Visigoths into Spain, A. D. 456, the Suevi were “the only barbarian power left in the peninsula.”—Hodgkin. 1[Page 13] “Italy and Her Invaders,” book iii, chap 17. Though in the great battle with Theodoric, the Visigoth, in 456, they were signally defeated and their power was much weakened, yet the distinct Suevic kingdom continued until 587, when, by the power of Leovigild the Visigoth, it became entirely subject and tributary to the Visigothic kingdom.ECE 13.1

    2. During the time of the occupation of the peninsula by the Mohammedan power, 711, the Suevi, until about 1250, shared the fate of the Visigoths. As little by little the brave descendants of the unconquerable Pelayo pushed back the bounds of the Mohammedan dominion, the Suevi, inhabiting the territory of what is now Portugal and Galicia, was really the first to be freed. Indeed Alfonso I, grandson of Pelayo, not only drove the Mohammedans out of Galicia, but was able to advance “with his victorious troops” as far as to the River Douro. Alfonso III, 866-910, made expeditions as far south as to Coimbra and Lisbon, though his permanent southern boundary was still the River Douro.ECE 13.2

    3. Ferdinand the Great, king of Leon, Castile, and Galicia, 1055-1064, and his son, in 1065, carried the boundary southward till it included the present Portuguese province of Beira. Alfonso VI, 1072-1109, compelled the cession of Lisbon and Santerem, which was practically all that part of the province of Estramadura, which lies west and north of the River Tagus. In 1086 the danger that the Mohammedans would regain these territories was so great that Alfonso VI “summoned the chivalry of Christendom to his aid. Among the knights who came to his assistance were Counts Raymond and Henry of Burgundy; ...and in 1094 he combined the fiefs of Coimbra and Oporto into one great county,” called Terra Portucalensis, or County of Porto Cale; and, with the hand of his daughter Theresa, conferred it upon Henry of Burgundy, who thus became Count of Portucalensis: Porto Cale: Portugal. And that the Suevi who at the first inhabited Southern and Western Spain and Galicia, were the root of this Portugal, is clear from the fact that “ethnologically the Galicians are allied to the Portuguese, whom they resemble in dialect, in appearance, and in habits, more than any other inhabitants of the peninsula.” 2[Page 14] Encyclopedia Britannica, art. “Galicia,” par. 2.ECE 13.3

    4. The history of Portugal as a kingdom, therefore, really begins with this gift by Alfonso VI, descended from Alfonso I, grandson of Pelayo the Visigoth, to Henry of Burgundy, in A. D. 1094. It must be remembered, however, that at that time Portugal was only a county, held in fief by Henry of Burgundy as vassal of Alfonso VI, king of Leon, Castile, and Galicia, who by reason of his great successes assumed the title of “Emperor of Spain.” This grand title, however, vanished with him; and he was no sooner dead than Count Henry, his beneficiary, invaded the kingdom in a contest with four other claimants, to make himself king. He carried on this contest for five years, but failed; and died suddenly at Astorga in 1112, leaving his wife Theresa to rule the county of Portugal during the minority of his infant son, Affonso Henriques.ECE 14.1

    5. “Affonso Henriques, who, at the age of seventeen, assumed the government [1112-1185], was one of the heroes of the Middle Ages. He succeeded to the rule of the county of Portugal when it was still regarded as a fief of Galicia; and after nearly sixty years of incessant fighting, he bequeathed to his son a powerful little kingdom, whose independence was unquestioned, and whose fame was spread abroad throughout Christendom by the reports of the victories of its first king over the Mohammedans. The four wars of independence which Affonso Henriques waged against Alphonso VII, lasted more than twelve years, and were fought out on the Galician frontier with varying success, until the question of Portuguese independence was peaceably established and confirmed by the valor of the Portuguese knights who overcame those of Castile in the famous tournament of Valdevez, and Affonso Henriques assumed the title of King of Portugal.” 3[Page 15] Id., art. “Portugal,” pars. 4, 6.ECE 14.2

    6. It was not till the reign of Affonso III, 1248-1279, that the Mohammedans were finally expelled, and Portugal attained its ultimate European limits by the Portuguese conquest of all the territory west of the River Guadilquiver, and southward to the sea. Thus Portugal effected the expulsion of the Mohammedans from her dominions, two hundred and fifty years before Spain completely recovered hers. After this had been accomplished there was a long period of comparative peace, in which the kingdom and the people greatly prospered. About 1400 there was begun by the Portuguese an era of exploration and discovery, that is one of the greatest in the history of the world; that at that time led the world; and that brought to the king of Portugal “an income greater than that of any prince in Europe, so that he had no need of taxes.”ECE 15.1

    7. This splendid era of discovery was begun by Prince Henry, son of King Joao, or John, who by his energy and success acquired the title “the Navigator.” “Until his day the pathways of the human race had been the mountain, the river, and the plain, the strait, the lake, and the inland sea. It was he who conceived the thought of opening a road through the unexplored ocean—a road replete with danger, but abundant in promise. Born on March 4, 1394, Prince Henry was a younger son of King Joao of Portugal, and of Philippa of Lancaster, the grandchild of Edward III; so that he was half an Englishman. Prince Henry relinquished the pleasures of the court, and took up his abode on the inhospitable promontory of Sagres at the extreme southwestern angle of Europe.” His great aim was to find the sea-path to the then only known Indies. He did not accomplish it; but he did a great thing in destroying the terror of the great ocean, and so opening the door of courage to those who should come after. His ships and men reached the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo in 1418 and 1420, which were granted to him by the king, his brother, in 1433. They doubled the Cape of Bojador in 1433. In 1435 they went a hundred and fifty miles beyond Cape Bojador. In 1443 they went twenty-five miles beyond Cape Blanco. In 1445 they reached the mouth of the River Senegal. In 1455 he passed Cape Verde and went as far as to the mouth of the River Gambia. Prince Henry, the Navigator, died Nov. 13, 1460.ECE 15.2

    8. The enterprise which Prince Henry, the Navigator, had so well begun, was continued after his death. In 1462 the Cape Verde Islands were discovered and colonized. In the same year an expedition under Pedro de Cintra reached a point on the Serra Leone coast, six hundred miles beyond the Gambia. In 1469 another expedition under Fernan Gomez reached the Gold Coast. In 1484 Diogo Cam reached the mouth of the Congo. In 1486 Barholomew Dias succeeded in rounding the extreme southern point of Africa, as far as to Algoa Bay. The cape he named Cabo Tormentoso,—Cape Torment,—but the king of Portugal, Joao II, cheered with the prospect that the way was now surely opened to India, named it Cape of Good Hope.ECE 16.1

    9. This continued series of successes had drawn to Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, adventurous strangers “from all parts of the world;” and among these there came from Genoa, in Italy, in 1470, Christopher Columbus. He entered the service of the king of Portugal, where he remained till 1484, making “several voyages to the coast of Guinea.” As early as 1474 he had determined in his mind that the world is round; that therefore India should be reached by sailing westward; and that he would sail in that direction to find it. His project he made known to King Joao II, who referred him to his Committee of Council for Geographical Affairs. The committee rendered a decidedly adverse report; but the bishop of Ceuta, seeing that the king was inclined to favor Columbus’s view, suggested to him that he reap the advantage of it by sending an expedition unknown to Columbus. The king adopted the suggestion, sent out his expedition which from fear soon returned. Columbus, discovering the trick that had been attempted, in just indignation quitted Lisbon in 1484; and so the glory and the wonders of the discovery of the Western Continent, the New World, was lost to Portugal.ECE 16.2

    10. The Portuguese, however, having passed the most southern point of Africa, followed up the attempt to reach India by sailing eastward. In July, 1497, Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon. November 22 he rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Christmas day, as he was sailing along, land was sighted, which, in honor of the day, he named Natal. April 7, 1498, he reached Mombas, on the east coast of Africa, near the equator; and May 20, 1498, the India problem was solved by his sighting the Malabar coast of Western India, and anchoring his ships before Calicut. March 9, 1500, another expedition left Lisbon, under the command of Pedro Alvarez Cabral, and April 22 discovered the southeast coast of Brazil, taking possession in the name of the king of Portugal. Cabral then sailed for India, arriving at Calicut in September, and continued his voyage southward as far as to Cananore, and finally to Cochin. In 1501 Joao da Nova discovered the island of Ascension, and Amerigo Vespucci discovered the Rio Plata and Paraguay. Ceylon was discovered in 1505. In 1506 Albuquerque “explored the coasts of Arabia and Persia, made the king of Ormus tributary to the king of Portugal, and sent embassies to Abyssinia.” In 1510 he conquered Goa, on the Indian coast, a little north of Calicut. In 1512 the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, off the east coast of China, were discovered; and in 1517 the grand era of Portuguese discovery was fitly rounded out by the Fernam Peres de Andrade’s discovery of China, and entering “into commercial relations with the governor of Canton.”ECE 16.3

    11. These discoveries led large numbers of the Portuguese to emigrate in search of fortune; and the great wealth poured into the kingdom by the trade of the new lands, induced luxury and consequent enervation of those who remained at home: while there was also no immigration, and the soil was worked by slaves. These things of themselves weakened the kingdom; but as though to make its decline certain, in 1536 King Joao III established the Inquisition, which “quickly destroyed all that was left of the old Portuguese spirit.” Because of these things at home and the tyranny and corruption of the governors in the colonies, “everything went from bad to worse.” In 1578 the direct royal succession expired with King Sebastian. The kingdom fell for two years to the late king’s uncle, who was old, and died the last day of January, 1580; and, in the confusion and intrigues of the several aspirants to the throne that followed, Philip II, king of Spain, was successful in seizing the kingdom and making himself also king of Portugal.ECE 17.1

    12. In 1640 the Portuguese revolted and were successful in casting off the yoke of Spain, in expelling the Spaniards from Portugal; and in re-establishing a kingdom of their own by crowning a king of their own choice—the duke of Braganza as King Joao IV. During “the sixty years’ captivity” to Spain, however, the trade of her wide possessions, and a considerable portion of those possessions themselves, had been absorbed by other nations. From this Portugal never recovered; and has since had very little power or influence outside her proper European limits.ECE 17.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents