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The explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral (c. 1467–1520) claimed Brazil as a colony for Portugal in 1500. The Portuguese began to establish settlements there in the 1530s and eventually set up large sugar cane plantations, or large farms that usually grows a single cash crop such as sugar, tobacco, or cotton.
Plantations need large workforces. At first, the colonists enslaved the native people and forced them to work on the plantations. Later, they imported enslaved people from Africa as well. The sugar that was exported from Brazil and sold in Europe created tremendous wealth for Portugal, which ran its colony in Brazil along mercantilist principles. Eventually, coffee also became a valuable export from Brazil.
Shifts in Economic Power
Before the discovery of new trade routes that originated on the Atlantic Ocean, Europeans had thought there was little benefit to having ports on the Atlantic coast. They had believed that there was little value that could come from the West. But Portuguese and Spanish explorations opened their eyes to a far different possibility. In the 17th century, the Dutch were the first to grasp this possibility and dominate the new global trading network. Yet by the early 18th century, the English had surpassed the Dutch.
Leading Atlantic Ports
The transtition of economic power to the northern Atlantic states is clear in the shifting location of leading port cities. Cities expanded as new markets developed.
Lisbon The Portuguese began their exploration and trade from the port city of Lisbon in the 15th century. It became clear in the early 16th century that Lisbon’s distance from northern and central Europe made it less than ideal as a place from which to ship goods from Asia throughout the continent.
Antwerp The Portuguese then set up a trading center in the city of Antwerp on a river near the North Sea in what is now northern Belgium. At that time, this region was part of the Netherlands, then under the control of Spain. Antwerp was the financial and commercial center of northern Europe. The city benefited from the emerging trade from Spanish and Portuguese overseas colonies. Portuguese traders faced stiff competition in the city from other European traders.
Amsterdam By the early 17th century, the northern parts of the Netherlands had become independent of Spain. The Dutch port city of Amsterdam then surpassed Antwerp and became the major trading port in Europe. The Dutch had large fleets of ships that traded both regionally and internationally.
Bristol As the English grew in political, social, and economic power, a city on the west coast of England also grew. As a port city, Bristol easily allowed for the import and export of many goods. But it was also a manufacturing center,
TOPIC 1.8 COLONIAL ExPANSION AND COLUMBIAN ExCHANGE 53
























































































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