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Portuguese navigators

The great discoveries of Portuguese navigators

At the beginning of the 15th century, the Mediterranean trade was held up by the Ottoman Empire. Portugal then developed the first vessels able to navigate safely in the open sea and, under the impulse of John I, the Portuguese then started out a methodical exploration of the African coast, thus marking the beginning of the Great Discoveries that would lead to the redrawing of the world map.


★ 1415, The Conquest of Ceuta

The crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar and the conquest of Ceuta in 1415, a strategic city that controls its entry, is nowadays considered as the starting date of the era of the Great Portuguese Discoveries.

On 25 July 1415, 250 ships carrying 50,000 men left the port of Lisbon to reach Faro, then  Algeciras and finally Ceuta. On August 22nd, the city of Ceuta fell into the hands of the Portuguese after weak resistance from the Moors. This first Portuguese conquest in Africa then became the starting point for the exploration of the African continent.

In 1419, Madeira was discovered. In 1427, it was the turn of the Azores to be discovered as well. These islands are still Portuguese today. Then expeditions were pursed at the south of Cape Bojador and discoveries followed one another: Senegal and Cape Verde, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Congo then Gabon, Angola and finally South Africa in 1486.

* Inspired by the conquest of Ceuta, the soap maker Barbearia is issuing a new range of luxury soaps with an intense scent of blood oranges and saffron under the name 1415 Ceuta.


★ 1488, the passage of the Cape of Good Hope

In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias went over the Cape of Good Hope. When following the coast from the equator, the Cape of Good Hope is not the southernmost point of the African continent but it is the place from which one begins to travel eastward.

Bartolomeu Dias then named this place the Cape of Storms (Cabo das Tormentas ) because of the winds that prevail there but John II, king of Portugal, immediately renamed it the Cape of Good Hope because the Portuguese, now able to get around Africa, expect to reach India soon.
* Inspired by the Cape of Good Hope route, the soap maker Barbearia is issuing a new luxury soap with marine fragrances under the name of 1488 Tormenta.


1498, the arrival in India

On 4 July 1497, Vasco da Gama left Lisbon with 4 vessels and 200 men. He followed the maritime route opened by Bartolomeu Dias and passed the Cape of Good Hope (Cape of Storms) on 22 November 1497 where he embarked guides familiar with the currents of the Indian Ocean.

 He reached the port of Pantalayini in India on 21 May 1498 and landed on the beach of Kappad on 28 May with a crew in rags, exhausted and decimated by scurvy and dysentery. The trip is a failure and the expected trade agreements are not concluded. Nevertheless, Vasco da Gama is covered with honors on his return and launches the legend of the first traveller to reach India when the country has long been crossed by Venetian merchants. The Portuguese then set up an administration, established the position of Viceroy of India, and built forts at strategic points. The entire Indian Ocean is soon under Portuguese control. Discoveries are now continuing elsewhere.

* Inspired by the opening of the India Road, the soap maker Barbearia is issuing a new luxury soap with an intense scent of rose, jasmine, and vanilla named 1498 India.


★ 1500, the takeover of Brazil

After Vasco da Gama's return in 1499, King D. Manuel I gave the order to prepare a new fleet for India. This large fleet of 13 vessels weights anchor on March 9, 1500 with the objective of establishing trade relations with Indian Ocean ports. On March 14, the fleet reached the Canary Islands, on March 22, it was in Cape Verde. This is where Pedro Alvares Cabral's boat mysteriously disappeared.

On April 22, 1500, Cabral boarded in Brazil and took possession of it. On May 2, he carries on his journey to India according to the strategic official plan of the journey. The occupation of Brazil by Europeans began.

* Inspired by the discovery of Brazil, the soap maker Barbearia is issuing a new luxury soap with an intense mango scent named 1500 Brasil.


★ 1543, the discovery of Japan

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese established many trading posts in the Indian Ocean and continued their explorations towards China. In 1543, driven by a typhoon, Portuguese adventurers landed on Tanegashima, an island in the Japanese archipelago. Portuguese vessels then began to arrive in Japan and acted as intermediaries in trade with China through their trading post in Goa, India.

From 1557, the Portuguese controlled Macau and were recognized as trading partners by the Chinese. They were then able to regulate trade to Japan. This trade lasted until 1638 and was then prohibited on the grounds that Portuguese vessels smuggled priests into Japan.

* Inspired by the discovery of Japan, the soap maker Barbearia is issuing a new luxury soap with an intense cherry blossom scent named 1543 Japão.


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