Battle of Guinea

The Battle of Guinea took place on the Gulf of Guinea, in western Africa, 1478, between a Portuguese fleet and a Castilian fleet in the context of the War of the Castilian Succession.

The outcome of the battle of Guinea was probably decisive for Portugal reaching a very favourable sharing of the Atlantic and territories disputed with Castile in the Peace of Alcáçovas (1479). All with the exception of the Canary Islands stayed under Portuguese control: Guinea, Cape Verde, Madeira, Azores and the exclusive right of conquering the Kingdom of Fez. Portugal also won exclusive rights over the lands discovered or that were to be discovered south of the Canary Islands.

Portrait of John II of Portugal
John of Portugal (future King John II)
Battle of Guinea
Part of War of the Castilian Succession
Fernão Vaz Dourado 1571-1

16th century map of the Portuguese possessions in western Africa
DateSpring or Summer of 1478
Location
Result Decisive Portuguese victory
Belligerents
PortugueseFlag1475.png Kingdom of Portugal Blason Castille Léon.png Crown of Castile
Commanders and leaders
Jorge Correia
Mem Palha
Pedro de Covides (POW)
Strength
11 ships 35 ships[1][2]
Casualties and losses
no ships lost
  • all ships, crew and guns captured[1]
  • a huge cargo of gold captured[1][3]

Background

In 1478, Prince John of Portugal, who had been charged since 1474 by his father, King Afonso V of Portugal, with the administration of the Portuguese maritime expansion, received news that a large Castilian fleet of thirty five ships commanded by Pedro de Covides[4] had been sent from Seville by Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon to Portugal's claimed Mina, in the region of the Gulf of Guinea, to attack the Portuguese there and trade with the natives. He immediately prepared and organized a fleet of eleven ships with the objective of intercepting the Castilian expedition, giving the command of the fleet to Jorge Correia and Mem Palha, two of his knights.[5]

Portuguese arrival and battle

When the Portuguese fleet of eleven ships arrived at the Gulf of Guinea, the Castilians were already in the area for about two months trading with the Africans. Cheap goods like shells, old clothes, brass bracelets and other items were being traded in exchange for gold,[5] while slave raids along the coast of Guinea were also being conducted.

Domafonsov
15th-century painting of King Afonso V of Portugal

The Castilian fleet was anchored in a harbor near Mina when the Portuguese fleet initiated an attack early in the morning. The Castilians were caught by surprise and ended up being quickly and totally defeated, being forced to surrender to the Portuguese, who without much harm to themselves were able to capture the entire Castilian fleet along with its large cargo of gold.[1][2]

Aftermath

The captured fleet was then taken to Lisbon. The large amount of gold captured by the Portuguese was enough to finance King Afonso's military campaign in Castile.[5]

At the end of the war, the Portuguese exchanged the Castilian prisoners of the captured fleet for the Portuguese prisoners captured in the Battle of Toro.[6]

In the following year, the Treaty of Alcáçovas was signed between Portugal and Castile, where King Afonso V of Portugal gave up his claim to the Castilian throne, recognizing the Catholic Monarchs as sovereigns of Castile and abandoning his claim to the Canary Islands, while Queen Isabella I of Castile recognized the Portuguese hegemony in the Atlantic Ocean, confirming Portuguese sovereignty over Madeira, Azores, the Cape Verde Islands and the:

"...lands discovered and to be discovered, found and to be found... and all the islands already discovered and to be discovered, and any other island which might be found and conquered from the Canary Islands beyond toward Guinea..."[7]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Diffie, Shafer, Winius, p.151.
  2. ^ a b Newitt, p. 37.
  3. ^ Newitt, "However, in 1478 the Portuguese surprised thirty-five Castilian ships returning from Mina and seized them and all their gold." p. 37
  4. ^ Blake, p.237
  5. ^ a b c Blake, p.236.
  6. ^ Diffie, Shafer, Winius, "A happy result was that the prisoners of this Castilian fleet were exchanged by the Portuguese for those taken by the Castilians in the Battle of Toro." p.151
  7. ^ Diffie, Shafer, Winius, p.152

References

  • Bailey Wallys Diffie,Boyd C. Shafer,George Davison Winius, Foundations of the Portuguese empire, 1415-1580. U of Minnesota Press, (1977) ISBN 0-8166-0782-6
  • John W. Blake, Europeans in West Africa -1450-1560. READ BOOKS, (2008) ISBN 978-1-4437-2447-0
  • M. D. D. Newitt, A history of Portuguese overseas expansion, 1400-1668. Routledge, (2005) ISBN 0-415-23979-6

Coordinates: 1°N 4°E / 1°N 4°E

Battle of Toro

The Battle of Toro was a royal battle from the War of the Castilian Succession, fought on 1 March 1476, near the city of Toro, between the Castilian troops of the Catholic Monarchs and the Portuguese-Castilian forces of Afonso V and Prince John.

The battle had an inconclusive military outcome, as both sides claimed victory: the Castilian right wing was defeated by the forces under Prince John who possessed the battlefield, but the troops of Afonso V were beaten by the Castilian left-centre led by the Duke of Alba and Cardinal Mendoza.However, it was a major political victory for the Catholic Monarchs by assuring to Isabella the throne of Castile: The remnants of the nobles loyal to Juana de Trastámara adhered to Isabella. With great political vision, Isabella took advantage of the moment and summoned the 'Cortes' at Madrigal-Segovia (April–October 1476). There her daughter was proclaimed and sworn heiress of the Castile's crown, which was equivalent to legitimizing her own throne.

As noted by Spanish academic António Serrano: "From all of this it can be deduced that the battle [of Toro] was inconclusive, but Isabella and Ferdinand made it fly with wings of victory. (...) Actually, since this battle transformed in victory; since 1 March 1476, Isabella and Ferdinand started to rule in the Spain's throne. (...) The inconclusive wings of the battle became the secure and powerful wings of San Juan's eagle [the commemorative temple of the battle of Toro] ".The war continued until the peace of Alcáçovas (1479), and the official propaganda transformed the Battle of Toro into a victory which avenged Aljubarrota.

Guinea (region)

Guinea is a traditional name for the region of the African coast of West Africa which lies along the Gulf of Guinea. It is a naturally moist tropical forest or savanna that stretches along the coast and borders the Sahel belt in the north.

History of Portugal (1415–1578)

The Kingdom of Portugal in the 15th century was the first European power to begin building a colonial empire. The Portuguese Renaissance was a period of exploration during which Portuguese sailors discovered several Atlantic archipelagos like the Azores, Madeira, and Cape Verde, explored and colonized the African coast, discovered an eastern route to India that rounded the Cape of Good Hope, discovered Brazil, explored the Indian Ocean and established trading routes throughout most of southern Asia, and sent the first direct European maritime trade and diplomatic missions to Ming China and to Japan.

The Portuguese Renaissance produced a plethora of poets, historians, critics, theologians, and moralists, for whom the Portuguese Renaissance was their golden age. The Cancioneiro Geral by Garcia de Resende (printed 1516) is taken to mark the transition from Old Portuguese to the modern Portuguese language.

Isabella I of Castile

Isabella I (Spanish: Isabel, 22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504) reigned as Queen of Castile from 1474 until her death. Her marriage to Ferdinand II of Aragon became the basis for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V. After a struggle to claim her right to the throne, she reorganized the governmental system, brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years, and unburdened the kingdom of the enormous debt her brother had left behind. Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms. Isabella and Ferdinand are known for completing the Reconquista, ordering conversion or exile of their Muslim and Jewish subjects, and for supporting and financing Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage that led to the opening of the New World and to the establishment of Spain as the first global power which dominated Europe and much of the world for more than a century. Isabella, granted together with her husband the title "the Catholic" by Pope Alexander VI, was recognized as a Servant of God by the Catholic Church in 1974.

List of naval battles

This list of naval battles is a chronological list delineating important naval fleet battles.

Note

If a battle's name isn't known it's just referred to as "Action of (date)".

List of wars involving Spain

This is a list of wars fought by the Kingdom of Spain or on Spanish territory.

Palos de la Frontera

Palos de la Frontera (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpaloz ðe la fɾonˈteɾa]) is a town and municipality located in the southwestern Spanish province of Huelva, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is situated some 13 km (8 mi) from the provincial capital, Huelva. According to the 2015 census, the city had a population of 10,365. It is most famous for being the place from which Columbus set sail in 1492, eventually reaching America.

Portuguese Empire

The Portuguese Empire (Portuguese: Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (Ultramar Português) or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (Império Colonial Português), was one of the largest and longest-lived empires in world history. It existed for almost six centuries, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415, to the handover of Portuguese Macau 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. The Portuguese Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Spanish Empire.The Portuguese Empire originated at the beginning of the Age of Discovery, and the power and influence of the Kingdom of Portugal would eventually expand across the globe. In the wake of the Reconquista, Portuguese sailors began exploring the coast of Africa and the Atlantic archipelagos in 1418–19, using recent developments in navigation, cartography and maritime technology such as the caravel, with the aim of finding a sea route to the source of the lucrative spice-trade. In 1488 Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1498 Vasco da Gama reached India. In 1500, either by an accidental landfall or by the crown's secret design, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil on the South American coast.

Over the following decades, Portuguese sailors continued to explore the coasts and islands of East Asia, establishing forts and factories as they went. By 1571 a string of naval outposts connected Lisbon to Nagasaki along the coasts of Africa, the Middle East, India and South Asia. This commercial network and the colonial trade had a substantial positive impact on Portuguese economic growth (1500–1800), when it accounted for about a fifth of Portugal's per-capita income.

When King Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal) inherited the Portuguese crown in 1580 there began a 60-year union between Spain and Portugal known to subsequent historiography as the Iberian Union. The realms continued to have separate administrations. As the King of Spain was also King of Portugal, Portuguese colonies became the subject of attacks by three rival European powers hostile to Spain: the Dutch Republic, England, and France. With its smaller population, Portugal found itself unable to effectively defend its overstretched network of trading posts, and the empire began a long and gradual decline. Eventually, Brazil became the most valuable colony of the second era of empire (1663–1825), until, as part of the wave of independence movements that swept the Americas during the early 19th century, it broke away in 1822.

The third era of empire covers the final stage of Portuguese colonialism after the independence of Brazil in the 1820s. By then, the colonial possessions had been reduced to forts and plantations along the African coastline (expanded inland during the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century), Portuguese Timor, and enclaves in India (Portuguese India) and China (Portuguese Macau). The 1890 British Ultimatum led to the contraction of Portuguese ambitions in Africa.

Under António Salazar (in office 1932–1968), the Second Portuguese Republic made some ill-fated attempts to cling on to its last remaining colonies. Under the ideology of Pluricontinentalism, the regime renamed its colonies "overseas provinces" while retaining the system of forced labour, from which only a small indigenous élite was normally exempt. In 1961 India annexed Goa and Dahomey (now Benin) annexed Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá. The Portuguese Colonial War in Africa lasted from 1961 until the final overthrow of the Estado Novo regime in 1974. The so-called Carnation Revolution of April 1974 in Lisbon led to the hasty decolonization of Portuguese Africa and to the 1975 annexation of Portuguese Timor by Indonesia. Decolonization prompted the exodus of nearly all the Portuguese colonial settlers and of many mixed-race people from the colonies. Portugal returned Macau to China in 1999. The only overseas possessions to remain under Portuguese rule, the Azores and Madeira, both had overwhelmingly Portuguese populations, and Lisbon subsequently changed their constitutional status from "overseas provinces" to "autonomous regions".

Spanish Empire

The Spanish Empire (Spanish: Imperio Español; Latin: Imperium Hispanicum), historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy (Spanish: Monarquía Hispánica) and as the Catholic Monarchy (Spanish: Monarquía Católica), was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World and the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies" (Spanish: Las Indias). It also included territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Portuguese Empire. It was the world's most powerful empire during the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire was the first empire to be called "the empire on which the sun never sets".Castile became the dominant kingdom in Iberia because of its jurisdiction over the overseas empire in the Americas and the Philippines. The structure of empire was established under the Spanish Habsburgs (1516–1700) and under the Spanish Bourbon monarchs, the empire was brought under greater crown control and increased its revenues from the Indies. The crown's authority in The Indies was enlarged by the papal grant of powers of patronage, giving it power in the religious sphere. An important element in the formation of Spain's empire was the dynastic union between Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, known as the Catholic Monarchs, which initiated political, religious and social cohesion but not political unification. Iberian kingdoms retained their political identities, with particular administration and juridical configurations.

Although the power of the Spanish sovereign as monarch varied from one territory to another, the monarch acted as such in a unitary manner over all the ruler's territories through a system of councils: the unity did not mean uniformity. In 1580, when Philip II of Spain succeeded to the throne of Portugal (as Philip I), he established the Council of Portugal, which oversaw Portugal and its empire and "preserv[ed] its own laws, institutions, and monetary system, and united only in sharing a common sovereign." The Iberian Union remained in place until in 1640, when Portugal overthrew Habsburg rule and reestablished independence under the House of Braganza. Under Philip II, Spain, rather than the Habsburg empire, was identified as the most powerful nation in the world, easily eclipsing France and England. Furthermore, despite attacks from other European states, Spain retained its position of dominance with apparent ease.

The Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis (1559) confirmed the inheritance of Philip II in Italy (the Mezzogiorno and the Duchy of Milan). Spain's claims to Naples and Sicily in southern Italy dated back to the Aragonese presence in the 15th century. Following the peace reached in 1559, there would be no Neapolitan revolts against Spanish rule until 1647. The Duchy of Milan formally remained part of the Holy Roman Empire but the title of Duke of Milan was given to the King of Spain. The death of the Ottoman emperor Suleiman the Magnificent in 1566 and the naval victory over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 gave Spain a claim to be the greatest power not just in Europe but also in the world.

The Spanish Empire in the Americas was formed after conquering large stretches of land, beginning with Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean Islands. In the early 16th century, it conquered and incorporated the Aztec and Inca Empires, retaining indigenous elites loyal to the Spanish crown and converts to Christianity as intermediaries between their communities and royal government. After a short period of delegation of authority by the crown in the Americas, the crown asserted control over those territories and established the Council of the Indies to oversee rule there. Some scholars consider the initial period of the Spanish conquest as marking the most egregious case of genocide in the history of mankind. The death toll may have reached some 70 million indigenous people (out of 80 million) in this period. However, other scholars believe the vast majority of indigenous deaths were due to the low immunological capacity of native populations to resist exogenous diseases. Many native tribes and their cultures were entirely wiped out by the Spanish conquest and disease epidemics.The structure of governance of its overseas empire was significantly reformed in the late 18th century by the Bourbon monarchs. Although the crown attempted to keep its empire a closed economic system under Habsburg rule, Spain was unable to supply the Indies with sufficient consumer goods to meet demand, so that foreign merchants from Genoa, France, England, Germany, and The Netherlands dominated the trade, with silver from the mines of Peru, Bolivia and Mexico flowing to other parts of Europe. The merchant guild of Seville (later Cadiz) served as middlemen in the trade. The crown's trade monopoly was broken early in the seventeenth century, with the crown colluding with the merchant guild for fiscal reasons in circumventing the supposedly closed system. Spain was unable to defend the territories it claimed in the Americas, with the Dutch, the English, and the French taking Caribbean islands, using them to engage in contraband trade with the Spanish populace in the Indies. In the seventeenth century, the diversion of silver revenue to pay for European consumer goods and the rising costs of defense of its empire meant that "tangible benefits of America to Spain were dwindling...at a moment when the costs of empire were climbing sharply."The Bourbon monarchy attempted to expand the possibilities for trade within the empire, by allowing commerce between all ports in the empire, and took other measures to revive economic activity to the benefit of Spain. The Bourbons had inherited "an empire invaded by rivals, an economy shorn of manufactures, a crown deprived of revenue... [and tried to reverse the situation by] taxing colonists, tightening control, and fighting off foreigners. In the process, they gained a revenue and lost an empire." The Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian peninsula precipitated the Spanish American wars of independence (1808-1826), resulting the loss of its most valuable colonies. In its former colonies in the Americas, Spanish is the dominant language and Catholicism the main religion, enduring cultural legacies of the Spanish Empire.

Treaty of Alcáçovas

The Treaty of Alcáçovas (also known as Treaty or Peace of Alcáçovas-Toledo) was signed on 4 September 1479 between the Catholic Monarchs of Castile and Aragon on one side and Afonso V and his son, Prince John of Portugal, on the other side.

It put an end to the War of the Castilian Succession, which ended with a victory of the Catholic Monarchs on land and a Portuguese victory on the sea. The four peace treaties signed at Alcáçovas reflected that outcome: Isabella was recognized as Queen of Castile while Portugal reached hegemony in the Atlantic Ocean.

The treaty intended to regulate:

The renunciation of Afonso V and Catholic Monarchs to the Castilian throne and Portuguese throne, respectively

The division of the Atlantic Ocean and overseas territories into two zones of influence

The destiny of Juana de Trastámara

The contract of marriage between Isabella, the eldest daughter of the Catholic Monarchs, with Afonso, heir of Prince John. This was known as Tercerias de Moura, and included the payment to Portugal of a war compensation by the Catholic Monarchs in the form of marriage dowry.

The pardon of the Castilian supporters of Juana

War of the Castilian Succession

The War of the Castilian Succession, more accurately referred to as "Second War of Castilian Succession" or simply "War of Henry IV's Succession" to avoid confusion with other Castilian succession wars, was the military conflict contested from 1475 to 1479 for the succession of the Crown of Castile fought between the supporters of Joanna 'la Beltraneja', reputed daughter of the late monarch Henry IV of Castile, and those of Henry's half-sister, Isabella, who was ultimately successful.

The war had a marked international character, as Isabella was married to Ferdinand, heir to the Crown of Aragon, while Joanna was strategically married to King Afonso V of Portugal, her uncle, after the suggestion of her supporters. France intervened in support of Portugal, as they were rivals with Aragon for territory in Italy and Roussillon.

Despite a few initial successes by the supporters of Joanna, a lack of military aggressiveness by Afonso V and the stalemate in the Battle of Toro (1476) led to the disintegration of Joanna's alliance and the recognition of Isabella in the Courts of Madrigal-Segovia (April–October 1476):

"In 1476, immediately after the indecisive battle of Peleagonzalo [near Toro], Ferdinand and Isabella hailed the result as a great victory and called Courts at Madrigal. The newly gained prestige was used to win municipal support from their allies ..." (Marvin Lunenfeld).The war between Castile and Portugal alone continued. This included naval warfare in the Atlantic, which became more important: a struggle for maritime access to the wealth of Guinea (gold and slaves). In 1478, the Portuguese navy defeated the Castilians in the decisive Battle of Guinea.The war concluded in 1479 with the Treaty of Alcáçovas, which recognized Isabella and Ferdinand as sovereigns of Castile and granted Portugal hegemony in the Atlantic, with the exception of the Canary Islands. Joanna lost her right to the throne of Castile and remained in Portugal until her death.

This conflict has also been called the Second Castilian Civil War, but this name may lead to confusion with the other civil wars that involved Castile in the 14th and 15th centuries. Some authors refer to it as the War of Portugal; however, this name clearly represents a Castilian point of view and implicitly denies Juana's claim. At other times the term Peninsular War has been used, but it is easily confused with the Peninsular War of 1808–1814, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Some authors prefer the neutral expression War of 1475–1479.

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