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Oporto: The Building of a Maritime Space in the Early Modern Period

Author(s): Amândio Jorge Morais Barros

Journal: E-Journal of Portuguese History
ISSN 1645-6432

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: Atlantic system | Early Modern period | maritime space | navigation | Oporto | seaport | shipbuilding | shipping | trade

During the 16th century, while the Portuguese Crown was concentrating its best efforts on exploring the Cape sea route ("The India Run"), as well as the far-eastern circuits, from Lisbon, commercial shipping agents from other Portuguese seaports sought alternative outlets for their business. It was due to the existence of ports such as Oporto, Viana do Castelo, Vila do Conde, etc., long considered to be minor, that the Portuguese Kingdom was able to make its definitive contribution to the formation of the first Atlantic system. The present essay follows a tendency in modern historiography and pays attention to one particular case: that of the evolution of the city of Oporto, the building and organization of its seaport, its inclusion in an international port system, the mobility of its merchant fleet and the extent of their enterprise. The influence of the Oportan maritime space was felt across the Atlantic world and helped to improve European trade and the economic system of that period.
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