An anachronistic map of the Portuguese Empire (1415-1999). Red: actual possessions; Pink: explorations, areas of influence and trade and claims of sovereignty; Blue: main sea explorations, routes and areas of influence.
This article is a comprehensive list of all the actual possessions of the Portuguese Empire.
Portuguese presence in Africa started in 1415 with the conquest of Ceuta and is generally viewed as ending in 1975, with the independence of its later colonies, although the present autonomous region of Madeira is located in the African Plate, some 650 km (360 mi) off the North African coast, Madeira belongs and has always belonged ethnically, culturally, economically and politically to Europe, some 955 km (583 mi) from the European mainland.
Angola/Portuguese West Africa: colony (1575–1589); crown colony (1589–1951); overseas province (1951–1971); state (1971–1975). Independence in 1975.
Cabinda: protectorate (1883–1887); Congo district (1887–1921); intendancy subordinate to Maquela (1921–1922); dependency of Zaire district (1922–1930); Intendacy of Zaire and Cabinda (1930–1932); intendancy under Portuguese Angola (1932–1934); dependency under Angola (1934–1945); restored as District (1946–1975). Controlled by Frente Nacional para a Libertação de Angola (National Liberation Front of Angola) as part of independent Angola in 1975. Declared Cabinda a Republic in 1975, but not recognized by Portugal nor Angola.
Moçambique/Portuguese East Africa: possession (1498–1501); subordinate to Goa (1501–1569); captaincy-general (1569–1609); colony subordinate to Goa (1609–1752); colony (1752–1951); overseas province (1951–1971); state (1971–1974); local transitional administration (1974–1975). Independence in 1975.
Brazil was explored and claimed in 1500, and become independent in 1822. Unlike the Spanish, the Portuguese did not divide its possession in South America in several vice-royalties.
Barbados: Possession known as Os Barbados, discovered by Pedro Campos in 1536 being an exile post for Brazilian Jews. The only Caribbean possession the Portuguese held for eighty-four years until Portugal abandoned the island to continue exploring nearby Brazil.
Cisplatina (Uruguay): occupation (1808–1822). Captaincy in 1817 (of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves). Adhered as a province of the new Empire of Brazil in 1822. Became independent 1827, changing its name to Uruguay.
French Guiana: occupation (1809–1817). Restored to France in 1817.
Macau/Macao: settlement (1553–1557), leased territory subordinated to Goa (1557–1844); overseas province (1844–1883); combined overseas province with Portuguese Timor under Goa (1883–1951); overseas province (1951–1976); Chinese territory under Portuguese administration (1976–1999). Returned to full sovereignty of People's Republic of China as a special administrative region in 1999.
Socotra: possession (1506–1511). Became part of Mahri Sultanate of Qishn and Suqutra
Qatar: possession (1517–1538). Lost to the Ottomans
Timor: claimed and partially possessed from 1520 to 1640.
West Timor: part of Timor lost to the Dutch in 1640.
Portuguese Timor: colony subordinate to Portuguese India (1642–1844); subordinate to Macau (1844–1896); separate colony (1896–1951); overseas territory (1951–1975); republic and unilateral independence proclaimed, annexed by Indonesia (1975–1999, UN recognition as Portuguese territory). UN administration from 1999 until independence in 2002.
Countries with territories part of the Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese empire spread over time throughout a vast number of Territories that are now part of 53 different Sovereign States.
Countries with Territories part of the Portuguese Empire
Dark Blue: Countries with at least one Territory (anachronistic) part of the Portuguese Empire. Light Blue: Countries with at least one Claimed territory (anachronistic) part of the Portuguese Empire