Portuguese Empire: 2. Africa

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In the context of Portuguese overseas expansion (15th–20th centuries), Africa took on particular importance in the last hundred years (c.1880–1975), when the boundaries of the Lusitanian areas on the continent were finally established and the metropolis undertook more systematic efforts in terms of human occupation and economic exploitation of the territories under its jurisdiction. However, although the types of physical ownership and imposition of colonial structures of domination in areas that would later constitute independent countries evolved through a somewhat slow process, it would be limiting to refer to the existence of a Portuguese “African empire” merely by going back to the time of the “Scramble.” A more multifaceted concept of empire (including an institutional dimension dictated by the center and more ambiguous and informal modalities of influence generated in the periphery) must be called upon in this analysis to understand the longevity and the idiosyncrasies of the Lusitanian presence in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Empire
EditorsJohn Mackenzie
Place of PublicationNew York/London
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781118455074
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2016


  • 1415–1999 ce
  • Africa
  • European expansion
  • Imperialism in Africa
  • Portugal


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