First global empire
Who
Portugal
What
first
Where
Not Applicable
When
The Portuguese established the first global maritime and commercial empire under the leadership of Henry the Navigator in the 15th century. In the 1440s, Henry sent out key expeditions to Africa and Asia, and in the 16th and 17th centuries, Portugal went on to establish colonies in Brazil, Africa, East Timor, India and Macau. The Spanish quickly followed suit by conquering Mexico in 1519 and, shortly thereafter, Peru, the Philippines and most of Central and South America (except Brazil).