During Manuel I’s reign Portuguese explorers discovered Brazil and routes to India, China and Siam.
This day in 1469 marked the birth of Manuel I, the king who ruled over Portugal from 1495 until 1521. His reign was also Portugal’s golden age, when Portuguese explorers sailed to the far reaches of the world. The colonial empire of Manuel I stretched along the coasts of Africa and reached to India and China in the east and Brazil in the west.
Manuel I was born in Alcochete near Lisbon. He became king in 1495, at the age of 26. During his reign Vasco da Gama discovered the route to India around the southern tip of Africa (1498). Two years later another Portuguese explorer – Pedro Álvares Cabral – discovered Brazil. In 1511 Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque took over Malacca, a strategically important region on the territory of today’s Malesia. That same year Portuguese expeditions reached Siam (today’s Thailand) and years later they arrived in China.
Towards the end of Manuel’s reign the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan set forth on his famous journey to circumnavigate the globe. Magellan, however, wasn’t in Manuel’s, service, but worked for the Spanish crown. Manuel I died not long before Magellan’s crew completed their journey around the globe.