Prince Henry the Navigator: He was very interested in cartography, which is the practice of drawing maps, and navigation. Henry made sure sailors had up to date navigation instruments to get through their voyages. He also wanted to extend Portuguese control into the Atlantic. Henry wanted ties to Africa for their gold. In 1444, they reached the Gold Coast and collected their gold and slaves. Prince Henry pioneered Portuguese slave trade.
New Slavery: At first, slavery was not racially biased. All different kinds of people were used as slaves, but the Europeans had a different view. For them, Africans stood out and they thought they were better as slaves than the others. In the late fifteenth centuries, that is when they decided to use the Africans. Around the 1460s, Portugal decided to have a sugar plantation in the Cape Verde Islands to the Gulf of Guinea. This was an ideal location because people did not settle there. In the end this would cause extreme consequences for the people of Africa, the Americas, and Europe.
Opening Sea Routes: As sailors made their way around the western coast of Africa, in 1483 they were able to make it to the Congo River. In 1488, Captain Bartholomeu and his crew were blown around the southern tip of Africa. He called this the "Cape of Storms". King Joao II, planned an expedition around India. As they rounded the Cape, he found a Muslim navigator named Ibn Majid. He was able to help them cross the Indian Ocean to Calicut. This now opened a sea route.
Trade: With the help of the Muslim navigator, a sea route has now been established by the Europeans. This was extremely helpful to them, especially for their spice trade. With their new knowledge of the route, they cut off others routes so they could not successfully trade with others. The Portuguese were able to monopolize the spice trade this way. In 1520, people were now forced to buy spices from them.
New ships: The Portuguese Caravel was the ship that took them on the voyage to Africa. The design of the ships, that even the Caravel had, were used since the thirteenth century. In the 1440s, new ship designs were being built, larger than ever. Changing the designs helped people on their voyages because they were customized to their specific needs.
Artillery: With the new bigger sizes ships, this meant bigger area to use for weapons. The military could now be a float in the seas to protect land and keep invaders out. Bigger weapons were being used and it became more efficient for the sailors to conquer. This essential military defense helped Portuguese ward off others and in the end, gained control of the Indian Ocean.
New Technology: New navigation was introduced, such as Quadrants. These Quadrants were used to help calculate latitude in the northern hemispheres. This would obviously only work in the northern hemispheres which brought some issues. This lead to advancements and in 1480, the astrolabes were now being used regularly. This instrument was able to calculate latitude by the height of the sun. Since latitude was finally taken care of, longitude has always been a struggle. In the eighteenth century, the marine chronometer was invented. This helped sailors measure longitude and be more precise.
Navigation: New maps and navigational charts were being used for others as they travel. Thankfully people decided to record their findings to share to others who want to visit places or go beyond and add on to what was already discovered. Books known as, rutters or routiers, were made to help show what someone may find on their journey to a specific destination. After many years, in the sixteenth century, maps of the globe were detailed.
Discovery: With all of the information sailors had come back with, the Portuguese thought they held ownership of all lands south of the Canaries. They were wrong, it was hypothetical. Portuguese and Spain were against each other because they both wanted the land. Although Portugal felt it was theirs, in 1494 the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the globe longitudinally. This gave Spain what they wanted, and they ultimately won this dispute against Portugal.
Conclusion: In the end, the Portuguese exploration discovered a new world for many. Their contributions have gone far, helping others see what is actually out there. They created a great trade business by opening a sea route, made many technological advances, as well as navigational advancements, and made a stronger military. Their ideas became great accomplishments.