Sails and Acquisitions

Jose Manuel Ribeiro / Reuters

Faces of Diversity
The Asian mask collection at Lisbon's new Museu do Oriente

Centuries before globalization became a buzzword, it took on a Portuguese accent. The reason was trade. By pioneering an eastbound passage around the Cape of Good Hope in the 15th century, Portugal dominated the spice routes and became a great mercantile power, establishing a presence in Africa, India, Sri Lanka and East Asia, where it had bases in Japan, China and Indonesia.

Portuguese superiority was not to last, however. Other European powers — especially the Dutch — began to encroach on Portugal's trading posts in the 17th century, and by the century's end, Portuguese...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!