Portuguese Southern Africa - a TL

Bartolomeu Dias had reached the Cape of Storms (Cabo das Tormentas) in March of 1488 signalling an important turning point for Portugal's maritime expansion. There he encountered a pastoral people the Khoi (Hottentot) which he described as "beach walkers" who lived by keeping sheep and catching fish (including whales). The promise of this discovery led to the Cape being renamed Cabo da Boa Esperança or Cape of Good Hope.

When Vasco da Gama left Lisbon in 1497 he sailed to the island of Santiago in Cape Verde and from there land was in sight for the next 90 days. Upon arriving at the Cape, he rested for 8 days taking on wood, water and other essential supplies. On Christmas Day of 1497 he aptly named a bay (Durban) Natal (Portuguese for Christmas). Though da Gama reached India, his return voyage was an arduous one, with scurvy appearing and over 30 of his men dying on the voyage between Goa and Malindi in East Africa. In March of 1499 he reached Angra de São Braz (Moselbaai) where his men killed sea lions and seals and took water to provision their ships.

Upon his return to Lisbon in 1499 Vasco da Gama argued that a permanent station or feitoria would be needed at the Cape of Good Hope. A place where the Portuguese could raise livestock, grow vegetables to resupply ships on the way to the Indies. Subsequent voyages in 1501 and 1503 did lead to the first small skirmishes with the Khoi. In 1503, António da Saldanha landed at a bay that would become "Aguada da Saldanha" (Table Bay). Also he scaled Taboa do Cabo, or Table Mountain. Of this bay he wrote that it had the "most excellent water" as well as ample supplies of cattle and sheep.

In 1502 Valentim Fernandes' introduction in his edition of Marco Polo's "Travels" wrote that Dias "had been chosen like Joshua to enter into the New World, which we can indeed call the Promised Land". Establishing a colony in this promised land became a priority in 1505 when the largest Portuguese Armada of ships yet sailed for the Indies.

Under the command of Cide Barbudo and Pedro Quaresma, several ships arrived at the Cape of Good Hope with the intent of establishing a fort. With them was a garrison of 500 men who set about building the fort. Many of these men were "degredados" or petty criminals sent into exile as colonists, following the pattern of previous settlement in Cape Verde and São Tomé. Others were young boys rounded up from the streets of Lisbon called "vadios" (vagrants) and pressed into service as sailors. Many were as young as 15. The rest were mainly young men from poor seaports for whom being a sailor offered an escape from poverty. With the men came several hundred pigs, oxen and sheep.

However, conflict with the Khoi soon ensued as many of the men began to rob the Khoi of their cattle and sheep, often using fire arms to scare them off. This would soon lead a protracted war between the Portuguese men and the Khoi. The Portuguese fort became essential in protecting the Portuguese during times of skirmishes. Also at this time the first wheat crop was planted and harvested in January of 1506. This would turn this small "feitoria" as an important source of grain and flour for the Indies. Shortly after, salted pork and fish would also become an important supply for the Portuguese ships on their long voyage east.

Meanwhile, in 1505 the Portuguese established forts in Sofala, the Island of Mozambique, Quiloa (Kilwa) and Malindi. Sofala was well adapted as a trading station, but was no use as a port of refreshment for Portuguese ships to India. However, at Sofala the Portuguese traded small quantities of gold and were convinced that somewhere inland were great amounts of gold and silver inland.
The Cabo da Boa Esperança was placed under the rule of a Captain-General (Capitão-Mor), the first being António de Saldanha, whom would govern until 1509. Afterwards he assumed the post of Capitão-Mor of Moçambique (until 1512). Just as Mozambique, the Cape was an appendage of the Viceroy of India, the first being Dom Francisco de Almeida (1505-1509).

In 1506, the first women arrived in the colony with a group of several orphan girls as young as 13, known as "orfãs do rei" (orphans of the king) and half a dozen degredadas (female criminals). This inevitably led to marriages and later in the year the first European child would be born in the colony, a young girl. More young orphans would come in the next years as the demand for brides in the colony was high and the Khoi remained wary of the Portuguese, retreating further inland to avoid the newcomers.

Also, in 1506 the first group of "Cristãos Novos" (new Christians) was deported to the colony. Many of these were converted Jews whom were exiled from Portugal. By 1520 some 2,000 would eventually settle at the Cape of Good Hope.

In addition, from the Indies would come many single sailors unwilling to return to Portugal as many had no families or little money there. In return for their service to the crown, they were paid in land grants. Also, there were free settlers as news of the agricultural bounty of this land spread to Portugal which had been suffering from the plague and famines.

With the riches of the "Casa da Índia" the first horses were sent to the colony (numbering 18) in 1507. The first cavalry unit would be assembled in 1509. In addition the first vineyards were planted along with olive trees, with wine and olive oil being sent to the Indies. The the Portuguese were unaware, the introduction of oranges, lemons and nectarines in the colony would greatly reduce scurvy amongst sailors heading to India. Figs, plums, nectarines, peaches, cherries, apples would all be introduced within the next few years. The most ambitious endeavour was the planting of mulberry trees in a failed attempt to create a silk industry in the colony.

The first slaves from the Kongo arrived shortly the establishment of the colony. They were all men used as household servants for the Captain. More would arrive soon afterwards, but in the first years of the colony, most of the inhabitants could not afford to acquire slaves.
In 1509 the first large skirmishes occurred between the Portuguese and the Khoikhoi and the settlers with the Khoikhoi stealing the livestock of settlers and vice versa. After two Portuguese farmers were killed, this led to the abduction of some KhoiKhoi women and children in retribution. By the time the Viceroy Francisco de Almeida arrived at the Cape in March of 1510 from Goa, the situation had deteriorated.

Francisco de Almeida decided to launch an expedition against the Khoikhoi who had retreated around 5 leagues inland. There he was ambushed and over three-quarters of the 150 men perished. The death of the viceroy brought panic to the colony with palisades being erected and women and children being sent to the safety of the fort. A defensive force was assembled under Captain Jorge de Mello to protect the farms. However, real relief came in June with the arrival of fifteen separate fleets sailing for Goa arrived over a period of two weeks with over 6,000 men. Before heading onward to East Africa and India, a force of over 4,000 soldiers headed inland to lay waste to the Khoikhoi lands.

The Portuguese soldiers commanded by Diogo Mendes de Vasconcelos pursued a scorched earth policy. The Khoikhoi had been protective of their women and children and most Europeans rarely came into contact with them, but the horse mounted Portuguese were able to destroy many of their villages. Out of a population of 50,000, it is estimated that 8,000 the Khoikhoi were killed and another 500 were taken as slaves to Mozambique and India. Most of the survivors retreated northwards into the San (Bushmen) lands or East to live amongst the Xhosa.

Vasconcelos had also decided to leave an extra garrison of ad additional 500 men in the colony to protect the settlers from any further attacks.
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Do they still colonize Brazil?

I don't see why not, at first Southern Africa is only going to be used as a way station towards India, albeit one free of tropical diseases. Early Southern Africa's colonization is going to mirror more Cape Verde's and São Tomé's with undesirables settling there. However, once the land becomes somewhat bountiful it will attract a trickle of free settlers just as Madeira and the Azores did.


Great start Viriato. ;)

Keep em coming...

One question: So area under Portuguese control is more-less Cape Peninsula? From Cape Town to Saldanha Bay?
Expansion of the Colony

In November of 1497, Vasco da Gama had planted a padrão (stone cross) at Angra de São Brás (Braz in pre-1911 Portuguese). In 1501 Pedro d'Ataide had been shipwrecked there, and later João da Nova had a small chapel erected on the site. However, no permanent settlement had occurred. In 1520, a small contingent of around 150 men was sent to build a small fort in the area and dispatch some men to colonise the area which was rich in mussels, seals and sea lions to provision ships. The vila de São Brás (Mossel Bay) was started by a contingent of sailors from the Algarve, many of whom would become fisherman.

By the 1520s, the settlers around the Cape had begun to expand outwards, with some heading into the interior to trade wine and glass beads for cattle and sheep with the Khoikhoi. For a pastoral people such as the Khoikhoi, the encroachment on their grazing lands by Europeans would signal an end to their way of life. Also, as many became addicted to alcohol, some would even trade their women for casks of wine. This also led some Europeans to venture further and further into an area known as the sertão (a word often used to describe the unknown interior regions by the Portuguese). Some Khoikhoi began forming bands to rob Europeans of their animals by night.

By the 1520s, the number of slaves also continued to increase. Initially they came from the Kongo, but soon afterwards Sofala and Moçambique became the main suppliers, a smaller number were Khoikhoi. However, the vast majority were males used on farms or as household servants. By 1525 there were around 325 slaves in the colony compared with a European population of around 3,700. In addition there were fewer that a dozen Asians (mostly from India), mostly women whom had married sailors in India.

Economically the colony prospered as it was now selling wine, olive oil, grains, meats and fish to the Armadas of ships sailing to the Indies. Also, a small quantity of ivory was sold and exported to India and later China and Japan. For many of the settlers, this export trade offered them supplemental income with which they were able to buy spices, porcelain, silks and textiles form the east. Word of this prosperous colony soon spread to Metropolitan Portugal and would attract settlers away from the poverty and disease of Lisbon, Aveiro, Viana do Castelo, and Porto.
East Africa

In East Africa the Portuguese had been impressed by the wealth of Muslim trading towns there. Vasco da Gama had first established a trading feitoria (factory) at Malindi in 1499. Later he sailed into Quiloa (Kilwa) and forced the local king to pay an annual tribute, with Zanzibar soon following. In 1528 Mombasa had been sacked and burned by the Portuguese and here too the local rulers were forced to pay tribute, however it would not be formally annexed until 1589.

The Portuguese were able to sack Barawa (Somalia) with the assistance of their allies in Malindi, however they stopped short of Mogadishu. By 1530, the Portuguese had severely disrupted the existing trading networks and they were now the masters of the Indian Ocean trade.

Further south, Mozambique Island became the principal base for Portuguese ships on their way to India. An impressive fort was built here along with a Royal Hospital in 1538. In 1501 Sofala had been established as the Portuguese sought to trade gold from the Monomotapa Empire inland. However, quantities of gold paled in comparison to the wealth derived from the trading of ivory and spices (especially cloves from Zanzibar and Pemba).
Recognizing the growth of the new colony, King Manuel I granted the Cabo da Boa Esperança a carta de foral (charter) in 1520. The town now had a Senado de Camâra (a city hall) consisting of the Captain-General, members of the Clergy and Military. This laid the foundation for the civil administration in the colony. As a symbol of this a pelourinho (stone pillory) was erected in front of the main square (Late the Praça da Sé) in front of the main church and the Senado. Below is a picture of a typical pelourinho (in Elvas) symbolizing royal power as they were used as whipping posts for criminals. A jail was also constructed on Ilha da Cave (Robben Island) for more serious offenders.


In 1531 the church was elevated to the status of a diocese, that after 1558 came under the Archdiocese of Goa and the Patriarch of the Indies. The Inquisition would arrive in 1560 along with the Jesuits in the zeal to convert the natives. With much of the population being "new Christians" they would become an annoyance driving many settlers further inland to more remote areas. The settlers moving into the interior often looking for slaves or mineral wealth would become known as the sertanejos much like in Brazil.

In many ways the society of the Cabo da Boa Esperança resembled that of Portugal, with the ratio of European women equal to that of European men by 1550. However, there were some stark contrasts. Unlike Portugal and most of Europe people were married younger and had far more children (as was typical of frontier societies). With the ample amount of land, the average marrying age of men was 21 vs 28 in Europe. For women the average age of marriage was 19. A dowry which had been so important in Europe, was dispensed with in Southern Africa as land and livestock were plentiful. The young marrying age meant that on average 8 children were born per family. With the abundance of food and milk for children reduced the infant mortality rate by 20% compared to Western Europe. This meant that the population grew at a far faster rate than in Portugal.

In addition, most people lived on individual homesteads rather than clustered villages. This coupled with a dry climate prevented the spread of diseases so common in other Portuguese colonies. However, in 1545 smallpox arrived from Goa and killed around 10% of the population in the town of Cabo da Boa Esperança in the year that followed (around 300 people) mostly young children and the infirm. The disease soon spread inland killing an estimated 25% of the Khoikhoi population. Most fled further East and others north into the Novo Algarve (as the coastline of Namibia and southern Angola was called).

By 1550 the colony had a population of 27,200 Europeans with another 3,200 slaves. Immigration from Europe continued with some degredados and orfãs do rei still arriving, however by that time most immigrants were small numbers of free settlers. Most the degredados were now being sent to Brazil. However, after the 1570s the sugar boom in Brazil made that colony the preferred destination for emigrants in Portugal. Southern Africa's European population growth would be mostly based on natural growth going forward.

Central and Southwest Africa

During the 15th and 16th centuries the Kingdom of the Kongo ruled the region of southwestern Africa between the Benguela plateau and the Bateke plateau and between the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Cuango River (Kwango) in the east. This was one of the largest states in pre-colonial Africa with around half a million people. With its first king converting to Christianity in 1485, the Portuguese secured an important ally on the West Coast of Africa. The capital of Mbanza Kongo became São Salvador do Congo and was an important trading place for the Portuguese at the mouth of the Congo River. Early on slaves began being exported from here, firstly to the islands of São Tomé and Prínicpe, later to the Cabo da Boa Esperança, and by the mid-16th century to Brazil. However, the insatiable demand for slaves from São Tomé had made led Tomista (name for people from São Tomé at the time) traders to purchase slaves from the BaTeke traders as well. This led King Diogo to break off relations with the Portuguese in 1555 and expel the Portuguese from his realm. Once Diogo died, the Portuguese had attempted to place their own candidate on the throne. The kingdom was thrown into chaos and King Álvaro requested the assistance of the Portuguese from São Tomé. In return, the Portuguese were allowed to establish a colony in Luanda, founded in 1576 as São Paulo da Assunção de Luanda (Loanda in archaic Portuguese). With their Kongo allies, the Portuguese would launch a war on the Kingdom of Ndongo and have forts further inland such as Massangano by the end of the 17th century. A series of wars into the mid-17th century would lead to the Portuguese conquest of the interior of most of this region, transforming it into the principal slave exporting region of Africa.
Can we get a map? And is Portuguese control in the Persian gulf better with greater population in south Africa. Also are you going for empire of Africa or united kingdom of P. and B. and Africa and the algarves?
The fate of this colony

The'll be watching to see how it will manage to avoid (or not) that the new colony follow the fate of his Dutch counterpart in our timeline and be conquered by the English or the Dutch.
Or maybe a temporary occupancy as he happened to San Salvador de Bahia (until its Reconquest by the Spaniards, whose king ruled Portugal).

I hope you continue this original timeline.
Coolest timeline concept that I've seen in a while, I'll be watching this thread closely.