Make your own free website on Tripod.com

[Dec05] Portuguese / Brazilian History and several suggestions for Colonization II by Nuno Lopes Cabral at nlc@marquesmendes.pt from Portugal

Dear Mr Ledgard,

I have only discovered www.colonization.biz yesterday and I was extremely well impressed by the care and the effort that you have put into it. Congratulations and thank you very much, in the name of the Portuguese Colonization fans.

When I got Colonization for Christmas 1995 it shocked me (well, it still does today) to see Portugal entirely left out of the game. It saddened me to see such neglect and indifference towards the former colonizer of Brazil, a country which occupies more than half the landmass of South America, and is home to about 180 million Portuguese-speaking people! It was comforting to see that many people were as puzzled as I was that Portugal did not appear as a colonizing power, and I still don't understand what kind of argument can there be for leaving us out.

[ I believe the game only had 4 slots for powers. An 8-bit byte with 2-bits each for each power. This is proved by one power with drawing when the player gets to 50% Sons-of-Liberty i.e. can declare independence and summon a new power the Royal Expeditionary Force. Also the game was rushed to meet deadlines so wasn't as good as it could have been. ]

Although it is usual to see Portugal and Spain being bundled as equivalents, the fact is that, despite several similarities during the colonial epoch (strong influence of the Catholic Church, missionary effort, enslavement of Native Americans), there were necessarily important differences regarding the methods and the history of the colonization each country led in the Americas. I would point out the agricultural character of the Portuguese colonies in Brazil (gold and diamonds were only discovered in the late 1690's), mainly sugar cane; the massive import of African slaves all through the colonial era in Brazil, and the lessened social stratification in the Portuguese colonial society. I have pointed these out as they can be the base for some Portuguese specific features in the game.

One last introductory note: the treaty that divided the world between Portugal and Spain was signed in Tordesilhas (Spain) in 1494, and established that everything East of a line 370 miles West of Cape Verde would belong to Portugal, leaving the Western part to Spain. This line crosses Brazilian territory from (approximately) the mouth of the Amazon river to slightly east of São Paulo. The reason that the Portuguese crossed this line was, actually, a by-product of the loss of independence in 1580, when Phillip II of Spain "inherited, conquered and bought" (his own words) the Portuguese crown.

Since all of South America now belonged to Philip, it really made no difference which of his subjects would colonize which parts. It all ended up as part of the Spanish king's territory. So when the "bandeiras" started entering, exploring and settling the Spanish area, it raised no conflict. When Portugal recovered independence, in 1640, the occupied territories were fought for, and the 1668 peace treaty recognized the status quo. If it alleviates the Spaniard's suffering, the Philippines were within the Portuguese area in Asia, and ended up being a Spanish colony...

Getting to the point, at last: I would like to post some suggestions regarding the inclusion of the Portuguese:

I hope I can send more suggestions for the game some other time! Thank you very much,

Nuno Lopes Cabral
E-mail: nlc@marquesmendes.pt

Let me just add that I don't believe it to be useful to "enact" the effects of the Tordesilhas treaty is the "occupation spheres" of the Spanish and Portuguese players: as the players may appear anywhere in the map in the first turn, it would also limit the gameplay of both Portuguese and Spanish.