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The Por­tuguese Em­pire was the first global em­pire in his­tory. Span­ning al­most 600 years, the em­pire at its height spread through­out a vast num­ber of ter­ri­to­ries that are now parts of 60 dif­fer­ent sov­er­eign states. In those days, called the Age of Dis­cov­ery, Por­tu­gal de­vel­oped into a great sail­ing na­tion and they be­gan ex­plor­ing the coast of Africa and the At­lantic us­ing re­cent de­vel­op­ments in nav­i­ga­tion, car­tog­ra­phy and mar­itime tech­nol­ogy. Some of these ex­plor­ers were: Vasco da Gama (dis­cov­ered the route to In­dia), Fer­nando Mag­el­lan (cir­cum­nav­i­gated the Earth), Bar­tolomeu Dias (sail­ing around Africa) and Pe­dro Ál­vares Cabral (dis­cov­ered Brazil on the South Amer­i­can coast).

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