Played on hard/agressive. EU 1.09, IGC 2.0
The Iberian Wars
In 1492 Portugal was not much of a country. It consisted of three provinces in Europe, one in North Africa, two cities in Azores and Capo Verde islands and few trading posts in Africa. The country’s treasury was full of gold (675,000 ducats) and it had an advanced knowledge in naval technology (level 4). Portugal had a standing army of 24,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry and an impressive fleet of 21 warships and 5 transports. However, Portuguese main advantages did not lie in the military strength of the country. Portugal possessed excellent officer corps and knowledge of sea routes in India. Country’s strategic location on the edge of the known world made an overseas expansion easier and more desirable. Numbers of explorers and conquistadors were eager to travel into unknown and general population was eager to settle overseas as well.
However, Portuguese recognized that their main obstacle on the way of creating a colonial empire would not be hurricanes and aggressive natives, but competition. Their main competitor was the united kingdom of Spain. Thankfully, it was rather distracted by the siege of Granada at the time, but the end of it was near. Time was ripe for a gamble, and the King of Portugal, Juan II, did not hesitate to seize the moment. In January of 1492 the Portuguese ambassador in Madrid delivered a declaration of war to the royal court of Ferdinand and Isabella.
First Portuguese-Spanish War 1492-1494
The war lasted only two years. Portuguese took advantage of Spanish lack of fortifications in Estramadura and Murcia and continuously harassed the former with cavalry raids, keeping main Spanish army of 40,000 from marching on Granada. Another cavalry squadron assisted the Moors with the siege of Cadiz, and later, when Spaniards raised 4,000 and 30 cannons in Gibraltar, continuously attacked that army. In the end the squadron commander lost 80% of his men, but Spanish army was prevented from reaching Granada and taking it before the fall of Cadiz.
Meanwhile, main Portuguese army of 14,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry conquered Valencia and fought a valiant battle against 16,000 Spaniards in Madrid. The battle was lost with the losses of 7,000 men. Spanish lost less than 1,000. The Moors were convinced that the war was as good as the lost and offered Spanish peace, paying 50,000 ducats in war indemnities. Portugal, however, was not finished. All of its fortresses were upgraded and a small expedition was sent to seize the Canary Islands from Spain. Retreating Portuguese army besieged Cadiz and reinforced with 20 cannons took the city in April of 1494. All this time Portuguese cavalry made unbelievable sacrifices, preventing Spanish from moving south. In May of 1494 Ferdinand and Isabella had to agree to Portuguese terms of peace.
As a result of this war, Portugal received the rich province of Andalusia and had to adapt its religious policy toward the Muslim population there. Portuguese total losses in the war numbered 13,000 infantry, 2,700 cavalry and 9 cannons. The navy lost 1 warship and 1 transport. Throughout the war Portuguese maintained the effort of exploration, discovered America and established a number of trading posts in Brazil. A trading post in Fernando Po was expanded into a colony, to provide the navy with a base for further explorations in the south.
France was one of the few who saw the advantages of having an ally like Portugal, and in 1494 agreed to admit Portuguese in its alliance with Savoy, Papal States and Hafsids. A year later Juan II died and Manual I, later known as "The Fortunate" inherited the throne. He fully supported the diplomatic ideas of his predecessor and when France declared war on England, Portugal was among the first ones to support the French… even if only in spirit. The war came to an indecisive conclusion in 1497, but the Portuguese took an advantage of the fact that all of Europe’s main players were pre-occupied with fighting and further expanded in Africa and America. It even established one trading post in India, but couldn’t advance any further due to a lack of reliable maps of the region.
In February of 1500 Spain declared war on Granada. The conquest of the Moors was postponed by the First Iberian War, but not stopped. In March the cross took over the crescent on the minarets of the city.
Manuel II knew that Portugal was next, but could do little to stop the inevitable. Instead, he brought the country in debt, to finance further overseas expansion. When the war came in 1502 the only hope of the King was France.
Second Portuguese-Spanish War 1502-1505
In February of 1502 Ferdinand declared war on Portugal, hoping to re-gain the province of Andalusia, which was crucial for Spain’s expansion plans in the Americas. Spain was supported by Milan, Persia, Naples, Lorraine, Palatinate and Scotland. On Portuguese side were only French and the Pope. Portuguese forces (with new recruits) numbered only 16,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry and 17 cannons. 3,000 of these were stationed in Brazil and Africa. Fortunately, Ferdinand decided to concentrate all his forces on France and Portuguese army was free to siege Spanish cities at will. By the end of war Portuguese controlled Gibraltar, Estramadura, Castille, Murcia, Canary Islands and The Balears. In the end, Ferdinand was not able to refuse Portuguese demands, since the risk of the rebellion would be too high. French and Romans continued the war.
As a result of this war Portuguese received Gibraltar, Canary Islands and the remains of the Spanish treasury.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, Turks annexed Mamelukes and Moldova, but faced a collation war, attacked by Russian, Austrian and Spanish alliances. It ended up ceding Moldova to Poland, Aleppo to Persia, Bosnia to Wurtemburg and Serbia to Austria. French continued to fight Spanish until 1509, when they ceded Champaign and Picardie, mainly because of the high war fatigue, as they themselves held several Spanish provinces under control. Papal states managed to quit the war much earlier, getting Messina.
After the war Portuguese colonial empire continued to expand. By 1512 Portuguese had most of Brazil, South Africa and had established several trading posts in Caribbean. Their control of the island of Mahe provided them with a base for an attack on India. The King managed to repay his debt to Italian bankers and his insistence on colonial expansion began to pay off. As the first wave of colonization began to die off, Portugal emerged as a leading colonial power, ready to defend itself against any foe if needed.