Quiz about The Portuguese Age of Discovery
Quiz about The Portuguese Age of Discovery

The Portuguese Age of Discovery Quiz

Portugal was one of the leading participants in the Golden Age of European Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries. Match each of these Portuguese explorers with their contribution to this process.

A matching quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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4 mins
Match Quiz
Quiz #
Dec 03 21
# Qns
Avg Score
7 / 10
Top 5% quiz!
Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the gray box it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
1. Driving force behind 15th century Portuguese maritime exploration  
Pedro Álvares Cabral
2. Madeira Islands discovered and settled  
Gaspar and Miguel Corte-Real
3. Discovered a route past Cape Bojador  
Lourenço de Almeida
4. Cape Verde islands discovered  
João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira
5. Congo River discovered and explored  
Henry the Navigator
6. First expedition rounds the Cape of Good Hope  
Bartolomeu Dias
7. First expedition reaches India via Cape of Good Hope  
Diogo Cão
8. Brazil discovered and claimed  
Diogo Gomes and António de Noli
9. Greenland and Labrador coasts explored  
Gil Eanes
10. Established Portuguese settlement in Ceylon (Sri Lanka)  
Vasco da Gama

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Driving force behind 15th century Portuguese maritime exploration

Answer: Henry the Navigator

In 1415, Prince Henry was in the African city of Ceuta when it was captured from the Spanish, and realised the potential for financial profit offered by trade on that continent. This, along with such other factors as a desire to spread Christianity and a number of unemployed nobles who were interested in gaining glory through acts of war, led to his successful encouragement of exploration in the Atlantic, which continued until his death in 1460.
2. Madeira Islands discovered and settled

Answer: João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira

Their ships were blown off course by a storm in 1419, leading to a landing on the little-known, and then uninhabited, Madeira Islands. They named the island on which they landed 'Porto Santo' (meaning Holy or Blessed Harbour), in gratitude for the refuge it offered them.

A year later, they returned with Bartolomeu Perestrello so establish what is considered the first Portuguese colony. The settlers soon discovered and claimed the remaining islands of the archipelago. To ensure the islands' profitability, Henry the Navigator ordered that the colonists plant sugar cane, establishing the islands' main industry for several centuries.
3. Discovered a route past Cape Bojador

Answer: Gil Eanes

This headland in what is now the northern coast of Western Sahara had been seen as an obstacle to exploration of the African coast, because the turbulent seas in the area had caused to the disappearance of a number of ships which had tried to pass it.

This led to widespread belief among sailors that the area was inhabited by sea monsters, and could not be passed. In 1433 Henry the Navigator sent Eanes to look for a passage, but he was unsuccessful on his first attempt. The second expedition, in 1434, located a viable route, and the coast of Africa was opened for further exploration. Prince Henry was given monopoly rights for the area south of Cape Bojador by his brother, Prince Pedro, in 1433; Portuguese control was later affirmed by several Papal Bulls, in 1452 and 1455.
4. Cape Verde islands discovered

Answer: Diogo Gomes and António de Noli

Technically, the expedition that discovered the Cape Verde Islands in 1444 was led by the Genoese-born António de Noli, sailing for Prince Henry, but he was accompanied by Diogo Gomes, who claimed to be the first to land on Santiago Island, and to have given it that name. De Noli was appointed as the first governor of the islands.

The location of this first Portuguese colony in the tropics made it ideal for use as a base in the Atlantic slave trade, on the basis of which the colony prospered during the 16th and 17th centuries (and attracted pirates and privateers along with more legitimate businessmen).
5. Congo River discovered and explored

Answer: Diogo Cão

In 1482, King João II ordered Diogo Cão to push south along the African coast, trying to find a sea route to India and the Spice Islands. He was instructed to set up stone crosses (called padrão) at significant points, to claim them for Portugal. On his first voyage, he set up a padrão at the mouth of the Congo River, which he sailed up for some distance, establishing the elements of trade with the Bakongo people. Returning to the coast, he continued south to set a cross at what is now Cape Saint Mary, Angola.

His second voyage started in 1484, and lasted nearly two years, and pushed the coastline that was explored and claimed by the Portuguese another 1400 km south, as far as Cape Cross on the coast of what is now Namibia.
6. First expedition rounds the Cape of Good Hope

Answer: Bartolomeu Dias

It had long been believed that the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans were two totally separated bodies of water, and that it was necessary to travel across a land barrier to reach the Indian Ocean. Pêro da Covilhã, for example, had travelled through Egypt and Yemen to reach the Indian Ocean, and hence sailed to India, visiting sites that are now to be found in the states of Kerala and Goa. Calicut was identified as a prime objective, as it was a centre for spice trade.

In 1487, under instruction from King John II, Bartolomeu Dias set out to find a way to get past the southern tip of Africa, and establish a sea route to India. (He was also supposed to find the legendary kingdom of Prester John, but that's for another quiz.) Taking advantage of the outposts established by earlier explorers along the west coast of Africa, he actually rounded the Cape of Good Hope so far to its south and east that he never saw it until the return leg of his voyage.

He did, however, establish that it was possible to get around the southern tip of the continent and started exploring his way up the east coast.

He got as far as Kwaaihoek, a promontory in what is now the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. There, a mutinous crew forced him to turn back after placing a padrão, rather than completing the voyage to India. He returned to Lisbon in 1488, with news of his successful voyage.
7. First expedition reaches India via Cape of Good Hope

Answer: Vasco da Gama

While there is speculation that surreptitious voyages to India may have been made before that of Vasco da Gama, he is generally credited with making the first such trip, starting in 1497 and arriving in 1498. A fort and a trading post were established in Calicut (the first European settlements on the subcontinent), and Portugal set itself up to try and control the spice trade in the Indian Ocean. Thus started the Portuguese State of India, which existed from 1505 until 1961, when India reclaimed the last of its territory.

As the Portuguese empire grew, this was the centre of government for the colonies along the east coast of Africa, throughout the Indian Ocean, and in southeast Asia.
8. Brazil discovered and claimed

Answer: Pedro Álvares Cabral

In 1500, the second voyage to India, like the first, took a southwesterly route through the Atlantic. The winds led to Cabral landing on the coast of Brazil, either fortuitously or as part of a plan to claim the land there that would be available to Portugal under the Treaty of Torsedillas.

In 1494, this treaty had divided the entire world outside of Europe between Spain and Portugal along a line that was specified as being 370 leagues (about 1600 km or 1000 miles) west of Cape Verde. The eastern part of Brazil lies to the east of this line, so could be claimed by the Portuguese, which Cabral duly did by erecting a large wooden cross, and declaring the area to be 'Ilha de Vera Cruz' (Island of the True Cross). Cabral then sent one ship from his fleet back to Portugal to report the discovery, while the rest of them headed on to their destination in India, Unfortunately for the Portuguese empire, they did not discover the hoped-for gold and silver that the Spaniards had found in the New World, so commercial interest stayed focused on India.
9. Greenland and Labrador coasts explored

Answer: Gaspar and Miguel Corte-Real

These brothers may have accompanied their father João Vaz Corte-Real on a 1473 voyage to what he called 'Terra Nova do Bacalhau' (New Land of the Codfish), which may or may not have been Newfoundland. In 1500 Gaspar Corte-Real was sent out to search for the Northwest Passage (a route to Asia across the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean), and reached Greenland. Thinking he had reached Asia, he led another expedition the following year, with his brother Miguel, and explored a more southerly region, charting the coast of Labrador. Miguel returned home with a number of First Nations people they had captured, later to be sold as slaves; Gaspar disappeared. Miguel went looking for him in 1502, but he too disappeared.

The king of Portugal refused to fund an expedition by their brother Vasco Anes Corte-Real who wanted to find out what had happened to them.
10. Established Portuguese settlement in Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

Answer: Lourenço de Almeida

Ceylon's importance came both from the spices which came from the island and from its location in the Indian Ocean. In 1505, as part of the expansion of Portuguese colonisation in the Indian Ocean, Lourenço de Almeida established a trading post in Colombo.

The island was fortuitously in a state of political upheaval called the Wijayaba Kollaya, which involved the three sons of the Kotte king Vijayabahu VII rising in rebellion, and splitting the island among themselves. This allowed the Portuguese to expand their influence, until finally, in 1597, the death of the last Kotte monarch (Dom João Dharmapala Peria Bandara, a Christian convert, who had left the kingdom to the Portuguese crown because he had no heir) left them in control of the entire island.
Source: Author looney_tunes

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor gtho4 before going online.
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