This study examines the importance of the sugar industry in the development of the Portuguese Empire. Through the introduction of sugarcane into its colonies, the Kingdom of Portugal was able to finance its imperial ventures and incorporate the greater Atlantic into a Eurocentric economy. In order to justify its expansion, the kingdom drew upon the Crusader Mentality, this being the desire of Portugal to conduct territorial expansion against non-Christian peoples. To do so, the mentality was shifted under the Aviz dynasty to justify overseas endeavors, having formally been a motivation for conquest within the Iberian Peninsula. By introducing sugarcane into the Atlantic, the Portuguese not only established the foundation of European imperialism, they also created the triangular trade system between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. These goals were not accomplished by Portugal alone however. To successfully establish an Atlantic sugar industry, the kingdom drew upon support from other nationalities of the “Atlantic periphery. Thanks to sugarcane cultivation, Portugal altered the methods Europe utilized to conduct global exchange, reforging them to better suit itself and other nations upon the Atlantic.


Sene, Ibra




European History | Latin American History | Medieval History


Sugar, Portugal, Imperialism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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