To say a certain nation is more evil than another is a subjective statement. All nations, all of the world’s great empires, have had their day when they’ve fallen on evil times. Other great empires, like the Romans, the British and others had their rise, usually through conquest and domination of other nations, only to fall when their own evil catches up with them.
Like the other empires, Spain and Portugal certainly went through their evil times during their periods of exploration and colonization. Initially rivals, the two nations were more-or-less partners as they carved up the New World, Africa and Asia into their own spheres of influence with the signing of The Treaty of Tordesillas (“Dividing the World,” 2007).
Spain’s monarchy got the ball rolling by financing Christopher Columbus’ trip to find a westward passage to India. Though he wasn’t successful, he did help discover two new continents which were ripe for plucking by the Spanish crown. This discovery led to centuries of exploitation of native people in the Americas, Africa and Asia (“Dividing the World,” 2007).
While not as concerned with colonization as the Spanish, the Portuguese also sought to benefit from trade and exploration (The Age of Exploration, 2011). The two nations seemed on a collision course until they entered into The Treaty of Tordesillas (“Dividing the World,” 2007). Both countries profited from the conquest of native peoples, the theft of their wealth and the use of conquered people in the Americas and Africa as slave labor (The Age of Exploration, 2011).
Eventually, both nations, but primarily Spain, over-extended themselves in their goals of conquest. Other nations, particularly France and England, wanted the wealth aquired by Spain and Portugal. With the defeat of The Spanish Armada in 1588, Spain began its decline as a colonial and naval power (The Age of Exploration, 2011).
Dividing the World: Treaty of Tordesillas. (2007, January 1). Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://www.beyondthemap.ca/english/historical_divide_world.html.
The Age of Exploration. (2011, January 1). Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://www.sparknotes.com/testprep/books/sat2/history/chapter5section2.html.