Teaching Portugal’s Age of Expansion and Exploration

Ross Karlan, Georgetown University and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

This video introduces literature of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Iberia, during the 'Age of Expansion,' with an emphasis on teaching techniques.


Primary Sources 

Discussion Questions

1. How do Zurara and Caminha represent the “other”  in the colonial space? Are there similarities or differences between how they describe Brazil/Brazilians and Guinea/Guineans?

2. In Luis de Camões’ Lusiads, what is the role of genre? How does genre shape Camões’ authorship or audience reception? Are there moments where Camões addresses this directly?

Further Reading

Blackmore, Josiah. Moorings: Portuguese Expansion and the Writing of Africa. University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

Russell, Peter Edward. Prince Henry “the Navigator”: A Life. Yale Univ. Press, 2001.

Russell-Wood, A. J. R. The Portuguese Empire, 1415-1808: A World on the Move. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

Williams, Jerry M. “Pero Vaz de Caminha: The Voice of the Luso-Brazilian Chronicle.” Luso-Brazilian Review, vol. 28, no. 2, 1991, pp. 59–72.


Karlan, Ross. “Teaching Portugal’s Age of Expansion and Exploration,” Middle Ages for Educators, April 9, 2020. Accessed[date]. https://middleagesforeducators.princeton.edu/teaching-portugal%E2%80%99s-age-expansion-and-exploration