1402 French explorers reach the Canary Islands.
1434 Portuguese sailors land in the Azores.
1472 Portugal establishes trade to Benin.
1481 Portuguese ships land in Senegambia to begin trading with
the region.
1482 Portugal builds a fort to conduct the slave trade at Elmina, in
modern Ghana.
1483 Portuguese explorers make landfall at the Congo River.
1488 Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias rounds Africa, showing
a ­ water route to the Indian Ocean is pos­ si ­ ble.
1491 Portuguese missionaries baptize the King of Kongo Nzinga
Mbemb, who becomes King João I.
1492 Christopher Columbus, sailing on behalf of Spain, lands in
the Bahamas.
1492 Spain completes the Reconquista, driving the Muslims from
the Iberian Peninsula.
1493 Portugal ­settles São Tome and Príncipe, off the African coast.
1494 The Treat of Tordesillas divides the New World between Spain
and Portugal.
1496 Spain completes its conquest of the Canary Islands by taking
control over Tenerife.
1498 Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama reaches India.
1500 Portuguese ships reach Brazil.
1502 Christopher Columbus embarks on his fourth and final voyage
to the Amer­i­cas.
1503 Spain begins the encomienda system in the Amer­ i ­ cas.
1508 Ponce de Leon establishes a permanent settlement in Puerto Rico.
1510 The first Franciscan missionaries land in South Amer­ i ­ ca.
1512 Spain proclaims the Laws of Burgos in attempt to curb the abuse
of Indians on encomiendas.
1514 The Portuguese introduce rice to the Amer­i­cas.
1517 The Protestant Reformation begins in Eu­rope.
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