Portugal: Historical Referencing

With the historical referencing done on the native civs, it would be a good chance to revise some of the European ones, in this instance Portugal.

Without further ado I shall start with the Explorer.
The Portuguese Explorer should not use a ranged weapon, in fact most Portuguese Explorers and Navigators were members of the Order of Christ and Santiago (Portuguese Branch), which was under royal power, like Vasco da Gama, Afonso Albuquerque, Francisco de Almeida, just to mention a few famous ones.

But what does this mean?
Well the King had at his disposal military leadership to serve overseas under direct orders of the crown.
"From the mid-15th century onwards, the lower and middle-ranking leadership of Portuguese expeditions and of the resulting overseas outposts were the fidalgos – gentlemen descended from the old knightly class. The importance of such men was highlighted by Azurara (Gomes Eanes de Zurara) during the second half of the 15th century. His Chronicle of the King Dom João I described the force assembled to attack Ceuta, the most enthusiastic being younger men who ‘ardently desired to acquire the merits of those who had given them life [their fathers], and following their example, to furnish proofs of their courage and loyalty’.

“Success led to a rapid expansion of a class known as the ‘nobility of service’, so that by the 16th century numerous fidalgos from minor and often poor aristocratic families would hang around the royal court, eager for a chance to show their worth. Consequently, the Portuguese government was able to employ large numbers in its armadas and overseas captaincies, their exploits filling the 16th century chronicles and literature.”
Nicolle ill. Embleton 2012 p13-14

So now that we established that leadership was from Nobility let’s look at their conduct:

  • Crowley 2015 p228
    “The military code of the fidalgos valued heroic personal deeds over tactics, the taking of booty and prizes over the achievement of strategic objectives. Men-at-arms were tied by personal and economic loyalties to their aristocratic leaders rather than to an overall commander. Victories were gained by acts of individual valor rather than rational planning. The Portuguese fought with a ferocity that stunned the peoples of the Indian Ocean, but their methods were medieval and chaotic and, not infrequently, suicidal.”

The historian João de Barros summarized its consequences for captains and commanders: ‘that in decisions about whether to fight … so that honorable deeds may be done, even if dangerous, they must not raise objections based on the personal safety of their lives.’ Henceforward prudence was impossible. No one felt able to refuse an engagement, however rash, without accusations of cowardice. Only bravery of the most explicit kind would suffice. The honor code of the fidalgos was accentuated to the extent of an emphasis on hand-to-hand combat over the distant destruction of cannon fire."

Crowley 2015 p278 (describing fidalgos at Goa, 1512)

“[T]he nobles wished to wield their enormous two-handed swords in heroic single combat, winning booty and polishing their reputations…”

Fidalgos who were nobles, clad head to toe in an expensive full set of armour, always at the top commanding positions, and also formed the veritable “spearhead” of assaults. Most notably, they wielded some scary two-handed swords the Portuguese called montante which in the right hands was capable of cutting an un-armoured person (arguably the most common kind of foe the Portuguese faced in the east) in half, if the chronicles are to be trusted. But because they were nobles, they weren’t bound to any kind of uniformity when it came to arms or armour, so it varied; they also used shields, broad swords and halberds. Rather uniquely, these nobles were accompanied into the heat of the fray by personal servants who would carry their weapons and fight alongside them.

As we can see they were military leaders, fighting at the front lines, heavily armoured and with a variety of melee weapons, not ranged, trying to gain fame and glory.

Now talking about Nobility another things that needs changing is the Order of Tower and Sword church tech.
The order was originally created by King Afonso V of Portugal in 1459, under the name of the Order of the Sword , inspired by the legend that Arab rule in Africa would end when a Christian prince would besiege the fortress at Fez. Knighthood in the Order of the Sword was given as reward to those who participated in the conquests and battles in Africa. The order fell into disuse after the conquest of Tangiers and Asilah.

So by the game timeline the order was irrelevant.
I would suggest using the Order of Christ or Santiago as they were instrumental in the expansion of the Portuguese Empire, and change the card from Black Riders to Elmeti, again close combat, and as members of the Order would be fidalgos, the same concept applies.
Even with the advent of gunpowder warfare Portuguese Fidalgos maintained the illusion that a heavily armoured knight was still the best warrior on the battlefield and that a pikeman or arquebusier were little better than medieval farmlands with spear and scythe. Pedro Brito p119

It is also my opinion that the Portuguese should have Halberdiers on the commerce age, and be able to train them to royal guard.

I’ll let the 2 pages speak for themselves.

Moving to mercenaries, I would remove the mameluks and the barbarian corsairs from portugal.

First of all the Mameluks where the main enemies of Portugal in the east, and barbary corsair in the Atlantic front near the metropolitan area. They make no sense historically to be mercenaries for Portugal.

Asian Mercenaries would make more sense as a replacement.

Commerce age Musketers should have a morion in the model and a breastplate.

On the artillery side Portugal should definitively have falconets, and drop the organ gun that was a bit made up.
Here is a page with a few good examples of Portuguese Cannons. You wont see an Organ Gun there:

Also changing the name of Cassador to correct Portuguese Caçador.
Enconmienda Manor (spanish) to Fazenda Manor (Portuguese)
And Jinetes (spanish) to Ginetes Portuguese.
The Native American Historical Referencing was a good initiative, that can also be applied for Portugal.
Conquerors: How Portugal forged the First Global Empire

Knights, Squires and Foot Soldiers in Portugal during the Sixteenth-Century Military Revolution
Pedro de Brito

Portuguese Sea Battles Volume I and II.
Saturnino Monteiro

The Portuguese in the Age of Discovery 1340-1665
David Nicolle


The Organ Gun first showed up in AoE3, not AoE2.
AoE2 Portuguese get Organ Guns precisely as a reference to AoE3, not the other way around.

I do agree that Organ Guns should be replaced, and Portugal should have instead a Royal Guard Culverin (double upgrade price of 500 Food and 500 Wood) that gets renamed to Bronze Royale (rather than Culverin Royale) and gets a lot more Range.

To be honest, the Portuguese Halberdier is pretty usable as it is, but if was to get a Royal Guard upgrade, it should be called Aventureiros.

It still exists today, and the Order of Santiago is mostly Spanish.
The true Order that was relevant in Portuguese History, is the Order of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem, or as they are known, the Templar.


Ah I keep getting that organ hunting wrong.
I’ll edit.

In 1288, King Denis of Portugal separated the Portuguese branch from the Castilian-Leonese Order. This was confirmed by Pope John XXII in 1320.[6]

With the ascension of Infante John as King John II of Portugal in 1481, the fortunes of the Order of Santiago rose with him. At the time, the Order of Christ, with their vast possessions (including the Atlantic islands), was the richest and most powerful military order in Portugal. To combat their influence, John II, a centralizing prince, doted on and deployed his Order of Santiago at their expense.

The Order of Christ had been out of the explorations business since the death of Prince Henry in 1460. As A result, the Order of Santiago supplied a greater share of the knights for the slate of new expeditions organized by John II in the 1480s.

The Order of Santiago played a leading role in the early India expeditions, a legacy project from the reign of John II. Vasco da Gama, Paulo da Gama, D. Francisco de Almeida, D. Afonso de Albuquerque and Duarte de Meneses, were leading knights of the Order of Santiago.[12]

It is reported by chronicler João de Barros (p. 274) that just before his departure for India in 1497, King Manuel I of Portugal presented Vasco da Gama with his personal standard - not the familiar armillary sphere flag later associated with Manuel, but rather the banner of the Order of Christ, of which Manuel was the grand master. But chronicler Gaspar Correia (p. 15) reports that as soon as the ships left sight of Lisbon harbor, Paulo da Gama pulled ‘the royal standard’ down from the mast. Evidently the Gamas took the king’s gesture as a calculated slight against their beloved Santiago.

Nonetheless, in subsequent years Manuel I would set his Order of Christ to poach the knights of the Order of Santiago. In January, 1505, Manuel managed to coax D. Francisco de Almeida to abandon Santiago and move over to the Order of Christ. Vasco da Gama himself eventually did the switch in 1507. Afonso de Albuquerque, by contrast, refused; he was buried in his Santiago vestments.[13]

Templars did not exist anymore during the game timeline.
Order of Christ being their closest organization.


Still would prefer the Oder of the Tower and the Swords, or the Templar Order, over the Order of Santiago.

It is just too associated with Spain.


Fair enough the Order of Christ would be the best option really, since their symbol already adorned the flags on Portuguese ships, and they were exclusively Portuguese.


In fact I would replace Organ Guns for Adventurers as Portugal unique unit.


Maybe, but we do not really need more Unique Units, just making the Halberdier a RG Aventureiro, and taking out the OG to get Falconet, aswell as a RG Culverin, would do wonders to make Ports more historically accurate, and playable.

I think the OG should be a British or French UU, to be completely honest. Even it’s Guard upgrade is French (Ribauldequin), and it was mainly used in the 100 Years War, by both sides, and somewhat in the 30 Years War, by the French.
Ports should really just get Falconet, and a fancy Culverin (easily achievable with a proper Bronze/Copper skin), since Portuguese Artillery focused more on Long Range battering of targets, rather than rapid fire, or explosive damage.


Great work and fascinating read. However would you be able to provide a bibliography or more complete references?

1 Like

My point of view is just on the historical aspect, not game balance to be honest.
Halberds would work well from an historical point of view for the Adventurers aswell, even pikes as we have the example of the adventurers tercio from Alcacer Quibir.

Added sources as requested Starscream.
I can recommend a ton of books articles and studies of you are interested.

1 Like

Here are the resources i own if you are interested on reading about them.
Books that i own:

Portuguese Seaborne Empire 1415-1825

A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire: From Beginnings to 1807 Volume I and Volume II (2009) by Disney A.R.

Portuguese Sea Battles - Volume I - The First World Sea Power 1139-1521

Conquerors - How Portugal forged the first global empire

The Portuguese in the Age of Discovery 1340-1665

The Military Orders Volume IV
On Land and By Sea

Free Resources:

Knights, Squires and Foot Soldiers in Portugal during the Sixteenth-Century Military Revolution

The Portuguese Art of War in Northern
Morocco during the 15th Century

O ensino e a aprendizagem militares em Portugal e no Império, de D. João III a D. Sebastião: a arte portuguesa da guerra.


You’re a gentleman and a scholar. I’ve been meaning to learn more about the early modern Portuguese. My backlog and Amazon wish list will grow very soon.


No worries, any questions or doubts fell free to ask!


Very interesting information about portuguese :ok_hand:t2::ok_hand:t2:
Thanks for your good topic :+1:t2:


Thank you for the feedback! I’m very passionate about Portuguese History 15th to 17th century, and just love to talk about it.


Thank you! I’m a Portuguese myself, and I love the history of my country so much, and I’m glad that you’re doing all this with your research and time. I actually learned a few things in these posts! I hope they take their time to read your post and think about it. It would be great to see them improve the Portuguese civ.


No worries my man! Glad you liked it!
I think Portugal history needs more exposition on mainstream media. I sincerely hope that the devs have a look at this and make some flavourful changes.


With the appearance of the Mercenary unit of the Portuguese Cannoner it would make sense to add it to the Portuguese rooster, and I would dare say get rid of the Organ Gun, add the normal Falconet and add the Cannoner in Commerce Age for Portugal.


Yeah! Add cannoneers, Portugal deserves to be able to use these units, even if its in shipment/church.

PD: I am now with my girlfriend of tourists in Lisbon since yesterday, this is precious!


Sejam Bem-vindos a Lisboa! (Be welcome to Lisbon!)


Muito obrigado! Ty guy! :slight_smile:

1 Like