Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 2010a. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Ch. 37, “The Portuguese Empire” Loc. 8338-8564.
Portugal, with its border firmly established with Castile, was unable to expand in territory except across the sea in the fifteenth century (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8344). They therefore explored western Africa and considered finding a way of surrounding and overcoming Muslim forces. By the end of the 15th century there were many Christians in Congo, along with good relations with the Portuguese (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8360). Friction increased in the 16h century, as the Christian community tended to stay near the coasts and slavers made deeper incursions into central Africa (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8376). While some missionary activity reached to the interior it was viewed with great suspicion (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8385).
By papal decree the Orient was apportioned to Portugal in the 1500s (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8392). Because they were unable to conquer the Orient, Portugal attempted to develop trade. This tended to stop missionary activity (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8401). In 1542 Francis Xavier began a mission in Goa, a center of trade (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8409). From there he left to more areas where Christ was not known, especially seeing conversion among the lower castes (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8424). Much of the activity confused Christianity with European culture (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8448). Further syncretism tended to develop as Christianity grew in China (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8488).
Meanwhile, Portugal also colonized Brazil while Spain colonized other parts of South America (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8496). Brazil’s economy boomed as Portugal and the rest of Europe desired sugar produced in Brazil (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8513). This also increased the slave trade for cheap labor. Missionary activity increased as the injustices committed to slaves became known (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 8538). Again, much work was syncretistic in nature.