Portugal's empire in Asia made its monarchy the richest
Europe and made Lisbon the commercial capital of the
prosperity was more apparent than real, however, because
newfound wealth did not transform the social structure,
it used to lay the basis for further economic development.
country's industry was weakened because the profits from
monopolies were used to import manufactured goods. As the
in Asia was a state-run enterprise, no middle class or
sector independent of the crown of any consequence emerged
had in other parts of Europe. Moreover, the persecution of
Jews, who possessed vital technical skills, robbed the
an important force for modernity and reinforced feudal
Adding to the drain on the economy was the large amount of
spent on sumptuous palaces and churches.
Because the wealth from the discoveries did not produce
middle class of competent, trained individuals to whom the
affairs of state gradually fell, leadership in Portugal
in the hands of the king and the military aristocracy.
the imperial system had intensified the already
system of government, which meant that the quality of
policy was closely tied to the abilities of the top
especially the king himself. Unfortunately, the House of
not produce a king of great merit after Joćo II, and
entered a long period of imperial decline.
Data as of January 1993