Portugal was a small country, but its ships had big cannon of good quality. The Portuguese increased the artillery capability of their ships beyond what others were doing with gunnery, and the Portuguese had trained gunners of German and Flemish descent. At sea, the Portuguese had to contend with the Egyptians and their Venetian allies, but they were intent on gaining a monopoly on the spice trade – largely pepper and ginger. To secure their ability to trade, the Portuguese seized ports and built fortifications on shores along their route to the East.View Source
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