Portuguese factoriesThe factories were generally fortified trading posts settled in coastal areas, and that the Portuguese built to centralize and thus dominate the local trade of products to the Kingdom (and thence to Europe). Worked simultaneously as a market, warehouse, point of navigation support and customs. Were governed by a "Steward" tasked to govern the exchanges, negotiating on behalf of King products and tax (the quinto). Between the 15TH-16th century were built numerous factories in about 50 fortifications along the coasts of Western and southern Africa, the Indian Ocean and in Brazil. Easily supplied and defended by sea, the factories functioned as autonomous colonization, which bases provided security and allowed Portugal to dominate trade in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, establishing a vast Empire with few human and territorial resources.
The factories were local
originally they were merchants of a State organizations, gathered in the same place outside its borders. This organization aimed to defend their common interests, mainly economic (but also), enabling the maintenance of diplomatic and trade relations and in the place where they were based. The oldest Portuguese feitoria, prior to discovery, was established in Flanders, the Factory in Antwerp. Being the first, established by the Portuguese in Africa, the castle of Arguin.
The Portuguese factories were moved primarily by successive trade off the coast of Guinea gold, spices in the Indian Ocean and slaves to the new world, but also for many products such as sugar, chilli, cairo, Woods, horses, cereals, feathers of exotic birds of Indonesia, precious stones, silks and porcelain of the far East, among numerous other products. In addition to the trade to the Kingdom, was made also the triangular trade between various territories.
In Lisbon the Casa da India managed exports to India, landing of Oriental goods, their distribution and sale. The Royal monopoly was over the main spices-pepper, cloves and cinnamon-and the export of certain goods, charging a fee of 30% of the profit of the remaining products, keeping the Crown as the regulatory authority for trade in General.
The Portuguese Feitoria Antwerp, also referred to as trading post of Flanders, made the trade and distribution of goods coming from the East in Europe.
There is thus a circuit, in which the Portuguese have made connection between a "Center" of the economic system from the 14th century and 15TH century, through the factories in Flanders, England, Venice, Constantinople and Andalusia and a peripheral zone "with factories in Africa, and Brazil. We can even say that the factories were the basis for the construction of a global economic system, the beginning of globalization.
In the 17th century, entered into decadence, became a heavy instrument, either by shortening the distances on the globe (faster ships) or by costs associated with its existence.
Portuguese factories in Africa 
Still life of Prince Henry the Navigator (1394-1460), exploration of the African coast started to yield fruits as the slave trade, which is why the Portuguese Crown undertook the construction of factories on the site.
The first was the trading post of Arguin, founded in 1448, on height of cabo Branco, built on the instructions of her own infant. Aimed to attract nearby routes travelled by Muslim merchants in North Africa, trying in this way to deploy a market to monopolize the commercial activity in the area. Served as a model for the mine Castle, also in the 15th century, and the Axim
Shortly after exploring the coast of Guinea, in the form of commercial monopoly, in 1469 if reached the region of the mine. For this reason, that stretch of coastline was designated as Gold Coast
Portuguese factories in the Indian Ocean.
The main Portuguese trade points in the Indian Ocean were Goa, Malacca and Hormuz. But many factories were established in Kannur also, Ternate, Maldives, Cochin, among others.
Portuguese factories in Brazil.
In Brazil, the first Portuguese feitoria was the Cabo Frio, founded by Amerigo Vespucci, in 1504. Soon after came the de Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro and Igaraçu and the island of Itamaracá (Pernambuco). The factories in Brazil lasted until 1532, when the Crown began deploying captaincies.
Source:Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia