Portugal began establishing the first global trade network and empire under the leadership of Henry the Navigator. Portugal would eventually establish colonial domauds from Brazil, in south America, to several colonies in Africa (namely Portuguese Guinea, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Pricipe, Angola, and Mozambique), in Portuguese India ( most importantly Bombay and Goa), in China (Macau), and Oceania (namely East Timor), amongst many other smaller or short-lived possessions.
During its peak , the Spanish Empire had possession of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Italy, parts of Germany, Parts of France, and many colonies in the America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. With the conquest of inland Maxico, Peru, and the Philipines, in the 16th century, Spain established overseas dominions on a scale and world distribution that had never been approached by its predecessors(the Mongol Empire had been larger but was restricted to Eurasia). Possessions in Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the America, the Pacific Ocean , and the far east qualified the Spanish Empire as attaining a global presence in this sense.
From 1580 to 1640 the Portuguese Empire and the Spanish Empire were conjoined in a personal union of its Habsburg monarchs, during during the period of the Iberian Union, though the empires continued to be administered separately.