This essay focuses on the Portuguese empire in the 16th and 17th centuries and its colonial presence in the Indian Ocean. There is disagreement within the historiography over the most important factor that allowed the Portuguese to establish and maintain their empire: military power or the support of indigenous groups. This paper supports the latter and will demonstrate the instrumental role local factions and groups played in cementing Portuguese control in the region for centuries. Regions in the Indian Ocean and beyond will be the focus of this research, most prevalently the city states of the Indian coast, but also areas such as Macau in China and Nagasaki in Japan. The paper cites events such as the Battle of Cochin and the Siege of Diu in showing the Portuguese reliance on native groups in order to maintain their colonial possessions.