Portuguese Exploration – corresponds with pages 95 Download

Portuguese Exploration – corresponds with pages 95-99 in text
Key concepts/terms:
o Why did Europeans as a whole want to explore the world during the 1400s?
o “For God, Gold, and Glory”
o Why and how did Portugal lead the way in European exploration of the globe?
o Henry the Navigator
o Caravel and astrolabe
o Bartolomeu Dias
o Vasco da Gama
o Strait of Malacca
Start by making medieval meal – staples of European diet were rough grains such as barley,
pickles, sauerkraut, and salted fish. Meat a luxury. Fresh vegetables and fruits (apples and
pears primarily) only seasonally.
The Renaissance era in Europe created a new sense of wonder and adventure. It causes people
to want to explore and know more about the world.
o Europeans had contact previously with other cultures (ex: crusades or Marco Polo to
China in 1275) but generally most people didn’t care
o By the mid to late 1400’s people want to know more. Marco Polo’s book especially
eventually becomes best seller
This is mindset is going to set off era of exploration by western europe’s main powers. Will
eventually result in the discovery of the new world, the creation of colonies, destruction of
cultures, and subjugation of native peoples.
The motives of European’s for wanting to explore can best be summed up in a popular saying of
the day: “for God, Gold, and Glory.”
o Desire to do God’s work by converting others to Christianity
o To gain personal fame – this reflects Renaissance-Humanist mindset placing value on
the individual
o Make money
While all three reasons played a huge role in European exploration, money was probably the
most important
o After the Crusades there was a huge demand for luxury good from Asia like silks or
carpets, but especially spices
 European foods were bland (see above example)
 It helped preserve foods – but flavor most important
o The Asia-Europe trade was dominated by the Arabs and the Italians
 Arab sailors brought goods from China and India. They sold them to Italians
who brought them to Europe and charged a huge mark-up
By the 1400’s merchants and monarchs both wanted to bypass these two groups and
get the goods directly from the source
Portugal was the leader in foreign exploration
o Location helped. Hemmed in by powerful Spain. On Atlantic
o Had major government support
o On fringe of spice trade = spices expensive
Prince Henry “the Navigator” most important figure in early exploration
o 3rd son of king of Portugal, King John I
o Interested in story of Prester John – medieval tale of Christian king in the east who ruled
land of riches
o Convinced father to attack Muslim city of Ceuta across strait of Gibraltar in Africa in
1415 AD
 Found huge warehouses of gold, spices, and jewels
 Also exposed him to many maritime inventions the arabs were using which
made ocean exploration possible:
 Astrolabe was instrument that measured angel of stars or sun above
horizon. Could be used to determine latitude if you looked up day/time
in a large reference book. Allowed explorers to sail back to same
location again if could find correct latitude then sail east or west.
Longitude not discovered until late 1600s.
 Problem with European ships was that they used square sails and could
not sail against the wind. Generally European sailors never left site of
land. Arab dhows used triangular sails similar to those on small
sailboards today. Allowed them to be maneuverable and sail into wind.
 Magnetic compass had been developed in china, had been making way
 Success at Ceuta made Henry want to explore more
o Henry sets up navigation school at Sagres (1443) which teaches sailors, had shipbuilding
workshops, mapmaking facilities, and observatories. Henry literally spend entire
fortune on this and put Portuguese treasury into debt
 Perfected navigation techniques and designed new ship style called the caravel.
Combined best aspects of arab and Christian ships
 Had triangular sails from dhow so could sail into wind and maneuver.
Had square sails for power. Large hulls for storage of goods and to
shore cannon. Had shallow draft so that keel wasn’t deep in water –
allowed to navigate shallow areas.
o Early successes mostly on islands – all located in moderate or tropical climates. Capable
of growing grapes, olives, grain, and grazing sheep.
 Azores (1444)
 Madeira (1420)
 Cape Verde Islands (1456)
o Also began exploring little by little down African coast, mapping and trading with natives
 Established African slave trade. First slaves to Europe in 1444.
 By 1460 had series of west African permanent trading posts
1488 Bartolomeu Dias was first European to sail around eastern coast of Africa.
Had been blown there by storm and considered going on to india due to reports
from locals, but ran out of supplies and turned back
 1497 Vasco de Gama explored east coast and sailed to Calicut in india. Had
previously been major Chinese trading post. Loaded boats with pepper and
cinnamon and silks and returned to Portugal with amount equal to 60 times cost
of voyage.
Portuguese expansion leads to conflict in east
o Had early cannon on ships.
o Defeated muslim fleet off coast of india in 1509
o In 1510 took control of major port of Goa in India. Remained a Portuguese colony until
1961. Remains today richest state in India. Blend of Indian and Portuguese culture
o Took control of Malacca in 1511 thus gaining control of the straits of Malacca, the
world’s busiest waterway. Location of rich nation of Singapore today. Gave them
monopoly of spice island known as the Moluccas
o Built fort at Hormuz in 1514 allowing them to cut off Arab traders in the Persian Gulf –
made it so they couldn’t get to India
Portuguese expansion made goods 1/5 their previous price. Therefore they were more
affordable for common people and demand rose for consumer goods and luxuries.
This in turn is going to cause other European countries to race to copy the Portuguese and also
explore and colonize.