Exploration of the Pacific
Polynesians reached nearly all the Pacific islands by about 1200 AD, followed by Asian navigation in Southeast Asia and West Pacific. Around the Middle Ages Muslim traders linked the Middle East and East Africa to the Asian Pacific coasts (to southern China and much of the Malay Archipelago). The direct contact of European fleets with the Pacific began in 1512, with the Portuguese, on its western edges, followed by the Spanish discovery of the Pacific from the American coast.In 1521 a Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan was the first known crossing of the Pacific Ocean, who then named it the ""peaceful sea"". Starting in 1565 with the voyage of Andres de Urdaneta and for the next 250 years, the Spanish controlled the transpacific trade with the Manila galleons that crossed from Mexico to the Philippines and vice versa, until 1815. Other expeditions from Mexico and Peru discovered various archipelagos in the North and South Pacific. In the 17th and 18th centuries, other European powers sent expeditions to the Pacific, namely the Dutch Republic, England, France, and Russia.