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The Age of
Why People Explore
• Gold – Nations were always looking for new sources of wealth.
• Glory – Individual explorers competed for fame and honor for both
themselves and their countries.
• God – Europeans believed it was their duty to bring Christianity to the nonbelievers of the world.
European Powerhouses
Who were the rulers of the nations of Europe?
Kings and Queens (a Monarchy)
~ a form of government in which supreme power is in an
What was one way kings of the 15th century
could expand their power?
By adding overseas
colonies to their
Early World Map:
Includes just Europe,
Africa, and part of
Many believed the
earth was flat.
Bishop Pierre d’ Ailly’s book change the way
people viewed the earth.
• He said the earth
was round, not
Explorers of North
The Age of Exploration
Leif Ericson
The Vikings
reached North
America five
hundred years
Discovering North America
• 982 Erik the Red
founded Greenland.
• Leif Erikson later landed
on North America.
Claudius Ptolemy
One of the first to believe that the Earth
was round (sphere), not flat.
Ptolemy’s map omitted the Western
One of the classical errors concerning the
earth ----miscalculated the size of the earth.
Motives for Exploration
• To search for new routes to the Far East.
• To expand the empires of Spain, Portugal,
England, and France.
• To gain riches through trade.
• To spread religious ideas
Marco Polo
European whose descriptions of the riches
of China made traders wants to go to Asia.
He did not discover unknown lands and seas
Stayed in China for almost 25 years
Served as a special ambassador to Kublai
Had books written about his travels
Prince Henry, the Navigator
• Never actually sailed on
any of the voyages of
discovery he sponsored.
• Established a school for
the study of the arts of
navigation, mapmaking,
and shipbuilding.
Bartolomeu Dias
• Led the first European
expedition to sail around
Africa's Cape of Good Hope
• Opened up money making
trading routes from Europe to
Vasco Da Gama
• Portuguese explorer who
discovered an ocean route
from Portugal to the East.
Amerigo Vespucci
• An Italian explorer
• First person to realize that the Americas were
separate from the continent of Asia.
• America was named for him in 1507
Vasco Nunez de Balboa
• Spanish conquistador and
• First European to see the
eastern part of the Pacific
Ocean (in 1513)
• Searched for passage to
Pacific Ocean
• Sailed through “straits of
• Crew first to
circumnavigate the world
• Sailed for England
• Landed on coast of Newfoundland
• Gave England claim to
North America
Christopher Columbus
Reason for Exploring
• Thought that Japan and the Indies were much closer than
they are.
• Explore a new route to the East Indies (Spice Islands).
• Would become Governor of any lands discovered.
• Keep 10% of wealth discovered.
Christopher Columbus
• Set sail on Aug 3, 1492 from port of Palos,
• Voyage into uncharted waters.
• Landed in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492
Hernando de Soto Explores the Southeast
• In 1539, Hernando de Soto landed near
modern Tampa with an army of 700 to
explore the Southeast and locate the fabled
cities of gold.
• Three years of exploration were marked by
nearly constant conflict with the Native tribes
and disease that reduced his army by half.
• In 1542, de Soto himself died of disease in
modern Alabama forcing the survivors of his
party to escape to the Gulf of Mexico on
• Despite the failure to secure riches for
Spain, de Soto’s expedition was the most
significant exploration of the American
mainland to date.
• Contact with the European explorers
De Soto’s exploration of the
introduced the devastating disease smallpox to
Native populations that had no natural
Giovanni da Verrazzano
• First white
man to sail
into the New
York Harbor
and see the
Hudson River
Juan Ponce De Leon
1460? - 1521
• a Spanish explorer and
First European to set
foot in Florida.
Established the oldest
European settlement in
Puerto Rico
Discovered the Gulf
Stream (a current in the
Atlantic Ocean).
Was searching for the
legendary Fountain of
Youth and other riches.
Hernando Cortes
• a Spanish adventurer and
• Overthrew the Aztec empire
and claimed Mexico for
• A Spanish
• Traveled through
much of the Pacific
coast of America
along Peru.
Discovered" the
Incan empire and
conquered it brutally
and quickly, stealing
immense hoards of
gold, silver, and
other treasures.
Francisco Pizzaro
Francesco de Orellana
European to
travel the
length of the
Sir Francis Drake
• Voyages: South
America, Strait of
• Famous for: In 1577
Drake made his voyage
around the world in
Golden Hind.
Female Pirates
• The life of a pirate or merchantman
• a steady income,
• Adventure
• freedom from social expectations.
• Anne Bonny and Mary Read are the
most infamous female pirates. They
sailed with Calico Jack Rackham.
Blackbeard (Edward Teach)
• The most notorious of the
pirates of the Caribbean.
• Captain of Queen Anne’s
Revenge, also followed by several
small sloops, depending on what
he needed for attack.
• In 1718, Blackbeard and his
crews sailed into the harbor at
Charleston, SC. They
blockaded the harbor, plundered
any ships which came his way, and
held the town to ransom.