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 What
is the biggest adventure
you have ever been on?
 Why does it qualify as your
biggest adventure?
 What was the benefit when
compared to the cost?
An Age of Explorations
Essential Questions:
What led Europeans to seek new trade
routes to the Indies?
 What new technology allowed
Europeans to sail great distances?
 Why did Europeans establish colonies
around the world?
 How did life change as a result of
European overseas exploration?
Motive and Means…
The Renaissance encouraged a new sense of
adventure and curiosity
The Three Gs:
 God
 Glory
 Gold
Bartolomeu Dias: “To serve God and His Majesty,
to give light to those who were in darkness and to
grow rich as all men desire to do.”
And don’t forget the importance
of spices…
Pepper - The
most sought
after spice.
Black pepper
was the most
Imported from
Asia and later
Ooo, ooo, Rumor has it…
Europeans gained some
understanding of the
wealth of the East by
hearing the stories of
Crusading knights
returning from the Holy
 Marco Polo’s overland
trek to China in 1275
further whet the appetites
of Europeans
Marco Polo, rockin’ the
Vellucci Beard
Why did the Portuguese
lead the way in overseas
Out of need: the Portuguese population was
growing rapidly; but they had limited land for
farming. Importing food was expensive
Spice Routes of the 1400s
Why didn’t Europeans try to
explore routes to the Indies
before the mid-1400s?
After the fall of
Constantinople in 1453,
the Muslims controlled
the overland route to
Asia. Christians could
pass, but were forced to
pay exorbitant tolls
The Venetians controlled
the Mediterranean Sea
route. If any anyone
tried to mess with their
turf, just remember what
happened to their last
competitor during the
Fourth Crusade-1204
Up until this time, ships didn’t venture out too far
into the open ocean. They liked sticking close to
land. Why????
Because the ships weren’t great for blue water
travel and the navigation ability away from land
wasn’t great either.
Plus, the sail technology was good only for going
with the wind. If it was against you, you just had to
pull the sails and wait until it shifted.
This changed, though, with the introduction of
some Muslim technology and some new sails.
What new technology
allowed them to sail
great distances?
○ The Caravel
○ Sturdier
○ Triangular sails
stronger against
the wind (called
○ Large cargo
○ Shallow draft
allowed it to
explore close to
the shore
New triangular Lateen sails were another big
deal. They allowed ships to travel against the
wind by tacking (zig-zagging).
The Astrolabe:
This enables sailors to figure out where they
were in relation to the equator (latitude, but
not longitude).
The astrolabe was eventually replaced by
the sextant
Another nice innovation was the
magnetic compass from China.
First Chinese mention of
something like a
compass is about
70 AD. First mention of
one used for navigation
is 1119.
Better Maps…
Today we use GPS
The printing press allowed navigators to put pieces of
the puzzle together.
Better maps meant a better knowledge of the world
Portugal became an independent kingdom in 1139
Iberian Peninsula
around 1420. The
Reconquista would
not be complete
until 1492 with the
capture of Granada
Portugal Leads the Way…
This was mainly due to Prince
Henry the Navigator. He
founded a navigation school,
and gathered together
mapmakers, instrument
makers, shipbuilders,
scientists, and sea captains
(think JFK and the creation of
Henry used his own fortune to
finance exploration and as a
result, died in debt
Goal of the Portuguese: To
reach the Indies (India, China,
Indonesia) by way of sailing
around Africa
Prince Henry the Navigator
Let’s talk explorers!
 Bartolomeu
Date of Voyage- 1487/1488
Ventured down the coast of
Africa until he and his crew
reached the southern tip
The Cape of Good Hope
His ships were battered by
storms and were forced to
return to Portugal
Vasco Da Gama
Portuguese Navigator
Sailed 1497/1498
Notice the time elapsed
between the voyage of
Dias and the voyage of
Da Gama. REASON?
The first navigator to sail
all the way around Africa
to India
Vasco da Gama’s Route to the
The Result…
They filled their
ships with spices
like pepper and
cinnamon and return
to Portugal
 The cargo was
worth 60 X the cost
of the voyage!
 Remember our
discussion about
risk analysis?
 Cost vs. Benefit
Da Gama’s Ship
The New Portuguese Route to the
Spain Also Makes Claims
As the Portuguese
were establishing
trading posts along the
west coast of Africa,
Spain watched with
increasing envy
 Spanish monarchs
desired a direct route
to Asia
 In walks Christopher
Spain, in its modern form, is widely believed to have
begun by the Union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon
in 1479 (the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand (1469)
In 1492, Columbus sailed…
After unsuccessful attempts
to get Portugal to finance his
voyage, Columbus goes to
the new monarchs of unified
Spain, Queen Isabella and
King Ferdinand
They had just completed the
Reconquista of Spain, and
were heavily in debt
Could they afford to finance
Columbus wacky idea about
sailing west for Asia?
Again, cost vs. benefit
The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa
Maria…not as big as you might think!
A Couple of Facts About
the Voyage…
Columbus miscalculated the size of the earth- he
thought it was much smaller
As a result, he thought it would only take six to
seven weeks to reach China by sailing west. It
took about 9 1/2 weeks!
His crew on the verge of mutiny, Columbus
convinced them to sail on
When he reached the New World, he thought he
had reached Asia (thus, the misuse of the term
He named the newly discovered island
San Salvador (Holy Savior)
Trade vs. Colonization
 Portugal establishes a trade empire
 Controls key port cities like Goa, India and Cape
Town, South Africa
 They also controlled key straits like the Strait of
Hormuz and the Straits of Malacca (where
pirates are still common!), which are strategic
trade routes even today
 However, by 1600, other countries like the Dutch
Republic (aka, the Netherlands) challenged
Portugal’s dominance in the Indies
 The Dutch East India Company was formed
to established and direct trade in Asia. They could
mint money, make treaties, and even raise their
own armies.
Portuguese Trade Empire
Spain Chooses to Colonize
Spain established colonies in the Americas
after Columbus’ discovery of the New
World and subsequent voyages of other
explorers such as Amerigo Vespucci,
Vasco de Balboa, and Ferdinand Magellan
 Why colonize? To turn a kingdom into an
Land = Wealth
To gain natural resources and raw materials
To use the native population as a market
For some, to escape religious persecution
For others, it was the first chance to own their
own land
War Over the New World?
Both Spain and Portugal feared the
other would try to claim some of its
newly found territory
 As the rivalry grew more tense, the two
nations were on the verge of war
 Pope Alexander VI took some time away
from his mistresses and stepped in to
keep the peace
 He established the Line of Demarcation,
a north/south divider through the Atlantic
Treaty of Tordesillas
When the Line of Demarcation was
drawn in 1493, Spain was given all
lands west of the line and Portugal
received all lands east
 Portugal thought the line was unfair
 So in 1494 the Pope moved the line
further West. Both countries signed the
Treaty of Tordesillas to honor the line
 Portugal could now claim Brazil as a
result of Francisco Cabral’s voyage
Treaty of Tordesillas/Line of
Other Explorers Take to
the Seas
Pedro Alvarez
Cabral, Portugal
Gets blown off
course on his way to
Discovered Brazil
and claims it for
Portugal in 1500
Amerigo Vespucci (1499)
Like Columbus, another Italian
navigator commissioned by Spain
He is the first to recognize the
Americas as a new continent, and
not Asia
He explored the east coast of
South America and then Central
A German mapmaker, reading of
the discovery, names the new
continent in honor of Amerigo
Why don’t we live in North
Vasco de Balboa
Spanish explorer
1513- becomes the first
European to view the Pacific
Ocean after marching across
Juan Ponce de Leon
Spanish explorer
1513- While searching for the
Fountain of Youth, he claims
Florida for Spain
Ferdinand Magellan (1521)
Commissioned by Spain to set sail for
the newly discovered Pacific Ocean
 Leaves with five ships and 250 men
 Eventually reaches the Philippines
 Magellan becomes involved in a local
tribal war and is killed (actually, torn to
pieces is a better description)
 His first mate, Juan del Cano, finishes
the voyage back to Spain, but
Magellan is given credit as being the
first navigator to circumnavigate (sail
completely around) the world (1522)
Magellan’s Route
Age of the Conquistador
 Conquistador- a Spanish soldier or “conqueror” who
fights for God, Glory and Gold
 Hernando Cortes
 1519- Lands on the shores of Mexico
 Learns of the vast wealth of the Aztec Empire
 Despite being vastly outnumbered, he proceeds to
conquer the Montezuma and the Aztecs with the help of
superior weaponry (muskets, cannons), neighboring
Indian tribes, and most of all- disease!
Hernan Cortes Claims
an Empire for Spain
Francisco Pizarro
Another Spanish conquistador
Disobeyed the orders of his superior; 1532- marched
south from Panama along the west coast of South
America; conquered the Inca of Peru
Captured the Incan emperor Atahualpa and held him for
Received 24 tons of gold and silver- the richest ransom
in history. Unfortunately, Atahualpa was still executed (a
“merciful” strangling since he converted to Christianity)
Pizarro earned a place in the book
TheTop Ten Most Evil People of All Time
How ‘bout we throw in an English
Sir Francis Drake
He sailed as a privateer for England under Queen
Elizabeth (basically, a legal pirate)
He raided Spanish settlements on the west coast of the
Couldn’t find a eastern route back to England, so he just
circumnavigated the world
The second navigator to do so…
How did life change around the world
as result of European exploration?
 The
 Obviously, knowledge of the world increased
 The increase in gold/silver led to an international
 The Columbian Exchange is created- tomatoes,
squash, pineapples, tobacco, cacao (for chocolate)
 The cost of goods (spices, food, etc.) decreased and
they became more readily available. As a result…
 Diets changed. European food became less bland.
Corn and potatoes became a staple of peoples diets.
Increased nutrition means people live longer, boosting
the world’s population
Triangular Trade
The Negative Impacts
European’s crave sugar. The Caribbean is
the ideal setting for sugar cane to grow, but
the plantations are labor intensive. The
 The development of the African slave trade.
The infamous Middle Passage leads to the
death of 20% of those slaves on board the
 Why were African slaves considered a
better choice of labor? They were strangers
to America with no allies or places to hide in
case they escaped. Also physically stronger
The terrible conditions of the
The Encomienda System
Native Indians were also oppressed.
Spain used what was known as the
encomienda system to basically
enslave the native population in
order to exploit the land for its
precious resources.
Effect of Disease…
Negative Impacts Continued
• Disease Ravages Americans
• Smallpox, measles, typhus
• Hispaniola – pop. 250,000 in 1492
pop. 500 in 1538
• Mexico
– pop. 25 Million in 1519
pop. 1 Million in 1630
• Cultures also mixed. Spanish peninsulares
(those born in Spain) mixed with the native
Americans. The mixed offspring were
known as mestizos