The Age of Exploration
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The Age of Exploration. For God, Gold and Glory. TIME REFERENCE. 500 A.D. Fall of the Roman Empire in the West. 1400’s – The Renaissance The REBIRTH. Dark Ages in Europe. 1450’s Gutenburg Printing Press. Rediscover the learning of classical Greece and Rome. . TECHNOLOGY HELPS !.

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The Age of Exploration

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The Age of Exploration

For God, Gold and Glory


500 A.D. Fall of the Roman Empire in the West

1400’s – The Renaissance


Dark Ages in Europe

1450’s Gutenburg Printing Press

Rediscover the learning of classical Greece and Rome.


  • The introduction of the Caravel made travel easier !

    • 65 feet long = more space for food/ppl.

    • Able to explore

      close to shore.

    • Larger sails for

      easier movement

      and power!

New Maritime Technologies

Better Maps [Portulan]

Hartman Astrolabe(1532)

Mariner’s Compass


Strong Monarchs (Kings) Emerged in Europe

Expand empire

Establish colonies

Develop trade routes

Bring goods to country – concept of MERCANTILISM – a country’s power is based on its wealth

Spread Christianity

God, Gold and Glory

Marco Polo had first established link to China in 1296.

Brought beautiful silks, rich spices, tea, peppers, great riches back to Europe.

Trip took 3 years and crossed 7000 miles of ocean, mountains and deserts to get there.

In the 1500’s, Arab traders brought goods from China and the East overland by camel caravan to the North of Africa.

Europeans could buy products from Arab traders but at higher prices.

Europeans wanted to establish their own trade routes to China and India. Why?

To cut out the MIDDLE MAN

Europeans wanted to find an all water route to China and India. Why?

Faster and easier way to travel. You could bring back more stuff.

Late 1400’s to 1600’s – Age of Exploration



All trying to find a way to get from Europe to China and India by sea.



Holland (Dutch)

For the Kingdom of Portugal…..

Prince Henry the Navigator

Established a school of navigation

Sailors from his school explored the coast of Africa and mapped it.

Exploring for Portugal….

Bartholomeu Dias

Vasco de Gama

Alvares Cabral

Vasco Nunez de Balboa

Amerigo Vespucci




Bartholomeu Dias

Explored the coast of Africa. Rounded the top of the African continent.

Dias named it the “Cape of Storms” because of the difficult seas.

King John renamed it the “Cape of Good Hope” because he hoped that the passage around the continent might be a new route to India.

Vasco de Gama

Completed the journey started by Dias.

Made it to India from Portugal by rounding the continent of Africa.

Pedro AlvaresCabral

Followed Vasco de Gama’s route. Currents pulled him off course and he actually landed in Brazil (South America). He didn’t explore but returned. Neverthless, this gave Portugal their first claim to the Americas.

Amerigo Vespucci

A cartographer who followed Christopher Columbus’s route to the New World.

Sailed along South America’s coast. Realized it was NOT India or part of Asia, but a continent of its own.

European geographers began calling the continent “America” in honor of the man who mapped it.

Vasco Nunez de Balboa

Stopped in Central America

Walked across central America and found water on the other side.

First European to discover the Pacific Ocean from the Americas.

Exploring for the Kingdom of Spain…

Ferdinand Magellan

Francisco Pizarro

Christopher Columbus

Juan Ponce de Leon

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

Hernan Cortes

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

Hernando de Soto

Ferdinand Magellan

First person to circumnavigate the earth.

Reached the tip of South America, but sailed through a strait instead of going around the tip where the waters were rough. Now named the Strait of Magellan. He named the Pacific Ocean because the waters were peaceful, “pacifico” in Spanish. Magellan himself never finished the voyage. He died in the Phillipines but his crew continued until they returned to Spain.

Christopher Columbus

Great explorer? Hero? OR Savage slave trader? Destroyer of civilizations?

1st voyage – landed in the Bahamas. Columbus thought he had reached India – called the natives “Indians.”

Undertook 3 more voyages. Explored the Caribbean islands, Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti. Mapped the coastline of Central America. Never found a route to India nor the riches he sought. He died a failure, a ruined man.

Hernan Cortes

One of the “Conquistadores.”

Explored seeking wealth. Got grants from kings to explore in return for giving the king 1/5 of whatever they discovered.

Cortes explored Mexico and conquered the Aztecs. He introduced horses to the Americas.

Francisco Pizarro

Another Conquistador

Explored Peru and vanquished the Incan empire

The Spanish conquered the native easily because they had advanced weapons for warfare, horses and the native population was decimated by diseases the Spanish brought with them.

Juan Ponce de Leon

The first Spaniard to land on the North American mainland (Florida, 1513).

Came in search of gold and the legendary Fountain of Youth.

Established the first European settlement in the New World at St. Augustine, Florida.

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

Got shipwrecked and lost his ships during his exploration.

Explored the Southwest part of North America and Mexico.

Told people he had seen the 7 Cities of Cibola (The 7 cities of gold.)

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

Obsessed with finding the cities of gold that Cabeza de Vaca had spoken about.

Explored present day Arizona, New Mexico and Kansas.

Didn’t find anything except “shaggy cows.”

Hernando de Soto

Another Spanish explorer trying to find the fabled cities of gold.

Led a 3 years expedition to the west. Wandered about seizing supplies from the Native Americans.

He eventually crossed the Mississippi River and reached what is today Oklahoma. He died of a fever there.


Spain and Portugal had explorers all over the world and wanted to protect their claims to the land. Pope Alexander VI drew the LINE OF DEMARCATION….an imaginary line running from the North Pole to the South Pole down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

All the discovered lands west of the LINE were given to Spain and all the lands east of the LINE were given to Portugal. Portugal protested that Spain got a better part so they adjusted the line and signed a treaty called the Treaty of Tordesillas…but basically, it divided the entire unexplored world between Spain and Portugal.

Spanish explorers set up 3 kinds of settlements….


Towns for trading

Settlements set up to convert the natives to Christianity



Forts to protect territories

Class system in Spanish colonies….

Peninsulares - Spanish born people – owned land and ran the government

Creoles – People with Spanish parents, but they were born in America themselves.

Mestizos – People of mixed heritage, one parent Spanish, one parent Native American. (almost always a Spanish father and a Native American mother)

Native Americans

African Slaves

The Spanish government granted conquistadores “ENCOMIENDA” – which means they could demand taxes or labor from the natives Americans, basically turning the native Americans into slaves also.

Main exports from Spanish colonies in America to Europe were tobacco and sugarcane.

Grown on plantations

Used native Americans to work on the plantations.

Many died from disease and overwork. A priest named Las Casas, trying to protect the native Americans, suggested that Africans be used to work on the plantations because they were stronger and more resistant to the European diseases. So Europeans began importing Africans as slaves. Las Casas would spend the rest of his life regretting what he had done.

John Cabot

Exploring for England (British)…..

England, France and other European countries ignored the LINE OF DEMARCATION and continued to explore and claim lands for their own countries. England looked for a shorter route to Asia by going through the NORTH of North America……..looking for a NORTHWEST PASSAGE.

And exploring for France……

Jacques Cartier

Sailed up the St. Lawrence River, hoping it would take him to the Pacific. It took him to Canada instead. Founded Montreal, Canada. He never found gold nor a northwest passage to Asia.

French didn’t set up permanent settlements like Spanish and Portuguese. They had problems at home. They made profits from resources they found in America like furs and fishing. Did lots of trading with native Americans in Canada. Didn’t disturb or fight with the native American populations. Befriended them, married their women and worked with them. Set up trading outposts only.

Finally….sailing for Holland (the Dutch)….

Also looking for a passage through America to India. Explored the Hudson River. Many Dutch people followed Hudson and set up the colony of New Netherland.

Henry Hudson

Center of the colony was New Amsterdam, located on the tip of an island called “Manhattan” by the Indians. It would later become one of the largest trading cities of the Americas…..New York City.

The Columbian Exchange

Exchange of animals, plants, people and diseases from one side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other. It would profoundly alter life on both sides of the Atlantic.

Europe gave to America….

Wheat, grapes, livestock (horses, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chicken), mice, rats, honeybees, the flu, the measles, malaria, smallpox, lettuce, onions, peaches, oranges and lemons

America gave to Europe…..

Corn, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, beans, peanuts, cacao, vanilla, cotton, tobacco, turkeys, hummingbirds, rattlesnakes, squirrels, guinea pigs

Africa gave to America….


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