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The Age of Exploration. And the “discovery” of America. Why Europe?. China richest country in world and formidable sea power Had invented compass, had some of the most reliable ships in the world

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the age of exploration

The Age of Exploration

And the “discovery” of America

why europe
Why Europe?
  • China richest country in world and formidable sea power
  • Had invented compass, had some of the most reliable ships in the world
  • But had become convinced that the rest of the world was populated by barbaric and uncivilized peoples
why europe3
Why Europe?
  • Arab world had knowledge of geometry and astronomy that surpassed Europe
  • Their ships dominated Indian Ocean
  • Bound by religion not to travel further
why europe4
Why Europe?
  • Mayas had made frequent voyages in the Caribbean Sea
  • Had enough knowledge of astronomy to navigate the sea by 300 AD
  • Ruled over abundant empire that lacked few resources, therefore no need to travel
the renaissance
The Renaissance
  • Re-birth of interest in culture of ancient Greece and Rome
  • Time period 14th - 17th centuries
  • Awakened human creativity and demanded an outward expression of talent
  • Writers, artists, and thinkers were brimming with new ideas
  • Spirit of curiousity and adventure
emerging nations
Emerging Nations
  • During the Middle Ages (period before the Renaissance) Europe was splintered into many small states
  • By the late Middle Ages, monarchs started to unify many small states, producing countries like England, France, Spain, Portugal and Holland, with strong governments
  • This unification was necessary to participate in exploration and discovery
seeking the east
Seeking the East
  • European countries wanted luxury goods and spies from Asia
  • Knew the land route there, but wanted to find the sea route to increase trade
  • Technology in seafaring, such as the quadrant to measure position, and better more seaworthy ships, like the carrack and caravel (the ships Columbus sailed with) made exploration more possible than in the past
  • First country to seek this sea route to the east
  • In the 1400’s Portuguese explorers managed to find the sea route to Asia by going around the tip of Africa
  • But it was thought, that there was a shorter route there
christopher columbus
Christopher Columbus
  • Born in Genoa, Italy 1451
  • Moved to Portugal due to his interest in navigation
  • Studied atlases and read whatever he could about travels and exploration
  • Decided he could get to Asia by sailing west from Europe
his voyage
His voyage
  • Eventually got financial backing for his trip from Spain
  • Left with the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria in August 1492
  • October 12 went ashore on a small island in the Bahamas and claimed it for Spain
  • Believed he reached East Indies, so called Native people Indians
the americas
The Americas
  • Continued exploring the Caribbean after his initial landing - found Cuba (thought it was China), Hispaniola (thought it was Japan)
  • Natives encountered were the Arawak (Tainos) whom Columbus and his men reacted to with admiration and curiousity
  • March 1493 returned to Spain with gold, parrots, spices and some Native Americans
later voyages
Later Voyages
  • Made a second voyage six months after his return to Spain with 1200 colonists to Hispaniola
  • His third voyage landed on northern coast of South America “I believe that this is a very great continent, which until today has been unknown”
  • Final voyage 1502 and mapped the American coastline from Guatemala to Panama
perspectives in history
Perspectives in History
  • Read the passage below and try to determine what the hostorian is describing.

“Not long after, they tooke me to one of their greate Counsells, where many of the generalitie were gathered in greater number than ever I had seen before. And they being assembled about a great field of open grass, a score of their greatest men ran out upon the field, adorned each in brightly hued jackets and breeches, with letters cunningly woven upon their Chestes, and wearinge hats uppon their heads, of a sort I know not what. One of their chiefs stood in the midst and would at his pleasure hurl a white ball at another chief, whose attire was of a different colour, and whether by chance or artyfice I know not the ball flew exceeding close to the man yet never injured him, but sometimes he would strike at it with a wooden club and giveing it a hard blow would throw down his club and run away. Such actions proceeded in like manner at length too tedious to mention, but the generalitie waxed wroth, with greate groaning and shoutinge, and seemed withall much pleased.”

reading historical documents
Reading Historical Documents
  • It is important to keep in mind some key questions when studying primary documents:
  • Who is the writer? Where is s/he from? What were the prevailing beliefs of the culture that s/he living in? What bias or vested interest may s/he have? Does s/he have prior knowledge of the people or place s/he is writing about? How was the account communicated (letter, story, diary, legend, legal document, etc.)? Do we have supporting evidence to back up his person’s account of events? What may have been left out of the account?
first contact
First Contact
  • Read pages 33 – 44 in Encounters in the New World : A History in Documents, Jill Lepore, 2000
  • As you read, analyze each of the excerpts using the questions on the previous slide.
  • Using your own words and interpretations of the documents, write a short journal entry or letter for each of the following people, describing how they feel about first contact. You may choose to write this in two parts, to show how they may have felt differently after a second or third contact.
    • Natives (Tainos, Aztecs or Micmacs)
    • Europeans at home (Paolo Pozzi)
    • European Governments (Pope Alexander VI)
    • Explorers (Christopher Columbus)