Unexpected Consequences Topic 2.4: Europeans Come to North America
Changes in Western Europe • Changes: • The population was increasing • It was becoming wealthy • It was making advances in technologies that allowed for exploration Western Europeans (British, French, Spanish, Portuguese) began to establish colonies throughout the new world. The Newfoundland fishery was a product of this expansion.
A Brief History; • 500 CE to 1200 CE – 700 years - there is little change or innovation, life remained the same. This is referred to as a traditional economy – where people use their resources in the same way as previous generation. • 1200-1400 CE – change begins – universities established – leads to increased knowledge where new ideas emerge and spread • 1400 CE – application of astronomy and mathematics to navigation allows mariners to calculate positions when out of sight of land. This would transform travel by sea and European governments sought to find new paths to Asia
“ The discovery of America was important intellectually for Europeans because the new lands and peoples challenged traditional ideas… Africa and Asia, though distant and unfamiliar fro most people, had always been known about. America was entirely unexpected.”
Early Trade Routes • During this period Western Europeans were forced to look for new trade routes to obtain silk, perfumes and spices from Asia. • Wars in the Middle East meant traditional routes were difficult to use so Western Europeans had to look to other means to find resources. • Governments then funded the voyages of Columbus and Cabot to seek a new route to Asia – they found a New World (North America) instead.
The Value of Fish • Zuan Caboto’s (John Cabot) voyage was funded by King Henry VII of England. • Caboto discovered fish instead of spices but the value of fish was soon recognized. • Early in the 1500s the French, Portuguese, Spanish and English began to come to Newfoundland and Labrador to exploit its fish resource • By church law Catholics and Protestants ate fish on Fridays and during Lent. Therefore fish was an important resource to most European nations
Why was the fish (salt cod) valuable? • High demand • Inexpensive source of protein • Long shelf life – could be stored through the winter when meat is scarce • Light weight and small so easy to transport • Consequently it could be used for overseas voyages, armies on the move and an increasing population
Booming European Economies • The transatlantic fishery boosts European economies by creating jobs both directly and indirectly; • Fishers • Salt miners • Manufacturing nets, hooks, barrels • Processing and packaging • Merchant firms • ++++++ European governments used the fishery to train and recruit skilled seamen for their navies
Newfoundland Fish • The fishery in Newfoundland became part of the “triangle of trade” between England, southern Europe and the Americas. See page 110 • England- food and clothing – Spain for salt- to Newfoundland – salt fish- southern Europe for gold, silver and other goods for England • Newfoundland fish traded to West Indies to feed slaves, for molasses, sugar and rum……
Patterns in the Newfoundland Fishery • Competition and conflict in Europe will change the balance of power in the Newfoundland fishery. Ultimately it will be England and France as the two major players in the Newfoundland fishery
Questions • Page 111 questions 1 to 5