Age of Exploration EXPLORATION BEFORE COLUMBUS Marco Polo was born in 1254, in Venice, Italy. He traveled extensively with his family, journeying from Europe to Asia from 1271 to 1295. He remained in China for 17 of those years. His book Il Milione describes his travels and experiences and helped waken the imaginations of the Age of Exploration. By the time Christopher Columbus landed in the Western Hemisphere in 1492, the New World had already been “discovered”. First, of course, there were the Native Americans, and around the year A.D. 1000, Viking Norsemen led by Leif Ericson sailed from Norway and settled in Newfoundland, in northeast Canada. The Norsemen soon sailed back across the ocean, having had little to no effect on North America. IMPACT OF THE RECONQUISTA Ferdinand II was named king of Sicily and married Princess Isabella of Castile (Spain). In the spring he directed the campaign against the Muslim kingdom of Granada, winning its final capitulation of the Reconquista in 1492. The conquest made it possible to focus on exploration. Technological innovations spurred the exploration boom. A “maritime revolution” in Europe saw the invention of the astrolabe, a device used to determine latitude; the caravel, a ship of unprecedented speed; and the magnetic compass. AGE OF EXPLORATION The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus ushered in an era of unprecedented European exploration and settlement of the Americas. Columbus, sailing with backing of Queen Isabella, failed to reach his goal of reaching Asia, landing instead on the Bahama Islands in 1492. European explorers searched for new trade routes (the routes through Constantinople had been cut off by the Muslims) and overseas wealth through gold and silver. It became a goal to, also, spread Christianity. Spain and Portugal reached a compromise with the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, which divided all future discoveries in the New World between Castile (a region of Spain) and Portugal. The Treaty of Tordesillas reveals that both Portugal and Spain led the charge in exploring the New World. Spain quickly established itself as the premier European power in the New World. THE NETHERLANDS – THE DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY In 1609, Henry Hudson sailed up the river that now carries his name. In 1625, the Dutch bought Manhattan island from the natives and established the settlement of New Amsterdam. The colony flourished on account of the fur trade. The Dutch did little to expand their landholdings. A conflict with England allowed the English to take over New Amsterdam, renaming it New York. ENGLISH In 1497, John Cabot claimed Nova Scotia, Newfoundland for England. After Cabot’s efforts, the English became more concerned with domestic issues and stopped exploring. It was the Puritans (of our Thanksgiving fame) that saw the New World as a place to practice their religion without persecution. England’s first settlement in the New World ended badly. In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh found the settlement of Roanoke, off the coast of North Carolina. Raids by Indians and disease devastated the settlement. The Spanish, determined to eliminate their New World rivals, dispatched the great Spanish Armada in 1588 to attack the British. A fleet of English ships defeated the Armada and set the future of English naval power. Amerigo Vespucci Ferdinand Magellan Spain 1499: Explored coast of S. America for Spain Portugal 1501: Explored coast of S. America for Portugal Spain 1519: Began the first circumnavigation of the globe Conquistadors The early Spanish conquistadors, set out in search of gold, slaves, lucrative trade routes, and fame. HERNAN CORTES Hernán Cortés was a Spanish conquistador and explorer who defeated the Aztec empire and claimed Mexico for Spain. In February 1519, an expedition of 500 men reached the Mexican coast. Aztec King, Montezuma, was caught in a Dilemma. Was this white man with a beard the prophesied return of a god or was he someone to be feared? Montezuma chose to offer gold to keep him away from his capital. It backfired. Cortes strategically aligned some native peoples against the Aztecs to overthrow them. He marched to Tenochtitlán and took Montezuma hostage and his soldiers raided the city. FRANCISCO PIZZARO High in the Andes Mountains of Peru, five years before the Spanish arrival, a devastating war gripped the empire. In 1532, Atahuallpa's army defeated the forces of his half-brother Huascar in a battle near Cuzco. King Atahuallpa was consolidating his rule when Pizarro and his 180 soldiers appeared. Pizarro invited Atahuallpa to attend a feast in his honor, and the emperor accepted. Atahuallpa arrived at the meeting place with several thousand men, all unarmed. Pizarro ordered an attack. Thousands of Incas were slaughtered, and the emperor was captured. Atahuallpa offered to fill a room with treasure as ransom for his release - 24 tons of gold and silver were brought to the Spanish. Although, Atahuallpa had provided the richest ransom in the history of the world, Pizarro sentenced him to die.