The Age of Exploration Power Point


1400s – the Renaissance begins (rebirth)

Began in Italy and spread throughout Europe

Johannes Gutenberg – printing press – books printed faster

The Travels of Marco Polo

Shared stories of the voyages of Marco Polo

Wanted to buy and resell Asian goods (silk and spices)

Gunpowder and compass

Prince Henry of Portugal

Opened a school of navigation

Aimed to make better ships, maps, and tools for navigation

New Technology

Caravel – kind of ship

Drew better maps

Improved the compass and astrolabe

Used Marco Polo’s book to learn about Asia

Never thought to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to get to Asia


Leif Erickson – sailed west across the Atlantic, stopping in Greenland, Canada, and present-day Newfoundland

Christopher Columbus

Thought he could sail across the Atlantic to get to Asia

Risks and Rewards

Explorers had to prove themselves.

Had to prove the cost was worth it, despite risks

Hoped the benefit would be BIG

His plan was risky.

Portugal turned him down.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain

Said, “No!” - due to pushing the Muslims out of Spain

Reconquista – either become Catholic or leave Spain

When this ended, they finally supported his plan to travel west.


Sailed the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria

October 12, 1492 – finally saw land

A Historic Meeting

Landed in San Salvador (thought it was the Indies)

Met the Taino tribe

Collected gold items, animals, and plants

Captured several Taino to bring back to Spain

When Columbus and his men returned, they were heroes.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were quite pleased.

Sponsored a second expedition

Hoped to find more riches, start settlements, and convert people to the Catholic religion

Navigation Tools

Do Now Question:

How did technology help improve navigation during the time of early exploration?

DBQ 1 – How did the compass help sailors?

The compass helped sailors know in which direction they were traveling.

DBQ 2 – How might the weather affect the use of the astrolabe?

Sailors could not use the astrolabe if the weather was bad and the sun or the stars were not visible.

DBQ 3 – Why would explorers need more accurate maps?

More accurate maps would give explorers a clearer idea of where they were going and how far their journeys might be.

DBQ 4 – Why would sailors need to keep track of the time?

Sailors would keep track of the time to know how much longer it should take to get to a certain place.

Columbus’s trips inspired other European rulers to send ships west.

John Cabot Sets Sail

Sent by England’s King Henry VII to help compete with other European nations for land and wealth

Sailed west and found land – present-day

Newfoundland and Labrador (parts of Canada)

Same place the Vikings found 500 years earlier

Amerigo Vespucci

Did not believe Columbus and Cabot found the Indies

Sailed west and found land as he sailed down the coast of South America

Amerigo Vespucci’s New Idea

Looked for signs that the land was Asia – did not match

Marco Polo’s description

Thought - perhaps Earth was larger than they thought

The Naming of America

1507 – mapmaker made a new map and labeled the land of South America after Vespucci

North America was labeled later

Vasco Nunez de Balboa

Spanish explorer – first to settle in the Americas

Settled in Hispaniola -> Columbia -> Panama

Traveled west across the Isthmus of Panama (connects

North and South America) and reached the Pacific


Proved Vespucci was right

Ferdinand Magellan

Portuguese explorer

Sailed around the tip of South America to the Pacific


Named the ocean Pacific – means peaceful - his opinion of the water

Magellan’s Long Voyage

Planned to travel across the Pacific

Died in a battle in the Philippines

One ship made it back to Spain in 1522 – first to sail around the world

As more expeditions were organized, more lands were claimed.

Same countries claimed certain lands

Catholic Church settled problem with an imaginary line

Spain got land to the west; Portugal got land to the east

1494 – treaty moved the dividing line further west

Many Spanish explorers sailed west.

Dreamed of being rich, winning national glory, and/or converting Native Americans to Christianity

Juan Ponce de Leon

Sailed with Columbus on a voyage and later discovered

Puerto Rico

Heard of the land, Bimini, to the north of Puerto Rico

1513 – found present-day Florida

1521 – set up Spanish settlement, but was defeated by native tribe

First Spanish explorer to set foot on present-day U.S. soil

Hernando Cortes

Sent to find gold in land of the Aztecs

(present-day Mexico)

The Fall of the Aztecs

Aztecs believed a light-skinned god would return to rule one day – The Aztec emperor believed Cortes was this god.

Cortes captured him and fighting began.

Cortes and Spain won.

Mexico City was built on Tenochtitlan – new capital

The Seven Cities of Gold

Native American story – searched and a Spanish priest,

Marco de Niza claimed to see a city of gold

Coronado in the Southwest

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado – searched for the cities of gold

Went back to Mexico City without any gold, but did claim lands in the present-day southwestern United States for


Lands in Florida, Mexico, and the southwestern

United States became known as New Spain

Pizarro and the Incas

Francisco Pizarro – Spanish conquistador who searched the western coast of South America.

Found the Incan empire and took control

De Soto in the Southeast

Hernando de Soto – explored the southeastern U.S.

Landed in near Tampa Bay, Florida and travelled to land near the Mississippi River

Battled Native American tribes and many died including De


More land claimed by Spain

Spain controlled much of the southern half of the U.S.

The Church forced people to follow it rules, to pay taxes, had its own court, and punished those for breaking the laws.

Religious Reforms

Martin Luther – started the Reformation – challenged the Church

Led to new churches including the Lutheran Church

Counter-Reformation – made some changes, but tried to keep power in the Catholic Church

Spread ideas to new followers in the Americas

Missionaries – converted Native Americans despite their efforts to hold onto Native American beliefs

European nations still wanted to find a shortcut to


Searching for a New Route

Thought if you sailed to and around N. America, it would be faster and easier

The first country to find it, gets control of the important new trade route.

Search lasted for hundreds of years

The French in North America

Giovanni Verrazano – sailed from North Carolina, along the Atlantic coast, and no further than Newfoundland

Did not find a passage

Jacques Cartier – During his three trips, he sailed to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.

Claimed the land around it for France including present-day

Montreal and Quebec

Henry Hudson – English explorer who made 4 voyages in search of the Northwest Passage

During his 3 rd voyage, he explored a river in present-day

New York, named it after himself, and declared the land for the Dutch.

A Voyage Ends in Mutiny

Last voyage – searched the Hudson Bay and claimed land around it for England

Crew rebelled and sent him and 8 others on a boat – never seen or heard from again