American Discovery and Colonization



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American Discovery and Colonization


  1. Why West?

    1. During the 15th century, the Iberian Peninsula

      1. at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea

      2. became the focal point of European efforts to reach the riches of Asia by a sea route,

        1. rather than depend on

          1. the dangerous,

          2. costly

          3. and time-consuming

          4. ancient trade routes through the Middle East.

    2. In the second half of the 15th century,

      1. European sailors began to plan voyages

        1. that would take them beyond the limits of the world they knew.

    3. The new interest in the world came in part from the Renaissance,

    4. but the main reason was to set up new trading links

      1. with spice-producing lands in Asia.

  2. Spice of life.

    1. Spices were an essential part of everyday life for the Europeans.

      1. Refrigeration had not yet been invented,

        1. so the only way to preserve meat was to salt it.

      2. Adding spices helped to hide the salty taste.

      3. The spices also concealed the taste of meat that had gone bad.

    2. Head south, young man

      1. The Turks defeated the Byzantine Empire in 1453,

        1. cutting the land link between Europe and Asia.

      2. If spices were to reach Europe, a sea route to Asia had to be found.

  3. Tiny Portugal emerged as the original leader of this effort.

    1. Lacking a coast on the Mediterranean,

      1. it was not surprising that the Portuguese sought a route to the East

        1. by rounding the tip of Africa.

    2. The most influential figure in the rise of Portuguese maritime strength was Henry the Navigator,

      1. Prince Henry the Navigator set up a school for sailors

        1. and encouraged the exploration of the African coast.

        2. Voyages were made into the Atlantic to the Madeira Islands and the Azores.

      2. In 1486, Bartholomeu Dias and his crew became the first Portuguese sailors to reach the southern tip of Africa,

        1. but he turned back

          1. because his crew was unwilling to travel any further.

      3. Ten years later, Dias helped another Portuguese sailor, Vasco da Gama, plan a voyage around Africa to India.

    3. Portugal emerged at the leading maritime power in Europe,

      1. Other Portuguese navigators pushed on to Cathay (China)

        1. and the Spice Islands (Indonesia),

          1. which established the beginnings of a Far Eastern empire.

        2. During a period in the early 16th century, Portugal became the most prosperous trading power

          1. and eclipsed the Italian city-states.

    4. Portugal did not remain long at the top of the heap.

      1. As a small nation with severely limited internal resources,

        1. Portugal experienced chaos at home

          1. while its energies were focused abroad.

        2. Agriculture languished

          1. and industry failed to develop as it did elsewhere in Europe.

      2. A weakened Portugal soon fell under the influence of vastly superior Spain;

        1. the two nations were merged for 60 years in what was known as the Spanish Captivity (1580-1640).

      3. As Portugal declined,

        1. the upstart Dutch capitalized on the apparent weakness

          1. and seized many of the Portuguese possessions in the Far East.

  4. Neighboring Spain was slower to respond to the challenge at first

    1. due in large part to disunity.

      1. Regional kingdoms vied with one another for supremacy,

        1. but sometimes joined forces to confront the Moors

          1. (North African Muslims who had occupied portions of Spain since the early 700s).

    2. Unification took a major step forward in 1469

      1. when Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile;

        1. their two kingdoms were formally joined five years later,

        2. which provided Spain with the most dynamic monarchy in Europe.

    3. The Moorish presence was ended in early 1492,

      1. when the stronghold of Granada fell.

      2. Ferdinand and Isabella,

        1. known as the Catholic kings,

        2. celebrated the victory in part by expelling the Jews from Spain.

      3. The defeat of the Moors also freed the monarchs to support exploratory ventures,

        1. including those of Christopher Columbus.

        2. Money went from warfare to exploration.

  5. Columbus

    1. Christopher Columbus hoped to reach India by sailing west.

      1. When the Portuguese king would not sponsor his voyage,

        1. he asked Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.

          1. After six years, they agreed.

      2. When Columbus reached a group of islands across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492,

        1. .

      3. On October 12, 1492,

        1. Christopher Columbus landed on a small island

          1. he called San Salvador.

        2. Certain he had reached his goal.

          1. Columbus called the native people Indians.

          2. This is why the Caribbean islands are known as the West Indies Columbus believed he had reached the Indies,

          3. or the islands southwest of India that include Indonesia and Malaysia.

        3. Columbus died believing he had reached the east by sailing west,

          1. but instead he had discovered a "new world."

        4. Columbus made three more voyages to the Caribbean, but he never realized his mistake.

    2. The four voyages of Columbus (between 1492 and 1504)

      1. served to open the door to European exploration, colonization and exploitation of the New World,

        1. although Columbus himself never set foot in North America.

          1. The great explorer was not honored with his name given to the areas he discovered.

          2. That honor went instead to a relatively obscure fellow Italian, Amerigo Vespucci.

            1. He was the first to effectively argue that the newly discovered lands were actually a new continent,

              1. not Asia as Columbus and others believed.

            2. A German cartographer of that day, Martin Waldseemüller, translated some of Vespucci’s writings

              1. and applied the name America to what is today the South American continent.

              2. Eventually the name was commonly applied to both continents.

    3. By the time the English began active colonization,

      1. the Spanish had already explored large portions of North America,

        1. especially in the South and Southwest.

      2. The Spanish explorers encountered three major civilizations in the New World:

        1. the Incas in present-day Peru

        2. and the Mayans and Aztecs in Mexico and Central America.

    4. The conquistadors were truly amazed by what they found

      1. — immense wealth in gold and silver,

      2. complex cities rivaling or surpassing those in Europe,

      3. and remarkable artistic and scientific achievements.

  6. God, Gold, and Glory

    1. Spanish conquest in the New World was driven by the three 'G's— God, Gold, and Glory.

    2. In his drive to gather riches, Columbus (and later conquistadors) enslaved and decimated the local populations.

      1. The numbers of these Native Americans plummeted,

        1. in part because of war against the colonial forces,

        2. but also because of the introduction of diseases

          1. to which the natives had no natural immunity.

        3. The natives contracted malaria, smallpox and measles from the Europeans,

          1. but passed on syphilis to the invaders in a morbid exchange.

  7. Pope

    1. In 1494, shortly after Columbus’ first voyage,

      1. the pope divided the newly discovered lands between Spain and Portugal

        1. both Catholic nations, but fierce rivals.

    2. The line of demarcation crossed through the hump of South America.

      1. Spain was to have the lands to the west

      2. and Portugal those to the east

        1. (accounting for the use of the Portuguese language in Brazil today).

      3. The most profitable Spanish activities in the New World occurred in the southern portions,

        1. while less rewarding ventures took place in northern areas.


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