colonies in Brazil. The native people of Brazil suffered greatly as a result. The Portuguese tried to get the native people to give up their religion and convert to Christianity. They also forced them to work on sugar plantations. Missionaries sometimes tried to protect them from abuse, but countless numbers died from overwork and European diseases. Others fled into the interior of Brazil.
The colonization of Brazil also had an impact on Africa. As the native population of Brazil decreased, the Portuguese needed more laborers. Starting in the mid 1500s, they turned to Africa. Over the next 300 years, ships brought millions of enslaved West Africans to Brazil. (Caption)
Pedro Cabral (Vocabulary)
colony a country or an area ruled by another country
plantation a large farm where crops such as sugar, rubber, or tobacco are grown (Map Title)
In the late 1400s, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain were determined to make their country a powerful force in Europe. One way to do this was to sponsor explorations and claim new lands for Spain.
Key Explorers It was Ferdinand and Isabella who sponsored the voyages of Christopher Columbus. The Italian-born Columbus thought that the Indies, or eastern Asia, lay on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. He believed sailing west would be the easiest route to the Indies.
When Columbus failed to win Portuguese support for his idea, he turned to Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to pay for the risky voyage. They wanted to beat Portugal in the race to control the wealth of Asia. They also wanted to spread Christianity.
In August 1492, three ships left Spain under Columbus’s command. For the crew, venturing into the open ocean was frightening. As the weeks went by, some of the men began to fear they would never see Spain again.
Then, on October 12, a lookout cried “Land!” Columbus went ashore on an island in the Caribbean Sea. Thinking he had reached the Indies, Columbus claimed the island for Spain.
For three months, Columbus and his men explored nearby islands with the help of native islanders, whom the Spanish called Taino. Thinking they were in the Indies, the Spanish soon called all the local people “Indians.”
In March 1493, Columbus arrived back in Spain. He proudly reported that he had reached Asia. Over the next 10 years, he made three more voyages to what he called the West Indies. He died in Spain in 1506, still insisting that he had sailed to Asia.
Many Europeans, however, believed that Columbus had actually found a land mass that lay between Europe and Asia. One of these people was Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer.
Magellan believed he could sail west to the Indies if he found a strait, or channel, through South America. The strait would connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, allowing ships to continue on to Asia.
Magellan won Spain’s backing for a voyage to find the strait. In August 1519, he set sail with five ships and about 250 men. (Caption)
Explorer Christopher Columbus convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to support his westward voyages. (Caption)
Magellan looked for the strait all along South America’s east coast. He finally found it at the southern tip of the continent. Today it is called the Strait of Magellan.
After passing through the strait, Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1520. It took another three months to cross the Pacific. During the crossing, Magellan’s men ran out of food and were plagued by disease and thirst. They reached an island in the western Pacific just in time.
Continuing west, Magellan visited the Philippines. There he became involved in a battle between two local chiefs. In April 1521, Magellan was killed in the fighting.
Magellan’s crew sailed on to the Spice Islands. Three years after the expedition began, the only ship to survive the expedition returned to Spain, loaded with cloves. The 18 sailors on board were the first people to circumnavigate the globe.
The Impact of Early Spanish Exploration Early Spanish exploration changed Europeans’ view of the world. The voyages of Columbus revealed the existence of the Americas. Magellan’s expedition opened up a westward route to the Indies. It showed that it was possible to sail completely around the world. And it proved that Columbus had indeed found a “New World”—one they hadn’t realized was there.
Columbus’s voyages were the beginning of Spanish settlement in the West Indies. Spain earned great wealth from its settlements. Settlers mined for precious minerals and started sugar plantations. The Spanish also sent Europe new crops, such as sweet potatoes and pineapples.
For the native people of the West Indies, Spanish settlement was devastating. Priests forced many of them to become Christians. Native people were forced to work as slaves in the mines and on the plantations. When the Spanish arrived, perhaps 1 or 2 million Taino lived on the islands. Within 50 years, fewer than 500 were left. The rest had died of starvation, overwork, or European diseases.
Like Portugal, Spain looked to West Africa for new sources of laborers. From 1518 through the mid 1800s, the Spanish brought millions of enslaved Africans to work in their American colonies. (Caption)
Ferdinand Magellan (Vocabulary)
circumnavigate to travel completely around something, such as Earth (Map Title)
After Columbus’s voyages, Spain was eager to claim lands in the New World. To explore and conquer “New Spain,” the Spanish turned to adventurers called conquistadors (conquerors). The conquistadors were allowed to establish settlements and seize the wealth of natives. In return, the Spanish government claimed one fifth of the treasures they found.
Key Explorers In 1519, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes and a band of conquistadors set out to explore present-day Mexico. From native people, Cortes learned about the Aztecs. As you discovered in Unit 6, the Aztecs had built a large and wealthy empire in Mexico.
With the help of a native woman named Malinche, Cortes and his men reached the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. The Aztec ruler, Montezuma, welcomed the Spanish with great honors. Determined to break the power of the Aztecs, Cortes took Montezuma hostage.
Cortes now controlled the Aztec capital. In 1520, he left Tenochtitlan to battle a rival Spanish force. While he was gone, a group of conquistadors attacked the Aztecs in the midst of a religious celebration. In response, the Aztecs rose up against the Spanish. The soldiers had to fight their way out of the city. Many of them were killed during the escape. (Caption)
When Spanish explorer Cortes first entered Mexico, he was welcomed by the Aztec ruler, Montezuma. (Caption)
Hernan Cortes Page 383
The following year, Cortes mounted a siege of the city, aided by thousands of native allies who resented Aztec rule. The Aztecs ran out of food and water, yet they fought desperately. After several months, the Spanish captured their leader, and Aztec resistance collapsed. The city was in ruins. The mighty Aztec Empire was no more.
Four factors contributed to the defeat of the Aztec Empire. First, Aztec legend had told of the coming of a white-skinned god. When Cortes appeared, the Aztecs welcomed him because they thought he might be their god Quetzalcoatl. Second, Cortes was able to make allies of the Aztecs’ native enemies. Third, their horses, armor, and superior weapons gave the Spanish an advantage in battle. The Aztecs had never seen any of these things before. Fourth, the Spanish carried diseases that caused deadly epidemics among the Aztecs.
Aztec riches inspired Spanish conquistadors to continue their search for gold. In the 1520s, Francisco Pizarro received permission from Spain to conquer the Inca Empire in South America. As you learned in Unit 6, the Incas ruled an empire that ran along most of the Andes Mountains. By the time Pizarro arrived, however, a civil war had weakened the empire.
In April 1532, the Inca emperor, Atahualpa, greeted the Spanish as guests. Following Cortes’s example, Pizarro launched a surprise attack and kidnapped the emperor. Although the Incas paid a roomful of gold and silver for Atahualpa’s ransom, the Spanish killed him the following year. Without their leader, the Incas’ empire quickly fell apart.
The Impact of Later Spanish Exploration and Conquest The explorations and conquests of the conquistadors transformed Spain. The Spanish rapidly expanded foreign trade and overseas colonization. For a time, wealth from the Americas made Spain one of the world’s richest and most powerful countries.
Besides gold and silver, ships brought corn and potatoes from the New World to Spain. These crops grew well in Europe. By increasing the food supply, they helped spur a population boom. Conquistadors also introduced Europeans to new luxury items, such as chocolate and tobacco.
In the long run, gold and silver from the Americas hurt Spain’s economy. Inflation, or an increase in the supply of money compared to goods, led to higher prices. Monarchs and the wealthy spent their riches wastefully instead of building up Spain’s industries.
The Spanish conquests had a major impact on the New World. The Spanish introduced new animals to the Americas, such as horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. But they also destroyed two advanced civilizations. The Aztecs and Incas lost much of their culture along with their wealth. Many became laborers for the Spanish. Millions died from disease.In Mexico, for example, there were about 25 million native people in 1519. By 1605, this number had dwindled to 1 million. (Caption)
Francisco Pizarro (Vocabulary)
epidemic an outbreak of a disease that affects many people within a geographic area
Spain and Portugal dominated the early years of exploration. Rulers in rival nations wanted their own share of trade and new lands in the Americas. Soon England, France, and the Netherlands all sent expeditions to North America.
Key Explorers Explorers often sailed for any country that would pay for their voyages. The Italian sailor John Cabot made England’s first voyage of discovery. Cabot believed he could reach the Indies by sailing northwest across the Atlantic. In 1497, he landed in what is now Canada. Believing he had reached the northeast coast of Asia, he claimed the region for England.
The next year, Cabot set out on another voyage with five ships. The fate of this expedition is uncertain. Cabot may have returned to England, or he may have been lost at sea.
Another Italian, Giovanni da Verrazano, sailed under the French flag. In 1524, da Verrazano explored the Atlantic coast from present-day North Carolina to Canada. His voyage gave France its first claims in the Americas. Like many explorers, however, he met an unhappy end. On a later trip to the West Indies, he was killed and eaten by native people.
Sailing for the Netherlands, English explorer Henry Hudson journeyed to North America in 1609. Hudson wanted to find a northwest passage through North America to the Pacific Ocean. Such a water route would allow ships to sail from Europe to Asia without entering waters controlled by Spain.
Hudson did not find a northwest passage, but he did explore what is now called the Hudson River. Twenty years later, Dutch settlers (people from the Netherlands) began arriving in the Hudson River valley.
The next year Hudson tried again, this time under the flag of his native England. Searching farther north, he sailed into a large bay in Canada that is now called Hudson Bay. He spent three months looking for an outlet to the Pacific, but there was none.
After a hard winter in the icy bay, some of Hudson’s crew rebelled. They set him, his son, and seven loyal followers adrift in a small boat. Hudson and the other castaways were never seen again. Hudson’s voyage, however, laid the basis for later English claims in Canada. (Caption)
English explorer Henry Hudson traded with native North Americans. (Caption)
John Cabot (Vocabulary)
northwest passage a water route through North America connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Page 385
The Impact of European Exploration of North America Unlike the conquistadors in the south, northern explorers did not find gold and other treasure. As a result, there was less interest at first in starting colonies.
Canada’s shores did offer rich resources of cod and other fish. Within a few years of Cabot’s trip, fishing boats regularly visited the region. Europeans were also interested in trading with Native Americans for otter skins, whale oil, and beaver and fox furs. By the 1600s, Europeans had set up a number of trading posts in North America.
English exploration also contributed to a war between England and Spain. As English ships roamed the seas, some captains, nicknamed “sea dogs,” began raiding Spanish ports and ships to take their gold. Between 1577 and 1580, Francis Drake sailed around the world. He also claimed part of what is now California for England, ignoring Spain’s claims to the area.
The English raids added to other tensions between England and Spain. In 1588, King Philip II of Spain sent an armada, or fleet, to invade England. With 130 heavily armed vessels and about 31,000 men, the Spanish Armada seemed an unbeatable force. But the smaller English fleet was fast and well armed. Their guns had a longer range, so they could attack from a safe distance. After several battles, a number of the armada’s ships had been sunk or driven ashore. The rest turned around but faced terrible storms on the way home. Fewer than half of the ships made it back to Spain.
The defeat of the Spanish Armada marked the start of a shift in power in Europe. By 1630, Spain no longer dominated the continent. With Spain’s decline, other countries—particularly England and the Netherlands—took an active role in trade and colonization around the world. (Caption)
Giovanni da Verrazano (Caption)
Henry Hudson (Map Title)
Routes of European Explorers Page 386
33.7 The Impact of Exploration on European Commerce and Economies
The voyages of explorers had a dramatic impact on European commerce and economies. As a result of exploration, more goods, raw materials, and precious metals entered Europe. Mapmakers carefully charted trade routes and the locations of newly discovered lands. By the 1700s, European ships traveled trade routes that spanned the globe. New centers of commerce developed in the port cities of the Netherlands and England, which had colonies and trading posts in faraway lands.
Exploration and trade contributed to the growth of capitalism. This economic system is based on investing money for profit. Merchants gained great wealth by trading and selling goods from around the world. Many of them used their profits to finance still more voyages and to start trading companies. Other people began investing money in these companies and shared in the profits. Soon this type of shared ownership was applied to other kinds of business.
Another aspect of the capitalist economy concerned the way people exchanged goods and services. Money became more important as precious metals flowed into Europe. Instead of having a fixed price, items were sold for prices that were set by the open market. This meant that the price of an item depended on how much of the item was available and how many people wanted to buy it. Sellers could charge high prices for scarce items that many people wanted. If the supply of an item was large and few people wanted it, sellers lowered the price. This kind of system is called a market economy.
Labor, too, was given a money value. Increasingly, people began working for hire instead of directly providing for their own needs. (Vocabulary)
capitalism an economic system based on investment of money (capital) for profit
Merchants hired people to work in their own cottages, turning raw materials from overseas into finished products. This growing cottage industry was especially important in the making of textiles. Often entire families worked at home, spinning wool into thread or weaving thread into cloth. Cottage industry was a step toward the system of factories operated by capitalists in later centuries.
A final result of exploration was a new economic policy called mercantilism. European rulers believed that piling up wealth was the best way to build their countries’ power. For this reason, they tried to reduce the things they bought from other countries and increase the items they sold.
Having colonies was a key part of this policy. Nations looked to their colonies to supply raw materials for their industries. They profited by turning the materials into finished goods that they could sell to other countries and to their own colonies. To protect the valuable trade with their colonies, rulers often forbade colonists from trading with other nations. 33.8 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned about the Age of Exploration. Beginning in the 1400s, European explorers went on great voyages of discovery. Their voyages had a major impact on Europe and on the lands they explored.
European explorers sought wealth, land, knowledge, and adventure. They also wanted to spread Christianity. A number of advances in knowledge and technology made their journeys possible.
The Portuguese explored Africa’s coasts, charted a sea route to Asia, and claimed Brazil. The voyages of Christopher Columbus led to Spanish colonization in the Americas. England, France, and the Netherlands sent explorers to North America.
Millions of people living in the Americas died as a result of European colonization and conquest. The Inca and Aztec Empires were destroyed. West Africans suffered greatly when they were brought to the Americas to work as slaves.
The Age of Exploration vastly increased Europeans’ knowledge of the world. In the next chapter, you will learn about another source of new knowledge: the Scientific Revolution. (Caption)
Weaving cloth became a growing cottage industry as families set up looms and workshops in their homes. (Vocabulary)