Who were the major explorers? What lands did they discover? When were those lands discovered.
Hernando Cortes explored Mexico in 1519.
Juan Ponce de Leon traveled to the West Indies with Columbus in 1493 where he discovered Florida. He also discovered Puerto Rico in 1506 and the Tortugas in 1512.
Ferdinand Magellan discovered Guam and the Philippines in 1521.
What routes did they take and what lands did they claim for their home nation?
Hernando Cortes traveled from Spain → Santo Domingo → Cuba → Mexico. He claimed Mexico for Spain.
Juan Ponce de Leon landed in the West Indies and then traveled to Puerto Rico. He claimed Puerto Rico for Spain.
Ferdinand Magellan traveled from Spain → around the tip of South America → Philippines → [around the tip of Africa → Spain] (Magellan died in a battle in the Philippines. His crew traveled back to Spain.) He claimed the Philippines for Spain on March 16, 1521.
What resources were they after? What resources did they find/ bring back to Europe?
Hernando Cortes wanted to find gold. He found gold and glory in Mexico.
What exchange went on between the indigenous people and the European explorers?
It is believed that Hernando Cortes and his men brought the smallpox virus to the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs presented the Spaniards with gifts (mostly gold).
Juan Ponce de Leon and the Caribs and Calusas were hostile with one another. No exchanges occurred. The Tainos natives of Puerto Rico shared knowledge about gold with the Spaniards The Spaniards shared the smallpox and measles virus with the Tainos natives.
The Filipinos were very kind to Ferdinand Magellan and his crew at the beginning. But as the Spaniards pushed their religion onto the natives, they became more hostile and angry. The natives eventually killed Magellan.
Who did this contact hurt? Who did it help?
The contact between Hernando Cortes and the Aztec Empire hurt the Aztecs because their empire was taken over by Cortes and his men. They were also killed by European diseases. This contact benefited the Spaniards because they amassed land and major wealth from the mining of gold.
The contact between Juan Ponce de Leon and the Caribs and Calusas hurt both groups. Occasionally, the two groups would fight, which would result in deaths on both sides. Contact with the Tainos natives was beneficial for the Spanish because the Tainos shared information about the location of gold. This contact hurt the Tainos natives because they later became enslaved by the Spanish.
The contact between Ferdinand Magellan and the Filipinos was harmful to both groups. A war broke out between the two groups and lives were lost on both sides.