1. On the map below, accurately draw the routes of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Cabral. Label
each route with the last name of the explorer and the dates of his expedition.
Complete the following sentences:
- Vasco de Gama was important to Portuguese exploration because
- Pedro Cabral was important to Portuguese exploration because
3. List the effects of Portuguese exploration. Your list should include at least five different
The Age of Exploration began in Portugal. This small country is located on the Iberian Peninsula. Its rulers sent explorers first to nearby Africa and then around the world.
Key Portuguese Explorers The major figure in early Portuguese exploration was Prince Henry, the son of King John I of Portugal. Nicknamed “the Navigator,” Prince Henry was not an explorer himself. Instead, he encouraged exploration and planned and directed many important expeditions.
Beginning in about 1418, Henry sent explorers to sea almost every year. He also started a school of navigation where sailors and mapmakers could learn their trades. His cartographers made new maps based on the information ship captains brought back.
Henry’s early expeditions focused on the west coast of Africa. He wanted to continue the Crusades against the Muslims, find gold, and take part in Asian trade.
Gradually, Portuguese explorers made their way farther and farther south. In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias became the first European to sail around the southern tip of Africa.
In July 1497, Vasco da Gama set sail with four ships to chart a sea route to India. Da Gama’s ships rounded Africa’s southern tip and then sailed up the east coast of the continent. With the help of a sailor who knew the route to India from there, they were able to across the Indian Ocean.
Da Gama arrived in the port of Calicut, India, in May 1498. There he obtained a load of cinnamon and pepper. On the return trip to Portugal, da Gama lost half of his ships. Still, the valuable cargo he brought back paid for the voyage many times over. His trip made the Portuguese even more eager to trade directly with Indian merchants.
In 1500, Pedro Cabral (kah-BRAHL) set sail for India with a fleet of 13 ships. Cabral first sailed southwest to avoid areas where there are no winds to fill sails. But he sailed so far west that he reached the east coast of present-day Brazil. After claiming this land for Portugal, he sailed back to the east and rounded Africa. Arriving in Calicut, he established a trading post and signed trade treaties. He returned to Portugal in June 1501.
The Impact of Portuguese Exploration Portugal’s explorers changed Europeans’ understanding of the world in several ways. They explored the coasts of Africa and brought back gold and enslaved Africans. They also found a sea route to India. From India, explorers brought back spices, such as cinnamon and pepper, and other goods, such as porcelain, incense, jewels, and silk.
After Cabral’s voyage, the Portuguese took control of the eastern sea routes to Asia. They seized the seaport of Goa (GOH-uh) in India and built forts there. They attacked towns on the east coast of Africa. They also set their sights on the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, in what is now Indonesia. In 1511, they attacked the main port of the islands and killed the Muslim defenders. The captain of this expedition explained what was at stake. If Portugal could take the spice trade away from Muslim traders, he wrote, then Cairo and Makkah "will be ruined." As for Italian merchants, "Venice will receive no spices unless her merchants go to buy them in Portugal."
Portugal’s control of the Indian Ocean broke the hold Muslims and Italians had on Asian trade. With the increased competition, prices of Asian goods—such as spices and fabrics—dropped, and more people in Europe could afford to buy them.
During the 1500s, Portugal also began to establish colonies in Brazil. The native people of Brazil suffered greatly as a result. The Portuguese forced them to work on sugar plantations, or large farms. They also tried to get them to give up their religion and convert to Christianity. Missionaries sometimes tried to protect them from abuse, but countless numbers of native peoples died from overwork and from European diseases. Others fled into the interior of Brazil.
The colonization of Brazil also had a negative 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.
On the map below, accurately draw in the routes of Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand
Magellan. Label each route with the last name of the explorer and the dates of his
- Ferdinand Magellan was important to Spanish exploration because
3. List the various effects of early Spanish exploration. Your list should include at least five
In the late 1400s, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain were determined to make their country a powerful force in Europe. One way they thought to do this was to sponsor explorations to claim new lands for Spain.
Key Explorers for Spain 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 reach it.
When Columbus failed to win Portuguese support for his idea, Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to pay for the risky voyage. They wanted to beat Portugal in the race to control the trade 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 sighted land. Columbus went ashore on an island in the Caribbean Sea, and claimed it for Spain.
For three months, Columbus and his men explored nearby islands with the help of native islanders, whom the Spanish called Taino (TY-noh). 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 ten years, he made three more voyages to what he called the 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 was Ferdinand Magellan (muh-JEL-uhn), 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 support for a voyage to find the strait. In August 1519, he set sail with five ships and about two hundred and fifty men. 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. Continuing west, Magellan visited the Philippines. There he became involved in a conflict 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. The 18 sailors on board were the first people to travel completely around Earth.
The Impact of Early Spanish Exploration The early Spanish explorations changed Europeans’ view of the world a great deal. The voyages of Christopher 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. It also proved that Columbus had indeed found a "New World"—one that Europeans hadn’t realized was there.
Columbus’s voyages marked 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 brought new crops, such as sweet potatoes and pineapples, to Europe.
For the native people of the West Indies, however, Spanish settlement was extremely detrimental. The Spanish forced native people to work as slaves in the mines and on the plantations. Priests forced many of them to become Christians. When the Spanish arrived, perhaps one or two million Taino lived on the islands. Within fifty years, fewer than five hundred Taino were left. The rest had died of starvation, overwork, or European diseases.
Like Portugal, Spain looked to West Africa for new laborers. From 1518 through the mid-1800s, the Spanish brought millions of enslaved Africans to work in their American colonies.