1400 Little knowledge about world outside your own home.
Only knowledge of Atlantic and Mediterranean with sailors.
Most people thought the world was flat.
Only scholars and sailors knew it to be a sphere.
Travel over long distance was difficult.
Roads were bad
Bandits and pirates made travel unsafe
Ships weren’t built strong enough
Only ships were sailing ships dependent on the wind
No accurate navigational instruments
Fears of travelling towards land they knew nothing about
New ships – caravels, carracks and naos built with clinker planking to stand up to the Atlantic weather and to give greater speed.
New triangular sails to stand up to the wind – lateen sails.
New navigational instruments – astrolabe and quadrant to measure latitude, a better compass (encased) and the knots system to measure distances at sea.
New maps called portolans to help sailors plot a safe course. They gave details about winds, currents and the depth of the ocean as well as coastline details.
WHY DID PEOPLE START EXPLORING THE WORLD ?
- The wish to spread Christianity.
- The wish to become rich via the Spice Trade.
- The wish to become rich via the Slave Trade.
- The wish to conquer new lands.
- The wish to become famous.
- The wish to gain knowledge.
Prince Henry the Navigator
He set up a school and library for navigators at Sagres in Portugal where new ships and maps and navigational instruments were crafted. Work at the school resulted in improvements in ships and sailors skills over the following century. SEE PREVIOUS PAGE.
Prince Henry also encouraged sailors to explore the West coast of Africa and soon sailors were travelling farther down this coast towards the Cape Verde Islands. Soon the Portuguese began to trade with the Africans – the slave trade.
1847 Diaz set sail from Lisbon with 3 ships. He travelled southwards down the West coast towards the Cape of Good Hope and landed there in 1488. He erected a padraos at the Cape to mark this newly discovered land.
Vasco da Gama
1497 Da Gama set sail from Lisbon with 4 ships. He aimed to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, cross the Indian Ocean and reach the Spice Islands.
1498 His ships had sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, on to Mozambique, on to Mombassa and then on to Malindi. There they hired a guide to take them on to Calicut in India. They stayed there for 3 months and then returned home with spices and precious jewels.
1502 He sailed again to India with 20 ships.
The Portuguese conquered the Spice Islands and took control of ports in India. By the middle of the sixteenth century, Portugal had become a great empire and controlled trade around the entire coast of Africa as well as India and South-east Asia.
LIFE ON BOARD A SHIP
WHEN ANSWERING THIS QUESTION, IT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO PRETEND THAT YOU WERE ON ONE OF THE PORTUGUESE OR THE SPANISH EXPLORATIONS.
Captain In charge of the exploration, sailed on the flagship.
Master Responsible for the daily running of the ship.
Navigator Steered the ship using his own chart and instruments.
Boatswain Looked after the sails and anchors.
Helmsman In charge of the rudder.
Watchman Kept watch for 4 hours, using an hour glass and traverse
Carpenters, sail makers, painters, cooks and errand boys.
Ships had to carry enough food to last for one or two years. It was stored in barrels and often went bad. Supplies included : dried biscuits, salted meat and fish, dried fruit, cheese, beans and peas. Water was rationed. The food was cooked in a firebox on the main deck. The base of the iron box was covered in sand and firewood was placed on top. The crew lined up for their ration.
The ship was docked where it could be cleaned and repaired. This was called careening. The masts and sailors were taken down and the cargo was placed on the beach. The ship was anchored and then turned on its side.
Sailors were often injured when loading goods. They also faced death from storms and ship wrecks. They faced diseases such as scurvy and typhoid.
1474 Toscanelli (map-maker) wrote to Columbus telling him that if he sailed westwards that he would reach Japan, close to India. He was not aware of America. Columbus realised that he could get to the Spice Islands faster than the Portuguese if this was true.
He asked the King and Queen of Portugal to finance his trip but was turned down.
1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain agreed to finance the trip and give him 3 ships. They agreed to make him governor of the lands he found and to give him 10% of goods he got by trading in those lands. He set sail in August in the Santa Maria, with the Nina and the Pinta in August. He sailed towards the Canary Islands and then sailed westwards.
Oct. He landed in San Salvador. He thought he had reached India so he
called the people Indians. He called the new lands the West Indies.
He gave the natives glass beads and they gave him parrots and
thread. From there on he sailed to Cuba where he found tobacco
and then on to Hispaniola (Dominican Republic).
Dec. The Santa Maria was carried onto a sand bank and wrecked. A
wooden fort was built on Hispaniola and 40 men agreed to remain
there to search for gold.
1493 The Nina and the Pinta set sail for Spain and reached home after 3 months. He received his titles and privileges as agreed. He brought back new foods like sweet potatoes, maize and pineapples. He also brought back exotic birds, natives and some gold.
1493 – 1504 He discovered more islands in the West Indies including Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the Gulf of Mexico. He also discovered parts of Central America.
1506 Columbus died believing his life was a failure since he had not discovered a new route to the Spice Islands. What he had discovered was a “New World”. This had blocked his way to the East.
** 1501 ** Amerigo Vespucci explored the South American coastline. He corrected Columbus’ calculations that the West Indies were part of Asia and stated that this New World was a new continent. It was named America after Amerigo.
** 1494 ** The Treaty of Tordeillas Spain and Portugal agreed to sign all newly discovered lands between them.
THE AZTECS AND THE INCAS
AZTECS Lived in Tenochtitlan in Mexico. It was a city built on small islands in the middle of a large lake.
1590 Cortes, a Spanish explorer decided to conquer the Aztec empire.
1520 He gathered together an army of 100,000 men and lay siege to the
Aztec city. The siege lasted for 3 months and was particularly bloody. The Aztecs under their leader Montezuma were defeated.
The city was renamed Mexico City and the lands were renamed
New Spain. Cortes was made governor of New Spain.
INCAS Lived in the Andes mountains in Peru. They were highly advanced architects and engineers.
1530 Pizarro, a Spanish adventurer set out to find the Inca Empire.
1533 They reached Cuzco, the Inca capital and the Incas were quickly
defeated. The Spanish seized a huge amount of gold and silver.
A new city called Lima was founded.
CONQUISTADORES Cortes, Pizarro and other Spanish explorers who conquered land in America were called Conquistadores. By the end of the sixteenth century Spain had become the wealthiest country in the world due to all the silver and gold found in the New World.
COLONIES During the sixteenth century Spaniards moved to and settled in the New World. The people who settled there were called colonists and the lands where they settled were called colonies. They set up a new system of farming in the colonies and brought out seeds such as wheat, barley and rye and cultivated these crops. They also took out animals and bred them, especially horses. They forced the natives to work for them on the land as slaves or in the mines. The natives were very badly treated. In 1542 New Laws were brought in by the Spanish Government which forbade slavery and made the natives into free subjects of the King.
RESULTS OF EXPLORATIONS
New lands such as America found.
Emigration to colonies.
Colonies increased the wealth of the homeland especially Spain due to gold and silver.
New foods and precious metals found.
Civilisations destroyed due to conquistadores or diseases brought in by colonists.
Indians became Christian.
Magellan was fascinated by stories of Columbus and Diaz and other explorers.
He sailed on a Portuguese trip around the Cape of Good Hope and also eastwards to the Spice Islands.
He believed that you could reach the Spice Islands by sailing westwards and around the new continent of America. He wondered if there was a strait along America which would let him sail through to the Pacific Ocean. He asked the King of Portugal for help but he refused so he went to the King of Spain, Charles V.
We have evidence of his voyage through the logs of Pigafetta, an Italian who sailed with him.
His fleet consisted of 5 merchant ships called naos. Most of his crew were Spaniards.
September 1519 – Magellan set sail on his flagship, the Trinidad.
November 1519 – Magellan reached Brazil.
January 1520 – Magellan reached Rio de la Plata and saw new animals and birds.
March 1520 – He anchored his fleet at St Julians Bay and spent the Winter there, while careening the ships. Some of the sailors tried to mutiny the ship but failed. Meanwhile the Santiago ship sank.
August 1520 – Magellan noticed a wide estuary and sent 2 ships to explore it. The ships returned to inform Magellan of a strait. Midway however the strait divided in two and so Magellan sent 2 ships one way and the Trinidad went the other way. The Trinidad reached the end of the strait. Unfortunately for Magellan, one of his ships deserted. It was the ship which carried the food supply. However, he sailed on into the South sea with 3 ships remaining.
1521 – He landed at Guam and also the Philippines. On the island of Mactan he was killed by the natives.
November 1521 – The Trinidad reached the Spice Islands and traded. Some of the crew decided to remain behind whilst 47 crew members set sail for Spain on the Victoria. The captain Del Cano decided not to go back by the Pacific Ocean but to cross the Indian Ocean and find the Cape of Good Hope.
September 1522 – The Victoria sailed into Spain having circumnavigated the world.