the Age of Exploration
The age of exploration was filled with courageous voyagers and conquistadores from all over Europe, much like today, there was much competition for land rights. The main disputes were between Spain and Portugal. And these are the representatives from not only these two countries, but surrounding ones as well. Christopher
was a sea captain from Genoa. He first tried to convince Portugal, then Spain to sponsor a voyage to Asia across the Atlantic. Columbus thought that the voyage would take two months, others said four months, but he left with enough food and supplies for only two months. He landed in the West Indes (Bahamas, Haiti, Cuba) when the two months of supplies ran out. Their voyage began on August 3, 1492, from Palos, Spain and ended on October 12 when land was sighted at the Americas. Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian that represented the Medici Bank in Spain, chartered the coastline of Central America and described this as the "Mundus Novus", meaning "New World". In 1507, a German cartographer labeled the continent America named after Amerigo Vespucci. He also explored the coastline of Central America. Juan Ponce de Le¢n set out to find the Fountain of Youth. He never did find the fountain, but he discovered the land that he named "Florida". Vasci de Balboa was the first to push through the jungle of Central America, On the other side he discovered a vast body of water that he named "South Sea", because he thought that it was South of Asia. This Ocean was named the "Pacific". Magellan, of Portagual, founded the narrow straits at the Southern tip of . It was later named the "Strait of Magellan". He was later killed by Philippine Natives and four of his ships were destroyed. Only one ship made it back to Spain, making it the first voyage around the World in 1522. Eventually, Columbus claimed Cuba and Hispanola, which is now more commonly known as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Spanish Government never harmed the natives. In fact, they supported them on the newly claimed America lands for labor purposes. Eventually, the natives were tied to the land and lost freedom. They also had to pay taxes and were required to devote labor. Instead of financing expeditions dirrectly, Spanish rulers granted conquistadores the right to establish outposts in the Americas. In exchange, these conquerors gave the crown 1/5 of any treasure they discovered. Eventually, there was strong competition between Spain and Portugal for land and wealth in the Americas. The Pope settled land disputes by declaring a "Line of Demarcation". It said that everything on the coast of this line was Portuguese and everything west was Spanish. The Portuguese got cheated, because all they were able to claim was a portion of present day Brazil. Spain claimed 95% of the Americas. Technology aided European exploration, such as more precise travel with the refinement of the compass and new sale designs and development. The growth of a middle class sparked curiosity about the World. Sources: World History: Patterns of Civilization by Prentice Hall The Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia Prodigy Membership Services Inc.