Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery was an era when European sailors and ships left the Old World (Europe) and set out on an adventure to explore the vastness of the “green sea of darkness.” First to set sail were the Portuguese, followed by the Spanish. Then in the late 15th to early 16th centuries the British, French and Dutch set sail to explore the world. The countries that backed the explorers were all looking for Mundus Novus, which was the New World.
Age of Discovery When European sailors came upon new lands they befriended the native populations. Then when valuable resources such as silver and gold were found they exploited them. The Age of Discovery turned into the Age of Exploitation.
Treaty of Tordesillas The Treaty of Tordesillas was a 1494 agreement dividing the Americas between Spain and Portugal along a north-south meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. The land to the east would belong to Portugal and the land to the west would belong to Spain.
Portugal Instead of colonizing its newly discovered territories, Portugal constructed trading depots from West Africa to China. By the 16th Century the Portuguese had substantially increased their wealth by becoming the major importers of luxuries and spices from the East. Portugal built an empire that was dependent upon their sea power.
Brazil One of Portugal’s greatest gains during the Age of Discovery would be the accidental discovery of Brazil in 1500.
Gaspar de Corte-Real The first authenticated European landing in North America was by a Portuguese navigator named Gaspar de Corte-Real (c. 1450-c. 1501 CE). He explored the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland.
Spain Spain founded its empire on conquest and colonization, not trade. Possibly the most important Spanish endeavors during the Age of Discovery were the voyages of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) Columbus was an Italian explorer.
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus drew up plans for intended voyages but they were repeatedly rejected. It would be King Ferdinand V (1452-1516) and his wife Queen Isabella (1451-1504) that would finally fund Columbus’ voyages.
Christopher Columbus King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain had promised a large reward to the first person to discover land. At about 10:00 pm on October 11, 1492, Christopher Columbus saw a faint light off in the distance. Columbus based his claim on the reward on the observation he had made. The light Columbus had seen could not have been land. Columbus was still 35 miles from shore.
Christopher Columbus A contract was drawn up that specified Columbus would be: Designated Admiral of the Ocean Sea Columbus would control all the land he discovered. Columbus would retain 10% of all the discovered riches on his voyages. Columbus would also become a member of Spanish nobility.
Christopher Columbus August 3, 1492-1st Voyage to the New World Columbus commanded the Santa Maria and was attended by 2 other ships, the Pinta and the Nina. His entire squadron consisted of only 120 men. After 33 days at sea Columbus sighted Watlings Island in the Bahamas. The first people that Columbus encountered when he finally reached land (which was in the Antilles and Bahamas) were the Arawak. The Arawak no longer live on most islands in the region, but still can be found residing in Cuba.
Christopher Columbus Columbus then visited the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. Columbus left a colony of 40 men at Navidad. He then sailed home to Spain, entering the Spanish port of Palos on March 15, 1493.
Christopher Columbus September 24, 1493-2nd Voyage to the New World On Columbus’ second trip he set sail with 17 ships, with the trip lasting 21 days. On November 3, 1493, Columbus sighted Dominica in the West Indies. By the end of November Columbus had discovered the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Christopher Columbus When Columbus returned to Navidad he found his fortress in ruins and all the men dead. The men were killed by the native population of the island. Columbus left a new colony on Santa Domingo on the island of Hispaniola. In April 1494 Columbus left the West Indies in search of a route to China. He arrived in Cuba, but never made it to China. Columbus set sail for Spain on March 10, 1496, with 2 ships. He arrived in Spain on June 8th.
Christopher Columbus May 30, 1498-3rd Voyage to the New World Columbus took charge of 3 ships on a mission of exploration while 3 other ships set out for Hispaniola. On this voyage Columbus discovered Trinidad and Margarita. Upon Columbus’ arrival at Santa Domingo on the island of Hispaniola he discovered the colony was in turmoil. Columbus’ own colonists had begun the revolt against his administration. Francisco de Bobadilla was appointed royal commissioner and Columbus was arrested. In October 1500 Columbus was sent home to Spain in irons.
Christopher Columbus May 11, 1502-4th Voyage to the New World Columbus’ 4th voyage would be his last to the New World. He departed Spain with 4 ships and 140 men. Unfortunately the voyage suffered many hardships at the hands of constant storms and hostile Indians. Columbus was able to traverse the coast of Central America to Panama. Columbus returned to Spain on November 7, 1504. Columbus died at Valladolid, Spain, on May 20, 1506.
Christopher Columbus Columbus’ discoveries were influential in human history. They opened half of the globe to the Eastern world as well as advanced navigational technology and meteorology. The land Columbus discovered eventually became home to democracy which would later spread across the globe. Columbus’ voyages to the New World were responsible for discovering and introducing new foods. The Middle Ages ended as new discoveries were being made by Columbus and other explorers. Riches from the New World were being shared across Europe.
Christopher Columbus Columbus was considered a failure when he died in 1506 CE. Columbus and his men abused the Indians. His behavior can be considered genocide towards native populations. Columbus also brought slavery to the Americas. He set a standard for destroying people and land for profit. Columbus symbolized white men oppressing non- white people.
Why Explore? Why did the Europeans set forth on a course of exploration? There are 4 reasons: Mans Curiosity Religion Economic Imperialism
Obstacles to Exploration There were, however, many obstacles that faced the explorers. Some of these obstacles were: Lack of geographical knowledge. The belief that all the world was not populated. Africa and Malaysia were connected which left the Indian Ocean land locked. Danger of ocean travel. (The ocean was inhabited by dragons and sea monsters, and there were great holes in the sea where ships would simply disappear.)
Obstacles to Exploration Wild Natives Cannibals Reefs and Shoals Unmapped Waters Running Aground Storms None of the sailors really knew where they were sailing to.
Ferdinand Magellan Ship conditions on many voyages proved less than ideal. Ferdinand Magellan recorded that in 1521: They were “three months and twenty days without refreshment from any kind of fresh food.” They ate biscuits that were “swarming with worms.” “The rats had eaten all the good.” “We drank yellow water already many days putrid.” The sailors were reduced to eating ox hides and sawdust.
Ocean Travel What was needed for ocean travel was: Courageous Men Steadfast Leader Strong Ships Chronometer, which measured longitude. This was not available until the 18th Century.
Ocean Travel Astrolabe, which measured latitude. The astrolabe was known to the ancient Greeks. It was improved in the 15th Century. Magic Needle (Compass) More accurate maps. Skilled map makers. The 15th Century saw vast improvements in cartography.
Amerigo Vespucci In 1499 the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci sights the coast of North America. He gets credited for the discovery of the continent. In 1507 the name “America” is first used in a geography book referring to the New World.
Canada Over 1 million Native Americans populated the area that is now Canada. About one third of the Native American Canadian population was located along the Pacific Coast (Pacific Northwest Indians) where they lived along ocean bays and in river valleys. The other two thirds of the native population in Canada lived in the east along the St. Lawrence River and in the Great Lakes region.
Jacques Carter Jacques Carter (1491-1557) was a master navigator who is credited with discovering the St. Lawrence River in North America. He also explored the area that would became modern day Montreal, Canada. The name Canada can be traced back to 1536 and the writings of Jacques Carter. While sailing up the St. Lawrence River Carter noticed that the local Indians referred to their settlements as Kanata. The French took the term Kanata to be the Indian name for the country.
Ponce de Leon Ponce de Leon, who served as the Spanish Governor of Puerto Rico, was the first conquistador who attempted to expand Spanish control to North America. Ponce de Leon landed on the southern Atlantic coast of the New World in 1513, which he named in honor of the Easter season-Pascua Florida.
Ponce de Leon In 1513 the Calusas Indians of Florida successfully drive Ponce de Leon away. The Calusas Indians were the dominant tribe of southwestern Florida. Word had spread among the Calusas Indians about the strange and brutal behavior of the men “with houses on water.”
Ponce de Leon The Calusas Indians mounted strategic resistance to Ponce de Leon’s second expedition to Florida in 1521. Ponce de Leon landed at Carlos Bay with 200 Spanish soldiers and settlers to establish a colony. The Calusa chieftain, known as Carlos I, allowed the Spanish to build a settlement while he gathered a large force of Calusa warriors. After the settlement was established the Calusas warriors attacked with weaponry that included poison darts and arrows. Ponce de Leon was hit in the thigh with an arrow. He ordered a retreat back to Havana, Cuba. Ponce de Leon died in Havana from the infected poison arrow wound.
Native Populations It was difficult for the Indian peoples to resist Spanish conquest. Most native populations were no match for the Spanish mounted soldiers with their steel swords and man eating dogs.
Native Populations In 1518 smallpox first came from the Spanish mainland. The epidemic was so virulent that according to one Spanish historian, “it left Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Cuba desolate of Indians.” The smallpox epidemic made its way into Mexico in 1520 where it destroyed the Aztecs. In 1524 the smallpox epidemic severely weakened the Incan Empire. Spanish chronicles states that the smallpox epidemic killed half of the Native Americans it touched.
Native Populations This downward trend in the native population did not begin to increase until the early 20th Century. By that time the native populations had decreased 90%. The massive decline in native populations in the New World served as the greatest demographic disaster in world history.
Hernando de Soto The first attempt to penetrate North America was made by Hernando de Soto in 1539. He landed in Florida with a Cuban army that consisted of over 700 men. Hernando de Soto had been given license by the king of Spain to “conquer, pacify, and people” the land known as La Florida, which was Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Hernando de Soto and his men cut a path of destruction from Florida to Texas.
Hernando de Soto Hernando de Soto forced his way through the heavily populated southeastern portion of the country demanding food and slaves from the Mississippian Indian towns that unfortunately were in his path. Hernando de Soto reached present day Alabama where he and his army were besieged by thousands of Native American warriors. Several months later the ancestors of the modern day Chickasaw Indians ripped apart Hernando de Soto and his troops.
Hernando de Soto Hernando de Soto’s army lost half of its men. In desperation he drove his men on, moving westward and crossing the Mississippi River. They moved deep inside present day Arkansas before retreating back to the banks of the Mississippi River. Hernan de Soto died there in 1542. The Native Americans had successfully repelled the Spanish invasion, but their victory was short lived. Hernan de Soto had introduced epidemic diseases that eventually depopulated the Mississippi chiefdoms.
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado During the same year of Hernando de Soto’s expedition (1539), Spanish officials residing in Mexico launched an attempt to conquer North America. This attempt by Spain was aimed at the Southwest. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led 300 mounted men and infantry and 800 Indian porters north along Indian trading paths. Coronado and his men finally reached the Pueblo villages along the Rio Grande River. The initial resistance from the Pueblo Indians was halted quickly by Coronado’s troops.
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado Coronado was disappointed by the towns “of stone and mud, rudely fashioned.” He sent out expeditions in all directions in search of the legendary golden cities of Cibola. Coronado led his army as far north as the Great Plains where they discovered great herds of “shaggy cows,” (buffalo). He returned from his expedition without the discovery of gold. Spain lost interest in the Southwest for the next 50 years.
Bartolome de La Casas There were protests over the horrors brought on by the Spanish conquest. Bartolome de Las Casas, a Spanish Catholic priest, began to denounce the Spanish conquerors. In his book The Destruction of the Indians (1552), Las Casas blamed the Spanish for cruelties that resulted in the deaths of millions of Indians. Las Casas’ book was translated into other languages and used by other European powers to condemn Spain.
Bartolome de La Casas Las Casas was incorrect on the cause of so many Indian deaths. He thought warfare was the main reason Indians died in vast numbers. Although some did die due to warfare, still others died due to starvation as their local economies were destroyed or their food stores had been taken. There was also a decline in native births that contributed to the problem. The primary cause of death among the native populations of the New World was epidemic diseases such as influenza, plague, smallpox, measles and typhus. Native populations lacked the antibodies necessary to protect them from European diseases.
Peru In 1544 silver was discovered in Potosi, Peru. 85% of the silver shipped to Europe over the following 100 years came from this site. The Spanish imported 6,000 African slaves to work the silver mine. Silver changed Europe from a barter to a true money economy.
Jean Ribault Jean Ribault was sent to the New World by France in 1562 to explore Florida and begin a new colony. Traveling with Ribault was 150 Huguenots (French Protestants). Ribault landed near the St. Augustine area of Florida. He then sailed north until he came upon the St. Johns River. At the mouth of the St. Johns River Ribault built a stone monument to mark his visit to the region and claim the area for France. Ribault then continued even further north, finally arriving at a place he would name Port Royal which was located in modern day South Carolina. It is at Port Royal the Huguenots built Charlesfort, a fort named in honor of their king.
Jean Ribault Supplies at Charlesfort ran low so Ribault sailed back to France to obtain more. Upon arrival in France Ribault was unable to raise money for supplies because of a religious conflict that had broken out. Ribault then proceeded to England to ask Queen Elizabeth for assistance. Queen Elizabeth had Ribault imprisoned for building a French fort on Spanish territory. While Ribault was in prison Rene Laudonniere was sent to rescue the people in Charlesfort. When Laudonniere and the Huguenots arrived at the St. Johns River they built Fort Caroline for protection.
Jean Ribault When Ribault was released from prison he was sent back to the New World. He was going to rescue Fort Caroline and retake control of the colony. The French colonists no longer believed in Laudonniere’s leadership at Fort Caroline. Some of the French colonists had come into conflict with the Spanish. Most of the French colonists wanted to return home.
Jean Ribault In 1565 the Spanish sent Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles to Florida and he established a settlement south of the French at St. Augustine. The Spanish then marched on the French colony, attacking them from the rear. The French settlement was totally destroyed. St. Augustine became the oldest continuously occupied European city in North America.
John Hawkins England’s efforts at colonization of the New World began by participating in the slave trade. In 1562 John Hawkins violated Spanish regulations by transporting a load of African slaves to the islands in the Caribbean. He then brought back valuable tropical goods. In 1567 John Hawkins made another journey to the New World and was attacked by the Spanish. English privateers such as Francis Drake used this attack as an excuse to raid Spain’s New World ports and fleets.
Spain By the late 16th Century the Spanish had developed a powerful empire within North America. Within this empire 200,000 immigrants, mostly Spaniards, had settled. Another 125,000 individuals, African slaves, had been forcibly settled on the Spanish plantations of the Caribbean and the Portuguese plantations of Brazil. The Portuguese had colonized Brazil under the terms of the Treaty of Tordesillas.
Spain Spanish women also came to the New World (America) as early as the second expedition of Christopher Columbus. Spanish women accounted for only 10% of the population during the 16th Century. The low percentage of Spanish women in the colonies led to men cohabitating with Indian and African women. The result was the creation of mixed ancestry groups of people called mestizos and mulattoes.
Spain Mestizos were children of Spanish and Indian ancestry. Mulattoes were children of Spanish and African ancestry. Populated by Spanish colonists, Africans, Indians and their mixed offspring, the New World colonies of Spain became one of the largest empires in history. There is a third category of people that are unique to the New World. The Spanish refer to people of European descent born in the New World as creoles.
Roanoke Colony Between 1584-1587 was England’s first attempts at colonizing the New World. The Roanoke Colony, set up on Roanoke Island by Walter Raleigh, seemed promising at first but eventually failed.
King Philip II King Philip II of Spain was angered at the English incursion into Spanish territory. The king committed his troops to smashing England. In 1588 Spain sent 130 ships carrying 30,000 men to invade the British Isles.
England vs. Spain Countered by captains such as Drake and Hawkins and their smaller and more maneuverable ships, the Spanish Armada foundered. The English defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. The Spanish monopoly on the New World had been broken by the English.
Virginia Company In 1607 a group of London investors known as the Virginia Company sends ships to Chesapeake Bay where they have a fort built. The fort is called Jamestown in honor of King James I. Jamestown will become the first permanent English settlement in North America. The Jamestown settlement survives the first year due to assistance from the Algonquian Indians.
Native Populations The French and English differed in their affairs with the native populations. The French favored trading posts and allied Christian missions that were attached to existing villages. The British favored colonies of permanent settlers.
Henry Hudson The Dutch first appear in North America in 1609 with the explorations of Henry Hudson (1565-1611) and claimed what is now New York for the Netherlands. Within a few years the Dutch have settlements on the Hudson River at Fort Orange (modern Albany) and at New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island.
Henry Hudson In 1609 Henry Hudson sailed up a river and a bay in present day New York which later would be called the Hudson River and Hudson Bay. Hudson was searching for a northwest passage to the Indies but instead discovered a territory rich in fur bearing mammals. In 1611 Hudson, his son and several others were cast adrift when the crew of his ship mutinied. They were never heard from again. It was Hudson’s exploration that helped the Dutch claim part of the New World.
Jamestown Between 1609-1610 the Jamestown colonists, led by Captain John Smith, grew dependant on Algonquin assistance for survival. Captain Smith and his men plundered food from surrounding Algonquin tribes. In retaliation, Powhata, the Algonquin Chief, decided to starve the colonists out. The winter was terrible. Hundreds of Jamestown colonists starved to death. Of the 500 colonists at Jamestown in the fall, only 60 were alive by the spring. Determined to win over the Indians, the Virginia Company sent out additional forces. They committed themselves to a long war with the Algonquians.
Jamestown The fighting between the Algonquians and colonists persisted until Pocahontas, Powhatan’s favorite daughter, had been captured. Wore down by disease, war and the desire to see his daughter, Powhatan accepted a peace treaty with the colonists in 1614. In 1617 Pocahontas, who had adopted English ways and married John Rolfe, one of the Virginia Company’s settlers in Jamestown, fell sick and died on a visit to England. Devastated by the news of his daughter’s death, Powhatan abdicated in favor of his brother, Opechancanough.
Native Americans Between 1616-1619 a smallpox epidemic ravaged the Indian population along the North Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Maine, killing off entire tribes. The disease was believed to have been spread by European fishermen who had established temporary processing stations along the coast. One surviving Indian stated that his people were “melted down by the disease.” Nine tenths of the Indian population died.
Mayflower In 1620 the ship Mayflower sails for America with 102 colonists. The colonists had obtained a patient for settlement from the Virginia Company of London, England. In return for the patient the colonists agreed to ship fish, fur and lumber back to England for seven years. After the seven years the colonists could assume ownership of the land. In November 1620 the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Bay, which was outside the British colony of Virginia.
Mayflower The passengers of the Mayflower had landed outside the approved settlement area known as Virginia. They had no legal right to form any settlement outside of Virginia. A document called the Mayflower Compact was created and signed by all the men. This document established the colony of the Plymouth Plantation. The Plymouth Plantation would be a “civic body politic” controlled by England’s James I.
Massachusetts Bay In 1629 a royal charter is granted to a group of wealthy Puritans to settle Massachusetts Bay. Puritans are individuals that believe that the Queen’s reforms of the Church of England did not go far enough. This settlement became the Massachusetts Bay Company. An advance force of 200 settlers left for a fishing settlement on Massachusetts Bay. The settlement, called Naumkeag, was renamed Salem.
John Winthrop John Winthrop was the leader of the Massachusetts Bay settlement at Salem. He was also the first governor and came up with the idea of “a city on a hill,” which was New Englands model of reform from old England.
King Charles I In 1629 King Charles I dissolves the British Parliament and attempts to rule England as an absolute monarch. This motivates many people in England to set sail for the American colonies.
English Civil War Between 1640-1659 the English Civil War is fought. In 1642 an armed conflict occurs between King Charles I of England and the Puritans in Parliament. This would eventually lead to the execution of King Charles I. The English Civil War would also motivate people to set sail for America.
Restoration Colonies-King Charles II In 1660 Charles II became King of England. He establishes new colonies in America that come to be known as the Restoration Colonies. These were colonies granted to individuals who supported Charles II during the English Civil Wars. The six Restoration Colonies are: Delaware New York New Jersey Pennsylvania North Carolina South Carolina
Restoration Colonies Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are called the Middle Colonies, because they are located on the mid Atlantic seaboard. These colonies were proprietorships, which meant that one man or a group of men owned the entire piece of land.
King Charles II After several Anglo-Dutch conflicts between 1672-1674, including the Anglo-Dutch War, the British gain control of New Amsterdam. King Charles II grants the new colony to his brother James who was the Duke of York. The colony was renamed New York in his honor.
Pennsylvania In 1676 property rights to the western portion of New Jersey were granted to a group of English Quakers which included William Penn. In 1681 William Penn Jr. was granted a huge area of territory by King Charles II of England to repay a debt owed to Sir William Penn, who was a close advisor to the king. This territory was to the west of the Delaware River. The next year Penn began developing his capital of Philadelphia on the Delaware.
Pennsylvania Between 1682-1683 the Lenape (Delaware) Indians made an agreement and treaty of friendship with William Penn. The Lenape Indians permitted Penn to construct a colony in the area of modern day Philadelphia. The Treaty of Shackamaxon permitted Penn to purchase the territories that would become Southeastern Pennsylvania. In 1688 the Quakers of Pennsylvania issue a formal protest against slavery in America.
Sieur de La Salle Between 1681-1682 Sieur de La Salle navigated the Mississippi River to its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico. In 1682 Sieur de La Salle explores the lower Mississippi Valley region and claimed it for France, naming the area Louisiana for King Louis XIV. Sieur de la Salle’s discoveries established French claims to territories in North America.
Louisiana “The banks are almost uninhabitable, on account of the spring floods. The woods are all those of a boggy district, the country one of canes and briars and trees torn up by the roots; but a league or two from the river, is the most beautiful country in the world, prairies, woods of mulberry trees, and fruits that we are not acquainted with.” Henri de Tonty’s 1963 description of the Mississippi Valley in his account of the founding of Louisiana.
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, writer and former Ambassador to France. Franklin was the oldest delegate to the Constitutional Convention. The other delegates admired his wisdom. Franklin’s advice was crucial in the drafting of the Constitution. In 1729 Benjamin Franklin begins publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette, which eventually becomes the most popular newspaper in the American colonies. In 1731 Benjamin Franklin starts the first American public library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Benjamin Franklin Between 1732-1757 Poor Richard’s Almanac is published by Benjamin Franklin. The publication contains weather predictions, humor, proverbs and epigrams. An almanac is a popular literary form that contained a calendar, astrological guide and a sourcebook for medical advice and farming tips. “Well done is better than well said.” Benjamin Franklin
Vitus Bering In 1741 Russian Czar Peter the Great sponsors an expedition by Danish navigator Vitus Bering to explore the coast of Alaska. Vitus Bering’s exploration paved the way for Russian foothold on the North American continent.
French and Indian War In 1754 the French and Indian War begins over a land dispute in the Ohio River Valley. Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie, Colonial leader of Virginia, was concerned that the French were encroaching on the Virginia border, so he sent a 21 year old major in the Virginia military named George Washington to tell the French to back away from the border.
Fort Necessity Fort Necessity, a hastily constructed fort in Great Meadows, Pennsylvania, was the site of George Washington’s first defeat. Later in American history Fort Necessity oddly came to symbolize the rugged spirit of the colonials.
French and Indian War In 1756 England declares war on the French as the French and Indian War spreads to Europe. In 1757 Fort William Henry, located near the Hudson River, was the site of the most notorious massacre in colonial history. The fort fell to the French. In literature, Lieutenant Colonel George Munro, the leader of Fort William Henry, is the central figure in James Fennimore Cooper’s classic The Last of the Mohicans. In 1763 the French and Indian War ends with the Treaty of Paris. Under the Treaty of Paris France gives England all French territory east of the Mississippi River with the exception of New Orleans. The Spanish give up East and West Florida to the English in return for Cuba. The balance of power in North America shifts to the British.
Children in Colonial America Children in the colonies had little free time because they began working at a very early age and their colonies were also strict religiously. When the children did have time to play they played the following games: Yo-Yo Jump Rope Tennis Flying Kites Cricket Marbles Hopscotch Leap Frog