Explorers of the New World Margaret Hinceman Beulah Elementary 2005
During the Ice Age, the Bering Strait was covered with ice. The Bering Strait is between Asia and North America.
The nomads or wandering people walked across the ice covered Bering Strait hunting for food.
The earth began to warm and the ice covering Bering Strait began to melt. As the ice melted, the nomads could no longer travel across the Bering Strait. Today, there is a body of water between Asia and North America.
The people followed the large mammoths farther into the Americas. As the larger animals begin to die out the nomads were forced to find other food.
The wanderers began to hunt smaller animals and eat berries and nuts. The people no longer traveled but settled down in one area.
Explorers began to wonder if there was land across the ocean. The Vikings were the first to make a voyage to the Americas.
Eric the Red sailed from Norway to Iceland and then to Greenland, where he started a colony.
The first known voyages by the Vikings.
Leif Ericsson, Eric the Red’s son landed in North America in the year 1000.
Leif Ericsson sailed from Greenland to Vinland, a small island off the coast of Canada. Today, Vinland is called Newfoundland.
The Vikings tried several times to settle in Vinland but the hostile natives and many other hardships caused them to give up and return to Greenland.
The European Explorers
For nearly five hundred years after the Vikings came to the new world, no new explorers seem to come. Most of the travels were done over land until the Europeans began to look for new trade routes. Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama made voyages around Africa trying to reach India. A young Christopher Columbus from Portugal thought he knew a better route by crossing the Atlantic.
After convincing King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. He took three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
On October 12, 1492, Columbus sighted land. His first landfall was in the Bahamas. When he landed he thought he had reached the Indies in the Far East and named the natives Indians. He was unaware he had landed in the New World.
The Spanish Explorers
Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer, sailed to the New World in search of gold and to conquer new land.
Ponce de Leon landed at St. Augustine, Florida and claimed it for Spain. Florida means “flowery Easter”.
Ponce de Leon also searched for the “Fountain of Youth.”
Poor maps, poor weather and hostile Indians created obstacles for Ponce de Leon.
The French Explorers
Jacques Cartier, a French sailor traveled to the New World in search of gold and other precious metals.
Jacques Cartier was looking for a northwest passage to the Far East. He discovered the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence River.
During his voyage, Jacques Cartier made friends with the Indians of the Iroquois tribe.
The Indians helped Jacques Cartier’s sick crew by giving them a tea made from the white cedar tree.
Jacques Cartier traded with the Iroquois. He returned to France with furs and two Indian friends.
Jacques Cartier named the St. Lawrence River. He also named a mountain- Montreal. Today, Montreal is a city in Canada.
The English Explorers In 1606, Christopher Newport commanded three ships, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery. He set sail to the New World.
Captain Christopher Newport sailed from England to Jamestown. Newport had three goals:
He wanted to discover riches.
He wanted to find a western sea route to the continent of Asia.
He also wanted to colonize Virginia.
The crew started a colony in Jamestown, Virginia. The fort kept the settlers safe from the Powhatan Indians who lived in the area.
After several sea voyages, Christopher Newport opened a store on the James River. People would come in just to find out news from England. Today, this area is the city of Newport News.