Included are some of the most important events from the age of the European exploration of the new world.
Created by zoearon on Sep 7, 2008
Last updated: 03/11/10 at 10:40 PM
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The exploration of the New World and the journeys taken by European explorers had a huge impact on our world, especially those of Christopher Columbus has an extreme impact in our world today, as seen as in the celebration of Columbus Day. Columbus Day is held on October 12th, for that is when Christopher Columbus and his crew first saw land. Many states celebrate this holiday for it was the 'birth of our country', but in many places, the impact of Christopher Columbus is seen differently and is not something to celebrate about. For example, in Berkeley, California, people celebrate Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus Day. Similarly, states like Nevada and Hawaii do not have Columbus Day as a legal holiday, and businesses and schools are still in service. Lastly, South Dakota celebrates October 12th as "Native American Day" instead of Columbus Day. Also, many states and citites protest the famous Columbus Day Parades, for they feel what Columbus did was exploit and take over other people's land. This is an extremely interesting topic, for it shows that not everyone thinks that what Christopher Columbus did was good, and that it brought harm upon all of the Native Americans. It is important that many present governments and states are realizing this and instead of celebrating Columbus, are trying to celebrate the Native Americans.
Deciding to follow in Prince Henry and Bartholomeu Dias's footsteps, Christopher Columbus also agreed that exploring the world and traveling was best done through the oceans and by sailing. Columbus had an that he should go westward and that because the earth was round, he would eventually end up in the east and would reach the Spice Islands. Most scholars believed that Asia and Europe took up precisely half of the earth, due to the new maps made and distrubuted all around Europe because of the printing press and the availability of information and therefore, the of sailing West to reach the East made sense. Columbus spent years trying to convince Portuguese kings and finally pursueded Isabella I and Ferdinand II to fund his journey of three boats, the Santa Maria, Nina, and Yanez. Setting sail on August 3rd, 1492, Columbus traveled the sea and first sighted land at around 2 in the morning on October 12th, 1492. Thinking this land was India, Columbus became excited that he had reached the Spice Islands, but in fact Christopher Columbus and his crew had encountered completely new land masses: what was soon to be known as "the New World". Because the journey was going to be extremely long and hard, the new technologies and skills that one could acquire from Prince Henry's School of Navigation were extremely necessary. Without maps and compasses, Columbus's ships would have never likely set sail, and if they did, there would have been an extremely slim chance that they would have ever reached any land masses. The new technology and skills allowed greater forms of exploration to take place, and resulted in many explorations just like Columbus's.
Still not having crossed Africa and enter the Spice Islands through boat, people in Portugal were getting restless. With maps and more knowledge on navigation due to Prince Henry the Navigator's School, people thought it was time to try and reach the Cape of Good Hope at the very tip of Africa. He did not know that he had rounded the bottom of Africa, and due to the stormy weather he called it the "Cape of Storms" (the name was later changed to "Cape of Good Hope"). One brave nobleman and explorer named Bartholomeu Dias, decided to try the journey. Helped out by John II of Portugal, Dias finally reached the very tip of Africa on May 12th, 1488, and was the first known European to do so. The journey all the way to the Cape of Good Hope was an extremely hard journey to complete, and it was only made possible due to the advancement in navigation. Sailors were educated through schools similar to the one that Prince Henry the Navigator made, and maps were also made from more knowledgeable people, and then produced throughout the world through the printing press.
With cartography and explorations around the world arising, people all over Europe were getting more curious and new ways to transport information to everyone was needed. Johannes Gutenberg was a German goldsmith and printer who invented the first printing press between 1439 and 1440. Before the printing press, people had to make maps and collect information about exploration by hand and make hand copies, but the printing press opened new doors. The printing press was a machine that copied words and letters on an inked surface and stamped them onto different papers, allowing copies of things to be made way faster and more efficient. Because of this and the arising technology around Europe, exploration was made easier. Due to Prince Henry's school of Navigation, more and more maps and technologies to build ships were being made, and now the new information was able to be spread further and easier to everyone, allowing more exploration to occur.
With the spice trade in the East at it's peak, and countries all over Europe fighting for power, sailing across the oceans to reach the East was extremely important. No one thought it made sense to sail under Africa and back up to the Spice islands, for sailing was extremely dangerous and no one was very educated at sailing, and it was also too expensive to have to travel through other countries and pay the middle-men to get spices. In an attempt to try and gain more power over the Spice Islands, Prince Henry the Navigator, a Prince Henry the Navigator, a Portugese prince now known for being the founding father of all European explorations, thought it would be a good to sail to the Islands and use the oceans to his advantage. So, Prince Henry the Navigator decided to use new technologies to create better ships, and then educate people by mixing together technologies learned from Islam with the new European inventions, and ended up with new ships equiped with triangle sails, which made it easier to turn, new maps, and new compasses. In 1418, Prince Henry opened his school for oceanic navigation in Sagres, Portugal, where he trained his students in science, such as astronomy and physics, and also taught how to make maps and navigation skills. Therefore, people were ready and able to sail down the coast to Africa for sugar, and eventually all the way to the Spice Islands.