Class Notes (839,100)
United States (325,780)
History (6)
EUH 3931 (6)


7 Pages

Course Code
EUH 3931
Katalin Rac

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© 2008 All Rights Reserved III. The Age of Exploration and Conquest A. Causes for exploration 1. “God, glory and gold” were the primary motives 2. Christian Crusaders in the 11 th& 14 thcenturies created European interest in Asia and the Middle East 3. Rise of nation states (“New Monarchs”) resulted in competition for empires and trade · Portugal and Spain sought to break the Italian monopoly on trade with Asia. 4. Impact of Renaissance: search for knowledge a. Revival of Platonic studies, especially mathematics b. Awareness of living “at dawn of a new age” c. Invention of the printed book: resulted in the spread of accurate texts and maps 5. Cartography advances improved navigation a. Martin Behaim: terrestrial globe, 1492 b. Waldseemuller’s world map (1507) c. Mercator’s map (ca. 1575) 6. Technological advances facilitated sea travel a. Advances in astronomy helped in charting locations at sea b. Instruments · Magnetic compass (ca. 1300): pointed to the magnetic north making it easier to determine direction. · A number of instruments were used to determine latitude by measuring the altitude of celestial bodies. o Quadrant (ca. 1450): used to determine latitude by measuring the altitude of celestial bodies o Mariner’s astrolabe (ca. 1480): used to determine latitude by measuring the altitude of celestial bodies o Cross staff (ca. 1550): used to find the latitude by measuring the altitude of the Pole Star above the horizon c. Ships · Portuguese caravel (ca. 1450) o Lighter, faster ships than the Spanish Galleons and much better suited for exploration along the African Coast o Could sail into the wind · Lateen sail and rope riggings o Enabled sails to be quickly and efficiently maneuvered to take advantage of wind power · Axial rudder (side rudder) o Provided for improved change of direction · Gunpowder and cannons o Provided protection against hostile ships and facilitated the domination of indigenous peoples in lands explored 7. Commercial revolution resulted in capitalist investments in overseas exploration 8. Religious desire to convert pagan peoples in the New World served as an important impulse B. Portugal 1. Motives for exploration a. Economic: sought an all-water route to Asia to tap the spice trade b. Religious: sought to find the mythical Prester John (a Christian king somewhere in the East) for an alliance against the Muslims. 2. Prince Henry the Navigator (1394-1460): a. Financed numerous expeditions along the West African coastline in hopes of finding gold. b. Ushered in a new era of European exploration 3. Bartholomew Dias (1450-1500): Rounded the southern tip of Africa in 1488 4. Vasco da Gama (1469-1525): a. Building on Dias’ route, he completed an all-water expedition to India in 1498. b. Brought back Indian goods creating a huge demand for these products in Europe c. Huge blow to Italian monopoly of trade with Asia. Was a cause of the economic and political decline of the Italian city-states 5. Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512) a. Explored Brazil: Perhaps the first European to realize that he had discovered a new continent in the New World. b. He was not the first to sight South America, however (Cabral had done it a year or so earlier) c. “America” named after him when a German cartographer honored Vespucci’s false claim that he was the first to sight the new continent. 6. Brazil a. Portugal’s major colony in the New World b. Administrative structure was similar to that of Spain in the New World (see below) c. In the17thcentury, large numbers of slaves from Africa were imported for production of coffee and cotton and most importantly, sugar (18 thcentury) d. Significant racial mixture between whites, Amerindians and blacks resulted. C. Spain: Explorers 1. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) a. Eager for Spain to compete with Portuguese expansion, Ferdinand and Isabella financed Columbus’ voyage. b. 1492, Columbus reached the Bahamas, believing he had reached the “Indies” somewhere west of India. c. His four expeditions charted most of the major islands in Caribbean as well as Honduras in Central America. d. Monumental significance of Columbus’ expeditions was that it ushered in an era of European exploration and domination of the New World e. Bartholomew de las Casas (1474-1566) · Priest and former conquistador whose father had accompanied Columbus on his 2nd voyage. · A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1552) o Publicly criticized the ruthlessness with which Columbus and his successors treated the Amerindians. o His writings helped spread the “black legend” in Protestant countries where Spain was accused of using Christianity ostensibly for killing countless natives. _ In reality, Protestant countries, like England, were just as guilty of decimating Amerindian populations. f. Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) · Spain sought to secure Columbus’ discoveries in the New World. · Provisions: o New World divided between Spain and Portugal (at the behest of Pope Leo V) o Portugal was granted exclusive rights to the African slave trade (asiento). · A north-south line was drawn down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: Spain’s territory was west of the line; Portugal’s was east · Thus, Portugal retained Brazil and its claims to Africa while Spain received the rest of the Americas. 2. Vasco Nunez de Balboa (1475-1517): Discovered the Pacific Ocean after crossing the Isthmus of Panama in 1513. 3. Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521): a. His ship was the first to circumnavigate the globe b. Charted the enormous size of the Pacific Ocean 4. Spanish Conquistadores: began creating empires by conquering Indians a. Hernando Cortès (1485-1547): conquered the Aztecs in Mesoamerica by 1521. b. Francisco Pizarro (1478-1541): conquered the Inca Empire along the Andes mountains in modern-day Peru in 1532. D. Spanish empire in the New World (“Golden Age of Spain”) 1. Resembled more the “New Imperialism” of the late 19 tand early 20 thcentury by outright conquering entire regions and subjugating their populations 2. Mercantilist in philosophy from the early 16thcentury onward · Colonies existed for the benefit of the mother country · Mining of gold and silver was most important (the Crown got 1/5 of all precious metals); accounted for 25% of the crown’s total income o 1545, opening of world’s richest silver mines at Potosí in Peru ushered in the “golden age” · Spain shipped manufactured goods to America and discouraged native industries from taking root so to avoid competition with Spanish merchants
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