Age of Discovery

Age of Discovery

Overview
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans engaged in intensive exploration
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

 of the world, establishing direct contacts with Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and Oceania
Oceania
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania range from the coral atolls and volcanic islands of the South Pacific to the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago...

 and map
Map
A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes....

ping the planet. Historians often refer to the 'Age of Discovery' as the pioneer Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 and Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 long-distance maritime travels in search of alternative trade route
Trade route
A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. Allowing goods to reach distant markets, a single trade route contains long distance arteries which may further be connected to several smaller networks of commercial...

s to "the Indies
Indies
The Indies is a term that has been used to describe the lands of South and Southeast Asia, occupying all of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia and...

", moved by the trade of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 and spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s.

The Age of Discovery is seen as a bridge between the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and the Modern era, along with its contemporary Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 movement, triggering the early modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

 and the rise of European nation-state
Nation-state
The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity...

s.
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Encyclopedia
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans engaged in intensive exploration
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

 of the world, establishing direct contacts with Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and Oceania
Oceania
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania range from the coral atolls and volcanic islands of the South Pacific to the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago...

 and map
Map
A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes....

ping the planet. Historians often refer to the 'Age of Discovery' as the pioneer Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 and Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 long-distance maritime travels in search of alternative trade route
Trade route
A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. Allowing goods to reach distant markets, a single trade route contains long distance arteries which may further be connected to several smaller networks of commercial...

s to "the Indies
Indies
The Indies is a term that has been used to describe the lands of South and Southeast Asia, occupying all of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia and...

", moved by the trade of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 and spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s.

The Age of Discovery is seen as a bridge between the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and the Modern era, along with its contemporary Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 movement, triggering the early modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

 and the rise of European nation-state
Nation-state
The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity...

s. Accounts from distant lands and maps spread with the help of the new printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 fed the rise of humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 and worldly curiosity, ushering in a new age of scientific and intellectual inquiry. European overseas expansion led to the rise of colonial empire
Colonial empire
The Colonial empires were a product of the European Age of Exploration that began with a race of exploration between the then most advanced maritime powers, Portugal and Spain, in the 15th century...

s, with the contact between the Old and New Worlds producing the Columbian Exchange
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

: a wide transfer of plants, animals, foods, human populations (including slaves
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

), communicable disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

s, and culture between the Eastern and Western hemispheres, in one of the most significant global
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 events concerning ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

, agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, and culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 in history. European exploration
Major explorations after the Age of Discovery
Major explorations continued after the Age of Discovery. By the early seventeenth century, vessels were sufficiently well built and their navigators competent enough to travel to virtually anywhere on the planet by sea. In the 17th century Dutch explorers such as Willem Jansz and Abel Tasman...

 spanned until accomplishing the global mapping of the world, resulting in a new world-view and distant civilizations acknowledging each other, reaching the most remote boundaries much later.

Overview


The Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 began systematically exploring the Atlantic coast of Africa from 1418, under the sponsorship of Prince Henry. In 1488 Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

 reached the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 by this route and in about the next thirty years all the main discoveries would occur. In 1492, racing to find a trade route to Asia, the Spanish monarchs funded Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

’s plan to sail west to reach the Indies by crossing the Atlantic. He landed on an uncharted continent, then seen by Europeans as a new world
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

, America. To prevent conflict between Portugal and Spain, a treaty
Treaty of Tordesillas
The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

 was signed dividing the world into two regions of exploration, where each had exclusive rights to claim newly discovered lands.

In 1498, a Portuguese expedition commanded by Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

 finally achieved the dream of reaching India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 by sailing around Africa, opening up direct trade with Asia. Soon, the Portuguese sailed further eastward, to the valuable spice islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

 in 1512, landing in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 one year later. East and west exploration overlapped in 1522, when Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

 led a Spanish expedition West, achieving the first circumnavigation of the world, while Spanish conquistadors explored inland the Americas, and later, some of the South Pacific islands.

Since 1495, the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and, much later, the Dutch
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 entered the race of exploration after learning of these exploits, defying the Iberian monopoly on maritime trade by searching for new routes, first to the north, and into the Pacific Ocean around South America, but eventually by following the Portuguese around Africa into the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

; discovering Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 in 1606, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 in 1642, and Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 in 1778. Meanwhile, from the 1580s to the 1640s Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

ns explored and conquered almost the whole of Siberia
Russian conquest of Siberia
The Russian conquest of Siberia took place in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Siberian Khanate had become a loose political structure of vassalages which were becoming undermined by the activities of Russian explorers who, though numerically outnumbered, pressured the various family-based...

.

Medieval geography



European medieval knowledge about Asia beyond the reach of Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 was sourced in partial reports, often obscured by legends, dating back from the time of the conquests of Alexander the Great and his successors. Another source were Radhanite Jewish trade networks
Radhanite
The Radhanites were medieval Jewish merchants. Whether the term, which is used by only a limited number of primary sources, refers to a specific guild, or a clan, or is a generic term for Jewish merchants in the trans-Eurasian trade network is unclear...

 of merchants established as go-betweens between Europe and the Muslim world during the time of the Crusader states
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

.

In 1154 Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi
Muhammad al-Idrisi
Abu Abd Allah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi al-Hasani al-Sabti or simply Al Idrisi was a Moroccan Muslim geographer, cartographer, Egyptologist and traveller who lived in Sicily, at the court of King Roger II. Muhammed al-Idrisi was born in Ceuta then belonging to the Almoravid Empire and died in...

 created a description of the world and world map
World map
A world map is a map of the surface of the Earth, which may be made using any of a number of different map projections. A map projection is any method of representing the surface of a sphere or other three-dimensional body on a plane....

, the Tabula Rogeriana
Tabula Rogeriana
The Nuzhat al-mushtaq fi'khtiraq al-afaq lit. "the book of pleasant journeys into faraway lands", most often known as the Tabula Rogeriana , is a description of the world and world map created by the Arab geographer, Muhammad al-Idrisi, in 1154...

, at the court of King Roger II of Sicily
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

, but still Africa was only partially known to either Christians, Genoese and Venetians, or the Arab seamen, and its southern extent unknown. There were reports of great African kingdoms beyond the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

, but the factual knowledge was limited to the Mediterranean coasts and little else since the Arab blockade of North Africa precluded exploration inland. Knowledge about the Atlantic African coast was fragmented and derived mainly from old Greek and Roman maps based on Carthaginian knowledge, including the time of Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 exploration of Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

. The Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 was barely known and only trade links with the Maritime Republics, the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 especially, fostered collection of accurate maritime knowledge.

Indian Ocean trade routes were sailed by Arab traders. Between 1405 and 1421 Chinese third Ming emperor Yongle
Yongle Emperor
The Yongle Emperor , born Zhu Di , was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China from 1402 to 1424. His Chinese era name Yongle means "Perpetual Happiness".He was the Prince of Yan , possessing a heavy military base in Beiping...

 sponsored a series of long range tributary missions
Tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

 under the command of Zheng He
Zheng He
Zheng He , also known as Ma Sanbao and Hajji Mahmud Shamsuddin was a Hui-Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral, who commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, collectively referred to as the Voyages of Zheng He or Voyages of Cheng Ho from...

 (Cheng Ho). The fleets visited Arabia, East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

 and Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

. But the journeys, reported by Ma Huan, a Muslim voyager and translator, were halted abruptly after the emperor's death and were not followed up, as the Chinese Ming dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 retreated in the haijin, a policy of isolationism
Isolationism
Isolationism is the policy or doctrine of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc., seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by...

, having limited maritime trade.

By 1400 a Latin translation of Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

's Geographia reached Italy coming from Constantinople. The rediscovery of Roman geographical knowledge was a revelation, both for mapmaking and worldview, although reinforcing the idea that the Indian Ocean was landlocked.

Medieval travel (1241–1438)
Prelude to the Age of Exploration was a series of European expeditions crossing Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 by land in the late Middle Ages. Although the Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 had threatened Europe with pillage and destruction, Mongol states also unified much of Eurasia and, from 1206 on, the Pax Mongolica
Pax Mongolica
The Pax Mongolica is a Latin phrase meaning "Mongol Peace" coined by Western scholars to describe the stabilizing effects of the conquests of the Mongol Empire on the social, cultural, and economic life of the inhabitants of the vast Eurasian territory that the Mongols conquered in the 13th and...

allowed safe trade routes and communication lines stretching from the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 to China. A series of Europeans took advantage of these to explore eastwards. Most were Italians, as trade between Europe and the Middle East was controlled mainly by the Maritime Republics. The close Italian
Italian city-states
The Italian city-states were a political phenomenon of small independent states mostly in the central and northern Italian peninsula between the 10th and 15th centuries....

 links to the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 raised great curiosity and commercial interest in countries which lay further east.

Christian embassies were sent as far as Karakorum
Karakorum
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, and of the Northern Yuan in the 14-15th century. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province of Mongolia, near today's town of Kharkhorin, and adjacent to the Erdene Zuu monastery...

 during the Mongol invasions of Syria, from which they gained understanding of the world. The first of these travelers was Giovanni de Plano Carpini
Giovanni da Pian del Carpine
Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, or John of Plano Carpini or John of Pian de Carpine or Joannes de Plano was one of the first Europeans to enter the court of the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. He is the author of the earliest important Western account of northern and central Asia, Rus, and other...

, dispatched by Pope Innocent IV to the Great Khan, who journeyed to Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 and back from 1241 to 1247. About the same time, Russian prince Yaroslav of Vladimir and subsequently his sons Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

 and Andrey II of Vladimir traveled to the Mongolian capital. Though having strong political implications, their journeys left no detailed accounts. Other travelers followed, like French André de Longjumeau and Flemish William of Rubruck
William of Rubruck
William of Rubruck was a Flemish Franciscan missionary and explorer. His account is one of the masterpieces of medieval geographical literature comparable to that of Marco Polo....

, who reached China through Central Asia. The most famous traveler, however, was Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

. This Venetian merchant dictated an account of journeys throughout Asia from 1271 to 1295, describing being a guest at the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 court of Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

 in Travels
The Travels of Marco Polo
Books of the Marvels of the World or Description of the World , also nicknamed Il Milione or Oriente Poliano and commonly called The Travels of Marco Polo, is a 13th-century travelogue written down by Rustichello da Pisa from stories told by Marco Polo, describing the...

, and it was read throughout Europe.

In 1291, in a first Atlantic exploration attempt, merchant brothers Vadino and Ugolino Vivaldi sailed from Genoa with two galleys but disappeared off the Moroccan coast, feeding the fears of oceanic travel. From 1325 to 1354, a Moroccan
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 scholar from Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

, Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta , or simply Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad–Din , was a Muslim Moroccan Berber explorer, known for his extensive travels published in the Rihla...

, journeyed from North Africa, Southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, having reached China. After return, he dictated an account of his journeys to a scholar he met in Granada, the Rihla
Rihla
Rihla is a medieval book which recounts the journey of the 14th-century Berber Moroccan scholar and traveler Ibn Battuta.The oeuvre was written by Ibn Juzayy after he was commissioned by the Marinid Sultan Abu Inan who was impressed by the story and journey of Ibn Battuta.The term Rihla is a...

("The Journey"), the unheralded source on his adventures. Between 1357-71 a book of supposed travels compiled by John Mandeville
John Mandeville
"Jehan de Mandeville", translated as "Sir John Mandeville", is the name claimed by the compiler of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, a book account of his supposed travels, written in Anglo-Norman French, and first circulated between 1357 and 1371.By aid of translations into many other languages...

 acquired extraordinary popularity. Despite the extremely unreliable and often fantastical nature of its accounts it was used as a reference for the East, Egypt, and the Levant in general, asserting the old belief that Jerusalem was the center of the world
Axis mundi
The axis mundi , in religion or mythology, is the world center and/or the connection between heaven and Earth. As the celestial pole and geographic pole, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet...

.

Following the period of Timurid relations with Europe
Timurid relations with Europe
Timurid relations with Europe developed in the early 15th century, as the Mongol ruler Timur and European monarchs attempted to operate a rapprochement against the expansionist Ottoman Empire....

, in 1439 Niccolò Da Conti published an account of his travels as a Muslim merchant to India and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 and, later in 1466–1472, Russian merchant Afanasy Nikitin
Afanasy Nikitin
Afanasy Nikitin was a Russian merchant and one of the first Europeans to travel to and document his visit to India. He described his trip in a narrative known as The Journey Beyond Three Seas .-The voyage:In 1466, Nikitin left his hometown of Tver on a commercial trip to India...

 of Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

 travelled to India, which he described in his book A Journey Beyond the Three Seas
A Journey Beyond the Three Seas
A Journey Beyond the Three Seas is a Russian literary monument in the form of travel notes, made by a merchant from Tver Afanasiy Nikitin during his journey to India in 1466-1472....

.

These overland journeys had little immediate effect. The Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 collapsed almost as quickly as it formed and soon the route to the east became far more difficult and dangerous. The Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 of the 14th century also blocked travel and trade. The rise of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 further limited the possibilities of European overland trade.

Atlantic Ocean (1419–1507)


From the 8th century until the 15th century, the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 and neighboring maritime republics held the monopoly of European trade with the Middle East. The silk
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 and spice trade
Spice trade
Civilizations of Asia were involved in spice trade from the ancient times, and the Greco-Roman world soon followed by trading along the Incense route and the Roman-India routes...

, involving spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s, incense
Incense
Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term "incense" refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a mood, and for...

, herb
Herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

s, drug
Drug
A drug, broadly speaking, is any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function. There is no single, precise definition, as there are different meanings in drug control law, government regulations, medicine, and colloquial usage.In pharmacology, a...

s and opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

, made these Mediterranean city-states phenomenally rich. Spices were among the most expensive and demanded products of the Middle Ages, used in medieval medicine
Medieval medicine
Medieval medicine in Western Europe was composed of a mixture of existing ideas from antiquity, spiritual influences and what Claude Lévi-Strauss identifies as the "shamanistic complex" and "social consensus." In this era, there was no tradition of scientific medicine, and observations went...

, religious ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

s, cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

, perfume
Perfume
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces "a pleasant scent"...

ry, as well as food additive
Food additive
Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance.Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling , salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines...

s and preservatives. They were all imported from Asia and Africa.
Muslim traders—mainly descendants of Arab sailors from Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 and Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

—dominated maritime routes throughout the Indian Ocean, tapping source regions in the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 and shipping for trading emporiums in India, mainly Kozhikode
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

, westward to Ormus
Ormus
The Kingdom of Ormus was a 10th to 17th century kingdom located within the Persian Gulf and extending as far as the Strait of Hormuz...

 in Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 and Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

 in the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

. From there, overland routes led to the Mediterranean coasts. Venetian merchants distributed then the goods through Europe until the rise of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, that eventually led to the fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 in 1453, barring Europeans from important combined-land-sea routes.

Forced to reduce their activities in the Black Sea, and at war with Venice, the Genoese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 had turned to north African trade of wheat, olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

 (valued also as energy source) and a search for silver and gold. Europeans had a constant deficit in silver and gold, as coin only went one way: out, spent on eastern trade that was now cut off. Several European mines were exhausted, the lack of bullion leading to the development of a complex banking system to manage the risks in trade (the very first state bank, Banco di San Giorgio, was founded in 1407 at Genoa). Sailing also into the ports of Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 (Flanders) and England, Genoese communities established then in Portugal, who profited from their enterprise and financial expertise.

European sailing had been primarily close to land cabotage
Cabotage
Cabotage is the transport of goods or passengers between two points in the same country by a vessel or an aircraft registered in another country. Originally starting with shipping, cabotage now also covers aviation, railways and road transport...

, guided by portolan chart
Portolan chart
Portolan charts are navigational maps based on realistic descriptions of harbours and coasts. They were first made in the 14th century in Italy, Portugal and Spain...

s. These charts specified proven ocean routes guided by coastal landmarks: sailors departed from a known point, followed a compass
Compass
A compass is a navigational instrument that shows directions in a frame of reference that is stationary relative to the surface of the earth. The frame of reference defines the four cardinal directions – north, south, east, and west. Intermediate directions are also defined...

 heading, and tried to identify their location by its landmarks. For the first oceanic exploration Western Europeans used the compass
Compass
A compass is a navigational instrument that shows directions in a frame of reference that is stationary relative to the surface of the earth. The frame of reference defines the four cardinal directions – north, south, east, and west. Intermediate directions are also defined...

, progressive new advances in cartography
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 and astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

. Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 navigation tools like the astrolabe
Astrolabe
An astrolabe is an elaborate inclinometer, historically used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers. Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and longitude, surveying, triangulation, and to...

 and quadrant
Quadrant (instrument)
A quadrant is an instrument that is used to measure angles up to 90°. It was originally proposed by Ptolemy as a better kind of astrolabe. Several different variations of the instrument were later produced by medieval Muslim astronomers.-Types of quadrants:...

 were used for celestial navigation
Celestial navigation
Celestial navigation, also known as astronavigation, is a position fixing technique that has evolved over several thousand years to help sailors cross oceans without having to rely on estimated calculations, or dead reckoning, to know their position...

.

Portuguese exploration



In 1297, with the reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 completed, king Dinis of Portugal took personal interest in exports and in 1317 he made an agreement with Genoese merchant sailor Manuel Pessanha
Manuel Pessanha
Manuel Pessanha was a Genoese merchant sailor who served in Portugal in the 14th century as the first admiral of Portugal at the time of King Denis of Portugal....

 (Pesagno), appointing him first Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 of the Portuguese navy
Portuguese Navy
The Portuguese Navy is the naval branch of the Portuguese Armed Forces which, in cooperation and integrated with the other branches of the Portuguese military, is charged with the military defence of Portugal....

, with the goal of defending the country against Muslim pirate raids. Outbreaks of bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 led to severe depopulation in the second half of the 14th century: only the sea offered alternatives, with most population settling in fishing and trading coastal areas. Between 1325–1357 Afonso IV of Portugal
Afonso IV of Portugal
Afonso IV , called the Brave , was the seventh king of Portugal and the Algarve from 1325 until his death. He was the only legitimate son of King Denis of Portugal by his wife Elizabeth of Aragon.-Biography:...

 encouraged maritime commerce and ordered the first explorations. The Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, already known to Genoese, were claimed as officially discovered under patronage of the Portuguese but in 1344 Castile disputed them, expanding their rivalry into the sea.
In 1415, Ceuta
Ceuta
Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain and an exclave located on the north coast of North Africa surrounded by Morocco. Separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar, Ceuta lies on the border of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Ceuta along with the other Spanish...

 was conquered
Battle of Ceuta
The Battle of Ceuta and the subsequent conquest of the Wattasid city of Ceuta by the Portuguese had its roots in the earliest years of the House of Aviz dynasty of Portugal...

 by the Portuguese aiming to control navigation of the African coast. Young prince Henry the Navigator was there and became aware of profit possibilities in the Trans-Saharan trade
Trans-Saharan trade
Trans-Saharan trade requires travel across the Sahara to reach sub-Saharan Africa. While existing from prehistoric times, the peak of trade extended from the 8th century until the late 16th century.- Increasing desertification and economic incentive :...

 routes. For centuries slave and gold
Arab slave trade
The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in the Arab World, mainly Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of Europe during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade was focused on the slave markets of the Middle East and North Africa...

 trade routes linking West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 with the Mediterranean passed over the Western Sahara Desert, controlled by the moors of North Africa.

Henry wished to know how far Muslim territories in Africa extended, hoping to bypass it and trade directly with West Africa by sea, find allies in legendary Christian lands to the south like the long-lost Christian kingdom of Prester John
Prester John
The legends of Prester John were popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, and told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval...

 and to probe whether it was possible to reach the Indies
Indies
The Indies is a term that has been used to describe the lands of South and Southeast Asia, occupying all of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia and...

 by sea, the source of the lucrative spice trade
Spice trade
Civilizations of Asia were involved in spice trade from the ancient times, and the Greco-Roman world soon followed by trading along the Incense route and the Roman-India routes...

. He invested in sponsoring voyages down the coast of Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

, gathering a group of merchants, shipowners and stakeholders interested in new sea lanes. Soon the Atlantic islands of Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

 (1419) and Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 (1427) were reached. In particular, they were discovered by voyages launched by the command of Prince Henry the Navigator. The expedition leader himself, who established settlements on the island of Madeira, was João Gonçalves Zarco.

At the time, Europeans did not know what lay beyond Cape Non (Cape Chaunar) on the African coast, and whether it was possible to return once it was crossed. Nautical myths warned of oceanic monsters or an edge of the world, but Prince Henry's navigation challenged such beliefs: starting in 1421, systematic sailing overcame it, reaching the difficult Cape Bojador
Cape Bojador
Cape Bojador or Cape Boujdour is a headland on the northern coast of Western Sahara, at 26° 07' 37"N, 14° 29' 57"W. , as well as the name of a nearby town with a population of 41,178.It is shown on nautical charts with the original Portuguese name "Cabo Bojador", but is sometimes...

 that in 1434 one of Prince Henry's captains, Gil Eanes
Gil Eanes
Gil Eanes was a 15th-century Portuguese navigator and explorer.Little is known about the personal life of Gil Eanes, prior to his role in the Portuguese Age of Discovery, and was considered a household servant and shield-bearer of the Infante Henry the Navigator...

, finally passed.

A major advance was the introduction of the caravel
Caravel
A caravel is a small, highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave her speed and the capacity for sailing to windward...

 in the mid-15th century, a small ship able to sail windward
Windward and leeward
Windward is the direction upwind from the point of reference. Leeward is the direction downwind from the point of reference. The side of a ship that is towards the leeward is its lee side. If the vessel is heeling under the pressure of the wind, this will be the "lower side"...

 more than any other in Europe at the time. Evolved from fishing ships designs, they were the first that could leave the coastal cabotage
Cabotage
Cabotage is the transport of goods or passengers between two points in the same country by a vessel or an aircraft registered in another country. Originally starting with shipping, cabotage now also covers aviation, railways and road transport...

 navigation and sail safely on the open Atlantic. For celestial navigation
Celestial navigation
Celestial navigation, also known as astronavigation, is a position fixing technique that has evolved over several thousand years to help sailors cross oceans without having to rely on estimated calculations, or dead reckoning, to know their position...

 the Portuguese used the Ephemerides, which experienced a remarkable diffusion in the 15th century. They were astronomical charts plotting the location of the stars over a distinct period of time. Published in 1496 by the Jewish astronomer, astrologer, and mathematician Abraham Zacuto
Abraham Zacuto
Abraham Zacuto was a Sephardi Jewish astronomer, astrologer, mathematician and historian who served as Royal Astronomer in the 15th century to King John II of Portugal. The crater Zagut on the Moon is named after him....

, the Almanach Perpetuum included some of these tables for the movements of stars. These tables revolutionized navigation, allowing to calculate latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

. Exact longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

, however, remained elusive, and mariners struggled to determine it for centuries. Using the caravel, systematic exploration continued ever more southerly, advancing on average one degree a year. Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

 and Cape Verde Peninsula
Cap-Vert
Cap-Vert is a peninsula in Senegal, and the westernmost point of the continent of Africa and of the Old World mainland. Originally called Cabo Verde or "Cape Green" by Portuguese explorers, it is not to be confused with the Cape Verde islands, which are some further west...

 were reached in 1445 and in 1446, António Fernandes pushed on almost as far as present-day Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

.

In 1453 the fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 to the hands of the Ottomans was a blow to Christianity and the established business relations linking with the east. In 1455 Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V , born Tommaso Parentucelli, was Pope from March 6, 1447 to his death in 1455.-Biography:He was born at Sarzana, Liguria, where his father was a physician...

 issued the bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 Romanus Pontifex
Romanus Pontifex
Romanus Pontifex is a papal bull written January 8, 1455 by Pope Nicholas V to King Afonso V of Portugal. As a follow-up to the Dum Diversas, it confirmed to the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands discovered or conquered during the Age of Discovery. Along with encouraging the seizure of the...

reinforcing previous Dum Diversas
Dum Diversas
Dum Diversas is a papal bull issued on June 18, 1452 by Pope Nicholas V, that is credited by some with "ushering in the West African slave trade." It authorized Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens and pagans and consign them to indefinite slavery...

(1452), granting all lands and seas discovered beyond Cape Bojador to king Afonso V of Portugal
Afonso V of Portugal
Afonso V KG , called the African , was the twelfth King of Portugal and the Algarves. His sobriquet refers to his conquests in Northern Africa.-Early life:...

 and his successors, as well as trade and conquest against Muslims and pagans, initiating a mare clausum
Mare clausum
Mare clausum is a term used in international law to mention a sea, ocean or other navigable body of water under the jurisdiction of a state that is closed or not accessible to other states. Mare clausum is an exception to mare liberum , meaning a sea that is open to navigation to ships of all...

policy in the Atlantic. The king, who had been inquiring Genoese experts about a seaway to India, commissioned then Fra Mauro world map
Fra Mauro map
The Fra Mauro map, "considered the greatest memorial of medieval cartography" according to Roberto Almagià, is a map made around 1450 by the Venetian monk Fra Mauro...

, which arrived in Lisbon in 1459.

In 1456 Diogo Gomes
Diogo Gomes
Diogo Gomes , was a Portuguese navigator, explorer and writer.Diogo Gomes was a servant and explorer of Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator. His memoirs were dictated late in his life to Martin Behaim...

 reached the Cape Verde
Cape Verde
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa...

 archipelago. In the next decade several captains at the service of Prince Henry - including the Genoese Antonio da Noli and Venetian Alvise Cadamosto - discovered the remaining islands which were occupied still during the 15th century. The Gulf of Guinea would be reached in the 1460s's.

Portuguese Exploration after Prince Henry
In 1460 Pedro de Sintra
Pedro de Sintra
Pedro de Sintra also known as Pêro de Sintra was a Portuguese explorer. He was among the first Europeans to explore the West African coast. Around 1462 his expedition reached contemporary Sierra Leone and named it. Continuing their journey, they visited the Benin Empire.-References and notes:...

 reached Sierra Leone. Prince Henry died in November that year after which, given the meager revenues, exploration was granted to Lisbon merchant Fernão Gomes
Fernão Gomes
Fernão Gomes was a Portuguese merchant and explorer from Lisbon, the son of Tristão Gomes de Brito .In 1469, King Afonso V of Portugal granted him the monopoly on trade in the Gulf of Guinea...

 in 1469, who in exchange for the monopoly of trade in the Gulf of Guinea had to explore 100 miles each year for five years. With his sponsorship, explorers João de Santarém
João de Santarém
João de Santarém Portuguese explorer that discovered São Tomé and Príncipe together with Pedro Escobar....

, Pedro Escobar
Pedro Escobar
Pedro Escobar, also known as Pêro Escobar, was a 15th century Portuguese navigator who discovered São Tomé and Príncipe together with João de Santarém and Fernão do Pó circa 1470. He is then recorded sailing with Diogo Cão on his first voyage in 1482, and as the pilot of the famous Bérrio caravel...

, Lopo Gonçalves, Fernão do Pó
Fernão do Pó
Fernão do Pó , also Fernão Pó, Fernando Pó, Fernando Poo was a Portuguese navigator and explorer of the West African coast. He discovered the islands in the Gulf of Guinea around 1472, one of which until the mid 1900s bore a version of his name, Fernando Pó or Fernando Poo. The island is...

, and Pedro de Sintra made it even beyond the hired. They reached the southern Hemisphere and the islands of the Gulf of Guinea, including São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe, officially the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two islands: São Tomé and Príncipe, located about apart and about , respectively, off...

 and Elmina
Elmina
Elmina, is a town in the Central Region, situated on a south-facing bay on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana, about 12 km west of Cape Coast...

 on the Gold Coast in 1471. In the Southern hemisphere, they used the Southern Cross as the reference for celestial navigation.

There, a thriving alluvial gold trade was found among the natives and Arab and Berber traders and in 1481, the recently crowned João II
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

 decided to build São Jorge da Mina
Elmina Castle
Elmina Castle was erected by Portugal in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana . It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara...

 factory
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

. In 1482 the Congo River
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

 was explored by Diogo Cão
Diogo Cão
Diogo Cão was a Portuguese explorer and one of the most remarkable navigators of the Age of Discovery, who made two voyages sailing along the west coast of Africa to Namibia in the 1480s.-Early life and family:...

, who in 1486 continued to Cape Cross
Cape Cross
Cape Cross is a cape in the South Atlantic on the coast of Namibia, on the C34 highway some 60 kilometres north of Hentiesbaai and 120 km north of Swakopmund on the west coast of Namibia....

 (modern Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

).

The next crucial breakthrough was in 1488, when Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

 rounded the southern tip of Africa, which he named "Cape of Storms" (Cabo das Tormentas), anchoring at Mosselbay and then sailing east as far as the mouth of the Great Fish River
Great Fish River
The Great Fish River is a river running through the South African province of the Eastern Cape, it originates east of Graaff-Reinet and runs through Cradock, just south of this the Tarka River joins it...

, proving that the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 was accessible from the Atlantic. Simultaneously Pêro da Covilhã
Pêro da Covilhã
Pedro or Pêro da Covilhã was a Portuguese diplomat and explorer.He was a native of Covilhã in Beira. In his early life he had gone to Castile and entered the service of Alphonso, Duke of Seville...

, sent out traveling secretly overland, had reached Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 having collected important information about the Red Sea and Quenia coast, suggesting that a sea route to the Indies would soon be forthcoming. Soon the cape was renamed by king John II of Portugal
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

 "Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

" (Cabo da Boa Esperança), because of the great optimism engendered by the possibility of a sea route to India, proving false the view that had existed since Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 that the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 was land-locked.

Spanish Exploration: Columbus & the "West Indies"


Portugal's neighbouring fellow Iberian rival, Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

, had begun to establish its rule over the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, located off the west African coast, in 1402, but then became distracted by internal Iberian politics and the repelling of Islamic invasion attempts and raids through most of the 15th century. Only late in the century, following the unification of the crowns of Castile and Aragon and the completion of the reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

, did an emerging modern Spain become fully committed to the search for new trade routes overseas. The Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

 had been an important maritime potentate in the Mediterranean, controlling territories in eastern Spain, southwestern France, major islands like Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

, and the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 and Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

, with mainland possessions as far as Greece. In 1492 the joint rulers
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 conquered the Moorish kingdom of Granada
Emirate of Granada
The Emirate of Granada , also known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada , was an emirate established in 1238 following the defeat of Muhammad an-Nasir of the Almohad dynasty by an alliance of Christian kingdoms at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212...

, which had been providing Castile with African goods through tribute, and decided to fund Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

' expedition in the hope of bypassing Portugal's monopoly on west African sea routes, to reach "the Indies" (east and south Asia) by travelling west. Twice before, in 1485 and 1488, Columbus had presented the project to king John II of Portugal
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

, who rejected it.

On the evening of 3 August 1492, Columbus departed from Palos de la Frontera
Palos de la Frontera
Palos de la Frontera is a town and municipality located in the southwestern Spanish province of Huelva, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is situated some from the provincial capital, Huelva...

 with three ships; one larger carrack
Carrack
A carrack or nau was a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in 15th century Western Europe for use in the Atlantic Ocean. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stem. It was first used by the Portuguese , and later by the Spanish, to explore and...

, Santa María
Santa María (ship)
La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción , was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage. Her master and owner was Juan de la Cosa.-History:...

, nicknamed Gallega (the Galician), and two smaller caravel
Caravel
A caravel is a small, highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave her speed and the capacity for sailing to windward...

s, Pinta (the Painted) and Santa Clara, nicknamed Niña
Niña
La Niña was one of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage towards the Indies in 1492. The real name of the Niña was Santa Clara. The name Niña was probably a pun on the name of her owner, Juan Niño of Moguer...

. Columbus first sailed to the Canary Islands, where he restocked for what turned out to be a five-week voyage across the ocean, crossing a section of the Atlantic that became known as the Sargasso Sea
Sargasso Sea
The Sargasso Sea is a region in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ocean currents. It is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream; on the north, by the North Atlantic Current; on the east, by the Canary Current; and on the south, by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. This...

.

Land was sighted on 12 October 1492, and Columbus called the island (now The Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

) San Salvador, in what he thought to be the "West Indies
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

". Columbus also explored the northeast coast of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 (landed on 28 October) and the northern coast of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, by 5 December. He was received by the native cacique
Cacique
Cacique is a title derived from the Taíno word for the pre-Columbian chiefs or leaders of tribes in the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles...

 Guacanagari, who gave him permission to leave some of his men behind.
Columbus left 39 men and founded the settlement of La Navidad
La Navidad
La Navidad was a settlement that Christopher Columbus and his men established in present day Haiti in 1492 from the remains of the Spanish ship, the Santa María...

in what is now present-day Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. Before returning to Spain, he kidnapped some ten to twenty-five natives and took them back with him. Only seven or eight of the native Indians arrived in Spain alive, but they made quite an impression on Seville.
On the return, a storm forced him to dock in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, on 4 March 1493. After a week in Portugal, he set sail for Spain, entering the harbor of Palos
Palos de la Frontera
Palos de la Frontera is a town and municipality located in the southwestern Spanish province of Huelva, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is situated some from the provincial capital, Huelva...

 on 15 March 1493. Word of his "discovery" of new lands rapidly spread throughout Europe
Columbus's Letter on the First Voyage
Columbus' Letter on the First Voyage to the New World was written by Christopher Columbus on February 15, 1493, on board the caravel Niña at sea with a postscript written on March 14 when he arrived back into port at Lisbon, Portugal...

.

Columbus and other Spanish explorers were initially disappointed with their discoveries—unlike Africa or Asia the Caribbean islanders had little to trade with the Spanish ships. The islands thus became the focus of colonization efforts. It was not until the continent itself was explored that Spain found the wealth it had sought.

Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)



Shortly after Columbus arrival from the "West Indies", a division of influence became necessary to avoid conflict between Spanish and Portuguese. On 4 May 1493, two months after Columbus arrival, the Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 got a bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 (Inter caetera
Inter caetera
Inter caetera was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on , which granted to Spain all lands to the "west and south" of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands.It remains unclear to the present whether the pope was issuing a...

) from Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI , born Roderic Llançol i Borja was Pope from 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his Italianized surname—Borgia—became a byword for the debased standards of the Papacy of that era, most notoriously the Banquet...

 stating that all lands west and south of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 or the Cape Verde Islands should belong to Spain and, later, all mainlands and islands then belonging to India. It did not mention Portugal, which could not claim newly discovered lands east of the line.

King John II of Portugal
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

 was not pleased with the arrangement, feeling that it gave him far too little land—preventing him from reaching India, his main goal. He then negotiated directly with King Ferdinand
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 and Queen Isabella
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

 of Spain to move the line west, allowing him to claim newly discovered lands east of it.

An agreement was reached in 1494, with the Treaty of Tordesillas
Treaty of Tordesillas
The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

 that "divided" the world between the two powers. In this treaty the Portuguese "received" everything outside of Europe east of a line that ran 270 leagues
League (unit)
A league is a unit of length . It was long common in Europe and Latin America, but it is no longer an official unit in any nation. The league originally referred to the distance a person or a horse could walk in an hour...

 west of the Cape Verde
Cape Verde
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa...

 islands (already Portuguese), and the islands discovered by Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 on his first voyage (claimed for Spain), named in the treaty as Cipangu and Antilia (Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

), this gave them control over Africa, Asia and eastern South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 (Brazil). The Spanish received everything west of this line, territory that was still almost completely unknown, and proved to be mostly the western part of the American continent plus the Pacific Ocean islands.

A New World: Americas



Very little of the divided area had actually been seen by Europeans, as it was only divided via the treaty. Soon after Columbus' first voyage a number of explorers headed west, in the same direction. Starting in 1497, there was a spur in maritime exploration.
That year John Cabot
John Cabot
John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America is commonly held to have been the first European encounter with the continent of North America since the Norse Vikings in the eleventh century...

, also a commissioned Italian, got letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 from King Henry VII of England
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

. Sailing from Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, probably backed by the local Society of Merchant Venturers
Society of Merchant Venturers
The Society of Merchant Venturers is a private entrepreneurial and charitable organisation in the English city of Bristol, which dates back to the 13th century...

, Cabot crossed the Atlantic from a northerly latitude hoping the voyage to the "West Indies" would be shorter and made a landfall somewhere in North America, possibly Newfoundland
History of Newfoundland and Labrador
The History of Newfoundland and Labrador is the story of the peoples who have lived in what is now the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador....

.
In 1499 João Fernandes Lavrador
João Fernandes Lavrador
João Fernandes Lavrador was a Portuguese explorer of the late 15th century. He was the first modern explorer in the coasts of the Northeast of Northern America, including the Labrador peninsula, which bears his name.-Expeditions:Fernandes was granted a patent by King Manuel I in 1498 given him...

 was licensed by the King of Portugal and together with Pêro de Barcelos
Pêro de Barcelos
Pêro de Barcelos , sometimes Pedro de Barcelos, was a Portuguese explorer of North America, whom, together with João Fernandes Lavrador, was the first to sight the Coast of Labrador in 1499....

 they first sighted Labrador
Labrador
Labrador is the distinct, northerly region of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It comprises the mainland portion of the province, separated from the island of Newfoundland by the Strait of Belle Isle...

, which was granted and named after him. After returning he possibly went to Bristol to sail in the name of England. Nearly at the same time, between 1499–1502 brothers Gaspar
Gaspar Corte-Real
Gaspar Corte-Real was a Portuguese explorer.He was the youngest of three sons of João Vaz Corte-Real, also a Portuguese explorer, and had accompanied his father on his expeditions to North America...

 and Miguel Corte Real
Miguel Corte-Real
Miguel Corte-Real was a Portuguese explorer who charted about 600 miles of the coast of Labrador. In 1501 he disappeared while on an expedition and was believed lost at sea.-Life:...

 explored and named the coasts of Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 and also Newfoundland. Both explorations signaled in 1502 Cantino planisphere
Cantino planisphere
The Cantino planisphere is the earliest surviving map showing Portuguese Discoveries in the east and west. It is named after Alberto Cantino, an agent for the Duke of Ferrara, who successfully smuggled it from Portugal to Italy in 1502...

.

The "True Indies" and Brazil


In 1497, newly crowned King Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

 sent an exploratory fleet eastwards, fulfilling his predecessor's project of finding a route to the Indies. In July 1499 news spread that the Portuguese had reached the "true indies", as a letter was dispatched by the Portuguese king to the Spanish Catholic Monarchs one day after the celebrated return of the fleet.

While Columbus engaged in two new trips to explore the "West Indies" (Central America), coming into conflict with the Spanish crown, a second Portuguese armada
2nd Portuguese India Armada (Cabral, 1500)
The Second Portuguese India Armada was assembled in 1500 on the order of King Manuel I of Portugal and placed under the command of Pedro Álvares Cabral. Cabral's armada famously discovered Brazil for the Portuguese crown along the way...

 was dispatched to India. The fleet of thirteen ships and about 1,500 men left Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 on 9 March 1500. It was headed by Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese noble, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it...

 with a crew of expert sailors including Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

, Nicolau Coelho
Nicolau Coelho
Nicolau Coelho was an expert Portuguese sailor during the age of discovery. He participated in the discovery of the route to India by Vasco da Gama where he commanded Berrio, the first caravel to return; was captain of a ship in the fleet headed by Pedro Álvares Cabral who landed in Brazil...

 and scrivener Pêro Vaz de Caminha
Pêro Vaz de Caminha
Pêro Vaz de Caminha , was a Portuguese knight that accompanied Pedro Álvares Cabral to India in 1500, as a secretary to the royal factory. Caminha wrote the detailed official report of the April 1500 discovery of Brazil by Cabral's fleet...

. To avoid the calms off the coast of Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

, they sailed in a southwesterly direction, in a large "volta do mar
Volta Do Mar
"Volta do mar", "volta do mar largo" or "volta do largo", is a navigational technique perfected by Portuguese navigators during the Age of Discovery in the late fifteenth century, using the dependable phenomenon of the great permanent wind wheel, the North Atlantic Gyre...

". On 21 April a mountain was visible, then named Monte Pascoal
Monte Pascoal
Monte Pascoal is located at 16°53'47.73"S, 39°24'26.09"W; 62 km to the south of the city of Porto Seguro, in the state of Bahia, Brazil. According to history, it was the first part of land viewed by Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, allegedly the first European to arrive in Brazil, in...

; on 22 April they landed on the coast of Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, and on 25 April the entire fleet sailed into the harbor called Porto Seguro
Porto Seguro
Porto Seguro is a municipality in the Brazilian state of Bahia. It is the site where the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral first set foot on Brazilian soil on April 22, 1500...

. Cabral perceived that the new land lay east of the line of Tordesillas, and at once sent an envoy to Portugal, with the important tidings described in a (now famous) carta de Pêro Vaz de Caminha
Carta de Pero Vaz de Caminha
In his letter to Manuel I of Portugal, Pêro Vaz de Caminha gives what is considered by many today as being one of the most accurate accounts of what Brazil used to look like in 1500...

 letter. Believing the newly-discovered lands to be an island, they named it Island of Vera Cruz (Island of the True Cross). Some historians contend that the Portuguese knew of the South American bulge before while sailing the "volta do mar" technique- hence the insistence of John II in moving to west line of Tordesillas- so his landing in Brazil may not have been an accident.

At the invitation of king Manuel I of Portugal, Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from the feminized Latin version of his first name.-Expeditions:...

 - a Florentine who had been working for a branch of the Medici bank
Medici bank
The Medici Bank was a financial institution created by the Medici family in Italy during the 15th century. It was the largest and most respected bank in Europe during its prime. There are some estimates that the Medici family was, for a period of time, the wealthiest family in Europe...

 in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 since 1491, fitting oceanic expeditions and travelling twice to the Guianas with Juan de la Cosa
Juan de la Cosa
Juan de la Cosa was a Spanish cartographer, conquistador and explorer. He made the earliest extant European world map to incorporate the territories of the Americas that were discovered in the 15th century, sailed first 3 voyages with Christopher Columbus, and was the owner/captain of the Santa...

 in the service of Spain - participated as observer in these exploratory voyages to the east coast of South America. The expeditions became widely known in Europe after two accounts attributed to him, published between 1502 and 1504, suggested that the newly discovered lands were not India but a "New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

", the Mundus novus, Latin title of a contemporary document based on Vespucci letters to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici, which had become widely popular in Europe. It was soon understood that Columbus had not reached Asia, but rather found a new continent: the Americas. America was named in 1507 by cartographer
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

s Martin Waldseemüller
Waldseemüller map
The Waldseemüller map, Universalis Cosmographia, is a printed wall map of the world by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, originally published in April 1507. It is known as the first map to use the name "America". The map is drafted on a modification of Ptolemy's second projection, expanded...

 and Matthias Ringmann
Matthias Ringmann
Matthias Ringmann was a German cartographer and humanist poet. He is credited with naming America on the map of his friend Martin Waldseemüller.- Life :...

, probably after Amerigo Vespucci.

Gama's route to India


Protected from direct Spanish competition by the treaty of Tordesillas, Portuguese eastward exploration and colonization continued apace. Twice, in 1485 and 1488, Portugal officially rejected Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

's idea of reaching India by sailing westwards. King John II of Portugal
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

's experts rejected it, for they held the opinion that Columbus's estimation of a travel distance of 2400 miles (3,862.4 km) was undervalued, and in part because Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

 departed in 1487 trying the rounding of the southern tip of Africa, therefore they believed that sailing east would require a far shorter journey. Dias's return from the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

 in 1488, and Pêro da Covilhã
Pêro da Covilhã
Pedro or Pêro da Covilhã was a Portuguese diplomat and explorer.He was a native of Covilhã in Beira. In his early life he had gone to Castile and entered the service of Alphonso, Duke of Seville...

 travel to Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 overland indicated that the richness of the Indian Sea
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 was accessible from the Atlantic. A long-overdue expedition was prepared.

Under new king Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

, on July 1497 a small exploratory fleet of four ships and about 170 men left Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 under command of Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

. By December the fleet passed the Great Fish River
Great Fish River
The Great Fish River is a river running through the South African province of the Eastern Cape, it originates east of Graaff-Reinet and runs through Cradock, just south of this the Tarka River joins it...

—where Dias had turned back—and sailed into unknown waters. On 20 May 1498, they arrived at Calicut
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

. The efforts of Vasco da Gama to get favorable trading conditions were hampered by the low value of their goods, compared with the valuable goods traded there. Two years after departure, Gama and a survivor crew of 55 men returned in glory to Portugal as the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India.

In 1500, a second larger fleet of thirteen ships and about 1500 men was sent to India. Under command of Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese noble, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it...

 they made a first landfall on the Brazilian coast; later, in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, one of Cabral's ships reached Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 (1501), which was partly explored by Tristão da Cunha
Tristão da Cunha
Tristão da Cunha was a Portuguese explorer and naval commander. In 1514 he served as ambassador from king Manuel I of Portugal to Pope Leo X leading a luxurious embassy presenting in Rome the new conquests of Portugal...

 in 1507; Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

 was discovered in 1507, Socotra
Socotra
Socotra , also spelt Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies some east of the Horn of Africa and south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and through...

 occupied in 1506. In the same year Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida
Lourenço de Almeida , son of Francisco de Almeida, acting under him, distinguished himself in the Indian Ocean, and made Ceylon tributary to Portugal...

 landed in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, the eastern island named "Taprobane
Names of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an island country that has been known by many names. The existence of the island has been known to the Indic, Chinese, Arabic, and Western civilisations for many millennia and the various names ascribed to the island over time reflect this....

" in remote accounts of Alexander the Great's and 4th-century BCE Greek geographer
Geographer
A geographer is a scholar whose area of study is geography, the study of Earth's natural environment and human society.Although geographers are historically known as people who make maps, map making is actually the field of study of cartography, a subset of geography...

 Megasthenes
Megasthenes
Megasthenes was a Greek ethnographer in the Hellenistic period, author of the work Indica.He was born in Asia Minor and became an ambassador of Seleucus I of Syria possibly to Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, India. However the exact date of his embassy is uncertain...

. On the Asiatic mainland the first factories (trading-posts)
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

 were established at Kochi and Calicut (1501) and then Goa
Old Goa
Old Goa or Velha Goa is a historical city in North Goa district in the Indian state of Goa. The city was constructed by the Bijapur Sultanate in the 15th century, and served as capital of Portuguese India from the 16th century until its abandonment in the 18th century due to plague...

 (1510).

The "Spice Islands" and China


In 1511 Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 conquered Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

 for Portugal, then the center of Asian trade. East of Malacca, Albuquerque sent several diplomatic missions: Duarte Fernandes
Duarte Fernandes
Duarte Fernandes was a Portuguese diplomat and the first European to establish diplomatic relations with Thailand, when in 1511 he led a diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya Kingdom , after the Portuguese conquest of Malacca....

 as the first European envoy to the kingdom of Siam
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 (modern Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

).

Getting to know the secret location of the so-called "spice islands"—the Maluku Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

, mainly the Banda
Banda Islands
The Banda Islands are a volcanic group of ten small volcanic islands in the Banda Sea, about south of Seram Island and about east of Java, and are part of the Indonesian province of Maluku. The main town and administrative centre is Bandanaira, located on the island of the same name. They rise...

, then the single world source of nutmeg
Nutmeg
The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia...

 and clove
Clove
Cloves are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world...

s, main purpose for the travels in the Indian sea- he sent an expedition led by António de Abreu
António de Abreu
António de Abreu was a 16th century Portuguese navigator and naval officer. He participated under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque in the conquest of Ormus in 1507 and Malacca in 1511, where he got injured...

 to Banda, where they were the first Europeans to arrive in early 1512. Abreu then left for Ambon Island
Ambon Island
Ambon Island is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The island has an area of , and is mountainous, well watered, and fertile. Ambon Island consists of 2 territories: The main city and seaport is Ambon , which is also the capital of Maluku province and Maluku Tengah Ambon Island is part of the...

 while his vice-captain Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão was a Portuguese explorer and a cousin of Ferdinand Magellan. His 1512 voyage was the first known European sailing east past Malacca through Indonesia and the Indies. He became a member of the Sultan Bayan Sirrullah, the ruler of Ternate, becoming his personal advisor...

 sank off Ternate
Ternate
Ternate is an island in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia. It is located off the west coast of the larger island of Halmahera, the center of the powerful former Sultanate of Ternate....

, where he obtained a license to build a Portuguese fortress-factory: the Fort of São João Baptista de Ternate, which founded the Portuguese presence in the Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

.

In May 1513 Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares is credited as the first Portuguese explorer to have reached China and Hong Kong. The Fundação Jorge Álvares , founded by Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira prior to the handover of Macau, got its name from him also having reached there.-Exploration:In May 1513 Álvares sailed under the...

, one of the Portuguese envoys, reached China. Although he was the first to land on Lintin Island
Nei Lingding Island
Nei Lingding Island |Pearl River]] estuary in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Although it is located closer to the eastern shore of the estuary, it is administratively part of the prefecture-level city of Zhuhai, whose main administrative center is located on the west shore of the...

 in the Pearl River Delta
Pearl River Delta
The Pearl River Delta , Zhujiang Delta or Zhusanjiao in Guangdong province, People's Republic of China is the low-lying area surrounding the Pearl River estuary where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea...

, it was Rafael Perestrello
Rafael Perestrello
Rafael Perestrello was a Portuguese explorer and a cousin of Filipa Moniz Perestrello, the wife of the famed explorer Christopher Columbus...

—a cousin of the famed Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

—who became the first European explorer to land on the southern coast of mainland China and trade in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 in 1516, commanding a Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 vessel with a crew from a Malaysian junk that had sailed from Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

. Fernão Pires de Andrade
Fernão Pires de Andrade
Captain Fernão Pires de Andrade was a Portuguese merchant, pharmacist, and official diplomat under the explorer and Malacca governor Afonso de Albuquerque...

 visited Canton in 1517 and opened up trade with China, in 1557 the Portuguese were permitted to occupy Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

.

To enforce a trade monopoly, Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman....

 in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 was seized by Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 in 1507 and 1515, who also entered into diplomatic relations
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

 with Persia
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In 1513 while trying to conquer Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

, an expedition led by Albuquerque cruised the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 inside the Bab al-Mandab, and sheltered at Kamaran
Kamaran
Kamaran Island is the largest Yemen-controlled island in the Red Sea. The island is long and wide and is strategically located at the southern end of the Red Sea....

 island. In 1521, a force under António Correia
António Correia
António Correia was a Portuguese commander who in 1521 conquered Bahrain, beginning eighty years of Portuguese rule in the Persian Gulf state.Correia was the son of merchant and explorer Aires Correia, who had gained notoriety during the Portuguese bombardment of Calicut a generation earlier...

 conquered Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 ushering in a period of almost eighty years of Portuguese rule of the Gulf archipelago. In the Red Sea, Massawa
Massawa
Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa (Ge'ez ምጽዋዕ , formerly ባጽዕ is a city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea. An important port for many centuries, it was ruled by a succession of polities, including the Axumite Empire, the Umayyad Caliphate,...

 was the most northerly point frequented by the Portuguese until 1541, when a fleet under Estevão da Gama penetrated as far as Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

.

Pacific Ocean (1513–1529)



In 1513, about 40 miles south of Acandí
Acandí
Acandí is a town and municipality in the Chocó Department, Colombia by the Caribbean sea.-History:The name Acandí derives from the Acandí tribe which means "River of Stones". The first foundation of the town of Acandí originated in c...

, in present day Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Spanish Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.He traveled to the New World in...

 heard unexpected news of an "other sea" rich in gold, which he received with great interest. With few resources and using information given by cacique
Cacique
Cacique is a title derived from the Taíno word for the pre-Columbian chiefs or leaders of tribes in the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles...

s
, he journeyed across the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

 with 190 Spaniards, a few native guides, and a pack of dogs. Using a small brigantine
Brigantine
In sailing, a brigantine or hermaphrodite brig is a vessel with two masts, only the forward of which is square rigged.-Origins of the term:...

 and ten native canoe
Canoe
A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

s, they sailed along the coast and made landfall. On September 6, the expedition was reinforced with 1,000 men, fought several battles, entered a dense jungle and climbed the mountain range along the Chucunaque River
Chucunaque River
The Chucunaque River is a river of Panama. It is a tributary of the Tuira River in the Darien Province. It is the longest river in Panama.-References:* Rand McNally, The New International Atlas, 1993.*CIA map, 1995....

 from where this "other sea" could be seen. Balboa went ahead and, before noon September 25, he saw in the horizon an undiscovered sea, becoming the first European to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World. The expedition descended towards the shore for a short reconnaissance trip, thus becoming the first Europeans to navigate the Pacific Ocean. After traveling more than 110 km (68 mi), Balboa named the bay where they ended up San Miguel
Bay of San Miguel
The Bay of San Miguel is located on the Pacific coast of Darién, a district of eastern Panama. Bay is located at . It is fed by the Tuira River. At its southern end is Cape Garachiné , and at its northern end is Punta San Lorenzo ....

. He named the new sea Mar del Sur (South Sea)
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, since they had traveled south to reach it. Balboa's main purpose in the expedition was the search for gold-rich kingdoms. To this end, he crossed through the lands of caciques to the islands, naming the largest one Isla Rica (Rich Island, today known as Isla del Rey). He named the entire group Archipiélago de las Perlas
Pearl Islands
The Pearl Islands are a group of 100 or more islands lying about off the Pacific coast of Panama in the Gulf of Panama.- Islands :...

, which they still keep today. In 1515–1516 Juan Díaz de Solís
Juan Díaz de Solís
Juan Díaz de Solís was a Spanish navigator and explorer.Díaz de Solís was probably born in Lebrija, Seville, although some other authors argue that his birth may have actually taken place in Portugal to an Andalusian emigree family....

 sailed as far as Río de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

, which he named, having died trying to find a passage to the "South Sea" in South America at the service of Spain.
h
At the same time, Portuguese in Southeast Asia made the first European report on the western Pacific
First Europeans in the Philippines
It is not known who the first Europeans were to visit any part of what is now known as the Philippines. However, books published in western Europe before Ferdinand Magellan landed in the southern Philippines in 1521 show that the members of Magellan's 1521 expedition were not...

, having identified Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

 east of Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

 and named its inhabitants the "Luções
Luções
Luções or Luzones is the name that the Portuguese explorers in Southeast Asia used to refer to one of the ethnic groups that occupied the island of Luzon around the time of the early 16th century...

", in the modern Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

.

First circumnavigation


In 1519, Spain put together an important expedition with the aim of finding new trade routes to the Far East by sailing west. By 1516, several Portuguese navigators, who had conflicts with King Manuel I of Portugal, had gathered in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 to serve the newly crowned Charles I of Spain
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

. Among them were explorers Diogo and Duarte Barbosa
Duarte Barbosa
Duarte Barbosa was a Portuguese writer and Portuguese India officer between 1500 and 1516–17, with the post of scrivener in Cannanore factory and sometimes interpreter of the local language...

, Estevão Gomes, João Serrão and Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

, the cartographers Jorge Reinel
Jorge Reinel
Jorge Reinel born Lisbon renown Portuguese cartographer and instructor in cartography, son of the well-known cartographer Pedro Reinel. In 1519 in Seville he participated in the maps designed for the trip of his countryman Ferdinand Magellan, and his depiction of the Maluku Islands served as a...

 and Diogo Ribeiro, the cosmographers Francisco and Ruy Faleiro
Rui Faleiro
Rui Faleiro was a Portuguese cosmographer, astrologer, and astronomer who was the principal scientific organizer behind Magellan's circumnavigation of the world....

 and the Flemish merchant Christopher de Haro
Christopher de Haro
Christopher de Haro was a Lisbon-based merchant of Flemish origin. He provided the financial backing to Ferdinand Magellan's 1519 voyage, the first circumnavigation around the world....

. Ferdinand Magellan—who had sailed in India for Portugal up to 1513, when the Maluku Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

 were reached, kept contact with Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão was a Portuguese explorer and a cousin of Ferdinand Magellan. His 1512 voyage was the first known European sailing east past Malacca through Indonesia and the Indies. He became a member of the Sultan Bayan Sirrullah, the ruler of Ternate, becoming his personal advisor...

 living there—developed the theory that the islands were in the Tordesillas
Treaty of Tordesillas
The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

 Spanish area, supported on studies by Faleiro brothers. Aware of the efforts of the Spanish to find a route to India by sailing west, Magellan presented them a plan to get there. Spanish navigators such as Juan Sebastian Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano was a Basque Spanish explorer who completed the first circumnavigation of the world. As Ferdinand Magellan's second in command, Elcano took over after Magellan's death in the Philippines.-Early life:Elcano was born to Domingo Sebastián Elcano I and Catalina del Puerto...

 also formed part of the enterprise.

The Spanish king and Christopher de Haro financed Magellan's expedition. On August 10, 1519, departed from Seville a fleet of five ships—flagship
Flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 Trinidad
Trinidad (ship)
The Trinidad was the flagship of Ferdinand Magellan's voyage of circumnavigation. Unlike Elcano's Victoria, which returned to Spain, the Trinidad tried and failed to return by way of Mexico. Trinidad was a nao of 100 tons with square sails on the fore and main masts and a lateen mizzen. Its...

under Magellan's command, San Antonio, Concepcion, Santiago and Victoria
Victoria (ship)
Victoria was a Spanish carrack and the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world. The Victoria was part of a Spanish expedition commanded by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and after his demise during the voyage, by Juan Sebastián Elcano...

, the first being a caravel
Caravel
A caravel is a small, highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave her speed and the capacity for sailing to windward...

, and all others rated as carrack
Carrack
A carrack or nau was a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in 15th century Western Europe for use in the Atlantic Ocean. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stem. It was first used by the Portuguese , and later by the Spanish, to explore and...

s or "naus"—with a crew of about 237 men from several nations, with the goal of reaching the Maluku Islands by traveling west, trying to reclaim it under Spain's economic and political sphere.

The fleet sailed further and further south, avoiding the Portuguese territories in Brazil, and become the first to reach Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of , and a group of smaller islands including Cape...

 at the tip of the Americas. On October 21, starting in Cape Virgenes
Cape Virgenes
Capes in the AmericasCape Virgenes is the southeastern tip of continental Argentina. Ferdinand Magellan reached it on 21 October 1520 and discovered a strait, now called the Strait of Magellan...

, began an arduous trip through a 373-mile (600 km) long strait that Magellan named Estrecho de Todos los Santos, modern Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

. On November 28, three ships entered the Pacific Ocean—then named Mar Pacífico because of its apparent stillness. The expedition managed to cross the Pacific. Magellan died in the battle of Mactan
Battle of Mactan
The Battle of Mactan was fought in the Philippines on April 27, 1521. The warriors of Lapu-Lapu, a native chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated Spanish forces under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, who was killed in the battle.- Background :...

 in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, leaving the Spaniard Juan Sebastián Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano was a Basque Spanish explorer who completed the first circumnavigation of the world. As Ferdinand Magellan's second in command, Elcano took over after Magellan's death in the Philippines.-Early life:Elcano was born to Domingo Sebastián Elcano I and Catalina del Puerto...

 the task of completing the voyage, reaching the Spice Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

 in 1521. On September 6, 1522 Victoria returned to Spain, thus completing the first circumnavigation
Circumnavigation
Circumnavigation – literally, "navigation of a circumference" – refers to travelling all the way around an island, a continent, or the entire planet Earth.- Global circumnavigation :...

 of the globe. Of the men who set out on five ships, only 18 completed the circumnavigation and managed to return to Spain in this single vessel led by Elcano. Seventeen other arrived later in Spain: twelve captured by the Portuguese in Cape Verde some weeks earlier and between 1525–1527, and five survivors of the Trinidad. Antonio Pigafetta
Antonio Pigafetta
Antonio Pigafetta was an Italian scholar and explorer from the Republic of Venice. He travelled with the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew on their voyage to the Indies. During the expedition, he served as Magellan's assistant and kept an accurate journal which later assisted him...

, a Venetian
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 scholar and traveler who had asked to be on board and become a strict assistant of Magellan, kept an accurate journal that become the main source for much of what we know about this voyage.

This round-the-world voyage gave Spain valuable knowledge of the world and its oceans which later helped in the exploration and settlement of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. Although this was not a realistic alternative to the Portuguese route around Africa (the Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

 was too far south, and the Pacific Ocean too vast to cover in a single trip from Spain) successive Spanish expeditions used this information to travel from the Mexican coast via Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

 to Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

.

Westward and Eastward exploration met


Soon after Magellan's expedition, the Portuguese rushed to seize the surviving crew and built a fort in Ternate
Ternate
Ternate is an island in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia. It is located off the west coast of the larger island of Halmahera, the center of the powerful former Sultanate of Ternate....

. In 1525, Charles I of Spain
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 sent another expedition westward to colonize the Maluku Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

, claiming that they were in his zone of the Treaty of Tordesillas
Treaty of Tordesillas
The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

. The fleet of seven ships and 450 men was led by García Jofre de Loaísa
García Jofre de Loaísa
García Jofre de Loaísa was a 16th century Spanish explorer ordered by king Charles I of Spain to command an expedition to Asia, known as the Loaísa expedition, which in 1525 was sent by the western route to colonize the Spice Islands in the East Indies, thus crossing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans...

 and included the most notable Spanish navigators: Juan Sebastián Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano
Juan Sebastián Elcano was a Basque Spanish explorer who completed the first circumnavigation of the world. As Ferdinand Magellan's second in command, Elcano took over after Magellan's death in the Philippines.-Early life:Elcano was born to Domingo Sebastián Elcano I and Catalina del Puerto...

 and Loaísa, who lost their lives then, and the young Andrés de Urdaneta
Andrés de Urdaneta
Friar Andrés de Urdaneta, O.S.A., was a circumnavigator, explorer and Augustinian friar. As a navigator he achieved in 1536 the "second" world circumnavigation after first one led by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano in 1522...

.

Near the Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

 one of the ships was pushed south by a storm, reaching 56° S, where they thought seeing "earth's end": so Cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...

 was crossed for the first time. The expedition reached the islands with great difficulty, docking at Tidore
Tidore
Tidore is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia, west of the larger island of Halmahera. In the pre-colonial era, the kingdom of Tidore was a major regional political and economic power, and a fierce rival of nearby Ternate, just to the north.-Geography:Tidor...

. The conflict with the Portuguese established in nearby Ternate was inevitable, starting nearly a decade of skirmishes.

As there was not a set eastern limit to Tordesillas line, both kingdoms organized meetings to resolve the issue. From 1524 to 1529 Portuguese and Spanish experts met at Badajoz-Elvas trying to find the exact location of the antimeridian of Tordesillas, which would divide the world into two equal hemispheres
Sphere
A sphere is a perfectly round geometrical object in three-dimensional space, such as the shape of a round ball. Like a circle in two dimensions, a perfect sphere is completely symmetrical around its center, with all points on the surface lying the same distance r from the center point...

. Each crown appointed three astronomers
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 and cartographers
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

, three pilots
Navigation
Navigation is the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. It is also the term of art used for the specialized knowledge used by navigators to perform navigation tasks...

 and three mathematicians. Lopo Homem
Lopo Homem
Lopo Homem was a Portuguese cartographer and cosmographer.- Biography :In 1517 King Manuel I of Portugal handed Lopo Homem a charter entitling him the privilege of certifying and amending all compass needles in vessels. This charter was revalidated in 1524 by King John III of Portugal...

, Portuguese cartographer and cosmographer was in the board, along with cartographer Diogo Ribeiro
Diego Ribero
Diogo Ribeiro, also known as Diego Ribero, was a Portuguese cartographer and explorer who worked most of his life in Spain. He worked on the official maps of the Padron Real from 1518-1532...

 on the Spanish delegation. The board met several times, without reaching an agreement: the knowledge at that time was insufficient for an accurate calculation of longitude
History of longitude
The history of longitude is a record of the effort, by navigators and scientists over several centuries, to discover a means of determining longitude....

, and each group gave the islands to its sovereign. The issue was settled only in 1529, after a long negotiation, with the signing of Treaty of Zaragoza
Treaty of Zaragoza (1529)
The Treaty of Zaragoza, also referred to as the capitulation of Zaragoza was a peace treaty between Spain and Portugal signed on 22 April of 1529 by King John III and the Emperor Charles V, in the city of Zaragoza...

, that attributed the Maluku Islands to Portugal and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 to Spain.

Between 1525 and 1528 Portugal sent several expeditions around the Maluku Islands. Gomes de Sequeira
Gomes de Sequeira
Gomes de Sequeira was a Portuguese explorer in the early 16th century. It has been suggested by some historians that Gomes de Sequeira may have sailed to the northeast coast of Australia as part of his explorations, although this is highly disputed....

 and Diogo da Rocha were sent north by the governor of Ternate Jorge de Meneses, being the first Europeans to reach the Caroline Islands
Caroline Islands
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

, which they named "Islands de Sequeira". In 1526, Jorge de Meneses docked on Waigeo
Waigeo
Waigeo is an island in West Papua province of eastern Indonesia. The island is also known as Amberi, or Waigiu. It is the largest of the four main islands in the Raja Ampat Islands archipelago, between Halmahera and about 65 km to the northwest coast of New Guinea...

 island, Papua New Guinea. Based on these explorations stands the theory of Portuguese discovery of Australia
Theory of Portuguese discovery of Australia
Although most historians hold that the European discovery of Australia began in 1606 with the voyage of the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon on board the Duyfken, a theory exists that a Portuguese expedition arrived in Australia between 1521 and 1524...

, one among several competing theories about the early discovery of Australia, supported by Australian historian Kenneth McIntyre
Kenneth McIntyre
Kenneth Gordon McIntyre OBE was an Australian lawyer, historian and mathematician who is perhaps best known for his controversial book The Secret Discovery of Australia - Portuguese ventures 200 years before Captain Cook....

, stating it was discovered by Cristóvão de Mendonça
Cristóvão de Mendonça
Cristóvão de Mendonça was a Portuguese sailor and statesman who was active in South East Asia in the 16th century.-Mendonça in João de Barros's Décadas da Ásia:...

 and Gomes de Sequeira.

In 1527 Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 fitted out a fleet to find new lands in the "South Sea" (Pacific Ocean), asking his cousin Alvaro de Saavedra to take charge. On October 31 of 1527 Saavedra sailed from New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

, crossing the Pacific and touring the north of New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

, then named Isla de Oro. In October 1528 one of the vessels reached Maluku Islands. In his attempt to return to New Spain he was diverted by the northeast trade winds, which threw him back, so he tried sailing back down, to south. He returned to New Guinea and sailed northeast, where he sighted the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 and the Admiralty Islands
Admiralty Islands
The Admiralty Islands are a group of eighteen islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, to the north of New Guinea in the south Pacific Ocean. These are also sometimes called the Manus Islands, after the largest island. These rainforest-covered islands form part of Manus Province, the smallest and...

, but again was surprised by the winds, which brought him a third time to the Moluccas. This westbound return route was hard to find, but was eventually discovered by Andrés de Urdaneta
Andrés de Urdaneta
Friar Andrés de Urdaneta, O.S.A., was a circumnavigator, explorer and Augustinian friar. As a navigator he achieved in 1536 the "second" world circumnavigation after first one led by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano in 1522...

 in 1565.

Inland Spanish conquistadores (1519–1532)


Rumors of undiscovered islands northwest of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 had reached Spain by 1511 and king Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 was interested in forestalling further exploration. While Portuguese were making huge gains in the Indian Ocean, the Spanish invested in exploring inland in search of gold and valuable resources. The members of these expeditions, the "conquistadors", came from a variety of backgrounds including artisans, merchants, clergy, lesser nobility and freed slaves. They usually supplied their own equipment in exchange for a share in profits, having no direct connection with the royal army, and often no professional military training or experience.

In the Americas the Spanish found a number of empires that were as large and populous as those in Europe. However, small bodies of conquistadors, with large armies of indigenous Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 groups, managed to conquer these states. During this time, pandemic
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

s of European disease such as smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 devastated the indigenous populations. Once Spanish sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 was established, the Spanish focused on the extraction and export of gold and silver.

In 1512, to reward Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named...

 for exploring Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 in 1508, king Ferdinand urged him to seek these new lands. He would become governor of discovered lands, but was to finance himself all exploration. With three ships and about 200 men, Léon set out from Puerto Rico on March 1513. In April they sighted land and named it La Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

—because it was Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 (Florida) season—believing it was an island, becoming credited as the first European to land in the continent. The arrival location has been disputed between St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is a city in the northeast section of Florida and the county seat of St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United...

, Ponce de León Inlet
Ponce de León Inlet
The Ponce de León Inlet is a natural opening in the barrier islands in northern Florida that connects the north end of the Mosquito Lagoon and the south end of the Halifax River to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the site of the town of Ponce Inlet, Florida and the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light...

 and Melbourne Beach
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Melbourne Beach is a town in Brevard County, Florida, United States. The population was 3,335 at the 2000 census. As of 2005, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 3,314. It is part of the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:The Ais Indians resided...

. They headed south for further exploration and on April 8 encountered a current so strong that it pushed them backwards: this was the first encounter with the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

 that would soon become the primary route for eastbound ships leaving the Spanish Indies bound for Europe. They explored down the coast reaching Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay is a lagoon that is approximately 35 miles long and up to 8 miles wide located on the Atlantic coast of South Florida, United States. It is usually divided for purposes of discussion and analysis into three parts: North Bay, Central Bay, and South Bay. Its area is...

, Dry Tortugas
Dry Tortugas
The Dry Tortugas are a small group of islands, located at the end of the Florida Keys, USA, about west of Key West, and west of the Marquesas Keys, the closest islands. Still further west is the Tortugas Bank, which is completely submerged. The first Europeans to discover the islands were the...

 and then sailing southwest in an attempt to circle Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 to return, reaching Grand Bahama
Grand Bahama
Grand Bahama is one of the northernmost of the islands of the Bahamas, and the closest major island to the United States, lying off the state of Florida. Grand Bahama is the fifth largest island in the Bahamas island chain of approximately 700 islands and 2,400 cays...

 on July.

Cortés' Mexico and the Aztec Empire




In 1517 Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

's governor Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar was a Spanish conquistador. He conquered and governed Cuba on behalf of Spain.-Early life:...

 commissioned a fleet under the command of Hernández de Córdoba to explore the Yucatán peninsula
Yucatán Peninsula
The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel...

. They reached the coast where Mayans invited them to land, but were attacked at night and only a remnant of the crew returned. Velázquez then commissioned another expedition led by his nephew Juan de Grijalva
Juan de Grijalva
Juan de Grijalva was a Spanish conquistador. Some authors said he was from the same family as Diego Velázquez.He went to Hispaniola in 1508 and to Cuba in 1511....

, who sailed south along the coast to Tabasco
Tabasco
Tabasco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tabasco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa....

, part of the Aztec empire. In 1518 Velázquez gave the mayor of the capital of Cuba, Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

, the command of an expedition to secure the interior of Mexico but, due to an old gripe between them, revoked the charter.

In February 1519 Cortés went ahead anyway, in an act of open mutiny. With about 11 ships, 500 men, 13 horses and a small number of cannons he landed in Yucatán, in Mayan territory, claiming the land for the Spanish crown. From Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 he proceeded to Tabasco
Tabasco
Tabasco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tabasco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa....

 and won a battle against the natives. Among the vanquished was La Malinche
La Malinche
La Malinche , known also as Malintzin, Malinalli or Doña Marina, was a Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast, who played a role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico, acting as interpreter, advisor, lover and intermediary for Hernán Cortés...

, his future mistress, who knew both (Aztec) Nahuatl language and Maya, becoming a valuable interpreter and counselor. Through her, Cortés learned about the wealthy Aztec Empire.

In July his men took over Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

 and he placed himself under direct orders of new king Charles V of Spain. There Cortés asked for a meeting with Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II
Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...

, who repeatedly refused. They headed to Tenochtitlan and on the way made alliances with several tribes. In October, accompanied by about 3,000 Tlaxcaltec
Tlaxcaltec
The Tlaxcalteca were an indigenous group of Nahua ethnicity that inhabited the Kingdom of Tlaxcala located in what is now the Mexican state of Tlaxcala.-Pre-hispanic history:...

 they marched to Cholula
Cholula (Mesoamerican site)
Cholula , was an important city of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, dating back to at least the 2nd century BCE, with settlement as a village going back at least some thousand years earlier. The great site of Cholula stands just west of the modern city of Puebla. Its immense pyramid exceeds the Pyramid...

, the second largest city in central Mexico. Either to instill fear upon the Aztecs waiting for him or (as he later claimed) wishing to make an example when he feared native treachery, they massacred thousands of unarmed members of the nobility gathered at the central plaza and partially burned the city.

Arriving in Tenochtitlan with a large army, on November 8 they were peacefully received by Moctezuma II, who deliberately let Cortés enter the heart of the Aztec Empire, hoping to know them better to crush them later. The emperor gave them lavish gifts in gold which enticed them to plunder vast amounts. In his letters to Charles V, Cortés claimed to have learned then that he was considered by the Aztecs to be either an emissary of the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered serpent". The worship of a feathered serpent deity is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BCE or first century CE...

 or Quetzalcoatl himself—a belief contested by a few modern historians. But he soon learned that his men on the coast had been attacked, and decided to hostage Moctezuma in his palace, demanding a ransom as tribute to Charles V.

Meanwhile, Velasquez sent another expedition, led by Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez was a Spanish conqueror and soldier in the Americas. He is most remembered as the leader of two expeditions, one to Mexico in 1520 to oppose Hernán Cortés, and the disastrous Narváez expedition to Florida in 1527....

, to oppose Cortès, arriving in Mexico in April 1520 with 1,100 men. Cortés left 200 men in Tenochtitlan and took the rest to confront Narvaez, whom he overcame, convincing his men to join him. In Tenochtitlán one of Cortés's lieutenants committed a massacre in the Main Temple
The massacre in the Main Temple, Tenochtitlán
The massacre in the Main Temple of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan was an episode in the Spanish conquest of Mexico which occurred on May 10, 1520....

, triggering local rebellion. Cortés speedily returned, attempting the support of Moctezuma but the Aztec emperor was killed, possibly stoned by his subjects. The Spanish fled for the Tlaxcaltec during the Noche Triste
La Noche Triste
La Noche Triste on June 30, 1520, was an important event during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, wherein Hernán Cortés and his army of Spanish conquistadors and native allies fought their way out of the Mexican capital at Tenochtitlan following the death of the Aztec king Montezuma, whom the...

, where they managed a narrow escape while their backguard was massacred. Much of the treasure looted was lost during this panicked escape. After a battle in Otumba
Battle of Otumba
- Background :Around the end of March 1519, Hernán Cortés landed with a Spanish conquistador force at Potonchán on the coast of modern-day Mexico. Cortés had been commissioned by Governor Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar of Spanish-controlled Cuba to lead an expedition in the area, which was dominated by...

 they reached Tlaxcala, having lost 870 men. Having prevailed with the assistance of allies and reinforcements from Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Cortés sieged of Tenochtitlán and captured its ruler Cuauhtémoc
Cuauhtémoc
Cuauhtémoc was the Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521...

 on August 1521. As the Aztec Empire ended he claimed the city for Spain, renaming it Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

.

Pizarro's Peru and the Inca Empire


A first attempt to explore western South America was undertaken in 1522 by Pascual de Andagoya
Pascual de Andagoya
Pascual de Andagoya was a Spanish Basque conquistador. He was born in the village of Andagoya, in the valley of Cuartango , in Spain....

. Native South Americans told him about a gold-rich territory on a river called Pirú. Having reached San Juan River (Colombia)
San Juan River (Colombia)
San Juan River is an important river of Colombia. It quoted source is in the Cordillera Occidental and has a length of 380 km...

, Andagoya fell ill and returned to Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, where he spread news about "Pirú" as the legendary El Dorado
El Dorado
El Dorado is the name of a Muisca tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and, as an initiation rite, dived into a highland lake.Later it became the name of a legendary "Lost City of Gold" that has fascinated – and so far eluded – explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors...

. These, along with the accounts of success of Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

, caught the attention of Pizarro.

Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

 had accompanied Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.He traveled to the New World in...

 in the crossing of the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

. In 1524 he formed a partnership with priest Hernando de Luque
Hernando de Luque
Hernando de Luque was a Spanish priest who travelled to the New World in the 16th century. He arrived in 1514 with the expedition of Pedrarias Dávila to Panama, where he met Francisco Pizarro. Luque financed a joint expedition by Pizarro and Diego de Almagro to Peru in 1526...

 and soldier Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro, , also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo , was a Spanish conquistador and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro. He participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.Almagro lost his left eye battling with coastal...

 to explore the south, agreeing to divide the profits. They dubbed the enterprise the "Empresa del Levante": Pizarro would command, Almagro would provide military and food supplies, and Luque would be in charge of finances and additional provisions.

On 13 September 1524, the first of three expeditions left to conquest Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 with about 80 men and 40 horses. The expedition was a failure, reaching no farther than Colombia before succumbing to bad weather, hunger and skirmishes with hostile locals, where Almagro lost an eye. The place names bestowed along their route, Puerto deseado (desired port), Puerto del hambre (port of hunger) and Puerto quemado (burned port), testify these difficulties. Two years later they proceed in a second expedition with reluctant permission from Panama Governor. In August 1526, they left with two ships, 160 men and several horses. Upon reaching San Juan River they separated, Pizarro staying to explore the swampy coasts and Almagro sent back for reinforcements. Pizarro's main pilot sailed south and, after crossing the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

 captured a raft from Tumbes
Tumbes Region
Tumbes is a coastal region in northwestern Peru and southwestern Ecuador. Due to the region's location near the Equator it has a warm climate, with beaches that are considered among the finest in Peru...

. To his surprise, it carried textiles, ceramic and much-desired gold, silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, and emeralds, becoming the central focus of the expedition. Soon Almagro joined with reinforcements and they resumed. After a difficult voyage facing strong winds and currents, they reached Atacames
Atacames
Atacames is a beach town located on Ecuador's Northern Pacific coast. It is located in the province of Esmeraldas, approximately 30 kilometers away from the capital of that province, which is also called Esmeraldas. In 2005 Atacames's population was 11,251 inhabitants. Atacames has one of the...

 where they found a large native population under Inca rule, but they seemed so dangerous that they did not enter land.

Pizarro stood at safe near the coast, while Almagro and Luque went back for reinforcements with proof of the found gold. The new governor outright rejected a third expedition and ordered two ships to bring everyone back to Panama. Almagro and Luque grasped the opportunity to join Pizarro. When they arrived at the Isla de Gallo, Pizarro drew a line in the sand, saying: "There lies Peru with its riches; Here, Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian." Thirteen men decided to stay and became known as The Famous Thirteen. They headed for La Isla Gorgona, where they remained for seven months before the arrival of provisions.

They decided to sail south and, by April 1528, reached the northwestern Peruvian Tumbes Region
Tumbes Region
Tumbes is a coastal region in northwestern Peru and southwestern Ecuador. Due to the region's location near the Equator it has a warm climate, with beaches that are considered among the finest in Peru...

 and were warmly received by local Tumpis. Two of Pizarro's men reported incredible riches, including gold and silver decorations around the chief's house. They saw for the first time a Llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

 which Pizarro called "little camels". The natives named the Spanish "Children of the Sun" for their fair complexion and brilliant armors. They decided then to return to Panama to prepare a final expedition. Before leaving they sailed south through territories they named such as Cabo Blanco, port of Payta, Sechura, Punta de Aguja, Santa Cruz, and Trujillo
Trujillo, Peru
Trujillo, in northwestern Peru, is the capital of the La Libertad Region, and the third largest city in Peru. The urban area has 811,979 inhabitants and is an economic hub in northern Peru...

, reaching the ninth degree south.

In the spring of 1528 Pizarro sailed for Spain, where he had an interview with king Charles I
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

. The king heard of his expeditions in lands rich in gold and silver and promised to support him. The Capitulación de Toledo authorized Pizarro to proceed with the conquest of Peru. Pizarro convinced then many friends and relatives to join: his brothers Hernándo Pizarro
Hernándo Pizarro
Hernando Pizarro y de Vargas was a Spanish conquistador and one of the Pizarro brothers who ruled over Peru...

, Juan Pizarro, Gonzalo Pizarro
Gonzalo Pizarro
Gonzalo Pizarro y Alonso was a Spanish conquistador and younger paternal half-brother of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of the Inca Empire...

 and also Francisco de Orellana
Francisco de Orellana
Francisco de Orellana was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. He completed the first known navigation of the length of the Amazon River, which was originally named for him...

, who would later explore the Amazon River
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

, as well as his cousin Pedro Pizarro
Pedro Pizarro
Pedro Pizarro was a Spanish chronicler and conquistador. He took part in most events of the Spanish conquest of Peru and wrote an extensive chronicle of them under the title Relación del descubrimiento y conquista de los reinos del Perú , which he finished in 1571.-Biography:Pedro Pizarro was...

.

Pizarro's third and final expedition left Panama for Peru on 27 December 1530. With three ships and one hundred and eighty men they landed near Ecuador and sailed to Tumbes, finding the place destroyed. They entered the interior and established the first Spanish settlement in Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, San Miguel de Piura. One of the men returned with an Incan envoy and an invitation for a meeting. Inca were at a civil war
Inca Civil War
The Inca Civil War, the Inca Dynastic War, the Inca War of Succession, or, sometimes, the War of the Two Brothers was fought between two brothers, Huáscar and Atahualpa, sons of Huayna Capac, over the succession to the Inca throne. The war followed Huayna Capac's death in 1527, although it did not...

 and Atahualpa
Atahualpa
Atahualpa, Atahuallpa, Atabalipa, or Atawallpa , was the last Sapa Inca or sovereign emperor of the Tahuantinsuyu, or the Inca Empire, prior to the Spanish conquest of Peru...

 had been resting in northern Peru following the defeat of his brother Huascar
Huáscar
Huáscar Inca was Sapa Inca of the Inca empire from 1527 to 1532 AD, succeeding his father Huayna Capac and brother Ninan Cuyochi, both of whom died of smallpox while campaigning near Quito.After the conquest, the Spanish put forth the idea that Huayna Capac may have...

. After marching for two months, they approached Atahualpa. He, however, refused the Spanish by saying he would "be no man's tributary." There were fewer than 200 Spanish to his 80,000 soldiers, but Pizarro attacked and won the Incan army in the Battle of Cajamarca
Battle of Cajamarca
The Battle of Cajamarca was a surprise attack on the Inca royal entourage orchestrated by Francisco Pizarro. Sprung on the evening of November 16, 1532, in the great plaza of Cajamarca, the ambush achieved the goal of capturing the Inca, Atahualpa, and claimed the lives of thousands of his...

, taking Atahualpa captive at the so-called ransom room. Despite fulfilling his promise of filling one room with gold and two with silver, he was convicted for killing his brother and plotting against Pizarro, and was executed.

In 1533, Pizarro invaded Cuzco
Cusco
Cusco , often spelled Cuzco , is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago...

 with indigenous troops and wrote to the king Charles I: "This city is the greatest and the finest ever seen in this country or anywhere in the Indies... it is so beautiful and has such fine buildings that it would be remarkable even in Spain." After the Spanish had sealed the conquest of Peru, Jauja
Jauja
Jauja is a city and capital of Jauja Province in Peru. It is situated in the fertile Mantaro Valley, to the northwest of Huancayo , at an altitude of . Its population according to the 2007 census was 16,424....

 in fertile Mantaro Valley
Mantaro Valley
The Mantaro Valley, with its main city of Huancayo, lies east of the capital of Peru, Lima. It is a fertile valley containing fields of corn, artichokes, carrots and potatoes, alongside which flows the Mantaro River. The Mantaro Valley is also renowned as an area containing many sites of...

 was established as Peru's provisional capital, but it was too far up in the mountains that Pizarro thus founded the city of Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

 on 18 January 1535, considered by himself one of the most important acts in his life.

New trade routes (1542–1565)


In 1543 three Portuguese traders, accidentally became the first Westerners to reach and trade with Japan. According Fernão Mendes Pinto
Fernão Mendes Pinto
Fernão Mendes Pinto was a Portuguese explorer and writer. His exploits are known through the posthumous publication of his memoir Pilgrimage in 1614, an autobiographical work whose truthfulness is nearly impossible to assess...

, who claimed to be in this journey, they arrived at Tanegashima
Tanegashima
is an island lying to the south of Kyushu, in southern Japan, and is part of Kagoshima Prefecture. The island is the second largest of the Ōsumi Islands....

, where the locals were impressed by firearms
Firearms of Japan
Firearms were introduced to Japan in the 13th century. Following an intense development, with strong local manufacture during the period of conflicts of the 16th century, Japan then almost completely abandoned firearms through a policy of forced disarmament, helped by a policy of seclusion, sakoku...

, that would be immediately made by the Japanese on a large scale.

The Spanish conquest of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 was ordered by Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

, and Andrés de Urdaneta
Andrés de Urdaneta
Friar Andrés de Urdaneta, O.S.A., was a circumnavigator, explorer and Augustinian friar. As a navigator he achieved in 1536 the "second" world circumnavigation after first one led by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano in 1522...

 was the designated commander. Urdaneta agreed to accompany the expedition but refused to command and Miguel López de Legazpi
Miguel López de Legazpi
Miguel López de Legazpi , also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo , was a Spanish conquistador who established one of the first European settlements in the East Indies and the Pacific Islands in 1565. He is the first Governor-General in the Philippines...

 was appointed instead. The expedition set sail on November 1564. After spending some time on the islands, Legazpi sent Urdaneta back to find a better return route. Urdaneta set sail from San Miguel on the island of Cebu
Cebu
Cebu is a province in the Philippines, consisting of Cebu Island and 167 surrounding islands. It is located to the east of Negros, to the west of Leyte and Bohol islands...

 on June 1, 1565, but was obliged to sail as far as 38 degrees North latitude
38th parallel north
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean...

 to obtain favourable winds.
He reasoned that the trade winds of the Pacific might move in a gyre
Gyre
A gyre in oceanography is any large system of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements. Gyres are caused by the Coriolis Effect; planetary vorticity along with horizontal and vertical friction, which determine the circulation patterns from the wind curl...

 as the Atlantic winds did. If in the Atlantic, ships made the Volta do mar
Volta Do Mar
"Volta do mar", "volta do mar largo" or "volta do largo", is a navigational technique perfected by Portuguese navigators during the Age of Discovery in the late fifteenth century, using the dependable phenomenon of the great permanent wind wheel, the North Atlantic Gyre...

to pick up winds that would bring them back from Madeira, then, he reasoned, by sailing far to the north before heading east, he would pick up trade winds to bring him back to North America. His hunch paid off, and he hit the coast near Cape Mendocino
Cape Mendocino
Cape Mendocino located on the Lost Coast entirely within Humboldt County, California, USA, is the westernmost point on the coast of California. It has been a landmark since the 16th century when the Manila Galleons would reach the coast here following the prevailing westerlies all the way across...

, California, then followed the coast south. The ship reached the port of Acapulco, on October 8, 1565, having traveled 12,000 miles (20,000 km) in 130 days. Fourteen of his crew died; only Urdaneta and Felipe de Salcedo, nephew of López de Legazpi, had strength enough to cast the anchors.

Thus, a cross-Pacific Spanish route was established, between Mexico and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. For a long time these routes were used by the Manila galleon
Manila Galleon
The Manila galleons or Manila-Acapulco galleons were Spanish trading ships that sailed once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean between Manila in the Philippines, and Acapulco, New Spain . The name changed reflecting the city that the ship was sailing from...

s, thereby creating a trade link joining China, the Americas, and Europe via the combined trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic routes.

Northern European involvement (1595–1600s)


Nations outside Iberia refused to acknowledge the Treaty of Tordesillas. France, the Netherlands and England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 each had a long maritime tradition
Maritime history of Europe
Maritime history of Europe is a term used to describe significant past events relating to the northwestern region of Eurasia in areas concerning shipping and shipbuilding, shipwrecks, naval battles, and military installations and lighthouses constructed to protect or aid navigation and the...

 and had been engaging in privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

ing. Despite Iberian protections, the new technologies and maps soon made their way north.

In 1568 the Dutch
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 rebelled against the rule of Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 leading to the Eighty Years' War. War between England and Spain also broke out. In 1580 Philip II became King of Portugal, as rightful heir to the Crown. The combined empires were simply too big to go unchallenged by European rivals.

Philip's troops conquered the important trading cities of Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 and Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

. Antwerp, then the most important port in the world, fell in 1585. Protestant population was given two years to settle affairs before leaving the city. Many settled in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

. Those were mainly skilled craftsmen, rich merchants of the port cities and refugees that fled religious persecution, particularly Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 from Portugal and Spain and, later, the Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

s from France. The Pilgrim Fathers also spent time there before going to the New World. This mass immigration was an important driving force: a small port in 1585, Amsterdam quickly transformed into one of the most important commercial centers in the world. After the defeat of the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

 in 1588 there was a huge expansion of maritime trade.

The emergence of Dutch maritime power was swift and remarkable: for years Dutch sailors had participated in Portuguese voyages to the east, as able seafarers and keen mapmakers. In 1592, Cornelis de Houtman
Cornelis de Houtman
Cornelis de Houtman , brother of Frederick de Houtman, was a Dutch explorer who discovered a new sea route from Europe to Indonesia and managed to begin the Dutch spice trade...

 was sent by Dutch merchants to Lisbon, to gather as much information as he could about the Spice Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

. In 1595, merchant and explorer Jan Huyghen van Linschoten
Jan Huyghen van Linschoten
Jan Huyghen van Linschoten was a Dutch Protestant merchant, traveller and historian. An alternate spelling of second name is Huijgen....

, having traveled widely in the Indian Ocean at the service of the Portuguese, published a travel report in Amsterdam, the "Reys-gheschrift vande navigatien der Portugaloysers in Orienten" ("Report of a journey through the navigations of the Portuguese in the East"). This included vast directions on how to navigate between Portugal and the East Indies and to Japan. That same year Houtman followed this directions in the Dutch first exploratory travel that discovered a new sea route, sailing directly from Madagascar to Sunda Strait
Sunda Strait
The Sunda Strait is the strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. It connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean...

 in Indonesia and signing a treaty with the Banten
Banten
Banten is a province of Indonesia in Java. Formerly part of the Province of West Java, it was made a separate province in 2000.The administrative center is Serang. Preliminary results from the 2010 census counted some 10.6 million people.-Geography:...

 Sultan.

Dutch and British interest fed on new information led to a movement of commercial expansion, and the foundation of English (1600), and Dutch (1602) chartered companies. Dutch, French, and English sent ships which flouted the Portuguese monopoly, concentrated mostly on the coastal areas, which proved unable defend such a vast and dispersed venture.

Exploring North America


The 1497 English expedition led by John Cabot
John Cabot
John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America is commonly held to have been the first European encounter with the continent of North America since the Norse Vikings in the eleventh century...

 was the first of a series of French and English missions exploring North America. Spain put limited efforts into exploring the northern part of the Americas, as its resources were concentrated in Central and South America where more wealth had been found. These expeditions were hoping to find an oceanic Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

 to Asian trade. This was never discovered, but other possibilities were found and in the early 17th century colonists from a number of Northern European states began to settle on the east coast of North America.

In 1524, Italian Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed at the behest of Francis I of France
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

, who was motivated by indignation over the division of the world between Portuguese and Spanish. Verrazzano explored the Atlantic Coast of North America, from South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 to Newfoundland, and was the first recorded European to visit what would later become the Virginia Colony and the United States. In the same year Estevão Gomes
Esteban Gómez
Esteban Gómez, also known as Estevan Gómez, and born Estêvão Gomes, , was a Portuguese cartographer and explorer. He sailed at the service of Spain in the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan, but deserted the expedition before reaching the Strait of Magellan, and returned to Spain in May 1521...

, a Portuguese cartographer
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 who'd sailed in Ferdinand Magellan's fleet, explored Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

, sailing South through Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, where he entered New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

, the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 and eventually reached Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in August 1525. As a result of his expedition, the 1529 Diogo Ribeiro world map outlines the East coast of North America almost perfectly. From 1534 to 1536, French explorer Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big...

, believed to have accompanied Verrazzano to Nova Scotia and Brazil, was the first European to travel inland in North America, describing the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence , the world's largest estuary, is the outlet of North America's Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean...

, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after Iroquois names
Iroquoian languages
The Iroquoian languages are a First Nation and Native American language family.-Family division:*Ruttenber, Edward Manning. 1992 [1872]. History of the Indian tribes of Hudson's River. Hope Farm Press....

, claiming what is now Canada for Francis I of France.

Europeans explored the Pacific Coast beginning in the mid-16th century. Francisco de Ulloa
Francisco de Ulloa
Francisco de Ulloa was a Spanish explorer who explored the west coast of present-day Mexico under the commission of Hernán Cortés...

 explored the Pacific coast of present-day Mexico including the Gulf of California
Gulf of California
The Gulf of California is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland...

, proving that Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

 was a peninsula Despite his discoveries, the myth persisted in Europe that California was an island
Island of California
The Island of California refers to a long-held European misconception, dating from the 16th century, that California was not part of mainland North America but rather a large island separated from the continent by a strait now known instead as the Gulf of California.One of the most famous...

. His account provided the first recorded use of the name "California". João Rodrigues Cabrilho
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was a Portuguese explorer noted for his exploration of the west coast of North America on behalf of Spain. Cabrillo was the first European explorer to navigate the coast of present day California in the United States...

, a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 navigator sailing for the Spanish Crown
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

, was the first European to set foot in California, landing on September 28, 1542 on the shores of San Diego Bay
San Diego Bay
San Diego Bay is a natural harbor and deepwater port adjacent to San Diego, California. It is 12 mi/19 km long, 1 mi/1.6 km–3 mi/4.8 km wide...

 and claiming California for Spain. He also landed on San Miguel
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island is the westernmost of California's Channel Islands, located across the Santa Barbara Channel in the Pacific Ocean, within Santa Barbara County, California. San Miguel is the sixth-largest of the eight Channel Islands at , including offshore islands and rocks. Prince Island, off...

, one of the Channel Islands
Channel Islands of California
The Channel Islands of California are a chain of eight islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California along the Santa Barbara Channel in the United States of America...

, and continued as far as Point Reyes
Point Reyes
Point Reyes is a prominent cape on the Pacific coast of northern California. It is located in Marin County approximately WNW of San Francisco. The term is often applied to the Point Reyes Peninsula, the region bounded by Tomales Bay on the northeast and Bolinas Lagoon on the southeast...

. After his death the crew continued exploring as far north as Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

.

The English Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

 sailed along the coast in 1579 somewhere north of Cabrillo's landing site—the actual location of Drake's landing was secret and is still undetermined—and claimed the land for England, calling it Nova Albion
New Albion
New Albion, also known as Nova Albion, was the name of the region of the Pacific coast of North America explored by Sir Francis Drake and claimed by him for England in 1579...

. The term "Nova Albion" was therefore used on many European maps to designate territory north of the Spanish settlements.

Between 1609–1611, after several voyages on behalf of English merchants to explore a prospective Northeast Passage
Northern Sea Route
The Northern Sea Route is a shipping lane officially defined by Russian legislation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean specifically running along the Russian Arctic coast from Murmansk on the Barents Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait and Far East. The entire route lies in Arctic...

 to India, Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 England's Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator in the early 17th century. Hudson made two attempts on behalf of English merchants to find a prospective Northeast Passage to Cathay via a route above the Arctic Circle...

, under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

 (VOC), explored the region around present-day New York City, while looking for a western route to Asia. He explored the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 and laid the foundation for Dutch colonization
New Netherland
New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the East Coast of North America. The claimed territories were the lands from the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod...

 of the region. Hudson's final expedition ranged farther north in search of the Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

, leading to his discovery of the Hudson Strait
Hudson Strait
Hudson Strait links the Atlantic Ocean to Hudson Bay in Canada. It lies between Baffin Island and the northern coast of Quebec, its eastern entrance marked by Cape Chidley and Resolution Island. It is long...

 and Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

. After wintering in the James Bay
James Bay
James Bay is a large body of water on the southern end of Hudson Bay in Canada. Both bodies of water extend from the Arctic Ocean. James Bay borders the provinces of Quebec and Ontario; islands within the bay are part of Nunavut...

, Hudson tried to press on with his voyage in the spring of 1611, but his crew mutinied
Mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

 and they cast him adrift
Marooning
Marooning is the intentional leaving of someone in a remote area, such as an uninhabited island. The word appears in writing in approximately 1709, and is derived from the term maroon, a word for a fugitive slave, which could be a corruption of Spanish cimarrón, meaning a household animal who has...

.

Search for a Northern Route


France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 were left without a sea route to Asia, either via Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 or South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. When it became apparent that there was no route through the heart of the American continent, attention turned to the possibility of a passage through northern waters, which English called the Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

. The desire to establish such a route motivated much of the European exploration of both coasts of North America and in Russia. In Russia the idea of a possible seaway connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific was first put forward by the diplomat Gerasimov
Dmitry Gerasimov
Dmitry Gerasimov , was a Russian translator, diplomat and philologist; he also provided some of the earliest information on Muscovy to Renaissance scholars such as Paolo Giovio and Sigismund von Herberstein....

 in 1525, although Russian settlers on the coast of the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

, the Pomors, had been exploring parts of the route as early as the 11th century.

In 1553 English explorer Hugh Willoughby with chief pilot Richard Chancellor
Richard Chancellor
Richard Chancellor was an English explorer and navigator; the first to penetrate to the White Sea and establish relations with Russia....

 were sent out with three vessels in search of a passage by London's Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands
Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands
The Company of Merchant Adventurers was founded in London, possibly in 1551 by Richard Chancellor, Sebastian Cabot and Sir Hugh Willoughby...

. During the voyage across the Barents Sea
Barents Sea
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

, Willoughby thought he saw islands to the north, and islands called Willoughby's Land
Willoughby's Land
During his 1553 voyage across the Barents Sea, English explorer Hugh Willoughby thought he saw islands to the north. Based on his description, these islands were subsequently depicted and named "Willoughby's Land" and "Macsinof Island" on maps published by Petrus Plancius in 1592 and 1594 ....

 were shown on maps published by Plancius
Petrus Plancius
Petrus Plancius was a Dutch astronomer, cartographer and clergyman. He was born as Pieter Platevoet in Dranouter, now in Heuvelland, West Flanders. He studied theology in Germany and England...

 and Mercator
Gerardus Mercator
thumb|right|200px|Gerardus MercatorGerardus Mercator was a cartographer, born in Rupelmonde in the Hapsburg County of Flanders, part of the Holy Roman Empire. He is remembered for the Mercator projection world map, which is named after him...

 into the 1640s. The vessels were separated by "terrible whirlwinds" in the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...

 and Willoughby sailed into a bay near the present border between Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. His ships with the frozen crews, including Captain Willoughby and his journal, were found by Russian fishermen a year later. Richard Chancellor
Richard Chancellor
Richard Chancellor was an English explorer and navigator; the first to penetrate to the White Sea and establish relations with Russia....

 was able to drop anchor in the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 and trudge his way overland to Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and Ivan the Terrible's Court, opening trade with Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and the Company of Merchant Adventurers became the Muscovy Company
Muscovy Company
The Muscovy Company , was a trading company chartered in 1555. It was the first major chartered joint stock company, the precursor of the type of business that would soon flourish in England, and became closely associated with such famous names as Henry Hudson and William Baffin...

.

Barentsz' Arctic exploration


5 June 1594, Dutch cartographer Willem Barentsz departed from Texel
Texel
Texel is a municipality and an island in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is the biggest and most populated of the Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea, and also the westernmost of this archipelago, which extends to Denmark...

 in a fleet of three ships to enter the Kara Sea
Kara Sea
The Kara Sea is part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia. It is separated from the Barents Sea to the west by the Kara Strait and Novaya Zemlya, and the Laptev Sea to the east by the Severnaya Zemlya....

, with the hopes of finding the Northeast passage above Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. At Williams Island the crew encountered a polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

 for the first time. They managed to bring it on board, but the bear rampaged and was killed. Barentsz reached the west coast of Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya , also known in Dutch as Nova Zembla and in Norwegian as , is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island...

 and followed it northward, before being forced to turn back in the face of large iceberg
Iceberg
An iceberg is a large piece of ice from freshwater that has broken off from a snow-formed glacier or ice shelf and is floating in open water. It may subsequently become frozen into pack ice...

s.

The following year, Prince Maurice of Orange
Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange
Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange was sovereign Prince of Orange from 1618, on the death of his eldest half brother, Philip William, Prince of Orange,...

 named him Chief Pilot of a new expedition of six ships, loaded with merchant wares that the Dutch hoped to trade with China. The party came across Samoyed
Samoyedic peoples
The term Samoyedic peoples is used to describe peoples speaking Samoyedic languages, which are part of the Uralic family. They are a linguistic grouping, not an ethnic or cultural one. The name derives from the obsolete term Samoyed used in Russia for some indigenous peoples of Siberia...

 "wild men" but eventually turned back upon discovering the Kara Sea
Kara Sea
The Kara Sea is part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia. It is separated from the Barents Sea to the west by the Kara Strait and Novaya Zemlya, and the Laptev Sea to the east by the Severnaya Zemlya....

 frozen. In 1596, the States-General offered a high reward for anybody who successfully navigated the Northeast Passage. The Town Council of Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 purchased and outfitted two small ships, captained by Jan Rijp
Jan Rijp
Jan Corneliszoon Rijp was a semi-successful mariner in the late sixteenth and early seventieth centuries. Rijp is best known for his involvement with the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz in finding a route to the East, avoiding the Spanish and the Portuguese navy in the South.In May, 1596, Rijp was...

 and Jacob van Heemskerk
Jacob van Heemskerk
Jacob van Heemskerk was a Dutch explorer and later admiral commanding the Dutch fleet at the Battle of Gibraltar.-Arctic exploration:...

, to search for the elusive channel, under the command of Barents. They set off on May, and on June discovered Bear Island and Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Constituting the western-most bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea...

, sighting its northwest coast. They saw a large bay, later called Raudfjorden
Raudfjorden
Raudfjorden is a 20 km long and 5 km wide fjord on the northwestern coast of Spitsbergen. It has two southern branches, Klinckowströmfjorden and Ayerfjorden. The fjord is situated on the divide between Albert I Land and Haakon VII Land....

 and entered Magdalenefjorden
Magdalenefjorden
Magdalenefjorden is an 8 km long and up to 5 km wide fjord between Reuschhalvøya and Hoelhalvøya, Albert I Land, on the west coast of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago.-History:...

, which they named Tusk Bay, sailing into the northern entrance of Forlandsundet
Forlandsundet
Forlandsundet is an 88 km long sound separating Prins Karls Forland and Spitsbergen. Its northern limits are Fuglehuken to the west and Kvadehuken to the east. Its southern limits are Salpynten to the west and Daudmannsodden to the east.-References:...

, which they called Keerwyck, but were forced to turn back because of a shoal. On 28 June they rounded the northern point of Prins Karls Forland, which they named Vogelhoek, on account of the large number of birds, and sailed south, passing Isfjorden and Bellsund
Bellsund
Bellsund is a 20 km long sound on the west coast of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago.-History:Bellsund was first seen by William Barents in 1596. He simply referred to it as Inwyck . In 1610 Jonas Poole explored Bellsund, giving the fjord the name it retains to this day. He named it...

, which were labelled on Barentsz's chart as Grooten Inwyck and Inwyck.

The ships once again reached Bear Island on 1 July, which led to a disagreement. They parted ways, with Barentsz continuing northeast, while Rijp headed north. Barentsz reached Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya , also known in Dutch as Nova Zembla and in Norwegian as , is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island...

 and, to avoid becoming entrapped in ice, headed for the Vaigatch Strait but became stuck within the icebergs and floes. Stranded, the 16-man crew was forced to spend the winter on the ice. The crew used lumber from their ship to build a lodge they called Het Behouden Huys (The Kept House). Dealing with extreme cold, they used the merchant fabrics to make additional blankets and clothing and caught arctic fox
Arctic fox
The arctic fox , also known as the white fox, polar fox or snow fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. The Greek word alopex, means a fox and Vulpes is the Latin version...

es in primitive traps, as well as polar bears. When June arrived, and the ice had still not loosened its grip on the ship, scurvy
Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. The chemical name for vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name of scurvy, scorbutus, which also provides the adjective scorbutic...

-ridden survivors took two small boats out into the sea. Barentsz died at sea on 20 June 1597, while studying charts. It took seven more weeks for the boats to reach Kola
Kola (town)
Kola is a town and the administrative center of Kolsky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Kola and Tuloma Rivers, south of Murmansk and southwest of Severomorsk. It is the oldest town of the Kola Peninsula. Population: 11,060 ; -History:The district of Kolo...

 where they were rescued by a Russian merchant vessel. Only 12 crewmen remained, reaching Amsterdam in November two of Barentsz' crewmembers later published their journals, Jan Huyghen van Linschoten
Jan Huyghen van Linschoten
Jan Huyghen van Linschoten was a Dutch Protestant merchant, traveller and historian. An alternate spelling of second name is Huijgen....

, who had accompanied him on the first two voyages, and Gerrit de Veer
Gerrit de Veer
Gerrit de Veer was a Dutch officer on Willem Barentsz' third voyage in search of the Northeast passage. De Veer kept a diary of the voyage and in 1597 was the first person to observe and record the Novaya Zemlya effect, and the first westerner to observe hypervitaminosis A caused by consuming...

 who had acted as the ship's carpenter on the last.

In 1608, Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator in the early 17th century. Hudson made two attempts on behalf of English merchants to find a prospective Northeast Passage to Cathay via a route above the Arctic Circle...

 made a second attempt, trying to go across the top of Russia. He made it to Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya , also known in Dutch as Nova Zembla and in Norwegian as , is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island...

 but was forced to turn back. Between 1609–1611, Hudson, after several voyages on behalf of English merchants to explore a prospective Northern Sea Route to India, explored the region around modern New York City while looking for a western route to Asia under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

 (VOC).

Dutch Australia and New Zealand


Terra Australis Ignota
Terra Australis
Terra Australis, Terra Australis Ignota or Terra Australis Incognita was a hypothesized continent appearing on European maps from the 15th to the 18th century...

(Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, "the unknown land of the south") was a hypothetical continent
Continent
A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are : Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.Plate tectonics is...

 appearing on European maps from the 15th to the 18th centuries, with roots in a notion introduced by Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

. It was depicted on the mid-16th-century Dieppe maps
Dieppe maps
The Dieppe maps are a series of world maps produced in Dieppe, France, in the 1540s, 1550s and 1560s. They are large hand-produced maps, commissioned for wealthy and royal patrons, including Henry II of France and Henry VIII of England...

, where its coastline appeared just south of the islands of the East Indies; it was often elaborately charted, with a wealth of fictitious detail. The discoveries reduced the area where the continent could be found; however, many cartographers held to Aristotle's opinion, like Gerardus Mercator
Gerardus Mercator
thumb|right|200px|Gerardus MercatorGerardus Mercator was a cartographer, born in Rupelmonde in the Hapsburg County of Flanders, part of the Holy Roman Empire. He is remembered for the Mercator projection world map, which is named after him...

 (1569) and Alexander Dalrymple
Alexander Dalrymple
Alexander Dalrymple was a Scottish geographer and the first Hydrographer of the British Admiralty. He was the main proponent of the theory that there existed a vast undiscovered continent in the South Pacific, Terra Australis Incognita...

 even so late as 1767 argued for its existence, with such arguments as that there should be a large landmass
Landmass
A landmass is a contiguous area of land surrounded by ocean. Although it may be most often written as one word to distinguish it from the usage "land mass"—the measure of land area—it is also used as two words.Landmasses include:*supercontinents...

 in the south
Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Hemisphere is the part of Earth that lies south of the equator. The word hemisphere literally means 'half ball' or "half sphere"...

 as a counterweight
Counterweight
A counterweight is an equivalent counterbalancing weight that balances a load.-Uses:A counterweight is often used in traction lifts , cranes and funfair rides...

 to the known landmasses in the Northern Hemisphere. As new lands were discovered, they were often assumed to be parts of this hypothetical continent.

Juan Fernandez, sailing from Chile in 1576, claimed he had discovered the Southern Continent. Luis Váez de Torres
Luís Vaz de Torres
Luís Vaz de Torres , also Luis Váez de Torres in the Spanish spelling, was a 16th-17th century maritime explorer serving the Spanish Crown, noted for the first recorded navigation of the strait which separates the continent of Australia from the island of New Guinea, and which now bears his name...

, a Galician navigator working for the Spanish Crown, proved the existence of a passage south of New Guinea, now known as Torres Strait
Torres Strait
The Torres Strait is a body of water which lies between Australia and the Melanesian island of New Guinea. It is approximately wide at its narrowest extent. To the south is Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost continental extremity of the Australian state of Queensland...

. Pedro Fernandes de Queirós
Pedro Fernandes de Queirós
Pedro Fernandes de Queirós , was a Portuguese navigator best known for his involvement with Spanish voyages of discovery in the Pacific Ocean, in particular the 1595-1596 voyage of Alvaro de Mendaña de Neira, and for leading a 1605-1606 expedition which crossed the Pacific in search of Terra...

, a Portuguese navigator sailing for the Spanish Crown, saw a large island south of New Guinea in 1606, which he named La Australia del Espiritu Santo. He represented this to the King of Spain as the Terra Australis incognita.

Dutch
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 navigator and colonial governor, Willem Janszoon
Willem Janszoon
Willem Janszoon , Dutch navigator and colonial governor, is probably the first European known to have seen the coast of Australia. His name is sometimes abbreviated to Willem Jansz....

 was the first European known to have seen the coast of Australia. Janszoon sailed from the Netherlands for the East Indies for the third time on December 18, 1603, as captain of the Duyfken
Duyfken
Duyfken was a small Dutch ship built in the Netherlands. She was a fast, lightly armed ship probably intended for shallow water, small valuable cargoes, bringing messages, sending provisions, or privateering...

(or Duijfken, meaning "Little Dove"), one of twelve ships of the great fleet of Steven van der Hagen
Steven van der Hagen
Steven van der Hagen was the first admiral of the Dutch East India Company . He made three visits to the East Indies, spending six years in all there. He was appointed to the Raad van Indië...

. Once in the Indies, Janszoon was sent to search for other outlets of trade, particularly in "the great land of Nova Guinea and other East and Southlands." On November 18, 1605, the Duyfken sailed from Bantam
Bantam (city)
Bantam in Banten province near the western end of Java was a strategically important site and formerly a major trading city, with a secure harbor on the Sunda Strait through which all ocean-going traffic passed, at the mouth of Banten River that provided a navigable passage for light craft into...

 to the coast of western New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

. Janszoon then crossed the eastern end of the Arafura Sea
Arafura Sea
The Arafura Sea lies west of the Pacific Ocean overlying the continental shelf between Australia and New Guinea.-Geography:The Arafura Sea is bordered by Torres Strait and through that the Coral Sea to the east, the Gulf of Carpentaria to the south, the Timor Sea to the west and the Banda and Ceram...

, without seeing the Torres Strait
Torres Strait
The Torres Strait is a body of water which lies between Australia and the Melanesian island of New Guinea. It is approximately wide at its narrowest extent. To the south is Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost continental extremity of the Australian state of Queensland...

, into the Gulf of Carpentaria
Gulf of Carpentaria
The Gulf of Carpentaria is a large, shallow sea enclosed on three sides by northern Australia and bounded on the north by the Arafura Sea...

. On February 26, 1606, he made landfall at the Pennefather River
Pennefather River
The Pennefather River in Queensland, Australia, is located on western Cape York Peninsula at . The river is about 11 km long and up to about 2km wide.- External links :**...

 on the western shore of Cape York
Cape York Peninsula
Cape York Peninsula is a large remote peninsula located in Far North Queensland at the tip of the state of Queensland, Australia, the largest unspoilt wilderness in northern Australia and one of the last remaining wilderness areas on Earth...

 in Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, near the modern town of Weipa
Weipa, Queensland
Weipa is the largest town on the Gulf of Carpentaria coast of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. At the 2006 census, Weipa had a population of 2,830; the largest community on Cape York Peninsula. It exists because of the enormous bauxite deposits along the coast...

. This is the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent. Janszoon proceeded to chart some 320 km of the coastline, which he thought was a southerly extension of New Guinea. In 1615, Jacob le Maire
Jacob Le Maire
Jacob Le Maire was a Dutch mariner who circumnavigated the earth in 1615-16. The strait between Tierra del Fuego and Isla de los Estados was named the Le Maire Strait in his honor, though not without controversy...

 and Willem Schouten
Willem Schouten
Willem Cornelisz Schouten was a Dutch navigator for the Dutch East India Company. He was the first to sail the Cape Horn route to the Pacific Ocean.- Biography :Willem Cornelisz Schouten was born in c...

's rounding of Cape Horn proved that Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of , and a group of smaller islands including Cape...

 was a relatively small island.

In 1642–1644 Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman
Abel Janszoon Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the VOC . His was the first known European expedition to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand and to sight the Fiji islands...

, also a Dutch explorer and merchant
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

 in the service of the VOC, circumnavigated New Holland
New Holland (Australia)
New Holland is a historic name for the island continent of Australia. The name was first applied to Australia in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman as Nova Hollandia, naming it after the Dutch province of Holland, and remained in use for 180 years....

 proving that Australia was not part of the mythical southern continent. He was the first known European expedition
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

 to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land
Van Diemen's Land
Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by most Europeans for the island of Tasmania, now part of Australia. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to land on the shores of Tasmania...

 (now Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

) and New Zealand and to sight the Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 islands, which he did in 1643. Tasman, his navigator Visscher, and his merchant Gilsemans also mapped substantial portions of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

.

Russian exploration of Siberia (1581–1660)




In the mid-16th century the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 conquered the Tatar khanates of Kazan
Khanate of Kazan
The Khanate of Kazan was a medieval Tatar state which occupied the territory of former Volga Bulgaria between 1438 and 1552. Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. The khanate covered contemporary Tatarstan, Mari El,...

 and Astrakhan
Astrakhan Khanate
The Khanate of Astrakhan was a Tatar feudal state that appeared after the collapse of the Golden Horde. The Khanate existed in the 15th and 16th centuries in the area adjacent to the mouth of the Volga river, where the contemporary city of Astrakhan/Hajji Tarkhan is now located...

, thus annexing the entire Volga Region
Volga Region
Volga Region is a historical region of Russia that encompasses the territories adjacent to the flow of Volga River. According to the flow of the river, it is usually classified into the Middle Volga Region and Lower Volga Region...

 and opening the way to the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

. The colonisation of the new easternmost lands of Russia and further onslaught eastward was led by the rich merchants Stroganovs. Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Ivan IV granted vast estates near the Urals as well as tax privileges to Anikey Stroganov
Anikey Stroganov
Anikey Stroganov was a founder of numerous salterns in Solvychegodsk and Perm, a colonizer of the basin of the Kama and Chusovaya Rivers. He was the progenitor of the family of highly successful Russian merchants, industrialists, landowners, and statesmen.Anikey Stroganov was the fourth and...

, who organized large scale migration to these lands. Stroganovs developed farming, hunting, saltworks, fishing, and ore mining on the Urals and established trade with Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n tribes.

Conquest of the Khanate of Sibir


Around 1577, Semyon Stroganov
Semyon Stroganov
Semyon Stroganov was a Russian merchant from the family of Stroganov who financed Yermak's Siberian campaign in 1581.Semyon was the younger son of Anikey Stroganov. His date of birth is unknown, but most likely he reached adulthood before 1559...

 and other sons of Anikey Stroganov hired a Cossack
Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

 leader called Yermak to protect their lands from the attacks of Siberian Khan Kuchum
Kuchum
Kuchum khan Kuchum khan (Tatar: Küçüm, Күчүм, Russian: Кучум; in Sybyr Küçüm is pronounced approximately as /kytsym/ - Күцүм, English name comes from standard Tatar pronunciation)Kuchum khan (Tatar: Küçüm, Күчүм, Russian: Кучум; in Sybyr Küçüm is pronounced approximately as /kytsym/ - Күцүм,...

. By 1580 Stroganovs and Yermak came up with the idea of the military expedition to Siberia, in order to fight Kuchum in his own land. In 1581 Yermak began his voyage into the depths of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. After a few victories over the khan's army, Yermak's people defeated the main forces of Kuchum on Irtysh River in a 3-day Battle of Chuvash Cape
Battle of Chuvash Cape
The Battle of Chuvash Cape led to the victory of a Russian expedition under Yermak Timofeyevich and the fall of Siberia Khanate and the end of Khan Kuchum's power. The battle took place near Qashliq .-Context:...

 in 1582. The remains of the khan's army retreated to the steppes, and thus Yermak captured the Siberia Khanate
Siberia Khanate
The Khanate of Sibir were the patrilineal descendants of Shayban , the fifth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. The Khanate had an ethnically diverse population of Siberian Tatars, Khanty, Mansi, Nenets and Selkup people. Along with the Khanate of Kazan it was the northernmost Muslim state....

, including its capital Qashliq
Qashliq
Qashliq, Isker or Sibir was a medieval Siberian Tatar fortress, in the 16th century the capital of the Khanate of Sibir, located on the right bank of the Irtysh River at its confluence with the Sibirka rivulet, some 17 km from the modern city of Tobolsk.The fortress is first mentioned in...

 near modern Tobolsk
Tobolsk
Tobolsk is a town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh Rivers. It is a historic capital of Siberia. Population: -History:...

. Kuchum still was strong and suddenly attacked Yermak in 1585 in the dead of night, killing most of his people. Yermak was wounded and tried to swim across the Wagay River (Irtysh
Irtysh
The Irtysh River is a river in Siberia and is the chief tributary of the Ob River. Its name means White River. Irtysh's main affluent is the Tobol River...

's tributary), but drowned under the weight of his own chain mail
Mail (armour)
Mail is a type of armour consisting of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh.-History:Mail was a highly successful type of armour and was used by nearly every metalworking culture....

. The Cossacks had to withdraw from Siberia completely, but thanks to Yermak's having explored all the main river routes in West Siberia, Russians successfully reclaimed all his conquests just several years later.

Siberian river routes


In the early 17th century the eastward movement of Russians was slowed by the internal problems in the country during the Time of Troubles
Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles was a period of Russian history comprising the years of interregnum between the death of the last Russian Tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, Feodor Ivanovich, in 1598, and the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613. In 1601-1603, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third...

. However, very soon the exploration and colonization of the huge territories of Siberia was resumed, led mostly by Cossacks hunting for valuable furs and ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

. While Cossacks came from the Southern Urals, another wave of Russians came by the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. These were Pomors
Pomors
Pomors or Pomory are Russian settlers and their descendants on the White Sea coast. It is also term of self-identification for the descendants of Russian, primarily Novgorod, settlers of Pomorye , living on the White Sea coasts and the territory whose southern border lies on a watershed which...

 from the Russian North, who already had been making fur
Fur
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

 trade with Mangazeya
Mangazeya
Mangazeya was a Northwest Siberian trans-Ural trade colony and later city in the 16-17th centuries. Founded in 1600, it was situated on the Taz River, between the lower courses of the Ob and Yenisei Rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean....

 in the north of the Western Siberia for quite a long time. In 1607 the settlement of Turukhansk
Turukhansk
Turukhansk is a village in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It is located 1474 km north of Krasnoyarsk, at the confluence of the Yenisei and Lower Tunguska rivers. The Turukhan River joins the Yenisei about 20 km northwest. Population: 4,849 ; 8,900 ; 200...

 was founded on the northern Yenisey River, near the mouth of Lower Tunguska
Lower Tunguska
Nizhnyaya Tunguska — is a river in Siberia, Russia, flows through the Irkutsk Oblast and the Krasnoyarsk Krai. The river is a right tributary of the Yenisei joining it at Turukhansk . Settlements on the river include Tura, Yukti and Simenga...

, and in 1619 Yeniseysk
Yeniseysk
Yeniseysk is a town in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Yenisei River. Population: 20,000 .Yeniseysk was founded in 1619 as a stockaded town—the first town on the Yenisei River. It played an important role in Russian colonization of East Siberia in the 17th–18th centuries...

y ostrog
Ostrog (fortress)
Ostrog was a Russian term for a small fort, typically wooden and often non-permanently manned. Ostrogs were encircled by 4-6 metres high palisade walls made from sharpened trunks. The name derives from the Russian word строгать , "to shave the wood". Ostrogs were smaller and exclusively military...

 was founded on the mid-Yenisey at the mouth of the Upper Tunguska.

Between 1620-1624 a group of fur hunters led by Demid Pyanda
Demid Pyanda
Demid Sofonovich Pyanda or, according to some sources, Panteley Demidovich Pyanda , also spelled Penda was among the first and most important Russian explorers of Siberia...

 left Turukhansk
Turukhansk
Turukhansk is a village in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It is located 1474 km north of Krasnoyarsk, at the confluence of the Yenisei and Lower Tunguska rivers. The Turukhan River joins the Yenisei about 20 km northwest. Population: 4,849 ; 8,900 ; 200...

 and explored some 1,430 miles (2,300 km) of the Lower Tunguska
Lower Tunguska
Nizhnyaya Tunguska — is a river in Siberia, Russia, flows through the Irkutsk Oblast and the Krasnoyarsk Krai. The river is a right tributary of the Yenisei joining it at Turukhansk . Settlements on the river include Tura, Yukti and Simenga...

, wintering in the proximity of the Vilyuy
Vilyuy
The Vilyuy River is river of the Central Siberian Plateau, longest tributary of the Lena River.At a length of approximately 2,650 km long, it is mostly within the Sakha Republic...

 and Lena
Lena River
The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean . It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed...

 rivers. According to later legendary accounts (folktales collected a century after the fact), Pyanda discovered the Lena River
Lena River
The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean . It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed...

. He allegedly explored some 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of its length, reaching as far as central Yakutia. He returned up the Lena until it became too rocky and shallow, and portaged to the Angara
Angara
The Angara River is a long river in Irkutsk Oblast and Krasnoyarsk Krai, south-east Siberia, Russia. It is the only river flowing out of Lake Baikal, and is the headwater tributary of the Yenisei River....

. In this way, Pyanda may have become the first Russian to meet Yakuts
Yakuts
Yakuts , are a Turkic people associated with the Sakha Republic.The Yakut or Sakha language belongs to the Northern branch of the Turkic family of languages....

 and Buryats
Buryats
The Buryats or Buriyads , numbering approximately 436,000, are the largest ethnic minority group in Siberia and are mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic, a federal subject of Russia...

. He built new boats and explored some 870 miles (1,400 km) of the Angara, finally reaching Yeniseysk
Yeniseysk
Yeniseysk is a town in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Yenisei River. Population: 20,000 .Yeniseysk was founded in 1619 as a stockaded town—the first town on the Yenisei River. It played an important role in Russian colonization of East Siberia in the 17th–18th centuries...

 and discovering that the Angara (a Buryat
Buryat language
Buryat is a Mongolic variety spoken by the Buryats that is either classified as a language or as a major dialect group of Mongolian. The majority of Buryat speakers live in Russia along the northern border of Mongolia where it is an official language in the Buryat Republic, Ust-Orda Buryatia and...

 name) and Upper Tunguska (Verkhnyaya Tunguska, as initially known by Russians) are one and the same river.

In 1627 Pyotr Beketov
Pyotr Beketov
Pyotr Beketov was a prominent Cossack explorer of Siberia and founder of many cities such as Yakutsk, Chita, and Nerchinsk.Beketov started his military service as a guardsman in 1624 and was sent to Siberia in 1627. He was appointed Enisei voevoda and proceeded on his first voyage in order to...

 was appointed Yenisey voevoda in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. He successfully carried out the voyage to collect taxes from Zabaykalye Buryats
Buryats
The Buryats or Buriyads , numbering approximately 436,000, are the largest ethnic minority group in Siberia and are mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic, a federal subject of Russia...

, becoming the first Russian to step in Buryatia. He founded the first Russian settlement there, Rybinsky ostrog
Ostrog (fortress)
Ostrog was a Russian term for a small fort, typically wooden and often non-permanently manned. Ostrogs were encircled by 4-6 metres high palisade walls made from sharpened trunks. The name derives from the Russian word строгать , "to shave the wood". Ostrogs were smaller and exclusively military...

. Beketov was sent to the Lena River
Lena River
The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean . It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed...

 in 1631, where in 1632 he founded Yakutsk
Yakutsk
With a subarctic climate , Yakutsk is the coldest city, though not the coldest inhabited place, on Earth. Average monthly temperatures range from in July to in January. The coldest temperatures ever recorded on the planet outside Antarctica occurred in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast...

 and sent his Cossacks to explore the Aldan
Aldan River
The Aldan River is the second-longest tributary of the Lena River in the Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia. The river is 2,273 km long, of which around 1,600 km is navigable. It was part of the River Route to Okhotsk...

 and farther down the Lena, to found new fortresses, and to collect taxes.

Yakutsk
Yakutsk
With a subarctic climate , Yakutsk is the coldest city, though not the coldest inhabited place, on Earth. Average monthly temperatures range from in July to in January. The coldest temperatures ever recorded on the planet outside Antarctica occurred in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast...

 soon turned into a major starting point for further Russian expeditions eastward, southward and northward. Maksim Perfilyev
Maksim Perfilyev
Maksim Perfilyev was a Cossack explorer of Eastern Siberia and the first Russian to reach Transbaikalia. He was renowned for his diplomatic skills in negotiations with Tunguses, Mongols and Chinese....

, who earlier had been one of the founders of Yeniseysk
Yeniseysk
Yeniseysk is a town in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Yenisei River. Population: 20,000 .Yeniseysk was founded in 1619 as a stockaded town—the first town on the Yenisei River. It played an important role in Russian colonization of East Siberia in the 17th–18th centuries...

, founded Bratsk
Bratsk
Bratsk is a city in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, located on the Angara River near the vast Bratsk Reservoir. Population: Although the name sounds like the Russian word for 'brother' , it actually comes from 'bratskiye lyudi', an old name for the Buryats.-History:The first Europeans in the area arrived...

y ostrog on the Angara
Angara River
The Angara River is a long river in Irkutsk Oblast and Krasnoyarsk Krai, south-east Siberia, Russia. It is the only river flowing out of Lake Baikal, and is the headwater tributary of the Yenisei River....

 in 1631, and in 1638 he became the first Russian to step into Transbaikalia, travelling there from Yakutsk.


In 1643 Kurbat Ivanov
Kurbat Ivanov
Kurbat Afanasyevich Ivanov was among the greatest Cossack explorers of Siberia. He was the first Russian to discover Lake Baikal, and to create the first map of the Russian Far East...

 led a group of Cossacks from Yakutsk to the south of the Baikal Mountains
Baikal Mountains
thumb|right|300px|The mountains and lake in the summer, as seen from [[Bolshiye Koty]] on the southwest shoreThe Baikal Mountains or Baikal Range rise steeply over the northwestern shore of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, Russia...

 and discovered Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

, visiting its Olkhon Island. Later Ivanov made the first chart and description of Baikal
Baikal
Baykal commonly refers to Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, Russia.Baykal or Baikal may also refer to:-Russia:*Baykal, Irkutsk Oblast, an urban-type settlement*Baykal, Aurgazinsky District, Republic of Bashkortostan, a village...

.

Russians reach the Pacific


In 1639 a group of explorers led by Ivan Moskvitin
Ivan Moskvitin
Ivan Yuryevich Moskvitin was a Russian explorer, presumably a native of Moscow, who led a Russian reconnaissance party to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first Russian to reach the Sea of Okhotsk....

 became the first Russians to reach the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 and to discover the Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

, having built a winter camp on its shore at the Ulya River
Ulya River
Ulya River is a river in northern Khabarovsk Krai in Russia. The length of the river is 325 km, the area of its drainage basin is 15,500 km². The Ulya originates in the Dzhugdzhur Mountains, flows northeast parallel to the coast and turns east to reach the Sea of Okhotsk about 100km southwest of...

 mouth. The Cossacks learned from the locals about the large Amur River far to the south. In 1640 they apparently sailed south, explored the south-eastern shores of the Okhotsk Sea, perhaps reaching the mouth of the Amur River and possibly discovering the Shantar Islands
Shantar Islands
The Shantar Islands are a group of fifteen islands that lie in Uda Bay, in the southwestern zone of the Sea of Okhotsk. These islands are located close to the shores of the Siberian mainland...

 on their way back. Based on Moskvitin's account, Kurbat Ivanov
Kurbat Ivanov
Kurbat Afanasyevich Ivanov was among the greatest Cossack explorers of Siberia. He was the first Russian to discover Lake Baikal, and to create the first map of the Russian Far East...

 drew the first Russian map of the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 in 1642.

In 1643, Vasily Poyarkov crossed the Stanovoy Range and reached the upper Zeya River
Zeya River
Zeya River , 1,242 km long, is a northern tributary of the Amur River. It rises in the Tokiysky Stanovik mountain ridge, a part of the Stanovoy Range. The first Russian to enter the area was Vassili Poyarkov....

 in the country of the Daurs, who were paying tribute to the Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

 Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. After wintering, in 1644 Poyarkov pushed down the Zeya and became the first Russian to reach the Amur River. He sailed down the Amur and finally discovered the mouth of that great river from land. Since his Cossacks provoked the enmity of the locals behind, Poyarkov chose a different way back. They built boats and in 1645 sailed along the Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

 coast to the Ulya River
Ulya River
Ulya River is a river in northern Khabarovsk Krai in Russia. The length of the river is 325 km, the area of its drainage basin is 15,500 km². The Ulya originates in the Dzhugdzhur Mountains, flows northeast parallel to the coast and turns east to reach the Sea of Okhotsk about 100km southwest of...

 and spent the next winter in the huts that had been built by Ivan Moskvitin
Ivan Moskvitin
Ivan Yuryevich Moskvitin was a Russian explorer, presumably a native of Moscow, who led a Russian reconnaissance party to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first Russian to reach the Sea of Okhotsk....

 six years earlier. In 1646 they returned to Yakutsk.
In 1644 Mikhail Stadukhin
Mikhail Stadukhin
Mikhail Vasilyevich Stadukhin was a Russian explorer of far northeast Siberia, one of the first to reach the Kolyma, Anadyr, Penzhina and Gizhiga Rivers and the northern Sea of Okhotsk. He was a Pomor, probably born in the village of Pinega, and the nephew of a Moscow merchant...

 discovered the Kolyma River
Kolyma River
The Kolyma River is a river in northeastern Siberia, whose basin covers parts of the Sakha Republic, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, and Magadan Oblast of Russia. Itrises in the mountains north of Okhotsk and Magadan, in the area of and...

 and founded Srednekolymsk
Srednekolymsk
Srednekolymsk is a town and the administrative center of Srednekolymsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located northeast of Yakutsk on the left bank of the Kolyma River. Population: -History:...

. A merchant named Fedot Alekseyev Popov
Fedot Alekseyev Popov
Fedot Alekseyevich Popov , date of birth unknown, died between 1648 and 1654) was a Russian explorer who organized the first European expedition through the Bering Strait.He was normally known as Fedot Alekseyev. Only a few sources call him the son of Popov...

 organized a further expedition eastward, and Semyon Dezhnyov became a captain of one of the kochi
Koch (boat)
The Koch was a special type of small one or two mast wooden sailing ships designed and used in Russia for transpolar voyages in ice conditions of the Arctic seas, popular among the Pomors....

. In 1648 they sailed from Srednekolymsk
Srednekolymsk
Srednekolymsk is a town and the administrative center of Srednekolymsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located northeast of Yakutsk on the left bank of the Kolyma River. Population: -History:...

 down to the Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 and after some time they rounded Cape Dezhnyov, thus becoming the first explorers to pass through the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

 and to discover Chukotka
Chukchi Peninsula
The Chukchi Peninsula, Chukotka Peninsula or Chukotski Peninsula , at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the...

 and the Bering Sea
Bering Sea
The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

. All their kochi and most of their men (including Popov himself) were lost in storms and clashes with the natives. A small group led by Dezhnyov reached the mouth of the Anadyr River
Anadyr River
Anadyr is a river in the far northeast Siberia which flows into Anadyr Bay of the Bering Sea and drains much of the interior of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Its basin corresponds to the Anadyrsky District of Chukotka....

 and sailed up it in 1649, having built new boats from the wreckage. They founded Anadyrsk
Anadyrsk
thumb|Anadyrsk was on the east-west part of the Anadyr River at the point where it swings northAnadyrsk was an important Russian ostrog in far northeastern Siberia from 1649 to 1764...

 and were stranded there, until Stadukhin found them, coming from Kolyma by land. Subsequetly Stadukhin set off south in 1651 and discovered Penzhin Bay on the northern coast of the Okhotsk Sea. He also may have explored the western shores of Kamchatka.

In 1649–50 Yerofey Khabarov
Yerofey Khabarov
Yerofey Pavlovich Khabarov or Svyatitsky Erofej Pavlovič Chabarov , was a Russian entrepreneur and adventurer, best known for his exploring the Amur river region and his attempts to colonize the area for Russia...

 became the second Russian to explore the Amur River. Through Olyokma, Tungur and Shilka River
Shilka River
Shilka is a river in Zabaykalsky Krai, south-eastern Russia. It has a length . It originates as a confluence of the Onon and Ingoda rivers. Its confluence with the Ergune on the Russia-China border gives rise to the Amur River. The river is navigable for its entire length....

s he reached Amur (Dauria), returned to Yakutsk
Yakutsk
With a subarctic climate , Yakutsk is the coldest city, though not the coldest inhabited place, on Earth. Average monthly temperatures range from in July to in January. The coldest temperatures ever recorded on the planet outside Antarctica occurred in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast...

 and then back to Amur with a larger force in 1650–53. This time he was met with armed resistance
Russian-Manchu border conflicts
The Russian–Manchu border conflicts were a series of intermittent skirmishes between the Manchus and the Cossacks in which the Cossacks tried and failed to gain the land north of the Amur River...

. He built winter quarters at Albazin
Albazin
Albazino is a village in Skovorodinsky District of Amur Oblast, Russia, noted as the site of Albazin , the first Russian settlement on the Amur River....

, then sailed down Amur and found Achansk, which preceded the present-day Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk is the largest city and the administrative center of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. It is located some from the Chinese border. It is the second largest city in the Russian Far East, after Vladivostok. The city became the administrative center of the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia...

, defeating or evading large armies of Daurian Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

 Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Koreans on his way. He charted the Amur in his Draft of the Amur river. Subsequently Russians held on to the Amur Region until 1689, when by the Treaty of Nerchinsk
Treaty of Nerchinsk
The Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689 was the first treaty between Russia and China. The Russians gave up the area north of the Amur River as far as the Stanovoy Mountains and kept the area between the Argun River and Lake Baikal. This border along the Argun River and Stanovoy Mountains lasted until...

 this land was assigned to Chinese Empire (it was returned, however, by the Treaty of Aigun
Treaty of Aigun
The Treaty of Aigun was a 1858 treaty between the Russian Empire, and the empire of the Qing Dynasty, the sinicized-Manchu rulers of China, that established much of the modern border between the Russian Far East and Manchuria , which is now known as Northeast China...

 in 1858).

In 1659–65 Kurbat Ivanov
Kurbat Ivanov
Kurbat Afanasyevich Ivanov was among the greatest Cossack explorers of Siberia. He was the first Russian to discover Lake Baikal, and to create the first map of the Russian Far East...

 was the next head of Anadyrsk
Anadyrsk
thumb|Anadyrsk was on the east-west part of the Anadyr River at the point where it swings northAnadyrsk was an important Russian ostrog in far northeastern Siberia from 1649 to 1764...

y ostrog after Semyon Dezhnyov. In 1660 he sailed from Anadyr Bay to Cape Dezhnyov. Atop his earlier pioneering charts, Ivanov is credited with creation of the early map of Chukotka
Chukchi Peninsula
The Chukchi Peninsula, Chukotka Peninsula or Chukotski Peninsula , at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the...

 and Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

, which was the first to show on paper (very schematically) the yet undiscovered Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian. The International Date Line is displaced eastwards at this latitude to avoid the island as well as the Chukchi Peninsula on the Russian mainland...

, both Diomede Islands
Diomede Islands
The Diomede Islands , also known in Russia as Gvozdev Islands , consist of two rocky, tuya-like islands:* The U.S. island of Little Diomede or, in its native language, Ignaluk , and* The Russian island of Big Diomede , also known as Imaqliq,...

 and Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, based on the data collected from the natives of Chukotka.

So, by the mid-17th century Russians established the borders of their country close to modern ones, and explored almost the whole of Siberia, except the eastern Kamchatka and some regions north of the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

. The conquest of Kamchatka later would be achieved in the early 1700-s by Vladimir Atlasov
Vladimir Atlasov
Vladimir Vasilyevich Atlasov or Otlasov was a Siberian Cossack who was the first Russian to explore the Kamchatka Peninsula. Atlasov Island, an uninhabited volcanic island off the southern tip of Kamchatka, is named after him....

, while the discovery of the Arctic coastline and Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 would be completed by the Great Northern Expedition
Great Northern Expedition
The Great Northern Expedition or Second Kamchatka expedition was one of the largest organised exploration enterprises in history, resulting in mapping of the most of the Arctic coast of Siberia and some parts of the North America coastline, greatly reducing the "white areas" on the maps...

 in 1733–1743.

See Major explorations after the Age of Discovery
Major explorations after the Age of Discovery
Major explorations continued after the Age of Discovery. By the early seventeenth century, vessels were sufficiently well built and their navigators competent enough to travel to virtually anywhere on the planet by sea. In the 17th century Dutch explorers such as Willem Jansz and Abel Tasman...

 for later exploration.

Global impact


European overseas expansion led to the contact between the Old and New Worlds producing the Columbian Exchange
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

, named after Columbus. It involved the transfer of goods unique to one hemisphere to another. Europeans brought cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s, and sheep
Domestic sheep
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries...

 to the New World, and from the New World Europeans received tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

es and maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

. Other items becoming important in global trade were the sugarcane
Sugarcane
Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

 and cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 crops of the Americas, and the gold and silver brought from the Americas not only to Europe but elsewhere in the Old World.

The new trans-oceanic
Trans-Oceanic
The Trans-Oceanic was the name given to a series of portable radios produced from 1942 to 1981 by Zenith Radio. They were characterised by their heavy-duty, high-quality construction and their performance as shortwave receivers....

 links and their domination by the European powers led to the Age of Imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

, where European colonial powers came to control most of the planet. The European appetite for trade, commodities, empire and slaves greatly affected many other areas of the world. Spain participated in the destruction of aggressive empires in America, only to substitute for its own and forcibly replaced the original religions. The pattern of territorial aggression was repeated by other European empires, most notably the Dutch, Russian, French and British. New religions replaced older "pagan" rituals, as were new languages, political and sexual cultures, and in some areas like North America, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, the indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 were abused and driven off most of their lands, being reduced to small, dependent minorities.

Similarly, in coastal Africa, local states supplied the appetite of European slave traders
History of slavery
The history of slavery covers slave systems in historical perspective in which one human being is legally the property of another, can be bought or sold, is not allowed to escape and must work for the owner without any choice involved...

, changing the complexion of coastal African states and fundamentally altering the nature of African slavery
African slave trade
Systems of servitude and slavery were common in many parts of Africa, as they were in much of the ancient world. In some African societies, the enslaved people were also indentured servants and fully integrated; in others, they were treated much worse...

, causing impacts on societies and economies deep inland. (See Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

).

Aboriginal Peoples were living in North America at this time and still do today. There were many conflicts between Europeans and Natives. The Europeans
The Europeans
The Europeans: A sketch is a short novel by Henry James, published in 1878. It is essentially a comedy contrasting the behaviour and attitudes of two visitors from Europe with those of their relatives living in the 'new' world of New England. The novel first appeared as a serial in The Atlantic...

 had many advantages over the Natives. They gave them diseases that they had not been exposed to before and this wiped out 50–90% of their population. (See Population history of American indigenous peoples
Population history of American indigenous peoples
The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

.)

Since being introduced by Portuguese in the 16th century, maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 and manioc
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

 have replaced traditional African crops as the continent's most important staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

 crops. Alfred W. Crosby speculated that increased production of maize, manioc, and other American crops "enabled the slave traders drew many, perhaps most, of their cargoes from the rain forest
Rainforest
Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions based on a minimum normal annual rainfall of 1750-2000 mm...

 areas, precisely those areas where American crops enabled heavier settlement than
before."

During the 16th century Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 economy, under the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

, was stimulated by trade with the Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

, Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

, and Dutch
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

. China became involved in a new global trade of goods, plants, animals, and food crops known as the Columbian Exchange
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

. Trade with European powers
Early modern Europe
Early modern Europe is the term used by historians to refer to a period in the history of Europe which spanned the centuries between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, roughly the late 15th century to the late 18th century...

 and the Japanese brought in massive amounts of silver, which then replaced copper and paper banknote
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

s as the common medium of exchange
Medium of exchange
A medium of exchange is an intermediary used in trade to avoid the inconveniences of a pure barter system.By contrast, as William Stanley Jevons argued, in a barter system there must be a coincidence of wants before two people can trade – one must want exactly what the other has to offer, when and...

 in China. During the last decades of the Ming the flow of silver into China was greatly diminished, thereby undermining state revenues and indeed the entire Ming economy. This damage to the economy was compounded by the effects on agriculture of the incipient Little Ice Age
Little Ice Age
The Little Ice Age was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period . While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into the scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939...

, natural calamities, crop failure, and sudden epidemics. The ensuing breakdown of authority and people's livelihoods allowed rebel leaders such as Li Zicheng to challenge Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 authority.

New crops that had come to Asia from the Americas via the Spanish colonizers in the 16th century contributed to the Asia's population growth. Although the bulk of imports to China were silver, the Chinese also purchased New World crops from the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

. This included sweet potato
Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of...

es, maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, and peanut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

s, foods that could be cultivated in lands where traditional Chinese staple crops—wheat, millet, and rice—could not grow, hence facilitating a rise in the population of China. In the Song Dynasty (960–1279), rice had become the major staple crop of the poor; after sweet potatoes were introduced to China around 1560, it gradually became the traditional food of the lower classes.

The arrival of the Portuguese to Japan in 1543 initiated the Nanban trade period
Nanban trade
The or the in Japanese history extends from the arrival of the first Europeans to Japan in 1543, to their near-total exclusion from the archipelago in 1614, under the promulgation of the "Sakoku" Seclusion Edicts.- Etymology :...

, with the Japanese adopting several technologies and cultural practices, like the arquebus
Arquebus
The arquebus , or "hook tube", is an early muzzle-loaded firearm used in the 15th to 17th centuries. The word was originally modeled on the German hakenbüchse; this produced haquebute...

, European-style cuirasses, European ships, Christianity, decorative art, and language. After the Chinese had banned direct trade by Chinese merchants with Japan, the Portuguese filled this commercial vacuum as intermediaries between China and Japan. The Portuguese bought Chinese silk and sold it to the Japanese in return for Japanese-mined silver; since silver was more highly valued in China, the Portuguese could then use Japanese silver to buy even larger stocks of Chinese silk. However, by 1573—after the Spanish established a trading base in Manila—the Portuguese intermediary trade was trumped by the prime source of incoming silver to China from the Spanish Americas.

Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci, SJ was an Italian Jesuit priest, and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China Mission, as it existed in the 17th-18th centuries. His current title is Servant of God....

 (1552–1610), was the first European allowed into the Forbidden City, taught the Chinese how to construct and play the spinet
Spinet
A spinet is a smaller type of harpsichord or other keyboard instrument, such as a piano or organ.-Spinets as harpsichords:While the term spinet is used to designate a harpsichord, typically what is meant is the bentside spinet, described in this section...

, translated Chinese texts into Latin and vice versa, and worked closely with his Chinese associate Xu Guangqi
Xu Guangqi
Xu Guangqi , was a Chinese scholar-bureaucrat, agricultural scientist, astronomer, and mathematician in the Ming Dynasty. Xu was a colleague and collaborator of the Italian Jesuits Matteo Ricci and Sabatino de Ursis and they translated several classic Western texts into Chinese, including part of...

 (1562–1633) on mathematical work.

Economic impact in Europe




As a wider variety of global luxury commodities entered the European markets by sea, previous European markets for luxury good
Luxury good
Luxury goods are products and services that are not considered essential and associated with affluence.The concept of luxury has been present in various forms since the beginning of civilization. Its role was just as important in ancient western and eastern empires as it is in modern societies...

s stagnated. The Atlantic trade largely supplanted pre-existing Italian and German
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 trading powers which had relied on their Baltic, Russian and Islamic trade links. The new commodities also caused social change
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

, as sugar, spices, silks and chinawares entered the luxury markets of Europe.

The European economic center shifted from the Mediterranean to Western Europe. The city of Antwerp, part of the Duchy of Brabant
Duchy of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was a historical region in the Low Countries. Its territory consisted essentially of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.The Flag of...

, became "the center of the entire international economy, and the richest city in Europe at this time. Centered in Antwerp first and then in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, "Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

" was tightly linked to the Age of Discovery. Francesco Guicciardini
Francesco Guicciardini
Francesco Guicciardini was an Italian historian and statesman. A friend and critic of Niccolò Machiavelli, he is considered one of the major political writers of the Italian Renaissance...

, a Venetian envoy, stated that hundreds of ships would pass Antwerp in a day, and 2,000 carts entered the city each week. Portuguese ships laden with pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

 and cinnamon
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods...

 would unload their cargo. With many foreign merchants resident in the city and governed by an oligarchy of banker-aristocrats forbidden to engage in trade, the economy of Antwerp was foreigner-controlled, which made the city very international, with merchants and traders from Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Ragusa
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

, Spain and Portugal and a policy of toleration, which attracted a large orthodox Jew
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

ish community. The city experienced three booms during its golden age, the first based on the pepper market, a second launched by American silver coming from Seville (ending with the bankruptcy of Spain in 1557), and a third boom, after the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, in 1559, based on the textiles industry.

Despite initial hostilities, by 1549 the Portuguese were sending annual trade missions to Shangchuan Island
Shangchuan Island
Shangchuan Island also written is the main island of Chuanshan Archipelago on the southern coast of China. Its name originated from São João - Saint John in Portuguese. It is part of the Guangdong province, in the South China Sea...

 in China. In 1557 they managed to convince the Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 court to agree on a legal port treaty that would establish Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

 as an official Portuguese trade colony. The Portuguese friar Gaspar da Cruz
Gaspar da Cruz
Gaspar da Cruz was a Portuguese Dominican friar born in Évora, who traveled to Asia and wrote one of the first detailed European accounts about China.-Biography:Gaspar da Cruz was admitted to the Order of Preachers convent of Azeitão...

 (c. 1520 February 5, 1570) wrote the first complete book on China and the Ming Dynasty that was published in Europe; it included information on its geography, provinces, royalty, official class, bureaucracy, shipping, architecture, farming, craftsmanship, merchant affairs, clothing, religious and social customs, music and instruments, writing, education, and justice.


From China the major exports were silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 and porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

, adapted to meet European tastes. The Chinese export porcelain
Chinese export porcelain
Chinese export porcelain concerns a wide range of porcelain that was made and decorated in China exclusively for export to Europe and later to North America between the 16th and the 20th century.-Early China porcelain trade:...

s were held in such great esteem in Europe that, in English, china became a commonly–used synonym for porcelain. Kraak porcelain
Kraak porcelain
Kraak porcelain is a type of Chinese export porcelain produced mainly from the Wanli reign until around 1640. It was among the first Chinese export ware to arrive in Europe in mass quantities, and was frequently featured in Dutch still life paintings of foreign luxuries, as in the one by Jan...

 (believed to be named after the Portuguese carrack
Carrack
A carrack or nau was a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in 15th century Western Europe for use in the Atlantic Ocean. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stem. It was first used by the Portuguese , and later by the Spanish, to explore and...

s in which it was transported) was among the first Chinese ware to arrive in Europe in mass quantities. Only the richest could afford these early imports, and Kraak often featured in Dutch still life
Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years War for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade,...

 paintings. Soon the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

 established a lively trade with the East, having imported 6 million porcelain items from China to Europe between the years 1602 to 1682. The Chinese workmanship impressed many. Between 1575 and 1587 Medici porcelain
Medici porcelain
Medici porcelain was the first successful attempt in Europe to make imitations of Chinese porcelain, although it didn't managed to make true porcelain. The experimental manufactory housed in the Casino of San Marco in Florence existed between 1575 and 1587 under the patronage of Francesco I de'...

 from Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 was the first successful attempt to imitate Chinese porcelain. Although Dutch potters did not immediately imitate Chinese porcelain, they began to do it when the supply to Europe was interrupted, after the death of Wanli Emperor
Wanli Emperor
The Wanli Emperor was emperor of China between 1572 and 1620. His era name means "Ten thousand calendars". Born Zhu Yijun, he was the Longqing Emperor's third son...

 in 1620. Kraak, mainly the blue and white porcelain, was imitated all over the world by potters in Arita, Japan
Arita, Saga
is a town located in Nishimatsuura District, Saga, Japan. It is known for producing Arita porcelain, one of the traditional handicrafts of Japan. It also holds the largest ceramic fair in Western Japan, the Arita Ceramic Fair...

 and Persia
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

— where Dutch merchants turned when the fall of the Ming Dynasty rendered Chinese originals unavailable—and ultimately in Delftware
Delftware
Delftware, or Delft pottery, denotes blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century....

. Dutch and later English Delftware
English Delftware
English delftware is tin-glazed pottery made in the British Isles between about 1550 and the late 18th century. The main centres of production were London, Bristol and Liverpool with smaller centres at Wincanton, Glasgow and Dublin....

 inspired by Chinese designs persisted from about 1630 to the mid-18th century alongside European patterns.
Antonio de Morga
Antonio de Morga
Antonio de Morga Sánchez Garay was a Spanish lawyer and a high-ranking colonial official in the Philippines, New Spain and Peru. He was also a historian. He published the book Sucesos de las islas Filipinas in 1609, one of the most important works on the early history of the Spanish colonization...

 (1559–1636), a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 official in Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, listed an extensive inventory of goods that were traded by Ming China at the turn of the 17th century, noting there were "rarities which, did I refer to them all, I would never finish, nor have sufficient paper for it". After noting the variety of silk goods traded to Europeans, Ebrey writes of the considerable size of commercial transactions: In one case a galleon to the Spanish territories in the New World carried over 50,000 pairs of silk stockings. In return China imported mostly silver from Peruvian and Mexican mines, transported via Manila
Manila Galleon
The Manila galleons or Manila-Acapulco galleons were Spanish trading ships that sailed once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean between Manila in the Philippines, and Acapulco, New Spain . The name changed reflecting the city that the ship was sailing from...

. Chinese merchants were active in these trading ventures, and many emigrated to such places as the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 and Borneo to take advantage of the new commercial opportunities.

The increase in wealth experienced by Spain
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 coincided with a major inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

ary cycle both within Spain and Europe, known as price revolution
Price revolution
Used generally to describe a series of economic events from the second half of the 15th century to the first half of the 17th, the price revolution refers most specifically to the relatively high rate of inflation that characterized the period across Western Europe, with prices on average rising...

. Spain had amassed large quantities of gold and silver from the New World In the 1520s large scale extraction of silver from Mexico's Guanajuato
Guanajuato
Guanajuato officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guanajuato is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 46 municipalities and its capital city is Guanajuato....

 began. With the opening of the silver mines in Zacatecas
Zacatecas
Zacatecas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas....

 and Bolivia's Potosí
Potosí
Potosí is a city and the capital of the department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is one of the highest cities in the world by elevation at a nominal . and it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint, now the National Mint of Bolivia...

 in 1546 large shipments of silver became the fabled source of wealth. During the 16th century, Spain held the equivalent of US$1.5 trillion (1990 terms) in gold and silver from New Spain. Being the most powerful European monarch at a time full of war and religious conflicts, Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 squandered wealth in arts and wars across Europe. "I learnt a proverb here", said a French traveler in 1603: "Everything is dear in Spain except silver". The spent silver, suddenly spread throughout a previously cash starved Europe, caused widespread inflation. The inflation was worsened by a growing population but a static production level, low salaries and a rising cost of living. Increasingly Spain became dependent on the revenues flowing in from the mercantile empire in the Americas, leading to Spain's first bankruptcy in 1557 due to rising military costs. Phillip II of Spain, defaulted on their debt several times, had to declare four state bankruptcies in 1557, 1560, 1575 and 1596, becoming the first sovereign nation in history to declare bankruptcy. The increase in prices as a result of currency circulation fueled the growth of the commercial middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

 in Europe, the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, which came to influence the politics and culture of many countries.

See also

  • Age of Sail
    Age of Sail
    The Age of Sail was the period in which international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships, lasting from the 16th to the mid 19th century...

  • Chronology of European exploration of Asia
    Chronology of European exploration of Asia
    This article attempts to list every significant event in the history of the European exploration of Asia. It proposes a chronological inventory of these events including every people involved and the places they helped to demystify ....

  • European exploration of Australia
    European exploration of Australia
    The European exploration of Australia encompasses several waves of seafarers and land explorers. Although Australia is often loosely said to have been discovered by Royal Navy Lieutenant James Cook in 1770, he was merely one of a number of European explorers to have sighted and landed on the...

  • Timeline of European exploration
    Timeline of European exploration
    The following timeline covers European exploration from 1418 to 1948.The fifteenth century witnessed the rounding of the feared Cape Bojador and Portuguese exploration of the west coast of Africa, while in the last decade of the century the Spanish sent expeditions to the New World, focusing on...

  • Major explorations after the Age of Discovery
    Major explorations after the Age of Discovery
    Major explorations continued after the Age of Discovery. By the early seventeenth century, vessels were sufficiently well built and their navigators competent enough to travel to virtually anywhere on the planet by sea. In the 17th century Dutch explorers such as Willem Jansz and Abel Tasman...

  • Catholic Church and the Age of Discovery
  • Columbian Exchange
    Columbian Exchange
    The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

  • Chinese maritime exploration
  • Portuguese inventions
    Portuguese inventions
    Relying on trade secret explains, in part, the difficulty often experienced by researchers in documenting Portuguese inventions: these are not described in patent documents, or other documents. On the other hand, there are cases, like some types of swords, where the inventions themselves or the...


External links