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Author Topic: THE RENAISSANCE  (Read 4542 times)
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« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2008, 02:40:18 pm »

Portugal's rival Castile had been somewhat slower than its neighbour to begin exploring the Atlantic,
and it was not until late in the fifteenth and Castile and the completion of the reconquista that the large
nation became fully committed to looking for new trade routes and colonies overseas. In 1492
the joint rulers of the nation conquered the Moorish kingdom of Granada, that had been providing
Castile with African goods through tribute, and they decided to fund Christopher Columbus' expe-
dition that they hoped would bypass Portugal's lock on Africa and the Indian Ocean reaching Asia by travelling

Columbus did not reach Asia, but rather found what was to the Europeans a New World: America. In 1500, the Portuguese navigator, Pedro Álvares Cabral explored the land that is today called Brazil. For the two European monarchies a division of influence became necessary to avoid conflict.

This was resolved by Papal intervention in 1494 when the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the world between the
two powers.

The Portuguese "received" everything outside of Europe east of a line that ran 270 leagues west of
the Cape Verde islands; this gave them control over Africa, Asia and eastern South America (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.

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 in the
form of abundant gold. In the Americas the Spanish found a number of empires that were as large
and populous as those in Europe. However, small bodies of Spanish conquistadors, with large armies
of indigenous Americans groups, managed to conquer these states. The most notable amongst the
conquered states were the Aztec empire in Mexico (conquered in 1521) and the Inca empire in modern
Peru and Ecuador (conquered in 1532).

During this time, pandemics of European disease such as smallpox devastated the indigenous populations.
Once Spanish sovereignty was established, the Spanish focused on the extraction and export of gold and

In 1519 the Spanish crown funded the expedition of the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan.
The goal of the mission was to find the Spice Islands by traveling west, which would place the islands
in Spain's economic and political sphere.  The expedition managed to cross the Pacific Ocean and reach the
Spice Islands, and was the first to circumnavigate the world upon its return three years later. Magellan died
in the Pacific, leaving the Spaniard Juan Sebastián Elcano the task of completing the voyage.

The expedition was a failure in the sense that its route was impractical.

The Strait of Magellan was too far south and the Pacific Ocean too vast. It was not a realistic alternative to
the Portuguese route around Africa.

The Spanish were able to establish a presence in the Pacific, but not based on Magellan's voyage. Rather, a
cross-Pacific route was established, by other explorers, between Mexico and the Philippines. The eastbound
route to the Philippines first sailed by Alvaro de Saavedra in 1527. The westbound re-
turn route was harder to find, but was eventually discovered by Andrés de Urdaneta in 1565.

For a long time these routes were used by the Manila galleons, thereby creating a trade link joining China,
the Americas, and Europe via the trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic routes.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2008, 02:41:45 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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