Voyages of Discovery
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Which two European nations led the way in exploration from the 1450's onwards?
The Portguese and the Spanish
Why were these nations so keen to find routes across the sea?
In 1453, the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople (Istanbul) effectively blocking all overland trade routes to Asia from Europe. This meant that Europe was not able to access spices, silks and gems from Asia.
Finding a sea route to get round this was very important.
What were other reasons for theses explorations?
a) Curiosity, the Renaissance encouraged everyone to look at the world differently, the voyages could provide valuable information.
b) Creating wealth; spices such as pepper, cloves, cinammon, mace amongst others were in high demand to help flavour very dull food and help preserve food during the winter months. Spices, gold and cloth were seen as symbols of power.
Which nation focused on on finding a trade route to India by sailing south and east around the tip of Africa?
What was the name of the Portuguese prince who encouraged many voyages?
Henry the Navigator
How did Henry contribute to this era of exploration?
He set up a school of navigation in Sagres, Portugal which developed the astrolabe, an instrument that could calculate a ship's distance north ans south of the equator.
What other development to ships did the Portuguese introduce that significantly improved explorations?
The Portguese developed the caravel which was a faster ship based on a Arab dowl. The ship used a triangular sail that allowed the vessel to tack into the wind, reducing the dependence on sailing with a prevailing wind.
The caravels had rounded keels that meant they could be beached, allowing captains greater opportunities to land and refresh supplies and run repairs.
Which Portguese sailor reached the Cape of Good Hope, the southern most tip of Africa in 1488?
In 1498, which Portuguese sailor reached India by sea?
Vasco da Gama
The Portguese traded in spices, cloth, gold and precious stones. What else did they start to trade in?
Slaves from Africa
What is the name of the Portguese town in the Algarve that became the centre of the Portguese slave trade?
In what year did Christopher Columbus sail west to find a route to India?
What did he discover?
He landed in the Caribbean but believed it to be India, naming it the West Indies. He also went onto explore the coast of South America.
In 1497, where did John Cabot land?
North America, the first European to do so since the Vikings 500 years earlier.
What were the names of the three ships he took on the voyage
Santa Maria, Nina and Pinta
In 1507, which Italian explorer discovered the "New World" of Central and South America?
Amerigo Vespucci, he had the continents named after him "the Americas".
Who was the first sailor to circumnavigate the globe between 1519 and 1522?
Which two great civilizations did the Spanish find in Central and South America?
Aztecs in Mexico and Incas in Peru.
What were the important characteristics of these civilizations?
- a) highly organized
- b) large populations
- c) scientifically advanced, the Aztecs had developed astrology
- d) both had developed irrigation
- e) they grew a highly diverse range of crops including maize, tobacco, potatoes and tomatoes
- f) they were highly skilled builders
Who led the Spanish expedition that overthrew the Aztecs between 1519-1534?
What does the word "conquistador" mean?
What were the Spanish interested in getting hold of?
Gold and silver
Why were the Spanish able to defeat the Aztecs although heavily outnumbered?
They used canons and guns, against which the Aztecs had no defence.
Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, had recently conquered several rival tribes, he was unpopular and the Spanish were able to gain support from these local tribes to help them.
The daughter of one tribal chief, Malinche, fell in love with Cortes and acted as interpreter, she helped Cortes gain support from the other tribes.
What did some Aztecs believe about the Spanish?
That Cortes was the god Quetzalcoatl
What did Montezuma believe?
Montezuma believed that Cortes was human.
How did Montezuma attempt to trick Cortes?
He treated Cortes as though he was a god.
What happened to Montezuma?
- a) Cortes took him captive.
- b)The Aztecs paid the ransom in gold to have him released but Cortes kept him priosner.
- c)Hos own people stoned him to death after an unprovoked attack by the Spanish on an Aztec religious festival.
How did Cortes finally take the Aztec capital Tenchtitlian in 1521?
He lay siege to the city for three months.
What else contributed to the Aztec's defeat and eventual destruction?
The Aztecs had no immunity against European diseases such as smallpox.
What was the name of the Spanish conquistador who led a similar expedition in Peru between 1532-1534.
Francisco Pizarro led the expedition that conquered the Incas.
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