Land of the Brave

Exploration of America

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

The Exploration of America
Events in Europe led to the discovery and the subsequent Exploration of America. New lands and new trade routes brought wealth and riches to the countries in Europe. This opened the door for European countries to build empires and gain power. There were constant wars and power struggles in Europe.

Their policies of  were designed to forcefully extend a nation's authority, power and influence by territorial gain and by the establishment of economic and political dominance.

The discovery of the 'New World' provided new lands and people to dominate, the opportunity for new sources of wealth and, for some, the quest to forcefully spread Christianity among the indigenous people. But Events led to the Exploration of America?

The Events that led to the Exploration of America
The beliefs of people during the Middle Ages included the idea that the world was flat and if explorers reached the edge of the world they would simply fall off! The number of maps were limited and only covered the known lands - people of the period had no idea of the size of the world or that the massive continent of America existed. Exploration was a costly and dangerous business. But there were significant reasons and events that ultimately led to the exploration of America:

  • The Exploration of America: Towards the end of the 1400's the Turks cut off the old and established trade routes between Asia and Europe seriously impacting the trade and wealth of the countries in Europe
  • The Exploration of America: The Portuguese decided to try to find a new way to Asia, bypassing the Turks, and began to explore the west coast of Africa
  • The Exploration of America: The exploration was hazardous and time consuming - the trade route via Africa was too long
  • The Exploration of America: Christopher Columbus was convinced that there was another route to Asia by sailing westward across the Atlantic Ocean
  • The Exploration of America: The voyage of Christopher Columbus were deemed to be successful when he landed on some islands which he believed to be the East Indies
  • The Exploration of America: Other famous explorers followed Christopher Columbus and proved that a new continent had been discovered and that it blocked the way to India and China
  • The Exploration of America: The explorers believed that it would be possible to find a route that led to Asia and searched a southwest passage or a northwest passage through the continent of America
  • The Exploration of America: Their search for new trade routes to Asia led to the exploration of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of America
  • The Exploration of America: The New World was called 'America' which was taken from the Latin version of the first name of the early Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci who worked for Spain
  • The Exploration of America: On 20 September 20, 1519 Ferdinand Magellan led 5 Spanish ships and 251 men in what was to become the first voyage around the World proving that the earth was round
  • The Exploration of America: In 1538 a world map including the continents of North and South America was produced by Gerardus Mercator

All of these momentous events led to the Exploration of America by many famous European explorers.

THE ATLANTIC COAST
1492: Christopher Columbus discovers Islands off the coast
1493: Columbus discovers more Islands off the coast.
1497: John Cabot explores North America. Labrador.
1498: John and Sebastian Cabot. Labrador to Cape Cod. Pinzon and Solis. Florida to Chesapeake Bay.
1500: Cabral. Discovers Brazil.
1501: Amerigo Vespucci Explores Brazilian coast.
1500-1502: The Corte-Reals. Explore coast North America.
1513: Ponce de Leon Discovers and names Florida.

THE INTERIOR OF NORTH AMERICA
1519-21: Hernando Cortes Conquers Mexico
1534-36: De Vaca explores from the Sabine River to the Gulf of California
1539: Fray Marcos - Search for the Seven Cities. Explores New Mexico
1540-42: Francisco Vasquez de Coronado Gila River, Rio Grande, Colorado River
1539-41: De Soto. Wanders over Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and reaches the Mississippi River
1582-1600: Spanish in the valleys of the Gila and Rio Grande

THE GULF COAST
1498: Pinzon and Solis. Explore Gulf of Mexico and coast of Florida
1519: Pineda. Sails from Florida to Mexico
1528: Narvaez. Florida to Texas
1543: Followers of Hernando de Soto sail from Mississippi River to Mexico.

THE PACIFIC COAST
1513: Vasco de Balboa Discovers the Pacific Ocean
1520: Ferdinand Magellan Sails around South America into the Pacific.
1578-1580: Sir Francis Drake Sails around South America and up the Pacific coast to Oregon

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