The Age of Exploration
Pope Alexander VI has recently declared a “Line of Demarcation” to settle the disputes between the Portuguese and Spanish empires claims of the New World. According to the Line, all land west of the line will belong to the Spanish while anything east of the line would belong to the Portuguese.
However, it does not appear that the Pope’s orders are being followed. A land grab is already occurring in the New World between the English, Dutch, and Spanish. Some say that the Line of Demarcation has actually exacerbated the problem and convinced the other European nations that an empire is necessary. Whether or not the Line will be seen as a mistake will only be known in the future, but as of now the move seems to have been futile in ending the New World conflicts.
The first successful circumnavigation of the world returned yesterday, September 6, 1522. However, the exploration was not without its troubles. The ship Victoria’s lead explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, died last year in the Philippines in an altercation with some natives. He and the crew left in 1519 from the port of Seville on August 19. They sailed to Brazil and went south around Cape Horn, where they sailed across the Pacific to the Philippines. After Magellan’s death, the crew continued sailing to Africa, around the Cape of Good Faith, and north to return to Spain.
The success of this mission has astronomical consequences for future exploration. The world is far larger than what was predicted by some, but it is still feasible to safely cross the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Trade is expected to increase between the New World and Europe exponentially, but the difficulty in rounding Cape Horn means that most trade between Asia and Europe will be limited to the shorter, safer route around Africa.
Recently, a variety of technological advancements have been made that are especially beneficial to sailors. Some of the most exciting of these include the inventions of the caravel and the astrolabe. Sailors from across the world believe these will be very important aspects in the years to come.
The caravel ship was developed by the Portuguese in order to explore the coasts of West Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. It was made to accelerate at a faster pace and be easily maneuverable. It had lateen sails which both helped it move faster and take less wind resistance. Caravels will continue to be helpful for most explorers, as its popularity is spreading worldwide. In fact, Vasco da Gama responded to these new ships saying, ”Well, if it wasn’t for these ships, I would still be rounding Cape Horn, not being able to see my family in a couple more years. But these ships allowed me to sail faster than ever, and get back to my family in Portugal.”
Astrolabes have also been an incredible tool available to sailors. It enables sailors to measure the angle of the sun to determine their latitude and longitude. This allows the ship to more accurately navigate and to follow complex maps to a tee. The widespread use of astrolabes have lowered navigational errors tenfold and will undoubtedly let more explorers attempt treacherous, overseas voyages.
To these souls and their families we send our condolences:
Ferdinand Magellan- Killed in an altercation in the Philippines by unruly savages. A great explorer and captain, Magellan would have completed his circumnavigation if he lived. His journey began on Aug. 19, 1519 until his death on Apr. 27, 1521.
Christopher Columbus- Famed explorer Christopher Columbus died in his prison cell on May 20, 1506. He was born in 1451 in Genoa, and discovered what is supposedly the Indies in 1492. Columbus, however, was cruel to the native Indians which led to his arrest and return to Europe.
Vasco de Gama: Born in Sines, Portugal in 1460. He sailed around the tip of Africa, opening an oversea route of trade to the Indies. He died in 1538 in Cochin.
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Interviewing a New World Native
DC: I'm here in the exciting New World talking with a native Indian of one the tribes local to the area.
DC: So what is life like here in the Americas?
NA: Well Doug, it's quite harsh. First, my tribe had all of its land taken away from us as a white man named Christopher Columbus tricked our chief into giving away the land and enslaving our people.
DC: Well it's only fair- you agreed to it!
NA: Not exactly. Our customs are quite different from those of the white man. We don’t believe in one person owning the land or another. That is why our chief was confused and agreed to let the white man stay.
DC: I see. Are there any other problems that you face besides sharing with the exploration groups?
NA: Yes, but most stem from them. Vast numbers of our people have suddenly died, coughing and in pain from just shaking hands with the explorers. It makes us weak, and we do not know why. When we cannot work enough because of it, he cuts our hands off.
DC: That’s terrible!
NA: It is. That’s why he was sent away we think. Your king and queen seem to agree that Christopher was not a very good man.
DC: I’m sorry for your losses, and we hope that you can find a way to deal with the Europeans. Now, back to you Phil.
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Vacation HotSpot with M. Winterhalter
Have you ever wanted to take a break from work and go on vacation? Well, the Philippines is the hottest place to visit this summer. The weather is warm year-round, which really exemplifies the island vibes of mellow relaxation. The naturalistic views are beautiful. There are extraordinary creatures, as well as exotic, delicious fruits to eat, which are not ever seen in Europe! If you are not looking foward to relaxing your whole vacation, there are an abundance of recreational activities you can partake in. If this sound like the vacation for you, please contact your nearest travel agent and inquire about a trip to the Philippines.*
*Trips may be dangerous. Please do not embark if scared of dying.
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Your Weather Report with George Brown
Madrid: High of 34C, low of 30C. Partially cloudy. Chance of precipitation is at 40% with a wind speed of 5km/h.
Mumbai: High of 40C, low of 38C. Overcast. Chance of precipitation is registered at 100% with an estimated wind speed of 3 km/h.
Cape Town: High of 23C, low of 20C. Sunny. Chance of precipitation is nonexistant at 0% with a wind speed of 20 km/h.