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News Around the World

It's Official

The Treaty of the Tordesillas, was signed between Spain and Portugal on May 4, 1494. It divides the new world into two zones. It grants Spain trading and exploration rights in any lands west of the Line of Demarcation, it grants Portugal the same rights east of the line. The treaty has made it obvious to both Spain and Portugal and to other European nations that they quickly need to build their own empires, and many countries like England, Netherlands, and France have started to ignore the line. They have begun to explore the new land looking for a sea route to China, and have begun to set up trading posts. Some have even moved there permanently in search for religious freedom. The Treaty which was brought to Pope Alexander VI by Ferdinand and Isabella, may lead to new and improved map developments, new discoveries and findings, and much much more.


There are many new inventions and ideas that are beginning to advance our world. Cartographers have developed new maps like the Portolan Map, which involves lines that radiate out from different compass points that can direct ships to key ports around the world. The Chinese have been using the compass for centuries, but they are now using it more than ever. The magnetic compass uses an iron needle, magnetized by a lodestone. It allows navigators to follow and create better accurate paths, which help them reach and find their destinations easier. A slightly smaller, yet faster ship has developed for traders. The Caravel can be easily maneuvered along the coasts and is able to travel long distances. Many explorers and sailors have been using it to explore the African coast, because it has many sails, to harness the winds power more efficiently. Astrolabes are now being used by navigators to determine the angle of the stars in the sky, which allow sailors to determine their latitude and the local time. Abraham Ortelius has created another map that shows accurate sizes of the continents on a flat surface. The movable printing press is continuously being used and is always improving. All these new inventions and tools are impacting the world positively and helping us know and understand the world around us more fully.

Territories in Asia

Under the command of Affonso de Albuquerque, the Portuguese have begun a voyage throughout the Indian Ocean. Muslim rulers from Central Asia have already established the Mughal Empire throughout Eastern Asia, which was established throughout much of India. Affonso de Albuquerque, along with the Portuguese, have a goal to end Muslim control of the Indian Ocean, because they desire control of the seas. The Portuguese have seized the island of Goa and burned down the villages, turning it into a military base, and they have also seized the island of Malacca. Before the Portuguese had attacked the island of Malacca and Goa, they were both major centers of trade in the East Indies. There has been recent reports about a large massacre of Muslim people in Malacca, and that the Portuguese are building trading posts with military and merchant outposts. Since the Portuguese's ability to control Africa and Asia, they have won control of the trade between Asia and Africa. The Portuguese have been attempting to convert the people of Asia to Christianity, but it is not working well. Many of the people are already dedicated to their religions, resulting in the conversion rate being low. The Portuguese have won control of many territories in Asia and Africa, and are using them as a way to make profit.


Ferdinand Magellan

He was born in 1480 in northern Portugal and died in 1521 in the Philippines Islands due to getting shot by a poisoned arrow in his foot and a spear to his heart. He attempted to find a direct water way to Asia looking for the Spice Islands and was the first explorer to lead an expedition around the world. His parents died when he was ten years old and at the age of twelve the queen's messenger in the royal court. He was not able to make it to the spice islands and out of the five ships that left from Spain only one returned and out of the 250 men who set sail eighteen survived.

Osei Tutu

He was born in 1660 and died in 1717. He was an able military leader who won control of the trading city of Kumasi, and later conquer and control neighboring peoples to unify Asante Kingdom. He realized that a neighboring city known as Denkyera was a threat, and that in order to withstand them the people needed to firmly unite. He claimed that his rights came from heaven, and that the people in the kingdom where linked by spiritual bonds. Under his reign, government officials where chosen by merit rather than birth. They supervised an efficient bureaucracy and manage the royal monopolies on gold mining and the slave trade.

Afonso de Albuquerque

He was born in 1453 in Alhandra, Portugal and died in 1515 at sea off the coast of Goa, India. His father was the senhor of Vila Verde and his grandfather had been admiral of Portugal. He and the Portuguese won the princes who lived in the southern regions of India's side and hoped to end Muslim power and turn the Indian Ocean into a "Portuguese Lake". In 1510, he and the Portuguese seized the island of Goa making it their major military and commercial base. He burned costal towns and crushed Arab fleets at sea. The Portuguese have been using the cities they had seized on the east coast of Africa to resupply and repair their ships. They are now controlling the spice trade between Europe and Asia, but they are having harsher efforts to convert local people in Christianity than they had in Africa.

Affected By Colonization

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In a recent interview with Muhammad Dhakir, he speaks about how he has been affected by the colonization of the Europeans. "I had suspected they would be back after they had left so frustrated in 1509, but I would have never suspected that they would eventually gain complete control of the port city of Malacca," said Muhammad Dhakir, a Muslim native to the city of Malacca. When being asked his opinion about the East India port of Malacca and how it had been an important world trading port since the beginning of the 15th century he said, "It used to be a small village port, but it has grown quite large over the past 10 years. It was sad seeing it be destroyed when the Portuguese invaded, but the aftermath was even worse." Two years after the Portuguese came to Malacca, they returned and captured the its port, where they killed hundreds of Muslims. Fortunately, Dhakir and his family were safe, however, they are both mentally and emotionally scarred. When asked about it, Dhakir refused to comment due to the sensitive nature of the content. They later began trying to convert the native Muslims, who practice the the Islamic religion. When questioned about what it was like under Portuguese control, he responded, "Everything changed. The Portuguese tried to convert us to Christianity, but we refused. When they were not getting enough of us, they began to attack us, using threats hoping to convert us. My family lived in fear for quite some time." Muhammad Dhakir was just one of the many who were affected by the invasion of the Portuguese, however he and his family are one of few that were left unharmed. He explains it as "My family and I were blessed." Muhammad Dhakir is now living peacefully with his family and some of the natives who were not harmed.

Business: Slave Trade

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International slave trade had a huge impact on the people of the 1500-1700s. Slavery had existed all over the world since ancient times. However, during the 1500s, slaves became the most important "item" of African trade for Europeans. Slaves benefitted the Europeans because of the manual labor needed on each plantation in America. Africans were captured by African rulers or traders who enslaved them and brought them to coastal trading ports where they would be exchanged for goods, such as as textiles, metalwork, rum, tobacco, weapons, and gun powder. Tens of thousands of slaves were shipped each year to work on different plantations including: sugar, rice, and tobacco. Slaves were understood as nothing more than property of their owner. This resulted in the slaves being treated very harshly and forced to live in poor conditions. Although, for the Europeans, this allowed for very cheap labor. Slave trade had been attempted to be stopped at different times. However, it continued to increase over the next 300 years.

In time, a huge trade route in history was established, known as the triangle trade route. The triangle trade route was a network of international trade that had developed between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Like a triangle, it has three routes. Merchant ships brought goods, such as guns, cloth, and cash, to Africa from Europe. These European goods would then be exchanged for enslaved Africans who would be shipped to the Americas. This route of the triangle trade route became known as the Middle Passage. In the Americas, the slaves were traded for sugar, molasses, furs, salt fish, and rum; which were brought back to Europe to be sold and used as profit. This money was then used to produce more goods to return to Africa, to repeat the cycle.

The triangle trade routes were successful in the fact that they made several industries and merchants wealthy. They also provided the labor needed for the plantations to thrive. The triangle trade routes were also a nightmare for the enslaved Africans. When they were being shipped from Africa to America in the Middle Passage, hundreds of them were packed into one single ship. They remained in extremely poor conditions for as little as three weeks to as long as three months. Many of them died from disease (dysentery or small pox) or because of the poor conditions. The voyages were so bad, that some even committed suicide by refusing to eat, hanging themselves, or jumping overboard and drowning. An estimated eleven million slaves were shipped to the Americas. An estimated two million died on their journeys to the Americas. Due to the slave trade African states and communities were ruined.

Crossword Puzzle

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For more information regarding these products please visit our local navigation trading posts, located along the Silk Road.

Portolan Map

Need help navigating the world, well don't worry because the Portolan map can direct you to key points around the world. It uses lines that radiate out from different compass points.


Having trouble following and creating accurate paths? Well you won't anymore because with compass you reach destinations faster and easier. Don't spend your days lost at sea when you can be exploring new worlds.


Have you ever wanted to know what time it is and where you are. Well with the astrolabe you can know all that just by measuring the angles of the stars in the sky.

Answer Key

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Works Cited

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On our honor, we have been academmically honest. Ryan Torres, Jane Kuphal, & Will Landry