Age of Exploration

A. Brillantes, E. Joncas, V. Andrade-Fonseca, M. MacGregor

International News

Line of Demarcation Debacle

In recent news, in an effort to calm the trade dispute between Spain and Portugal, Pope Alexander VI set a Line of Demarcation. The Line of Demarcation will be used to divide the non-European world into two zones. In the west zone, Spain has the right and ability to trade and explore, and in the east zone, Portugal has the same rights. Inside sources are pointing out that this agreement proves to Spain, Portugal, and other rebellious nations that they need to build their own empires quickly. However, King John II of Portugal has begun negotiating with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, because Portugal's status and rights have been overlooked. In addition, it is believed that King John II is trying to convince the King and Queen of Spain to push the lines west so that he can lay his claims on new lands. As a result, we are beginning to suspect a new and improved treaty.


The Trend of Slave Trade

Trading goods between countries was the greatest form of income at this time. Not only did the countries trade goods, but they also traded slaves. During the 1500s and 1600s, Europeans started using slavery as the most important item of African trade. This was not the first time slavery was used in Africa however. Portuguese traders were the first Europeans to join the slave trade and soon followed other European traders. Europeans bought many slaves to perform labor on plantations; they also bought slaves to be household servants. The Europeans relied on African rules and traders to gather captives and bring them to coastal trading posts and forts. The slaves were traded for textiles, metalwork, rum, tobacco, weapons, and gunpowder. Traders shipped large groups of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to work on sugar, rice, tobacco, and other plantations in the Americas. Affonso I tried to end the slave trade but his appeal failed and the slave trade continued. Another African leader tried to stop the slave trade. They called him the almanyand he forbid anyone from transporting slaves through the FutaToro. Inland slave traders discovered a new route. With the new route, the French captains easily purchased the slaves the almany tried to prevent them from buying in Futa Toro.


Trader's Technologies

The conquistadors introduced many military advances to society. Traders from Portugal introduced arquebuses and muskets to Iberian warlords who quickly adapted to them. Due to this, Iberian kingdoms developed skills in cannon manufacturing and shipbuilding. Many people started constructing warships with firearms and advanced gunpowder cannons. Portuguese and Spanish conquerors began to use these weapons including Vasco da Gama and his family members. Arquebuses became an important element in the victories fought by Gama’s son. Arquebuses were also used by some of Hernan Cortes’ army.


Christopher Columbus

On May 20th of 1506, the famous Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, who is credited with discovering the New World, passed away. Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. He was the son of a wool merchant and started working on a merchant ship while he was only a teenager. He eventually made his way to Lisbon after his ship was attacked by French privateers, and studied mathematics, astronomy, cartography, and navigation. After studying the currents off the Canary Islands during several expeditions to Africa, he believed he could find a safer way of trading with Asia by traveling across the Atlantic. With the help of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile, and was given the money and boats that he needed in order to discover the route to Asia. He is credited with the discovery of the "New World," and made many voyages under the authority of Spain. He was married to Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, who passed in 1489, and will be buried in the Seville Cathedral in Seville, Spain.

Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama died December 24, 1524 in Kochi India. He was born in Sines, Portugal to a noble family, and was the third so of Estêvão da Gama. Da Gama later joined the navy where he learned to navigate. He was asked by King John II of Portugal to seize French ships as an act if vengeance against the French government, and this only solidified his reputation as a fearless and tough navigator. In 1497, da Gama was chosen to lead an expedition to India. He led four vessels to try and find sailing route to India from the East. By May 20th he and his crew had reached India becoming the first European to reach India by sea. He arrived back in Portugal almost a year later with less than half of his crew, and in 1502 made his second voyage to India. Vasco da Gama was praised by Portugal. He was married with six children and maintained contact with the king he had met in India. He was later named the count of Vidigueira 1519. After returning to India for a third time, Vasco da Gama died from overworking himself. His body will be sailed back to Portugal where he will be buried.

Ferdinand Magellan

On April 27, 1521, in Mactan, Philippines, Ferdinand Magellan passed away. He was born in 1480 to Portuguese nobility in Porto. At the age of 10, his parents Rodrigo de Magalhaes and Alda de Masquita died, and he became a page for the queen. He studied cartography, astronomy, and celestial navigation at Queen Leonoa's School of Pages. Magellan joined a Portuguese fleet sailing to Africa during his mid-twenties. He fought in the Battle of Diu, explored malacca, and sailed as far as the Spice Islands. Magellan moved to Seville, Spain in 1517, offering his skills to the Spanish Court and creating a plan to circumnavigate the Globe. After receiving a blessing from the King of Spain, he set of in 1519 to sail around the globe. He traveled first to South America and then Guam. After reaching the Philippines, he was involved in a local battle where he was killed. Magellan had a wife Maria Caldera Beatriz Barbosa, and two children, Carlos de Magalhaes, and Rodrigo de Magalhaes.

Interview of the Week

Interview of Natives Affected by Colonization

Q: What part of Africa were you from?

A: I was from a small village just a little further inland from Mombasa. There had already been foreigners using the coastal areas as trading ports, but soon these men from Portugal came and drove them out and taking over the coast by force.

Q: Being a native from Africa, what was your reaction when strange men started coming into your homeland?

A: I was terrified at first, but then I saw that they themselves were actually scared. They reached no further into the forests than at least a mile. The furthest they ever went was merely half a mile shy of our small village. Many men spied on them from the shadows and told us of the strange way they carry themselves, dressed in such clothing. They told us of strange tools and contraptions they used. But soon the Portuguese began too lose their hold on the land and they eventually started leaving.

Q: Slavery was nothing new to you, but how did you manage to not be taken for so long?

A: My village was just small enough that no one ever noticed it and overlooked us.

Q: Were you surprised when people from your village began getting taken away?

A: Not really. Everyone actually knew it was bound to happen. We were only surprised that we lasted as long as we did.

Q: Who was in charge of gathering the people to be sold?

A: I had never had that some rulers themselves would capture their people and sell them. But the white men would come to my village themselves.

Q: Who is Affonso I?

A: I had heard of him. He was the ruler who spoke the truth against this horrible concept of trading our people to work as slaves.

Q: How did you face getting taken away?

A: I was one of the last people left home. Everything was already hopeless. There were not enough people to take on the tasks that took everyone. We were running low on food and other necessities, but there was no way that I would accept this fate openly. I struggled against them like any other human being would have. As futile as I knew it was, I fought and eventually gave in.

Q: Why do you think people find such interest in the slave trade?

A: I think that's awfully simple: money. Men are greedy creatures and seek anything that is profitable to them.



After about fifty years, the Philippines was finally conquered. It was first claimed by the Spanish with the help of the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan. On March 16, 1521 Magellan landed on the archipelago. An archipelago is a group of islands. This group of islands is located southwest of Asia. Magellan worked to convert the Filipinos to Christianity. Some welcomed him and the religion with open arms, but others were hostile. While sailing to Mactan, one of the thousands of islands in the Philippines, Magellan fell into battle and was killed along with many other men. Only one ship and eighteen men managed to return back to Spain on September 6, 1522.

King Charles I of England supported the conquer of the Philippines by Spain. After previous unsuccessful mission, five other expeditions were commenced. They were led by Garcia Jofre Loaisa, Sebastian Cabot, Alvaro de Saavedra, Rudy Lopez de Villalobos, and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Only Villalobos and Legaspi were actually able to reach the Philippines. Villalobos had reached the island of Mindanao on February 2, 1543. He left due to a shortage in food supply, but was later captured by the Portuguese. He was known to give the islands a name. He named them "Islas Filipinas" after the Spanish king Philip II. Since four of the expedition were unsuccessful, King Charles I stopped sending ships. When King Philip II took the throne, he set up another expedition under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. He and his fleet landed on the island of Cebu on February 13, 1565. He made his way to different islands taking control of natives and their land. Because the Philippines was not fully united as a whole, they were easily conquered by the Spaniards. Riches of Manila were heard if and was soon also captured.


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