Age of Exploration

By Alie Cox, Katie D'Ordine, Elizabeth Golden, & Jacob Rocha

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International News

In 1493, the non-European world was split into two different sections. It was split by Pope Alexander VI who was supporting Ferdinand Magellan and Isabella. This split in the globe was called the Line of Demarcation and all of its terms were included in the Treaty of Tordesillas, which was signed in 1494. During this division between Spain and Portugal, Spain took power over the west side and Portugal controlled the east. The Line of Demarcation impacted many to all people in the area. Both Spain and Portugal received a great deal of problems due to this including issues with trade. Both empires were always trying to improve to be better than the other, but they were both equally successful. While this rivalry was happening, both territories looked up to Pope Alexander VI for help. These are some of the events that took place between Spain and Portugal during the Age of Exploration.
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Business and Slave Trade

Sadly, one of the major sources of profit during this time was indeed the slave trade. As much as people hate to admit it, slavery is one of humanity’s biggest blunders. During the time, people saw slavery as nothing but cheap labor by subhuman individuals. People would make a wonderful profit off of slavery. They were most likely given opportunities to be shown publicly as much as possible in order for their masters to show off their wealth. Now, there were people who tried to counteract the ravages of the slave trade such as King Afonso I. He managed to outlaw slavery in his territory but failed to stop the actual buying and selling of slaves. Around this time, Europe was also getting into trade with the Americas. The colonists took in slaves to work in their farms and plantations. They were a significant factor in aiding the tobacco industry. Back then, tobacco was seen as “brown gold” and was grown in vast amounts. The modern world in this area would not be without slavery until 1864.

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Technology Advancements

One of the most important technological advancements during the Age of Exploration was the magnetic compass. Inside the magnetic compass was a magnetized needle that supported another item that was similar to a small magnetized card. These compasses showed anywhere from four to eight directions depending on the type. Some just had north, south, east, and west, while others also had the directions in between included. This invention was extremely essential for this Age to flourish. It told explorers what direction they were headed in, so they could properly locate and reach their destination on land or even more importantly, at sea. They had to safely arrive at the desired location and then return home to report what they found. Without this magnetic compass, explorers would have been constantly getting stuck at sea and losing their way, so as not to bring back information. Therefore, there would have been no Age of Exploration to learn from in modern day society.


VASCO DA GAMA was born in Sines, Portugal in 1460, and died at the age of 78 in India during 1538. One of his most famous accomplishments was being the first to lead a fleet of ships around the bottom of Africa, named the Cape of Good Hope. He then found the water route to Asia and reached Calicut, India and helped grow Portuguese trade tremendously. Although there were many people that did not make the trip back, it proved to be highly profitable. He helped bring back Portugal to world power through tough trade agreements with India. In 1524 he was named Portuguese Viceroy in India. He left behind his wife and six sons.

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. From a young age he was inspired by all of the Portuguese explorers, and he wanted to run his own expedition. As an educated man he knew that the earth was round, and he wanted to find a route to Asia traveling west. After being rejected by Portuguese funders, he was eventually funded by King Ferdinand of Spain. The goal was to reach the East Indies, collect any wealth, and spread Catholicism. One of his main flaws was that he did not have any knowledge of America. On his first voyage in 1492 he reached the Caribbean, where he called the natives Indians for the thought he landed in India. During his voyages he treated the natives poorly, disrespected their colors, stole many resources, and eventually enslaved many natives. He made a total of four voyages across the Atlantic, never actually reaching Asia. He died in 1504 in Valladolid, Spain.

FERDINAND MAGELLAN was born in 1480 in Sabrosa, Portugal. He was a Portuguese explorer whose goal was to find a westerly route from Europe, cutting across America, leading to the Spice Islands. On September 20, 1519 his fleet set sail with the funding from Spain to do that. The group faced many unpredicted challenges and eventually reached South America. While they were there the crew found the Strait of Magellan, a water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean cutting through southern South America. They stopped in South America for a period of time. Rather than head back to Spain, he insisted on pushing forward across the Pacific. After four long months, they reached the Philippines, where they befriended a couple of tribes. On April 27, 1521 Magellan was murdered by natives from an opposing tribe. Three years later the remaining eighteen members of the crew became the first crew to circumnavigate the globe.


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Interviewer - Hello, thank you for being here, how are you?

Angeline - Oh, I’m doing alright thanks.

Interviewer - So, how is life in the Philippines?

Angeline - Life in the Philippines is good, but ever since the Spanish took over, I do not feel as though we are united anymore. Because of this, I am a bit worried about what might happen in the future.

Interviewer - When did the foreigners come?

Angeline - The first noted explorer to visit the Philippines was Ferdinand Magellan, and his crew. They arrived at the island of Cebu in 1521, claiming it as Spanish land. Magellan and his crew have friendly relationships with many tribes and converted them into Christianity.

Interviewer - Were there a lot of missionaries there?

Angeline - Yes, and the missionaries were always trying to get us to convert to Christianity. In some cases they were successful and in others much less so.

Interviewer - Do you like living in the Philippines?

Angeline - Yes I do. It is very nice to always have supplies because the Philippines are now a key part of Spain's overseas trading empire.

Interviewer - Well that's great! Thank you for taking time out of your day to talk to me. I learned a lot.

Angeline - No problem. It was good to meet you.

Interviewer - Have a good rest of your day.

Angeline - You too.

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Travel Article

In the 1400s, many European countries were racing to explore the world and claim whole new territories for themselves. In Portugal, Prince Henry led the way by setting up a school for navigation and claiming the Madeira and the Azores for Portugal. They also had Vasco da Gama, who found the Cape of Good Hope and earned a great profit at the marketplace of Calicut. Spain found much land through Ferdinand Magellan, who is considered the first person to circumnavigate the globe. Spain also had Vasco Núñez de Balboa, who became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. He claimed the entirety of it for Spain. Italy had Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci, who each discovered several parts of America. France found mild success in Jacques Cartier, who explored the St. Lawrence River and gave Canada its name. Explorer Sebastian Cabot sailed for both England and Spain, discovering the Northwest Passage and the Rio de la Plata. Truly, the 1400s were the pinnacle of exploration in Europe.

Word Puzzle

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Answer Key for Word Puzzle

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Works Cited

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