The Age Of Exploration

By: Maddy H., Olivia F., Jill F., Jenna M.

International News

The Line of Demarcation set by "The Treaty of Tordesillas” was a line that divided the non-European world into two zones. It was caused by the disagreements between Portugal and Spain, because they both wanted more power with trade. Therefore, one side of the line was controlled by Portugal and the other side was controlled by Spain. The line gave Portugal trading and exploration rights in any land east of the line, and Spain had equal rights to the west of the line. This agreement most likely prevented wars that could have occurred between Spain and Portugal. The Line of Demarcation helped get rid of most, if not all of the competition between the two countries. But, some of the explorers and merchants were probably upset about The Treaty of Tordesillas and The Line of Demarcation, because if there was good value or new land beyond their side of the line, they couldn't go and explore or trade because of the treaty preventing them to go. Other people were most likely relieved and happy about the line, because there was no longer be as much competition and that made the chaos between the countries die down. Overall, The Line of Demarcation made a big impact and greatly benefitted both Spain and Portugal.


Business and trade started to be more demanded around the 1400s because new lands and new passages were starting to be explored. The new lands that were being explored were where people got their valuable goods, and they traded those goods through the passages which soon started to form a trading empire. One of the most valued items for business and trade was spices. Spices could be used to preserve food, add flavor to meat, and make medicines and perfumes. So many people wanted spices (especially the Europeans) and because the demand for spices was so high, only the wealthy people owned and could get them because people said they would do what ever it took to obtain the spices and that caused them to be much more expensive. Some of the kinds of spices that were involved in the spice trade were cinnamon, pepper, and cloves.

Another trade that was such a big deal during this time period was slave trade with Africa. Around the 1500s and 1600s, Europeans viewed slaves as the most important item of African trade. Slaves were very important to the Europeans because they were helpful for many things. They worked on your farms or plantations, and in your house doing most, if not all of your work FOR FREE because you owned them. People traded for slaves with textiles, metalwork, rum, and weapons. Having a slave also showed that you were a wealthy and important person, and people liked to show their slaves off especially when company was over their house, or when they walked in public.


The Compass
In the 1400s, the magnetic compass became very popular and useful, however it was first introduced indirectly in a Chinese book called, “Song Dynasty” around the year 1040. The compass is a tool that contains a pointer showing the direction of magnetic north and bearings from it. The magnetic compass initially was sold in Amalfi, Italy, but it is not known if the compass was originally made in Italy, or if it made its way to Italy through trade from China. The compass played an extremely important role while transporting goods. It was one of the key factors that made trade increase because it helped you know where you were going. The compass also led to a rise in explorations. When Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sailed to North America, he noticed something mysterious between geographic north and magnetic north on the compass. He kept this thought to himself because he did not want the crew to get frightened. In 1698, Edmund Halley measured Earth's magnetic variations. In 1701, he produced a chart that shows the difference between geographic and magnetic north. Many other discoveries happened that perfected the compass and made it possible for it to still be around today. Without the compass it would most likely be impossible to travel earth’s dangerous seas.

The Printing Press

In the 1440s, the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg. This invention was in wooden form and had moveable block letters, which you pressed for the ink to be typed on the paper. The printing press made it much easier for news and ideas to get spread around. For example, when Martin Luther made his speech only a few people heard it, but because of the printing press, the news traveled all around the world! It also decreased the cost of books and other materials. Before the printing press, the only way of making copies of something was to do it by hand. People used vellum, and one sheet of it would cost either 300 sheep skins or 170 calf skins. The printing press was so important during the age of exploration because it made books less expensive and it made new ideas and news spread across the world a lot faster.


During the 1400s, there weren't many ways to travel. People often traveled by horse, boats, or just walked. Christopher Columbus, a navigator, was determined to reach a group of islands known as the East Indies. On August 3, 1492, Columbus began his voyage on the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria (three ships) to the Indies. Land wasn't finally seen until about two months into the journey. On October 12th, Columbus thought he spotted the islands of the East Indies, but the land he reached was the islands of the Caribbean. He began calling the people there “Indians” because he thought he reached the Indies, and he believed that he had reached the Indies for many of the voyages he made there. He believed all of this was true until other people stated the islands that he had found were unknown and were not what he had been looking for.

In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan wanted to reach the Pacific, so he left Spain with five ships. When Magellan and his crew finally reached South America, they searched thoroughly looking for routes that may lead them to the Pacific Ocean. In 1520, Magellan finally found “Balboa’s South Sea” but he later renamed it "The Pacific" as it is known as today. Although they already accomplished their goal, Magellan enforced that they keep pushing to reach the East Indies. They sailed for four months and in 1521, Magellan was killed. However, his very few surviving crew members were the first people to circumnavigate, or fully sail around the globe.


Christopher Columbus: October 31st, 1451- May 20, 1506

Christopher Columbus died of a congestive heart failure on May 20, 1506. He was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer, as well as a citizen of the Republic of Genoa. He was loved by his family consisting of his late wife Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, and his two children Diego and Ferdinand Columbus. During his lifetime he was the first person from Europe to discover the Americas, without him our entire American history would have been much different and we could cease to exist.

Prince Henry: March 4th, 1394- November 13th, 1460

Prince Henry passed away of a heart disease on November 13, 1460. He was a good man who sponsored exploratory voyages, designed maps, and he was also a navigator. His family consists of his parents Phillipa of Lancaster and John I of Portugal, along with many siblings. He was an important man who explored much of the African coast during the age of exploration and he benefited our history greatly from all the exploring he did.

Ferdinand Magellan: 1480- April 27th, 1521

Ferdinand Magellan was sadly found dead by a stab wound on April 27, 1521. Ferdinand was always adventurous, hence the reason for him to lead an expedition that circumnavigated the world. He was a Portuguese explorer who loved to see and explore the world. His family consists of his wife, María Caldera Beatriz Barbosa, and his two children, Carlos and Rodrigo. He was a very important figure in our history because he was the first European to sail all the way to the Pacific Ocean, and his crew was considered to be the first people to circumnavigate the world.


Below is a dialogue from the TAE interviews with Zanta Mohauntas

Interviewer: Hello everybody and welcome to the TAE Interviews! Today, we have a very special guest who is going to share their story about the colonization of the Americas. Please welcome Zanta Mohauntas!

Zanta: Thank you so much for having me here today. I would like to share my views of the colonizations in our once quiet land.

Interviewer: Of course! Please share it because we want to know everything about how this has affected you and the other Natives in the Americas.

Zanta: Well to start off tonight, I would like to share how this has affected us. This started in 1492 when Christopher Columbus came and discovered our land. Since then, nothing was ever the same.

Interviewer: Wow! I can't wait to know more. Is it ok if you can share with us what really happened after he discovered America?

Zanta: Of course! Well as you know, he discovered the Americas and the Europeans began to come to our land. What you probably didn't know was that they carried diseases and new ways of living. Disease killed off most of our people, and the weapons and tools changed our ways of hunting and gathering for our people.

Interviewer: Wow, isn't that horrible. What types of tools and weapons did they bring over to the Americas?

Zanta: Some brought horses, guns, and also new tools that we have never seen or used before.

Interviewer: I also hear that they are sending missionaries to convert people like you to Christianity. Is that so?

Zanta: It is true. My family and I have all been converted to practicing Catholicism instead of our other religion we were practicing.

Interviewer: Wow, isn't that awful, forcing you to switch your religions. What else has been happening to you guys over the years?

Zanta: Well, we recently had to move to a new settlement because some of the Europeans have taken over our land. They threatened to take our lives, so we had no choice but to move.

Interviewer: Well that's tragic and very sad. Is there anything that you hope will change in the future?

Zanta: Something that I hope for in the future would be the freedom for us Natives and our descendents. I wish that we will be able to claim our own land and to live freely.

Interviewer: I hope the same for you and your family. Thank you so so much for sharing your life with us! It really gives us a glimpse of what really is going on in the Americas. Thank you for coming.

Zanta: It is my pleasure for coming here. Thank you so much.

Interviewer: And that is all we have for today, thank you for watching the TAE Interviews and tune in tomorrow for more. See you all tomorrow!


Puzzle Time!

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