[audio] Finding a sea route to Asia

  • Two problems sailors faced before the 1400s :
    a. They did not have good ways of knowing where they were if they got beyond sight of land.
    b. The maps were poor and their ships were too slow to make long voyages.

Inventions help sailors

  • The invention of the astrolabe and the caravel helped sailors to travel faster, farther, and more safely.

The Portugese invented the caravel.


The Early Explorers

  • Trade route : the way traders go to reach a market.
  • Market: a place to buy and sell products.
  • Christopher Columbus began his exploration in 1492. Ferdinand Magellan began his exploration in 1519.
[audio] The Spanish Sail West
  • Columbus' believed that the earth was round. This caused him to think he could sail west to find Asia.
  • Columbus did not know when he sailed west to find Asia that the earth was much bigger than he thought.
  • Columbus called the Native Americans Indians because he thought he really had reached the East Indies.
  • The effect of Columbus' journey was to start the Age of Exploration (the period of time when Europeans were exploring new lands).

The Portuguese Sail South and East

  • The effect of da Gama's decision to sail south and east was that he found an excellent trade route that gained wealth for Portugal.

[audio] The Spanish Continue to Sail West

  • Spanish explorers still sailed west believing that this would lead them to Asia.
  • Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean in 1513.
  • Magellan's expedition proved to Europeans that the world was round.
  • Da Gama's route to Asia was better than Magellan's because it was safer and shorter.

Multiple Perspectives on the New European Trade Route to Asia

  • European governments viewed the discovery of a new trade route to Asia differently than the Muslims. While the Muslim government made less money since they were selling fewer Asian goods to Europeans, European governments supported the new trade route because they earned taxes from trade.


[audio] Exploring the New World

  • Spain and England worried that Portugal would use its growing wealth to try to dominate them when Portugal started to use the new sea route to Asia.
  • Spain and England attempted to solve their problem by exploring the Americas to get wealth.
  • Spain explored both North and South America.
  • England explored a part of North America.
  • Portugal explored an area in South America (current Brazil).
  • Lay claim: to say a particular country now owns that area.