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 Early Exploration of America(new world)s

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Samiha
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عدد المساهمات : 159
تاريخ التسجيل : 2010-01-23
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الموقع : http://english4all.forumarabia.com/

PostSubject: Early Exploration of America(new world)s   Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:47 pm

Early Exploration of America



Portugal. The country responsible for opening the Age of Exploration was Portugal. Positioned on the west coast of the Iberian peninsula and lying at the crossings of the Mediterranean and Atlantic shipping lanes, the country was well situated to lead a revolution in European navigation. Under the sponsorship of King John I, Dom Henrique, also known as Prince Henry the Navigator, sent sea captains out into the ocean to find passageways to Africa and India so that seaborne Portuguese merchants might undercut the land caravans of Arab traders. Borrowing hull and sail designs and navigational equipment from their Arab rivals, Portuguese sailors soon acquired mastery of the seas and explored the coast of Africa. The trade they opened with the African kingdoms revolved around gold and slaves and stirred the interest of other nations. Building supply stations along the coast of Africa, Portuguese sailors such as Bartholomeu Días and Vasco da Gama gradually worked their way around the Cape of Good Hope, up to the Horn of Africa, and over to the Indian mainland, where they entered the spice trade. To the west they reached Newfoundland in 1500 and attempted to found a colony on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in 1520.

Spain. While the Portuguese focused on Africa and the Indian trade, the Spanish turned their attention westward. The first step in what would culminate in Christopher Columbus’s voyage was the conquest of the Canary Islands and the extermination of the Guanche natives in the early 1400s. But before money could be spent on further overseas exploration and colonization, the Catholic kingdoms of what would become Spain had to expel the Moors from Africa who had invaded and occupied their land. When in the late fifteenth century Ferdinand and Isabella united the crowns of Castile and Aragon and laid the foundations for the modern nation of Spain, they set into motion the final phase of the reconquista, the expulsion of the Moors. The last Moorish stronghold in Grenada fell in 1492, and that year Columbus set sail for the West.

New World. Columbus was born in Genoa, a port on the Italian peninsula that produced many of the finest sailors of the day. He had been employed in the Portuguese slave trade and, based on his experiences, believed he could find a route to India by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean. He sought royal patronage in several courts before finding a sympathetic ear in Queen Isabella, who agreed to finance his expedition. His ships set sail in August 1492, and two months later Columbus made landfall on an island he named San Salvador. Thinking at the time that he was in Asia, he and his crew spent the next several months exploring the nearby islands in search of the emperor of China. Needless to say they never found the emperor, but they did acquaint themselves with two native tribes whom they erroneously called Indians—the Arawaks and the Caribs. Columbus left behind a small settlement he called Navidad on the island of Hispaniola, but upon his return the next year the site had been abandoned. In 1499 he and his brothers, who had governed the newfound lands, were arrested for mismanagement and sent back to Spain in irons. Columbus died in 1506, still firm in the belief that he had found Asia.

First Contact. Columbus’s experience with the people he believed were Indians shaped much of the subsequent history between Europeans and Native Americans. Welcomed by the friendly Arawaks on the island of Hispaniola, Columbus deemed them indios pacificos, friendly Indians who were kind, trustworthy, and generous to their Spanish visitors. In contrast the Carib Indians who had a reputation for cannibalism and perfidy were indios bravos, bad Indians. In the narratives sent back to Spain by Columbus and others the dichotomy between the good and bad Indians shaped European expectations and justified all the more easily the brutal subjugation of Indians who were deemed innately bad and children of the devil.
Rights of Discovery and Conquest

When Europeans arrived in the New World, they had to establish and maintain a claim to the land they had seen that would be respected by the other European powers. One legal doctrine, the Right of Discovery, conveyed to European monarchs the right to claim lands discovered in his or her name so long as they had not already been claimed by another Christian people. As such the Pope was an important adjudicator of disputes between Christian peoples, such as happened in the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). When the French began exploring the New World, they challenged the Iberian kingdoms’ Rights to Discovery and claimed that the right did not pertain to land that had not actually been explored. The French and the English proposed an alternative theory called the Right of Conquest. Only by conquering native populations and by building permanent settlements, they argued, could a monarch receive a rightful claim to the land. Legal principles based on use of the land rather than discovery of the land fundamentally changed the game of imperialism because they forced Europeans to colonize their holdings and to attack the colonies of their rivals in order to protect their imperial interests.
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