The American Discovery of Europe

European colonization of the Americas
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Thank you for your feedback. Load Previous Page. Discovery of the New World In the Iberian Peninsula the impetus of the counteroffensive against the Moors carried the Portuguese to probe the West African coastline and the Spanish to attempt the expulsion of Islam from the western Mediterranean. Load Next Page. Bigger, faster ships and the invention of navigational devices such as the astrolabe and sextant made extended voyages possible. A nautical map representing Marco Polo with a caravan on the way to Cathay. But the most powerful inducement to exploration was trade. The Orient became a magnet to traders, and exotic products and wealth flowed into Europe.

Those who benefited most were merchants who sat astride the great overland trade routes, especially the merchants of the Italian city-states of Genoa, Venice, and Florence. The newly unified states of the Atlantic—France, Spain, England, and Portugal—and their ambitious monarchs were envious of the merchants and princes who dominated the land routes to the East. The desire to supplant the trade moguls, especially the Italians, and fear of the Ottoman Empire forced the Atlantic nations to search for a new route to the East.

Portugal led the others into exploration. Encouraged by Prince Henry the Navigator, Portuguese seamen sailed southward along the African coast, seeking a water route to the East.

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The American Discovery of Europe investigates the voyages of America's Native peoples to the European continent before Columbus's arrival in the "New World.". The American Discovery of Europe and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle.​ The American Discovery of Europe Paperback – June 24, ​ Jack D. Forbes is a professor emeritus of Native American studies and anthropology at the University of California, Davis.

They were also looking for a legendary king named Prester John who had supposedly built a Christian stronghold somewhere in northwestern Africa. Henry hoped to form an alliance with Prester John to fight the Muslims. His school developed the quadrant, the cross-staff and the compass, made advances in cartography, and designed and built highly maneuverable little ships known as caravels.

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Dias sailed around the tip of Africa and into the Indian Ocean before his frightened crew forced him to give up the quest. A year later, Vasco da Gama succeeded in reaching India and returned to Portugal laden with jewels and spices.

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Born in Genoa, Italy, around , Columbus learned the art of navigation on voyages in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Columbus, hoping to make such a voyage, spent years seeking a sponsor and finally found one in Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain after they defeated the Moors and could turn their attention to other projects. After ten weeks he sighted an island in the Bahamas, which he named San Salvador.

Thinking he had found islands near Japan, he sailed on until he reached Cuba which he thought was mainland China and later Haiti.

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But the territorial disputes between Portugal and Spain were not resolved until when they signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, which drew a line leagues west of the Azores as the demarcation between the two empires. Despite the treaty, controversy continued over what Columbus had found. He made three more voyages to America between and , during which he explored Puerto Rico , the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Trinidad.

European colonization of the Americas - Wikipedia

Each time he returned more certain that he had reached the East. More Spanish expeditions followed. In and , Pedro de Mendoza went as far as present-day Buenos Aires in Argentina, where he founded a colony. As European powers conquered the territories of the New World, they justified wars against Native Americans and the destruction of their cultures as a fulfillment of the European secular and religious vision of the New World. That idea had two parts: one paradisiacal and utopian, the other savage and dangerous.

European conquest of the Americas - summary since mid-15th century

Ancient tales described distant civilizations, usually to the west, where European-like peoples lived simple, virtuous lives without war, famine, disease or poverty. Such utopian visions were reinforced by religious notions. Early Christian Europeans had inherited from the Jews a powerful prophetic tradition that drew upon apocalyptic biblical texts in the books of Daniel, Isaiah and Revelations. They connected the Christianization of the world with the second coming of Christ.

If secular and religious traditions evoked utopian visions of the New World, they also induced nightmares. The ancients described wonderful civilizations, but barbaric, evil ones as well. Moreover, late medieval Christianity inherited a rich tradition of hatred for non-Christians derived in part from the Crusaders' struggle to free the Holy Land and from warfare against the Moors. European encounters with the New World were viewed in light of these preconceived notions. To plunder the New World of its treasures was acceptable because it was populated by pagans.

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This book investigates the voyages of America's Native peoples to the European continent before Columbus's arrival in the "New World," revealing surprising Native American involvements in maritime trade and exploration. Jack D. Forbes explores the seagoing expertise of early Americans, theories of ancient migrations, the evidence for human origins in the Americas, and other early visitors coming from Europe to America, including the Norse.

The provocative, extensively documented, and heartfelt conclusions of The American Discovery of Europe present an open challenge to received historical wisdom.

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