Date: Wed May 7, 2003 8:31 pm
Subject: Links: Medieval and Renaissance Explorers

Hi everyone. This week's Links list is about those intrepid explorers who discovered new worlds and found people who didn't even know they were lost!

Enjoy this list in the spirit of adventure, and pass it along to those who will be interested.




Enchanted Learning Explorers
(Site Excerpt of the first Entry) ALBUQUERQUE, AFONSO DE
Afonso de Albuquerque (14??-1515) was a Portuguese soldier and explorer who sailed to the Spice Islands (the Moluccas, a group of Islands in Indonesia) in 1507-1511, trying to monopolize trade with this area; from Europe, he sailed around Africa to the Indian Ocean. He was appointed the Viceroy of India by King Emmanuel in 1509. He forcibly destroyed the Indian city of Calicut in January, 1510, and took Goa (in southern India) in March, 1510, claiming Goa for Portugal.

Elementary Themes
Vasco da Gama
(Site Excerpt) Vasco da Gama is famous for his completion of the first all water trade route between Europe and India. Da Gama's father, Estavao, had originally been chosen by King Joao II to make this historic voyage, but he died before he could complete the mission.

(Site Excerpt) The first circumnavigation of the globe was led by Ferdinand Magellan. He was born in the spring of 1480 to a family of lower nobility. Educated in the Portuguese court, Magellan proved himself in many battles in the name of his country. Like Columbus before him, Magellan believed he could get to the Spice Islands by sailing west. He knew he would have to sail around or through the New World to do so. Like so many explorers before him, he thought the earth was much smaller than it actually is. Snubbed by the Portuguese king, Magellan easily convinced the teenaged Spanish king, Charles I (also known as the Holy Roman emperor Charles V) that at least some of the Spice Islands lay in the Spanish half of the undiscovered world.

(Site Excerpt) Like all learned men of his time, Columbus knew the world was round. He theorized that since the earth was a sphere, a ship could eventually reach the Far East from the opposite direction. He thought to establish trade routes to Asia in this manner. The fifteenth-century Europeans were not aware of the South and North American continents during this timeframe. Mapmakers did not show an accurate picture and no one knew there was a Pacific Ocean. For a decade, Columbus approached the Portuguese king and the Spanish monarchs to obtain a grant to explore possible trade routes to the west.

Leif Ericsson
About AD 970 -1020
(Site Excerpt) Watch out for that iceberg! Eric the Red shouted the order to the rowers. Exiled from Iceland, he was searching for a new home for his family. Young Leif, his son, kept staring at the huge iceberg while they slowly and carefully rowed past it in their Viking ship. Soon the fjord opened up and Leif could see green grassland both to the right and left. The men stopped rowing and soon the ship gently grounded on the beach and they all went ashore. For the first three years, they lived there in virtual seclusion. There were no other inhabitants around, and they focused on their family and environment, learning and taking what the new land offered.

Marco Polo Travels in China 1275-1292
(Site Excerpt) Marco Polo was born in Venice, Italy in the year 1254. He had an education of different skills in accounting, foreign languages, and knowledge of the Christian Church. His background in business and culture and his love for nature made Marco Polo very observant of humans, animals, and plants. His father, Nicolo, and his uncle, Maffeo, were merchants who began their first eastern journey in 1260. They visited Constantinople and made their way to the domain of the Great Kublai Khan, ruler of China. The Emperor became interested in stories of the native land of the merchants; thus, he sent the Polos back to the Pope as his ambassadors with messages of peace and interest in converting areas of China to Christianity.

Amerigo's uncle, Giorgio Antonio Vespucci, had a profound influence on the life of Amerigo [Pohl 15]. Giorgio was a canon, scholar, collector of manuscripts, and the owner of a library, which he gave to the Medici Family, who ruled Florence [Pohl 16]. About a year before Amerigo was born, Giorgio opened a school in his convent of San Marco for the sons of the principle nobles of Florence. As soon as Amerigo was of age to go to his uncle's school, he did [Lester 58]. Giorgio saw Amerigo as the man who would save the decimating fortune of the Vespucci family. Amerigo acquired a love for Virgil, Dante, and Petrarch, while he studied with his uncle; hence, Amerigo studied to perfect the language of scholars, Latin [Pohl 16].

(Site Excerpt) 1590, Raleigh was at the height of his power. By this time he was known as one of the dashing personalities of England. He had been knighted and was one of the queen's favorites. He was so popular with the queen he was granted 12,000 acres of land in the new world.

Jacques Cartier
He made the crossing of the Atlantic in only twenty days, and landed on an island near the coast of Newfoundland, by then already much frequented by Breton fishermen. He sailed north, and entered the Strait of Belle Isle. He sailed into the Bay of St. Lawrence and along the westcoast of Newfoundland, and crossed the Bay to the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island, both of which he thought part of the mainland. Then he went to Chaleur Bay and Gaspé peninsula.