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The Age of Exploration


The Age of Exploration The Creation of the Atlantic System and the Eurocentric World 1433-1650 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Age of Exploration

The Age of Exploration
  • The Creation of the Atlantic System and the
    Eurocentric World
  • 1433-1650

The Age of Exploration
  • Three broad issues 1433-1650
  • I. Expansion and impact on Europe
  • II. Impact on non-European civilizations Europe
    bumps into
  • III. Impact on world as a whole and worldwide

The Age of Exploration
  • In the 200 years between the 1430s and the
    1630s Europeans learned that all seas are one
    that seamen, given adequate ships and supplies,
    skill and courage, could in time reach any
    country in the world which had an ocean coast,
    andwhat was more importantreturn home.
  • No other period in Western history equals this
    time in significance or dramatic interest.

The Age of Exploration
  • Unfortunately, few actual accounts of early
    voyages exist because most expedition leaders
    were men who saw no reason to write and
    potentially give away valuable information
    (except to their employers).
  • The employers wanted to monopolize the profits of
    the new-found lands.

The Age of Exploration
  • Travel before this period was nothing newwhat
    was new was once rulers and financiers understood
    that more efficient ships, more accurate
    instruments and better methods of cartography and
    navigation had made long ocean voyages possible,
    they invested in exploring.

The Age of Exploration
  • Their object was not discovery for its own
    sakethat was incidentalbut the opening of ocean
    routes to distant India, China, and Japan,
    countries known to exist and believed to be of
    commercial importance.

The Age of Exploration
  • The men who did the work were tough
    professionals, willing to serve any ruler who
    would employ them, ready to go anywhere and
    investigate anything if they were suitably
  • Skillful, imaginative and bold, and often
    ruthless, they drew the map of the world we know.


The Age of Exploration
  • By the end of the 15th Century, trade
    relationships with the rest of the world were
    starting to be dominated by Europe (China had
  • Europe had traded with Asia for centuries through
    the long and dangerous overland routes (the Silk
    Road) or through the Middle East.

The Age of Exploration
  • The Silk Road.

The Age of Exploration
  • The Middle East (the Ottomans) put taxes/duties
    on goods bound for Europe, making the Middle East
    wealthy and angering the Europeans.
  • Europe looked for way to cut-out the Middle
    Eastern middlemen.

The Age of Exploration
  • Even though the medieval Europeans knowledge of
    Asia and Africa was vague, they were fascinated
    by these continents.
  • The Bible had made Asia, home of the three Magi,
    and Africa, legendary source of King Solomons
    wealth part of the background of every Christian.

The Age of Exploration
  • Medieval storytellers made Asia and Africa Lands
    of Marvels. For instance, it was believed that
    somewhere in Africa there was a river of gold
    that emptied into a seething tropical sea no man
    could reach and still live.
  • Somewhere in Africa (or in Asia?) was a land
    filled with treasure guarded by dragons and
    hovered over by legless birds who spent their
    whole lives in the air.

The Age of Exploration
  • Somewhere there were sheep the size of oxen
    giants who could wade into the ocean and grab a
    ship with one hand women whose eyes were made of
    precious stones that could slay a man with one
    glance and headless men whose faces were in
    their chests.

The Age of Exploration
  • Starting in the 1430s, Portugal started
    exploring the West coast of Africa, initially
    searching for a faster route to China, India, and
    Spice Islands.

The Age of Exploration
  • The Portuguese wanted easier access to the luxury
    fabrics (cotton/linen/silk) and spices of Asia.

The Age of Exploration
  • Financed by Prince Henry (the Navigator),
    Portugal pressed further and further southward
    along the African coast.

The Age of Exploration
  • Henry had set two goals to trace the source of
    the trade in gold, ivory, slaves and pepper, and
    to get in touch with Prester John, with whom he
    hoped to plan a crusade that would clear the
    Muslims from North Africa and the Holy Lands once
    and for all.

The Age of Exploration
  • To accomplish these goals, Henry established a
    community of scholars dedicated to geographical
  • The knowledge they accumulated was to be used by
    the captains of his expeditions.

The Age of Exploration
  • The fabled Christian kingdom of a priest turned
    king, Prester John.

The Age of Exploration
  • This kingdom (believed to be somewhere in eastern
    Africa or Asia) was supposedly lost among the
    Muslims and pagans of the East.
  • Europeans believed it had wealth beyond measure,
    monsters and magical plants, living jewels and
    extraordinary beasts.

The Age of Exploration
  • The exploration of the west coast of Africa
    didnt present physical difficulties for
    Portuguese seamen, it caused psychological ones.
  • It was widely believed that life was
    unsupportable near the Equator and that monsters
    lurked beneath the seas.

The Age of Exploration
  • Cape Nun, on the northwestern coast of Africa was
    so named because of the legend that none of the
    seamen that ventured past it returned beyond
    Cape Nun, it was rumored, the boiling sea
    destroyed all who were not already burned black
    by the vertical sun.

The Age of Exploration
  • Further down the coast lay the Antipodes, where
    according to the Church, only monsters lived.
  • A final deterrent was that many believed that
    Africa could not be circumnavigated.
  • But with Henrys urging and support, Portuguese
    seamen slowly began moving down the west coast of

The Age of Exploration
  • Cape Nun was passed in 1434. In 1441, an
    expedition returned from the Rio de Ouro region
    with a cargo of slaves, beginning the European
    slave trade.
  • By 1473 the Equator had been crossed without
    anyone bursting into flames or turning black.

The Age of Exploration
  • The Portuguese (and other Europeans) sailed in
    small, maneuverable ships called caravels.
  • A technological advantage was that they were fast
    and used triangular lateen sails (an idea
    borrowed from Arab sailors).

The Age of Exploration
  • Caravels were round hulled and deep-drafted (they
    sat lower in the water so they could carry more
    cargo/provisions weapons).
  • The compass and astrolabe improved navigation and
    allowed for better map making.

The Age of Exploration
  • But the main difference was made with gunpowder
    weaponry (like cannons).

The Age of Exploration
  • Conditions on board ships was appalling, even by
    the standards of their time all ships leaked
    and even with pumps, water was always sloshing
    around below decks which was polluted by the
    casual sanitary habits of the age.
  • Roaches and rats swarmed everywhere.
  • No specific sleeping quarters were provided
    except for the captain and pilot of the ship.

The Age of Exploration
  • Ordinary seamen slept on or below deck wherever
    they could find room.
  • Food not only ran short, but quickly went bad.
    Shipboard menus consisted of dried and salted
    meat, salted fish, biscuit, rice, dried peas,
    cheese, garlic, onions, oil, vinegar, water,
    beer, and wine.
  • After a few days, the salted foods often turned
    to a slimy, mealy mess.

The Age of Exploration
  • We ate only old biscuit reduced to powder,
    and full of grubs, and stinking from the dirt
    which the rats had made on it when eating the
    good biscuit, and we drank water that was yellow
    and stinking. We also ate the ox-hides
    (leather)also the sawdust of wood, and rats.
  • From the chronicle of Magellans Pacific

The Age of Exploration
  • Disease was very common on long voyages,
    especially since sailors ate few fresh fruits or
    vegetables, slept in cramped quarters infested
    with fleas and lice, and were often drenched for
    days on end.
  • Fevers and the plague were common, but the worst
    was scurvy. A voyage was considered successful if
    20 or less died of scurvy along the way.

The Age of Exploration
  • Scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) rotted away a
    sailors gums causing teeth to fall out or
  • Blood poisoning followed, then usually death.

The Age of Exploration
  • On long voyages it was common to lose 3-4 sailors
    a day to scurvythey were usually just thrown
    overboard into the sea.
  • When a Scottish doctor discovered in 1747 that
    citrus cured scurvy, the British Royal Navy
    ordered sailors to eat limesthis is why
    Americans began calling the British limeys.

The Age of Exploration
  • Under the best of circumstances it was hard to
    predict the length of a voyageColumbus on his
    fourth voyage took 21 days to go 3,000 miles (and
    he had good weather). Magellan crossed the
    Pacific going west in 98 days. The eastward
    crossing could take over six months. The average
    trip from Lisbon to India took seven months.

The Age of Exploration
  • A ships speed was calculated by tossing a wood
    chip off the bow (front) and timing it to the
    stern (back).
  • Then the wood chip was tied to a knotted line and
    thrown over.
  • Relating the knots that slipped through his
    fingers to elapsed time gave the sailor the
    ships speedin knots. 1 knot approx 1.15 mph

The Age of Exploration
  • It took over 50 years for the Portuguese to reach
    the tip of Africa (the Cape of Good Hope in
  • Rather than round the Cape, the weary sailors
    forced their expedition back up the coast of
    Africa towards home.

The Age of Exploration
  • It would take another ten years before Vasco da
    Gama would be appointed by the Portuguese king to
    open the sea route to India.

The Age of Exploration
  • Da Gama and his fleet left Lisbon on July 8,
  • After three months and a voyage of nearly 4,000
    miles, da Gamas four ships circumnavigated the
    Cape of Good Hope and Mossel Bay and became the
    first Europeans to sail into the Indian Ocean.

The Age of Exploration
  • As the Portuguese moved northward along the east
    coast of Africa (the Swahili Coast), they found a
    community of Hindus living in Malindi (modern
  • Da Gama was convinced they were Christiansa sign
    that the elusive Prester John was not far away.

The Age of Exploration
  • Da Gamas four small ships made their way to
    India (1498) with the help of a Hindu pilot they
    picked up in Malindi.
  • As the Portuguese approached the west coast of
    India (known as the Malabar Coast), they
    mistakenly thought the Hindus were Christians
    because they thought Hindu temples were churches.

The Age of Exploration
  • When they dropped anchor, the Portuguese had
    landed at the famous trading city of Calicut.

The Age of Exploration
  • To the Arabs and Persians who dominated the trade
    between India and Africa, the Portuguese
    represented a threat.
  • Unfortunately for da Gama, no one wanted what the
    Portuguese brought to sellthey only had crude
    items like iron pots.

The Age of Exploration
  • Fortunately, they also had some gold so they were
    able to purchase spices and Chinese porcelains.
  • After an unsuccessful attempt on his life, da
    Gama decided it was time to return to Portugal.
  • The stretch across the Indian Ocean to Africa
    took three months, and so many men died of scurvy
    that da Gama had to destroy one of his ships
    because there werent enough men to sail it.

The Age of Exploration
  • When da Gama sailed into Lisbon harbor in
    September 1499, he had been away for more than
    two years and had sailed over 24,000 nautical

The Age of Exploration
  • Of the 170 men who sailed with da Gama, only 44
  • He brought back a few place settings of Chinese
    porcelain which set off the craze for china and
    he made an incredible profit.
  • He was given the title Admiral of the Ocean Seas
    by the king of Portugal.

The Age of Exploration
  • As the Portuguese made more trips to India (about
    once a year), they substituted violence for their
    lack of attractive goods to trade.

The Age of Exploration
  • Da Gama used guns and cannons to intimidate, and
    his sailors killed or tortured many Indian
    merchants to set an example.
  • By 1514, the Portuguese had reached the Spice
    Islands (Indonesia) and China.
  • By 1517, Portugal had forts throughout eastern
    Africa and India.
  • By 1542, they had reached Japan.

The Age of Exploration
  • Portugal dominated parts of Africa (starting in
    1433) and the Indian Ocean (starting in 1498)
    while Spain dominated the Americas (starting in
  • Increasing tension between Portugal and Spain
    over land rights caused the Pope to intervene and
    create the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494).

The Age of Exploration
  • The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the Atlantic
    world between the two monarchies.
  • Portugal got Brazil (decided in 1500), West
    Africa, and the eastern trade routes to India
    while Spain got the oceans and lands to the west
    (meaning North and South America, over to Asia).
  • A miscalculation of the location of South America
    allowed Portugal to claim Brazil.

The Age of Exploration
The Age of Exploration
  • In 1512 another sailor from Portugal (but sailing
    for Spain), Ferdinand Magellan (Magalhaes), set
    sail looking for a shorter route to Asia and the
    Spice Islands.
  • He convinced the king of Spain(Charles I) that if
    Spanish ships could slip under the southernmost
    point of the American barrier, they could have as
    easy access as the Portuguese found rounding

The Age of Exploration
  • Unfortunately, Magellan received only
    half-hearted support when it came to outfitting
    the expeditionfive aged ships manned by old and
    ragged sailors.
  • Even if Magellan reached the Spice Islands there
    was no guarantee that Spain could claim them
    because no was sure if they were in the Spanish

The Age of Exploration
  • Magellans five ships left Spain in late
    September, 1519 sailing west across the Atlantic.
    When he reached Brazil they sailed south
    reaching Patagonia as winter was setting in.

The Age of Exploration
  • Magellan and his crews spent the next five months
    in a Patagonian bay.
  • During that time, he lost one ship to a
    shipwreck, another by desertion, and was almost
    forced to turn back because of a mutiny.

The Age of Exploration
  • Magellan did not set sail again until the summer
    of 1520. When he reached 52 degrees 30 minutes
    south he found the strait that would bear his
  • In a masterly piece of seamanship, he guided his
    ships through a rock-strewn and stormy passageway
    filled with cliffs and zigzag turns.

The Age of Exploration
The Age of Exploration
  • The 320 mile-long strait took 38 days but when
    they emerged, his theory was confirmedthere was
    a southwest passage to the Pacific.
  • America did have a southern tip and did not, as
    many cartographers believed, form a part of the
    still unexplored Antarctic continent of Terra
    Australis Incognita.

The Age of Exploration
The Age of Exploration
  • Magellans ships were now the first European
    ships to sail into the Pacific Ocean (and named
    it Mar Pacifico).
  • Magellan turned north and followed the coast for
    1,000 miles enabling chart-makers to gauge the
    width and shape of South America.

The Age of Exploration
  • Desperately short of provisions, and with no idea
    how far he would have to sail before reaching his
    goal, he forbade his men, under pain of death, to
    discuss the uncertainties that lay ahead.
  • Unfortunately his course was all open sea, and
    the only group of islands they encountered was so
    barren, he named them the Unfortunate Isles.

The Age of Exploration
  • Magellan finally reached Guam in early March 1521
    after his men suffered through three months of
    disease and near starvation.
  • After replenishing their food and water, they
    continued, landing in the Philippines 10 days
  • Seeing natives with gold ornaments caused
    Magellan to believe that he was near his goal and
    that wealth was within his grasp.

The Age of Exploration
  • Magellan got involved in a local skirmish between
    tribes and was killed by natives in the
  • For the remaining members of the expedition, the
    nightmare wasnt over.

The Age of Exploration
  • So few men were left to operate the three
    remaining ships that one ship was burned and her
    crew split between the other two.
  • One ship was in such bad shape her captain was
    afraid it wouldnt make it around the Cape of
    Good Hope so he sailed east towards South America
    only to be turned around by unfavorable winds and
    land in the Moluccas (modern day Indonesia).

The Age of Exploration
  • This ship was captured and the crew imprisoned by
    the Portuguese (who had controlled the area since
  • The remaining ship picked up a cargo of cloves
    and spices and limped back to Spain, arriving in
    September 1522three years after setting sail.
  • Of his five ships and over 280 sailors, only one
    ship and 31 men made it back to Spain alive.

The Age of Exploration
  • By the middle of the 16th century, the fabulous
    wealth Spain and Portugal generated caused other
    nations to get into the game (Britain, France,
  • Britain in India and North America.
  • France in Canada (Quebec) and other parts of NA
  • Netherlands in South Africa and Indonesia
    (Malacca Spice Islands)

The Age of Exploration
The Age of Exploration
  • The traditional story of Columbus (known as the
    Columbian Era 1492-1800)
  • Spanish and Portuguese were few but successful in
    conquering the savages.
  • British, French, and Dutch soldiers and settlers
    did the same.
  • History focused on the struggle between Europeans
    to dominate the land.

The Age of Exploration
  • Natives were seen as unimportantonly enemies in
    the fight over their lands.
  • History written (mostly in 19th century) showed
    rampant nationalism, elitism, and racism.
  • History ignored women, non-Christians, and
    non-whites it reinforced European ethnocentrism.

The Age of Exploration
  • No one knew in 1405 that the huge armada under
    Zheng Hes command would be recalled in 1433,
    never to sail again.
  • No one knew in 1492 that Columbus tiny fleet of
    three ships would utterly transform the world,
    bringing the peoples of two old worlds and two
    hemispheres permanently together.

The Age of Exploration
  • The consequences set in motion by those three
    small ships included the Atlantic slave trade,
    the decimation of the native population of the
    Americas, the massive growth of world
    population, the Industrial Revolution, and the
    growing prominence of Europeans on the world

The Age of Exploration
  • As the Portuguese charted the African coast, to
    the west, there were only myths and some
    fragmentary reports concerning a few islands in
    the Atlantic.
  • Several 15th Century maps showed a large,
    legendary island called Antillia far west of
    Portugal at the same latitude as Lisbon.
  • Other maps showed a more northerly island called

The Age of Exploration
  • Only the Madeiras and the Azores, discovered in
    the 14th Century and the Canaries, discovered in
    1402 were known during Columbus time.
  • It was believed that somewhere further out was
    the legendary land of Atlantis, seat of a
    vanished civilization mentioned by Plato and kept
    alive by medieval geographers (actually believed
    to have been found in southern Spain in 2011).

The Age of Exploration
The Age of Exploration
  • Columbus, an experienced mariner, believed he
    could improve on the laborious Portuguese efforts
    to work down the African coast in search of the
    way around to the Indies a term that included
    all of eastern Asia.
  • Columbus was convinced that he could reach the
    Indies first by going directly west over the
    open sea.

The Age of Exploration
  • Columbus had studied The Travels of Marco Polo
    and the maps of Ibn al Idrisi and the ancient
    geographer Ptolemy.
  • Based on his calculations, the distance between
    Europe and Asia was a mere 5,000 nautical miles
    (the real distance is nearly 12,000 miles).

The Age of Exploration
  • He first made his case to the king of Portugal,
    who after careful consideration, turned him down.
  • Columbus then appealed to Ferdinand and Isabella
    who agreed only after years of debate (they were
    tired of Portugals success along the coast of

The Age of Exploration
  • Columbus set sail going West (instead of East) on
    August 4, 1492.
  • He had two 70 ft. caravels (the Nina and the
    Pinta) and his flagship, the Santa Maria, was
    slightly larger.

The Age of Exploration
  • After 33 days, he landed in the Bahamas (on the
    island of Guanahaniwhich he renamed San

The Age of Exploration
  • To give you a sense of scale, Columbus captained
    three ships with a crew of about 90.
  • da Gama captained four ships with a crew of about
  • Zheng Hes fleet had hundreds of ships and a crew
    of about 30,000.

The Age of Exploration
  • According to recent scholarship,
  • All the ships of Columbus and da Gama
    combined could have been stored on a single deck
    of a single vessel in the fleet that set sail
    under Zheng He.

The Age of Exploration
  • As he sailed, Columbus kept two records of the
    distance coveredone which he kept to himself,
    and the other which was a deliberate
    underestimate he announced to the crew (hoping to
    prevent panic from being so far into the
  • After the men had been at sea longer than their
    previous experiences, they were seized with one
    fear after another.

The Age of Exploration
  • After 30 days of sailing on the Santa Maria, the
    crew demanded that Columbus turn back, and he
    promised to do so if they didnt see land within
    two or three days.
  • Two days later, October 12 at 2 a.m., under a
    full moon, land was sighted by the Pinta (which
    was in the lead).
  • The next day, Columbus and a small party went

The Age of Exploration
The Age of Exploration
  • Because of the small gold ornaments the natives
    wore in their noses, Columbus thought he landed
    in the Indies (why he named the indigenous
    peoples Indians) and he was surprised that the
    natives didnt speak Arabic.

The Age of Exploration
  • When Columbus first encountered the inhabitants
    of San Salvador, the gentle Arawak Taino Indians,
    he noted in his journal how they greeted the
    Europeans with friendly courtesy and they eagerly
    exchanged gifts with the crew.

The Age of Exploration
  • Writing in his journal the day he landed in the
    New World, Columbus was certain that once he
    sailed through the outer islands of the Indies,
    he would reach the vast riches of China and
  • He believed it was a short journey of less than
    an additional 1000 miles.

The Age of Exploration
  • Columbus was convinced that once he reached
    China, he would be welcomed by the Great Khan, an
    emperor of incredible wealth who spoke Arabic and
    ruled over lands of gold, silver, gems, silks,
    spices, and valuable medicines.
  • But Columbus never found India or China, and
    never found vast wealth in the New World.

The Age of Exploration
  • So after a few days, He wrote in his journal I
    intend to go and see if I can now find the Island
    of Japan.
  • So he left San Salvador, sailing for 15 days
    until he discovered Cubacertain he had found
    Marco Polos Cipangu (Japan).

The Age of Exploration
  • But there were no silk-clad sages or palaces
    tiled with solid gold.
  • He sent an expedition into the interior looking
    for an imperial city.
  • The only thing of interest they found was some
    Indians smoking cigars, making this the first
    European encounter with tobacco.

The Age of Exploration
  • Columbus calculated that he wasnt in Japan after
    all by his estimate he had sailed too far from
    Europe for that.
  • No, this must be China.
  • For three months his tiny fleet sailed through
    the uncharted and often dangerous waters of the
    Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola.

The Age of Exploration
  • On Hispaniola, Columbus was elated by the gold
    ornaments worn by the natives and by a hammered
    gold mask he received as a gift.
  • In a classic case of miscommunication, Columbus
    ordered his sailors to dance to the rhythm of a
    drum in order to attract some Indians who were
    lying some way off the ship in a canoe. The
    Indians thought it was a war dance and started
    shooting arrows.

The Age of Exploration
  • Then he lost his flagship (the Santa Maria) when
    she ran aground late one night.
  • Her timbers were salvaged to make the first
    European settlement in the New World, a fort
    which Columbus garrisoned with 40 men.

The Age of Exploration
  • He then decided it was time to sail home to give
    Ferdinand and Isabella the great news that their
    venture had been no mere vision, that contact had
    been made with Cathay (India).
  • After three months of bad weather, his two ships
    limped into Lisbon harbor.
  • He immediately dispatched a letter to Ferdinand
    and Isabella talking about his exploits.

The Age of Exploration
  • Describing the mountains of Hispaniola, Columbus
    wrote All are most beautiful, of a
    thousand shapes, and all accessible, and
    filled with trees of a thousand kinds
    and tall, and they seem to touch the skyAnd
    there were singing the nightingale and other
    little birds of a thousand kinds in the month
    of November.
  • Like most things Columbus said, this was a wild

The Age of Exploration
  • When Columbus arrived at the court of Ferdinand
    and Isabella in Barcelona (April 1493), he was
    addressed as Don Cristobal ColonAdmiral of the
    Ocean Sea, Viceroy and Governor of the Islands he
    hath discovered in the Indies.

The Age of Exploration
The Age of Exploration
  • After Columbus first trans-Atlantic voyage in
    1492, a return expedition the next year
    established a colony on the island of Santo
    Domingo (Hispaniola).
  • Hispaniola became the Spanish base of operations
    for further discoveries in the New World (so
    named for the first time in 1494).

The Age of Exploration
  • Columbus then went on the first West Indies
    cruise. His sailors saw their first hammock and
    ate their first yams.
  • Columbus doctor wrote with amazement about
    trees bearing wool, cotton trees as large as
    peach trees, trees producing wax as good as
    bees-wax, and wild fruits, some of which caused
    great heat and pain, driving the men mad.

The Age of Exploration
  • Columbus discovered Jamaica and stopped,
    certain he had found the base of the Malay
  • He was convinced that he would meet the Great
    Khan on another trip.
  • When he returned to Spain, the colonists Columbus
    left behind from his second voyage were massacred
    by the natives.

The Age of Exploration
  • His third voyage was in the spring of 1496.
  • He first landed in Trinidad, and then a few days
    later his crew landed on a beach near the delta
    of the Orinoco River.
  • At first he thought he had reached an unknown
    continent (actually South America), then he
    believed he was on the threshold of Earthly
    Paradisethat blessed domain.

The Age of Exploration
  • He wanted to enter but his sailors threatened
    mutiny so he set sail for Spain, so the
    exploration of south America was left to other
  • On this voyage, Columbus, who had been made
    governor of Hispaniola, was sent back to Spain in
    chains because he was a cruel and ineffective

The Age of Exploration
  • Columbuss own sailors slandered him on their
    return to Spain, saying he withheld gold from the
  • King Ferdinand began to realize he didnt need
    Columbus to conduct his explorations.

The Age of Exploration
  • Columbus emphasized to Ferdinand and Isabella
    that Cathay (India) was within their grasp and
    how easy it would be to make the savages who
    had been seen eating spiders and wormsinto pious
    and noble Christians.

The Age of Exploration
  • Returning to Spain he faced charges of illegally
    executing Spaniards and brutalizing natives.
  • But by May 1502, Columbus (who was cleared of the
    charges against him) set sail on his fourth, and
    final voyage to the New World.

The Age of Exploration
  • He had four ships and his mission was to explore
    uncharted areas to the west of the Caribbean,
    hopefully finding a passage west to the Orient.
  • In the summer of 1502, Columbus discovered
    Central America, first reaching Honduras and then
  • By now, Vasco da Gama had reached India, putting
    Portugal far ahead of Spain in the race to the

The Age of Exploration
  • So it was crucial that Columbus find the passage
    way that would give Spain equal access.
  • But his ships were damaged by a hurricane and
    termites, and they fell apart while he was
  • Columbus and his men were stranded on Jamaica for
    about a year before being rescued.

The Age of Exploration
  • They returned to Spain in late 1504.
  • Unsuccessful in his previous missions, Columbus,
    the Admiral of the Ocean Sea, died at 55, an
    exhausted, broken man in political obscurity.

The Age of Exploration
  • The conquest of the New World was not a unified
    movementbut rather a series of individual
    initiatives that usually operated with government
    (Spanish or Portuguese) approval.
  • The conquest of the Americas was two pronged
    one directed towards Mexico and the other one
    aimed at South America.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • In 1519 Hernando Cortes led an expedition of 11
    ships, 553 men, and 16 horses from the Spanish
    colony of Cuba to the coast of Mexico.
  • Cortes once remarked We Spaniards suffer from a
    disease that only gold can cure.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • In 1519 Moctezuma II was nearly 40 years old and
    had skillfully ruled for 17 years.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • But recently his personality had changed gone
    was his ability in war and diplomacy, replaced
    with uncertainty accompanied with spells of
  • He secluded himself in his palace and was rarely
    seen in public, consulting with priests and
    soothsayers, or meditating alone.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Aztec legend talked of a famous ruler who was
    associated with the god Quetzalcoatl (god of wind
    and father to humans), who was forced into exile
    in the east, the land of the rising sun.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Moctezuma II was particularly concerned about the
    exiled god Quetzalcoatl and his promise to
  • That had been more than 500 years earlier, and
    the year the god said hed return was almost at
  • Then news came of strange men riding in
    white-winged ships on the eastern sea.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Along the coast before arriving at Veracruz,
    Cortes acquired an invaluable asset an extremely
    intelligent native girl who not only knew the
    local dialects but also the Aztec language.
  • She learned Spanish so easily and quickly that
    she became Cortes interpreter, closest adviser
    (and mistress). She was totally loyal to Cortes.
  • She also converted to Christianity.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Cortes named her Dona Marina (or Malinche).
  • When the Spaniards arrived, Moctezuma controlled
    an area nearly twice the size of Pennsylvania
    with over 11 million people.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • After hearing rumors of a great kingdom in the
    interior, the Spanish set off, fighting Aztec
    allied towns along the way.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • When word reached Moctezuma of the light skinned
    Europeans, he seems to have been uncertain
    whether to welcome them with reverence as gods,
    or with violence, as invaders.
  • Cortes, hearing from Malinche that Moctezuma
    considered him a god, dispatched a message asking
    permission to visit the capital.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • A week later, Aztec nobles arrived in Cortes
    camp with magnificent offerings including large
    discs of gold and silver (representing the sun
    and moon) and 20 golden ducks, golden monkeys,
    and pumas.
  • Some of the food he sent had been ceremonially
    doused with the blood of a sacrificial victim as
    was the Aztec custom.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • The Aztec nobles then politely asked Cortes to
    leave Mexico.
  • When Moctezuma heard that Cortes rejected the
    Aztec envoys (and their food), he changed his
    mind about the Spaniards intentions and had
    sorcerers cast spells on the Spanish to keep them

Cortes and the Aztec
  • However, the Spanish proved resistant to Aztec
    magic and Cortes moved his troops towards the
    Aztec capital.
  • As they pushed further into the interior, the
    Spanish allied themselves with Aztec enemies and
    as they moved closer to Tenochtitlan.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • From a cold mountain pass between the
    awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks of Popocatepetl
    and Ixtaccihuatl, the nervous Spanish looked down
    on a remarkable series of interconnected lakes in
    the Valley, with well-ordered towns and raised
    fields on the shores, and a great city built on
    islands and causeways towards the western edge of
    the largest of the lakes.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Cortes, with Indian allies who hated the Aztec,
    eventually reached the island capital city of
    Tenochtitlan (tay-nawch-tee-Tlan).

Cortes and the Aztec
  • According to Aztec legend, they built their main
    city, Tenochtitlan (tay nawch tee Tlan Place
    of the Prickly Pear Cactus) in a place
    identified by an eagle perched on a pear cactus
    with a snake in its mouth.
  • It is believed that the city had 300,000 people
    (double the largest city in Europe at the

Cortes and the Aztec
  • As the Spaniards marched down on to the plain and
    neared the city, they went across one (of the
    three) causeways linking the island metropolis to
    the mainland and were astounded by Tenochtitlans
    size and beauty.
  • The great temples and palaces rose from the water
    like a vision.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • One member of the Spanish force later likened it
    to a city from a fairytale, a vision of

Cortes and the Aztec
  • When the Spanish force and its allies came into
    Tenochtitlan, Moctezuma met Cortes on the
    causeway atop a palanquin carried by four nobles
    and greeted him with the utmost respect.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • A conquistador said of Moctezuma II many great
    lords walked before the great Moctezuma sweeping
    the ground on which he was to tread and laying
    down cloaks so that his feet should not touch the
    earth. Not one of these great chieftains dared
    look him in the face

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Cortes and his men were greeted as gods (the
    Aztec had never seen horses and thought they were
    gods too).

Cortes and the Aztec
  • The emperor was tall and thin and had a sparse
    black beard, and on his head he wore a plume of
    long green feathers that floated down his back.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Moctezuma gave Cortes a necklace of snail shells
    and shrimps fashioned from solid gold and a
    quetzal feather headdress, and in return was
    presented a string of Venetian glass beads.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Then in a fateful moment, Moctezuma invited the
    Spanish into his capital.
  • The Spanish were quartered in the palace of
    Axayacatl (named after Moctezuma IIs father)
    near the heart of the city.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Once the Spanish were settled, Moctezuma came and
    visited Cortes.
  • Through Dona Marina, the two men discussed their
    respective countries, and Cortes tried (but
    failed) to convert the Emperor to Christianity.
  • An uneasy friendship developed.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Cortes was invited to the emperors palace where
    he saw hordes of courtiers and over a thousand
    wives and concubines.
  • Cortes and his men were then given a tour of
    Tenochtitlan, where they saw the grisly temples
    and the bloody remnants of sacrifices.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Aztec society was patriarchal, but women received
    high honor for bearing warrior sons, and the
    spirits of women who died in childbirth were
    believed to help the sun god in his journey
    through the sky each day.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • The Aztecs also had a large and powerful group of
  • They served as advisors to the king and his
    officials, and they conducted the elaborate
    religious rituals that were central to Aztec

Cortes and the Aztec
  • The chief god, Huitzilopochtli, ruled from the
    position of the sun at noon, and in order to keep
    him in his proper place in the sky, the Aztecs
    believed he must be fed human blood.
  • This blood came from frequent human sacrifices on
    altars that lined the main streets of

Cortes and the Aztec
  • The Spanish were particularly horrified by these
    Aztec blood rituals.
  • Aztec blood rituals were particularly messy,
    with thousands of victims taken as war captives
    or tribute just for that purpose.

Cortes and the Aztec
Cortes and the Aztec
  • A special part of the ritual was cutting the
    heart from the live victims chest, and the heart
    was then eaten by the Aztec nobility.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Priests used large obsidian (stone) knives.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Sacrifices were carried out in front of large
    crowds that included the leaders from enemy and
    subject states, sending the clear message of the
    power of the Aztec elite.
  • The political message was equally clear
    rebellion, deviancy, and opposition were very

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Cortes didnt trust the unpredictable Moctezuma.
  • Fearing attempts on their lives, Cortes and 30
    armed Spanish soldiers acted swiftly and with
    audacity by capturing Moctezuma in his own
  • Cortes had the emperor placed in his royal litter
    and carried back to their palace.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Moctezuma did not resist, and as the royal
    cortege made its way through the streets, the
    people stood watching silently, paralyzed in
    their belief in the legend of Quetzalcoatl.
  • The ancient god had returned, they told each
    other, to rule over their nation in the guise of
    the blackbearded Spaniards.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Now in control of the city, Cortes rushed back to
    the coast, where he met 900 additional Spanish
    troops from Cuba.
  • While he was away, Cortes second in command
    invited 600 Aztec nobles to a temple to celebrate
    one of their religious festivals.
  • While they danced, the Spanish slaughtered all of
    them and stripped their bodies of their gold.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • When this atrocity became known, the city
    exploded in anger.
  • Moctezuma climbed to the palace roof and called
    for calm, but his warriors jeered him and then in
    a storm of arrows and stones, severely injured
    their emperor.
  • He refused to be tended to.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • He later died from these injuries (or secretly
    strangled by the Spanishaccording to differing

Cortes and the Aztec
  • The Spaniards, led by the just returned Cortes,
    then stormed the Great Pyramid, set fire to the
    shrines, and ripped down sacred Aztec idols.
  • Soon, the once invincible city was sacked and on

Cortes and the Aztec
  • The siege would last 93 days (of often brutal and
    bloody fighting).
  • By the time it ended, 2/3 of the Spaniards had
    been killed or dragged off for sacrifice and
    those that were left were wounded.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • But Cortes was able to maneuver his remaining
    troops across the lake and into allied territory.
  • From there, Cortes was able to encourage revolt
    among those oppressed by the Aztecs.
  • About this time Cortes received 600 well-armed
    Spanish reinforcements (including 40 cavalrymen)
    from Cuba.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • At the end of December 1520, Cortes set out again
    to take Tenochtitlan.
  • This time he entered the city with over 100,000
    Indian allies seeking revenge on their Aztec
  • The city was already being ravaged by smallpox
    (it had killed Moctezumas successor, his brother
    Cuitlahua) and thousands of Aztecs.

Cortes and the Aztec
  • Cortes had Tenochtitlans aqueducts and chinampas
    destroyed (no fresh water or food) and access to
    the city cut off.
  • Weakened by hunger and disease, the Aztec
    warriors fought on to the bitter end as their
    corpses piled up in the streets and clogged the
  • The fighting stopped when the last emperor,
    Moctezumas 25 year old nephew Cuauhtemoc, was

Cortes and the Aztec
  • When the mighty Aztec capital fell in 1521, Aztec
    poets wrote
  • We are crushed to the ground,
  • we lie in ruins.
  • There is nothing but grief and suffering
  • in Mexico and Tlatelolco,
  • where once we saw beauty and valor.

The Age of Exploration
  • By 1535, most of central Mexico had been brought
    under Spanish control as the kingdom of New
  • From there, the Spanish pushed their conquest
    southward into Central America and northward into
    the area of north central Mexico.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • The second wave of conquest led the Spaniards to
    northern South America and Panama.
  • In 1532, Francisco Pizarro led his men to the
    conquest of the Inca Empire, which was already
    weakened by a long civil war.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • By the early 1500s, the Inca ruled all the
    civilized peoples of South America.
  • The Incan empire stretched from the modern
    borders of Ecuador and Colombia to more than
    half-way down the coast of modern Chile 2600
    miles (roughly the distance from Boston to LA or
    Madrid to Moscow).

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Using treachery and deceit, fewer than 200
    Spaniards were able to bring down the great

Pizarro and the Inca
  • The twelfth emperor, Huayna Capac (1493-1526)
    ruled a stable, and expanding, empire.
  • He went to the northern provinces to quell an
    outbreak of rebellion (in todays Ecuador) when
    he died of a mysterious disease (smallpox).

Pizarro and the Inca
  • The Spanish had introduced smallpox into
    Mesoamerica and it quickly spread south,
    devastating all natives in its path (since they
    had no resistance to it).

Pizarro and the Inca
  • The disease also killed his chosen heir.
  • The deaths of the emperor and his heir
    immediately destabilized the empire.
  • During Huayna Capacs illness, traders from the
    northern regions reported the appearance of
    bearded strangers in strange ships.
  • These men (the Spanish) who were immune to the
    disease caused Huayna Capac to believe his
    disease was divine wrath and had been

Pizarro and the Inca
  • General religious belief among Andean peoples
    stressed the arbitrary nature and power of the
    gods, and the death of the emperor and his heir
    by a mysterious disease, and the ensuring civil
    war, must have been seen as divine retribution
    for something they had done.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Without a living designated heir, the imperial
    household was thrown into confusion.
  • Huayna Capac had over 20 sons, so members of the
    imperial family split into factions lining up
    behind the two major contenders, Huascar and

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Huascar was the governor of Cuzco and controlled
    the largest part of the Empire (a son to
    Huanynas sister-wife), and his half brother
    Atahaulpa controlled the Kingdom of Quito (who
    was his son by his favorite concubine).
  • Huascar Atahualpa

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Huascar seized the throne and initially Atahualpa
    supported his claim, but rumors spread that
    Atahualpa was plotting a coup so Huascar declared
    him an enemy, a traitor, and an outlaw.
  • Civil war ensued, but Atahualpa (the more able
    leader) had with him in the north the bulk of his
    fathers veteran soldiers.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • The civil war lasted six years with Atahualpa
    eventually victorious when his armies took
    Huascar prisoner and they captured Cuzco (Huascar
    would eventually be murdered).
  • This civil war ended just before the Spaniards
    landed in Peru.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • There had actually been a prophesy that Huayna
    Capac was to be the last Inca and that the demise
    of the empire would come with the arrival of
    powerful foreigners.
  • Incan priests saw omens of doom when a full moon
    had three halos (which they said represented the
    death of Inti, the sun god war among Capacs
    descendents and the break-up of the empire).

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Many historians believe that by 1526 the empire
    was so big, the Inca couldnt control it and it
    was already beginning to fall apart.
  • Even though Atahualpa won the civil war (after
    six years of turmoil) and controlled the army, he
    was disliked and distrusted by many Inca nobles.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Trying to consolidate his power when he occupied
    Cuzco, he ordered the provincial governors and
    chief administrators to attend him in the
  • Since many were of Huascars lineage or loyal to
    Huascar, Atahualpa ordered them put to death.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • He then ordered the burning of the mummy of his
    grandfather (the predecessor of Huayna
    CapacTupac Yupanqui-the 11th Inca emperor) which
    the Inca considered a major sacrilegious offense.
  • Atahualpa now claimed his lineage was the only
    legitimate one to the imperial throne.
  • To the Inca, it must have seemed that Huayna
    Capacs prophesy of their doom was coming true.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • The conquest of Peru by the Spanish (Pizarro)
    required three expeditions over nine years.
  • The first (1524) ended in failure because of
    storms, the second (1526-7) was recalled by
    Spanish officials after Pizarro sailed to the
    Incan city of Tumbez.
  • The hospitable people of Tumbez welcomed the
    Spaniards and showed them their temple, which was
    decorated with sheets of gold.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Under strict orders from Pizarro, the Spaniards
    pretended not to notice the gold and they treated
    the Peruvians with consideration and respect.
  • The time for conquest and plunder had not come
  • But Pizarro had a glimpse of the Inca at their
    peak of order and prosperity.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Had he attacked now, the Spanish would have met
    overwhelming forces that were organized and
  • It was Pizarros good fortune that the weakness
    of his forces compelled him to delay his assault
    on Peru until the Inca were distracted and
    weakened by civil war.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • So Pizarro returned to Spain in 1528 to visit
    King Charles V. He showed the king gold drinking
    cups acquired at Tumbez as well as live llama and
    two young Inca he was training as interpreters.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Charles V was impressed and gave Pizarro a royal
    charter to conquer this land of gold, making
    Pizarro Governor and Captain-General of the lands
    he had yet to win.
  • When he returned to Panama in the spring of 1531,
    he set sail for Tumbez with three ships, 180 men,
    and 27 horses.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Before he reached Tumbez, Pizarro was reinforced
    by 130 additional men and horses from Panama.
  • When he reached Tumbez, he found the city almost
    deserted and largely destroyed.
  • As the Spanish went down the coast, whole valleys
    were without men of military age, all of them
    conscripted by Atahualpas armies.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Learning that Atahualpa was camped near Cajamarca
    in the Andes, Pizarro left a garrison on the
    coast (110 men) and turned eastward into the
    mountains, following a narrow but well-paved
  • The Inca were noted road builders, with roads
    varying from fully constructed paved roads to
    narrow paths.
  • Road widths varied from 3ft to over 80ft.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • No Inca opposed him the fortresses that watched
    the road were empty and silent, the bridges
    across mountain chasms undestroyed, the narrow
    passes unguarded.
  • Pizarro had less than 200 men.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Up into the mountains they went, the horses
    having to be led.
  • They were met by a high-ranking Inca noble envoy
    from Atahualpa who said the Inca wanted to be
    friends with the Spanish and that Atahualpa was
    awaiting them in peace at Cajamarca.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Pizarro and his men marched into Cajamarca and
    saw it deserted, thinking it was a trap.
  • Once Pizarro secured the town, he sent Hernando
    De Soto (later the discoverer of the
    Mississippi River) and 15 horsemen to visit the
  • Inca soldiers and noblemen, adorned in gleaming
    golden ornaments, surrounded Atahualpa, who sat
    on a low stool.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Even though Atahualpa had never seen a horse or
    the bright steel armor the Spanish wore, he gave
    no hint that he was impressed.
  • The Spaniards rode up to him, bowed politely
    without dismounting and announced (through an
    interpreter) that their commander invited the
    emperor to visit him at his quarters.
  • At first Atahualpa did not reply then he smiled.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Tell your commander that I am keeping a fast
    that will end tomorrow. Then I will visit him
    with my chieftains.
  • De Soto noticed that the emperor was fascinated
    by the horses, so digging his spurs into his he
    gave a brilliant display of horsemanship, dashing
    away at a gallop, rearing, wheeling.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Then he rode full speed at Atahualpa, stopping
    the horse so close that flecks of foam fell on
    the emperors clothing.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Not a tremor of expression crossed Atahualpas
  • Deeply affected by this display of fortitude (and
    also the hundreds of well-disciplined soldiers),
    the Spanish returned to Pizarro in low spirits.
  • Atahualpa was obviously no weakling like
    Moctezuma, who was paralyzed by religious doubts
    and fear.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • De Sotos report caused panic in the Spanish
    camp, but Pizarro was pleased, for only desperate
    men would be willing to risk the bold scheme he
    proposedhe convinced his men that their only
    hope of survival was to capture Atahualpa within
    the sight of his powerful army.
  • Anything less would mean the destruction of the
    tiny band of Spaniards.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • At dawn, Pizarro positioned his men around the
    towns plaza, and when the signal was given (the
    firing of a rifle), his men were to emerge and
    slaughter the emperors followers and seize the
  • Shortly after midday the emperors procession
    moved slowly along the citys avenuefirst came
    attendants to sweep the ground followed by nobles
    whose golden jewelry blazed in the sun.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Then came Atahualpa riding in a golden litter
    carried on the shoulders of his highest-ranking

Pizarro and the Inca
  • A half-mile from the citys plaza, Pizarro
    relayed a message to Atahualpa that he was
    providing entertainment and he expected the
    emperor to join him for dinner.
  • The emperor replied that he accepted the
    invitation and that he would leave most of his
    warriors behind, and those he brought would be

Pizarro and the Inca
  • To Pizarro, this was a sign that God was on the
    side of the Spanish.
  • Historians believe that it never occurred to
    Atahualpa that the Spaniards might attack himthe
    power of the Inca was so absolute that any such
    action was unthinkable.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • When Atahualpa entered the plaza no Spaniard was
    in sight. Where are the strangers? he said.
  • Pizarros chaplain came forward and after a long
    discourse in Christian theology (that the Inca
    didnt understand) he told Atahualpa that he must
    change his religion and become a vassal of
    Charles V of Spain.
  • Atahualpa was not pleased.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Atahualpa said I will be no mans vassal. I am
    greater than any prince on earth. As for my
    religion, I will not change it. You say your God
    was put to death, but mine and he pointed to
    the sun still lives.
  • The priest handed Atahualpa his Bible and the
    emperor threw it down.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • The priest screamed at Pizarro While we are
    arguing with this arrogant dog the fields are
    filling with Indians. Set on him! I absolve
  • Pizarro waved a white scarf, a gun thundered, and
    the slaughter began.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Atahualpas retainers desperately crowded around
    the royal litter but they had no weapons.
  • They clung to the horses so Atahualpa wouldnt be
    injured until the Spaniards cut them away with
    their swords.
  • Fearing that the emperor might be injured,
    Pizarro shouted that any soldier that harmed him
    would be put to death.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Pizarro was slightly cut on the hand (by one of
    his own men) and that was the only Spanish injury
    that day.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Atahualpa was captured and dragged to a nearby
  • Panic spread through the Inca warriors left
    behind and they fled ending all resistance to
    the Spanish.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • The massacre had lasted little more than half an
    hour, but at least 2,000some reports say
    10,000Inca were killed, including the key nobles
    which were the Empires administrative core.
  • When all was quiet, Pizarro invited Atahualpa to
    dinner as promised.
  • The banquet was held near the plaza in a building
    still carpeted with the dead.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Pizarro sat next to his captive who showed
    remarkable composure.
  • It is the way of war, the Emperor remarked with
    dignity, to conquer or be conquered.
  • Pizarro ordered that Atahualpas court be brought
    to Cajamarca, including his favorite concubines,
    his cooks and other servants, and young girls who
    waited on him hand and foot.

Pizarro and the Inca
  • Even though he was a prisoner, Atahualpa
    continued to live as the Emperor (including
    dining off of solid gold plates)but all orders
    given in his name were from Piz
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