The development of the caravel, a ship capable of long-distance travel, and of the compass and quadrant, devices that enabled sailors to determine their location and direction with greater accuracy than in the past, made it possible to sail down the coast of Africa and return to Portugal.
The Portuguese wanted to locate the source of gold that had been transported in caravans across the Sahara Desert to North Africa and Europe.
Europe received most of its gold from this commerce which passed through the African kingdom of Malian.
It rivaled trade with the East in economic importance.
Like trade with Asia, it was controlled by Muslim merchants.
Until 1434, no European sailor had ever seen the coast of Africa below the Sahara or the forest kingdoms that contained the actual gold fields.
The proof that one could sail beyond the desert and return was brought by a Portuguese ship in that year.
Portuguese ships moved further down the coast.
In 1485, they reached the imposing city of Benin, where the craftsmen produced bronze sculptures that still inspire admiration for their artistic beauty and superb casting techniques.
The western coast of Africa was established by the Portuguese.
The Portuguese "factories" inspired other European powers to follow in their footsteps.
Madeira, the Azores, and the Canary and Cape Verde Islands are located in the Atlantic off the African coast.
Sugar plantations on Mediterranean islands like Cyprus, Malta, and Crete were once run by Muslim captives and slaves from eastern Europe.
The Portuguese established plantations on the Atlantic islands, eventually replacing native populations with slaves from Africa, an ominous precedent for the New World.
The center of sugar production would move to the Western Hemisphere.
Slavery in Africa predated the coming of Europeans.
African slaves were known to be criminals, debtors, and captives in war.
They had certain rights, such as owning property and marrying free persons.
African slaves were not uncommon to get their freedom.
Slavery was not the basis of the economy as it would become in large parts of the New World.
The buying and selling of slaves within Africa was accelerated by the coming of the Portuguese and traders from other European nations.
Between 1450 and 1500, at least 100,000 African slaves were transported to Spain and Portugal.
The first African slaves were shipped to the Caribbean in 1502.
Chapter 4 will discuss the impact of the slave trade on Africa.
Portuguese mariners explored along the coast after reaching West Africa.
The Cape of Good Hope was reached in 1477.
The feasibility of a sea route to the East was demonstrated by Vasco da Gama in 1498.
Portugal established a large trading empire with bases in India, southern China, and Indonesia.
The Italian city-states were the major European commercial partner of the East.
Christopher Columbus discovered a new route to China and India six years before da Gama's voyage, he believed.
For years, Columbus sailed the Mediterranean and North Atlantic, studying ocean currents and wind patterns, as a seasoned mariner and fearless explorer from Genoa, a major port in northern Italy.
Columbus knew the earth was round.
He underestimated its size.
He believed he could quickly cross the Atlantic and reach Asia by sailing west.
Europe didn't know that there were two giant continents to the west.
Vinland was established by the Vikings in Newfoundland around the year 1000 and is now known as L'Anse aux Meadows.
After a few years, this outpost was abandoned and forgotten.
Columbus's first letter describing his voyage of the previous year was reproduced in this 1493 pamphlet.
King Ferdinand of Spain watched as Columbus and his men landed on a Caribbean island.
The religious and commercial motives reinforced one another for Columbus.
Along with developing trade with the East, he hoped to convert Asians to Christianity in order to redeem Jerusalem from Muslim control.
The planned voyage was supported by financial support from Europe.
He relied on Marco Polo's account of his visit to China in the 13th century and the Bible to estimate the size of the globe.
Columbus had trouble getting backers for his expedition because he underestimated the earth's size.
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain became sponsors.
The warring kingdoms of Aragon and Castile were united by their marriage in 1469.
The "reconquest" of Spain from the Moors was completed in 1492.
Muslims and Jews were told to convert to Catholicism or leave the country.
Along with the crown, Columbus's financing came from bankers and merchants of Spain and Italy, who wanted to circumvent the Muslim stranglehold on eastern trade.
The letters of introduction Columbus received from Asian rulers allowed him to negotiate trade agreements.
The reconquest of Spain from the Moors was completed in 1492.
On October 12, 1492, after only 33 days of sailing from the Canary Islands, Columbus and his expedition arrived at the Bahamas.
The location of his landing site is not certain, but it is believed to be San Salvador, a small island.
Hispaniola is the site of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as Cuba.
Thirty-eight men were left behind on Hispaniola when one of his ships ran aground.
He was able to bring ten inhabitants of the island back to Spain for conversion to Christianity.
The first Atlantic crossing by Christopher Columbus in 1492 was followed by voyages of discovery by English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian explorers.
European colonization of the New World began in 1493.
Columbus established a Spanish outpost after returning with 17 ships and more than 1,000 men.
The first center of the Spanish empire in America was established in 1502 when another Spanish explorer, Nicolas de Ovando, arrived with 2,500 men.
Columbus made two more voyages to the New World before he died.
He believed that he had discovered a route to Asia.
Amerigo Vespucci's explorations along the coast of South America between 1499 and 1502 made it clear that Europeans had never heard of the region.
The New World would be based on Vespucci's America.
Vespucci realized that the native inhabitants of the East Indies were not the same people as Columbus had thought, and that they were distinct peoples.
The rapid spread of information in Europe, at least among the educated minority, can be traced back to the invention of the printing technique of the German craftsman Johannes Gutenberg.
The news of Columbus's achievement traveled quickly.
Others were inspired by him.
John Cabot, a Genoese merchant, arrived in Newfoundland in 1497.
Scores of fishing boats from France, Spain, and England were in the region.
Brazil was claimed by Pedro Cabral in 1500.
The Spanish led in exploration and conquest.
Spanish conquistadores are often accompanied by religious missionaries and carry flags with the sign of the cross out of Hispaniola.
The first European to gaze upon the Pacific Ocean was in 1513.
The first expedition to sail around the world was led by Ferdinand Magellan between 1519 and 1522.
Despite being killed in the Philippines, his fleet completed the journey to correct Columbus's incorrect assessment of the earth's size.
In 1519, Hernan Cortes arrived at Tenochtitlan, the nerve center of the Aztec empire, where his wealth and power rested on the domination of other peoples nearby.
The Aztecs were violent warriors who engaged in ritual sacrifice of captives and others.
In Europe at the time, thousands of men and women were burned at the stake as witches or religious heretics, and criminals were executed in public, but this practice reinforced the Spanish view of America's native inhabitants as barbarians.
The table shows the estimated regional population in the Americas.
The Aztec city was conquered by the Cortes using superior military technology such as iron weapons and gunpowder.
He was able to get the aid of some of the Aztecs' subject peoples, who supplied him with thousands of warriors.
The Aztec society was devastated by the disease.
Francisco Pizarro conquered the great Inca kingdom a few years later.
The tactics of Pizarro were typical of the conquistadores.
He captured the Incan king and then killed him.
The Spanish crown was enriched by treasure fleets carrying gold and silver from the mines of Mexico and Peru.
The flow of goods and people changed millions of years of evolution.
Plants, animals, and cultures that had evolved independently on different continents were thrown together.
Products from the Americas included corn, tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, tobacco, and cotton, while people from the Old World brought wheat, rice, sugarcane, horses, cattle, pigs, and sheep to the New.
Europeans had previously unknown germs in the Americas.
Estimates of how many people lived in the Americas at the time of Columbus's voyages range from 50 to 90 million.
The European population was 90 million, the African population was 40 million, and the Chinese population was over 200 million.
The majority of the New World's inhabitants lived in Central and South America.
Between 2 and 5 million Indians lived within the borders of the United States in 1492.
The Indian is suffering from a disease.
Animals, plants, technology, and diseases are included in the Columbian Exchange.
Indian populations suffered a decline because of contact with Europeans.
Indians have never encountered diseases like the flu or the measles.
The result was terrible.
The West Indian islands were mostly empty.
The native population on Hispaniola was estimated to be between 300,000 and 1 million in 1492.
Mexico's population would fall from 20 million to less than 2 million in the 16th century.
The Native American population in the area that now forms the United States fell continuously.
Around 1900, it reached its lowest point.
The death of 80 million people in the first century and a half after contact with Europeans is the greatest loss of life in human history.
The consequences of European colonization included wars using advanced military technology, enslavement, forced conversion to Christianity, and destruction of long-established communities.
Europeans were able to conquer the Americas.
The Spanish term for "conquerors" was applied to Spanish and Portuguese soldiers who conquered lands held by indigenous peoples in central and southern America as well as the current states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Columbus's voyages in 1492 started the flow of goods and people.
Spain established an empire that spanned from Europe to the Americas and Asia by the middle of the 16th century.
The Atlantic and Pacific oceans were once barriers that separated different parts of the world.
Spanish ships carried gold and silver from Mexico to Spain and then to Manila in the Philippines and on to China.
The most populous parts of the New World were part of the Spanish empire.
Spain's empire spanned from South America through Mexico and the Caribbean to Florida and the southwestern United States and was larger than the Roman empire of the ancient world.
Mexico City, a magnificent capital built on the ruins of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, boasted churches, hospitals, monasteries, government buildings, and the New World's first university.
For centuries, its great cities, notably Mexico City, have outshone any urban centers in North America or Europe.
Spain's system of colonial government was very different from that of ancient Rome.
The Spanish crown was alarmed by the destructiveness of the conquistadores and replaced them with a more stable system of government.
In theory, the government of Spanish America reflected the new unified nation at home.
The authority began with the king and went down through the Council of the Indies, which was the main body in Spain for colonial administration.
The administration of Spanish colonies was overseen by the Catholic Church, which had authority on matters of faith, morals, and treatment of the Indians.
Table 1.2 Estimated Regional Populations: The World.
Spain's New World empire was ruled by successful kings.
The imperial state was present in Spanish America for a long time.
The local elite gained more and more authority over colonial affairs as the power of Europe waned.
Local municipal councils, universities, merchant organizations, and craft guilds were independent because of the large empire.
Despite the decline in the native population, Spanish America remained populous enough that large-scale importations of African slaves were not necessary.
The Spanish forced tens of thousands of Indians to work in gold and silver mines, which supplied the empire's wealth, and on large-scale farms, which were controlled by Spanish landlords.
The main agricultural crops in Spanish America were corn, beans, and squash, even though the Spanish introduced livestock, wheat, and sugar.
While living in the colonies, she embodies the latest in European fashion and culture with her dress, jewelry, fan, and musical instrument.
One Spanish official said that the maxim of the conqueror must be to settle.
Non-Spaniards, including Jews and Moors, were not allowed to emigrate to the US.
In the three centuries of Spain's colonial rule, a total of 750,000 people came from Spain for the opportunity for social advancement.
Many of the young, single men who came in families were laborers, craftsmen, and soldiers.
Since living without having to labor was a sign of noble status, many came as government officials, priests, professionals, and minor aristocrats, all ready to direct the manual work of Indians.
The most successful of the colonists had a life similar to that of the upper classes at home.
Large areas of Spanish America were effectively under Indian control for many years, unlike in the later British empire.
Unlike the English, Spanish authorities granted Indians certain rights within colonial society and looked forward to their eventual assimilation.
The wives of colonists were ordered by the Spanish crown to join them in America.
Intermixing of the colonial and Indian peoples began with the low population of Spanish women.
The Spanish government approved of such marriages as early as 1514 in order to bring Christianity to the natives.
A large part of the urban population of Spanish America was made up of people of mixed origin by 1600.
Spanish America evolved into a hybrid culture of Spanish, Indian, and African with a single official faith, language, and governmental system.
Juan Diego, a poor Indian, saw a vision of the Virgin Mary near a Mexican village in 1531.
There was a shrine built in her honor.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is revered by millions as a symbol of the mixing of Indian and Spanish cultures, and later of the modern nation of Mexico.
Most of the Europeans who crossed the Atlantic in the wake of Columbus did not ask this question.
They had a lot of confidence in their own cultures.
These societies were expected to abandon their own traditions and embrace the newcomers.
The conviction that these people were uncivilized was reinforced by the failure to do so.
The work aims to legitimize Spain's colonial rule by assimilating into it the pre-conquest history of the Americas.
Europeans brought with them a long history of using violence to subdue their enemies and also missionary zeal to spread the benefits of their own civilization to others.
Spain was not an exception.
The rise of a powerful royal government and the expulsion of Muslims and Jews in 1492 led to the establishment of its empire in America.
Pope Alexander VI divided the non-Christian world between Spain and Portugal in order to further legitimize Spain's claim to rule the New World.
The line was adjusted to give Portugal control of Brazil, with the rest of the Western Hemisphere falling under Spanish authority.
Spain and Portugal were required by the pope to spread Catholicism among native inhabitants of the Americas.
The missionary element of colonization was reinforced in the 16th century when the Protestant Reformation split the Catholic Church.
The church of worldliness and corruption was accused by Martin Luther in 1517.
The sale of indulgences was one of the ways Luther wanted to cleanse the church.
He said that all believers should read the Bible on their own.
His call for reform led to the rise of new Protestant churches that were independent of Rome.
National glory and religious mission went hand in hand.
Spain insisted that the primary goal of colonization was to save the Indians from being influenced by Protestantism.
The aim was to transform the Indians into Christian subjects of the crown.
Many Spanish writers believed that Indians could be brought up to the level of European civilization if they were given the same set of qualities and abilities as Europeans.
The destruction of existing Indian political structures was only part of the transformation of their economic and spiritual lives.
Millions of Indians were converted to Catholicism as a result of religious orders.
Spanish rule witnessed a disastrous fall in Indian population, not only because of epidemics but also because of the brutal conditions of labor to which Indians were subjected.
The governors who required conquered peoples to acknowledge the Catholic Church and provide gold and silver did not see a contradiction in serving God and enriching themselves.
Pope Paul III, who wanted to see Indians become subjects of Catholic monarchs, banned their enslavement as early as 1537.
Las Casas's father sailed on Columbus's second voyage and was involved in the conquest of Cuba.
In 1514, Las Casas freed his own slaves and began to preach against Spanish rule.
Las Casas wrote that Spain caused the death of millions of people.
He described the "strange cruelties" carried out by the Christians, including the burning alive of men, women, and children.
Las Casas insisted that Indians were rational beings, not barbarians, and that Spain had no grounds to deprive them of their lands and liberty.
He called for Indians to enjoy "all guarantees of liberty and justice" from the moment they became subjects of Spain, despite his belief that Spain had a right to rule in America.
Las Casas suggested that slaves from Africa would help protect Indians from exploitation.
The New Laws were promulgated by Spain in 1542 because of Las Casas's efforts to reform the Empire.
In its place, the government established that residents of Indian villages were free to work as long as they paid a fixed amount of labor each year.
The Indians had access to land, were paid wages, and could not be bought and sold.
The requirement that they work for the Spanish still allowed for many abuses by Spanish landlords and priests who required Indians to toil on mission lands as part of the conversion process.
There was a long struggle among settlers, missionaries, and colonial authorities for control of Indian labor.
Each party denounced the others for exploiting the native population.
Slave labor by Africans on the West Indian islands and a few parts of the mainland was common in the Spanish empire by the end of the 16th century.
Spain has always been highly exploitative.
The initial brutal treatment of Indians improved over time.
The Spanish established their domination by bringing education, medical care, and European goods to Indians who embraced Christianity.
The spread of the Black Legend was caused by the translation of Las Casas's writings into several European languages.
This would allow other European powers to challenge Spain's dominance in the New World.
The hope of finding a new kingdom of gold led Spanish explorers into new territory in North America.
The first permanent colony in the United States was established by Spain in 1508.
Many people believe that the first colony was on the island of Puerto Rico.
The leader of Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de Leon, kept some of the gold for himself and sent it to Spain.
In 1513, Ponce embarked for Florida in search of wealth, slaves, and a fountain of eternal youth, only to be repelled by local Indians.
After a series of storms, only a few men made it to the Gulf Coast in 1528.
After seven years in the Southwest, a few survivors arrived in Mexico.
One man wrote an account of his adventures, which included tales of the seven golden cities of Cibola, somewhere over the horizon.
In the late 1530s and 1540s, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo explored the Pacific coast as far north as present-day Oregon, as well as expeditions led by Hernando de Soto, Cabeza de Vaca, and others.
As far north as the Great Plains, and as the first European to encounter the immense herds of buffalo in the West, Coronado explored much of the interior of the continent.
De Soto's was brutal.
Many Indians were tortured, raped, and enslaved by his men.
When Europeans returned to colonize the area in the 17th century, there was little left of the societies he had encountered.
There were only herds of bison where large towns existed.
Spanish Florida established Spain's claim to a large part of what is now the American South and Southwest.
Florida was the first region to be colonized in the United States.
The treasure fleet that sailed from Havana for Europe loaded with gold and silver from Mexico and Latin America each year was threatened by pirates who wanted to establish a military base there.
French incursions in the area were wanted by Spain.
In 1565, Philip II of Spain gave the go-ahead for a colonizing expedition to Florida.
A group of Huguenots established a small outpost in 1562 near present-day Jacksonville.
The 500 colonists were massacred by the men of Menendez and his men.
The oldest site in the continental United States is still inhabited by European settlers.
By around 1600, New Spain had become a large empire stretching from the American Southwest through Mexico and Central America to the former Inca kingdom in South America.
The map shows early Spanish exploration in the United States.
Spanish religious missionaries set up outposts in Florida and the Sea Islands in hopes of converting the local Indians to Christianity.
The settlement of Santa Elena was established in 1566 by 500 Spanish colonists.
It was abandoned by the government of Spain in 1587 and the inhabitants were relocated to St. Peter's.
They wanted to protect themselves from English naval raids.
Many of the missions were destroyed in an uprising that began in 1597, and most of the forts fell into disuse.
The Indians said that the missionaries wanted to eliminate dances, banquets, feasts, celebrations and wars.
The missions were destroyed again by English and Indian forces a century later.
Florida was a fortified outpost of Cuba and failed to attract settlers.
Spanish Florida had 4,000 inhabitants of European descent.