Friday, May 20, 2011

Spanish Overseas Exploration

Lucrative exploitation of Atlantic islands off the shore of Africa in the 15th century had led the Spanish to have an additional reason to find populated tropical islands elsewhere, and they thought Columbus could help them.

With the discovery of the Atlantic islands (Azores, Madeiras, and the Canaries), the Iberians discovered that they were perfect for sugar cultivation. And the Iberians learned a lot of lessons from their interactions on the Atlantic islands. They witnessed the effectiveness of steel weapons, mounted men, and war dogs on the native; they learned how to exploit rivalries between indigenous peoples; they turned natives into commodities as slaves; and they pioneered a profitable combination of the plantation system and the slave trade, but they still wanted more.

What were the many motives for Spanish overseas exploration? Columbus said that he could easily and quickly get to Asia, and the Asian subcontinent of India, by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean and that there would be great profit in it for a modest investment.

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, colonizer, and navigator. On the evening of August 3, 1492, Columbus left the Palos de la Frontera with three ships. The largest was the carrack called the Santa Maria, and the two others were smaller caravels called the Pinta and the Santa Clara (nicknamed Nina after its owner Juan Nino of Moguer). The Santa Maria and the Pinta were the property of Juan de la Cosa, who was an explorer, conquistador, and cartographer, and the Pinzon brothers, who were sailors, explorers, and fishermen. The Spanish Crown made the Palos de la Frontera inhabitants give up their possessions in order to contribute to Columbus's expedition.

Another motive was because the Spanish could get rich quick and would be able to compete for share of the Asian trade.

Another motive was to pursue a mission to extend the reach of Chrsitianity and work on making a Christian world like Isabells and Ferdinand started when they expelled the Jews and Muslims from Spain. Through this, they planned on unifying the Spanish around a central mission as a way of creating a national identity and gaining international prestige among European nations.

Another motive was to find jobs for demobilized soldiers; this would forestall economic decline and/or civil war in a country which is not yet unified.

Christopher Culombus made landfall on an island known as Hispaniola, what is now the current Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in the West Indies.

News circulated very rapidly and this changed European ideas about geography. It challenged religious notions about creation and race, because there were obviously other people in the world. And it introduced a world of new organisms, ideas, and trade items to Europe.

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