Great discoveries

   1. Discoveries

   Together with the Renaissance and the end of the Reconquista, the great geographical discoveries determine the transition from the Middle Ages to modern times. This work was possible due to Spanish and Portuguese navigators. We can distinguish several circumstances that favored the discoveries:

   - TECHNICAL ADVANCES that favored navigation, such as the compass and the caravel.

   - THE APOSTOLIC EXPANSION with the desire to spread the Christian doctrine amongst other peoples.

   - THE DESIRE FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN AND ECONOMIC NEEDS. Eastern Europe needed large amounts of spices (such as cinnamon, pepper, cloves, etc.) and other products such as perfumes, fabrics, beads and gemstones. Turkish expansion closed the roads to get to Europe and needed to find other routes to facilitate trade.

   - THE ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT of the time seeking excitement in unknown places.

   2. Indicate to which of the causes the discoveries refer to: technical, apostolic, commerce or adventure.

To bring Christianity to other people

To buy spices and fabrics

To search for excitement

To use the compass

To know about new trade routes


    3. Christopher Columbus

   According to the most reliable data, Christopher Columbus was born in Genova (Italy) and sailed for the Mediterranean and possibly Africa and Iceland. He arrived in Portugal and married Felipa Moniz de Perestrello. He was a dreamer, sentimental as well as an unsociable man with great tenacity.

   He conceived a project to get spices from the East by reaching the Indies sailing in the opposite direction, that is, through the Western route. He offered his project to the Portuguese King John II but he turned it down considering it impracticable. He decided to propose his trip to the Catholic Monarchs and with the help of Friar Juan Perez, from the friary of La Rabida (Huelva), he got to meet with Queen Elizabeth. In the Capitulations of Santa Fe, the Catholic Monarchs undertook the commitment to give Columbus everything necessary for the trip and he was named Viceroy, Admiral and Captain General of the conquered lands.

    4. Indicate whether the statements are true or false:

Columbus was a native of La Rabida (Huelva)

He married Felipa in Portugal

He had traveled the Mediterranean

He wanted to go to India through the East

Juan II rejected the project

Friar Juan Perez was from Genova

The Catholic Monarchs supported him

    5. The trips of Columbus

   - FIRST TRIP. On 5 August 1492, Columbus left the port of Palos with a fleet composed of three ships: the Santa Maria commanded by Columbus, the Pinta commanded by Martín Alonso Pinzón, and the Niña commanded by Vicente Yáñez Pinzón. After two months at sea, they arrived on the island of Guanahani. The sailor Rodrigo de Triana was the one to first spot the island on 12 October of that same year. Columbus named it San Salvador and then discovered the island of Santo Domingo, which he named Española as well as the island of Cuba, which he called Juana. Columbus left a small guard in the Española and returned to inform the kings of the discovery.

   - SECOND TRIP. Seventeen ships with animals, tools and seeds of all kinds sailed off on the second trip. The Indians had killed all the guards that were left in the Española and so Columbus founded the city of Isabela, which became the first European city of the New World. On this trip they discovered several islands: Dominica, Marigalante, Santa Maria la Redonda, Santa Maria la Antigua and others.

   - THIRD TRIP. On this journey they discovered the island of Trinidad and came to the mouth of the Orinoco River, which they found to be the Garden of Eden and called it the Tierra de Gracia (Graceland). Then, they arrived at the coasts of Venezuela, that is, they stepped on the "mainland " of South America.

   - FOURTH TRIP. Columbus crossed the Atlantic coasts of Central America, and explored the coast of Honduras. From Jamaica he returned to the peninsula, and died in Valladolid two years later.

   Columbus died without knowing that he had found the New World and as he thought that he had arrived to East Asia, near India, he called the discovered lands India and its peoples Indians. In 1513, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa discovered the South Sea, which he then called the Pacific Ocean.

     6. Indicate which trip the statement refers to:

They went with three ships

He arrived at Valladolid

They went with seventeen ships

They discovered the island of Trinidad

They reached the island Guanahani

He sailed the coast of Honduras

They stepped on the "mainland"

He founded the city Isabela

    7. The Portuguese Empire

   The Portuguese wanted to reach India by bordering Africa, in others words, the eastern road. It took sixty years until they reached the Cape of Storms, which King John II called Good Hope, in the south of Africa. Later they reached Mozambique and Vasco de Gama made it to Calicut in India. In one of the trips Pedro Alvarez Cabral reached Brazil and took possession of these lands.

   The Portuguese managed to form a powerful colonial empire stretching from the island of Madeira to China and Japan. They created a series of maritime stations and trading posts along the African coast and the Indian Ocean. Each station was a warehouse for Lisbon, which became the main trading center of spices and Oriental products. (Refer to the trips of Marco Polo that are traced in green, and the route of the Portuguese in red).

    8. Answer whether the statements are true or false:

They chose the western road

They reached the Cape of Storms

They went to Africa bordering India

Vasco de Gama arrived in Brazil

They stretched until China and Japan

    9. Implications of the findings

   - ECONOMIC. Large amounts of gold and silver came from America and this made the prices of goods increase.

   - POLITICAL. Spain occupied a very important position in Europe during the XVI century.

   - INTELLECTUAL. The findings expanded geographical knowledge, and new races, new civilizations and other forms of living and thinking became known.

    10. Indicate to what consequence the statement refers to: economic, political or intellectual.

Spain occupied an important role

Major geographical knowledge

A lot of gold and silver was coming in

New breeds became known

There was a rise in prices

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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