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The Age of Exploration

  • Period: 1486 to 1488

    Bartolomeo Dias becomes the first European to sail around the southern coast of Africa

    Bartolomeo Dias, a Portuguese explorer is the first European to sail around the southern coast of Africa. He was appointed by King John II in 1486 to find a trade route from Europe to India by sea and he finished his voyage in 1488. He named the southern tip of Africa the Cape of Good Hope. His trip lasted around sixteen months.
  • Aug 3, 1492

    Christopher Columbus sets sail for India

    Christopher Columbus sets sail for India
    Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator believed that the Earth was round instead of flat. He believed this because he noticed how ships seemingly disappeared over the horizon instead of appearing smaller and smaller over distance. Ferdinand II and Isabella I sponsored Columbus’ trip to India in an attempt to gain riches from India’s spices. Columbus thought that if he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, he would reach India. He set sail in 1492 but instead he reached the Americas.
  • Period: 1493 to 1494

    The Line of Demarcation

    The Line of Demarcation divided the unexplored parts of the world between Spain and Portugal. On May 4, 1493, the Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI decreed in the Bull Inter Caetera that all lands west and south of a pole-to-pole line one hundred leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands should belong to Spain. The 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas neatly divided the "New World" into the land, resources, and people claimed by Spain and Portugal.
  • Period: 1497 to 1498

    Vasco de Gama reaches India

    In 1498, Vasco de Gama reached India and became the first European to sail directly to India by going around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. He left for his first voyage in 1497.
  • 1513

    Juan Ponce de Leon becomes the first Spanish explorer to set foot in Florida

    Juan Ponce de Leon becomes the first Spanish explorer to set foot in Florida
    Juan Ponce de León was the first Spanish explorer to set foot in Florida in 1513. He named this place Florida because he’d discovered it around Easter time, which in Spanish was called Pascua Florida. He traveled towards Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth, which supposedly restored the youth of anyone who bathed in it or drank from its water.
  • 1513

    Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean

    Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean
    In 1513, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, a Spanish explorer, was leading a voyage in search of gold and. He crossed the Isthmus of Panama and discovered the Pacific Ocean. He claimed the Pacific Ocean for Spain, which would make it easier for Spanish exploration on the west coast of South America.
  • Period: 1519 to Aug 13, 1521

    The Spanish Conquest

    After Columbus discovered the Americas, the Spanish sent conquistadors to claim this land for Spain. Hernan Cortés landed in Mexico in 1519 and sacked it. He took Montezuma, the Aztec leader, hostage, and then ruled Tenochtitlán through him by manipulating him. The Spanish Conquest lasted from 1519 to 1521.
  • Period: Sep 20, 1519 to 1522

    Ferdinand Magellan leads the first expedition around the world

    Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to sail completely around the world. The purpose of his voyage was to find a route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia since spices were very valuable back then. He set sail in 1519 and passed away in 1521 before reaching Indonesia. Through this voyage, he proved that the world was round and that all oceans and landmasses were connected. He sailed on The Vittoria, one of his five ships, which was the only ship to complete the voyage.
  • Period: 1524 to 1525

    Giovanni Verrazzano charts the Atlantic Coast of North America

    Giovanni Verrazzano, an Italian explorer, charted the Atlantic coast of North America, including areas like the New York Bay. He was the first European to explore this area while searching for a Northwest passage to Asia. As he explored North America, he wrote reports of the lands and the people he came in contact with. Since he explored these areas, a bridge in New York, called the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, was named after him.
  • Nov 16, 1532

    Francisco Pizarro travels through most of the Pacific coast of America

    Francisco Pizarro travels through most of the Pacific coast of America
    Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador, traveled through most of the Pacific coast of America along with Peru. After he arrived in Peru, smallpox began spreading through the Americas, killing off many Incas. The Europeans also brought many other diseases to the Americas. He is known for conquering the Incas in 1532 and executing their leader. After capturing their leader, he stole massive amounts of gold, silver, and other treasures.
  • 1534

    Jacques Cartier was sent to the new world

    Jacques Cartier was sent to the new world
    In 1534, Jacques Cartier, a French navigator, was sent to the New World by King Francis I to discover a new route to Asia and to search for riches. He was the first explorer to discover the St. Lawrence River in what is now Canada.
  • 1539

    Hernando de Soto discovers the Mississippi river and explores Florida

    Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, and conquistador who participated in the conquests of Central America and Peru. In 1539 he set out for North America, where he discovered the Mississippi River. He also sailed the Atlantic Ocean and was the first European to explore Florida and the southeastern U.S.
  • 1540

    Francisco Coronado was the first European to explore the Southwest area of North America

    Francisco Coronado, a Spanish explorer who was the first European to explore the Southwest area of North America. He led a major Spanish expedition up Mexico's western coast and into the region that is now the southwestern United States.
  • Jun 27, 1542

    Juan Cabrillo was the first to explore many of the Pacific Coast Bays in North America

    Juan Cabrillo was the first to explore many of the Pacific Coast Bays in North America
    In 1542, Juan Cabrillo traveled from the West Coast of Mexico and was the first to explore many of the Pacific Coast Bays in North America.
  • The East India Company was formed

    The East India Company was formed
    In 1600, the East India Company was formed for the exploitation of trade with East and Southeast Asia and India. It served as a trading body for English merchants so that England could participate in the East Indian Spice Trade. This trading company also traded slaves, silk, cotton, indigo, and more.
  • The Dutch East India Company becomes one of the most influential companies in history

    The Dutch East India Company is one of the most influential companies in history. In the late 1500s, the Dutch setup colonies and trading posts around the world. A group of wealthy merchants found the Dutch East India Company, which furthers their quest to be the major European commercial power in the east. Its main purpose was for trade, colonization, and exploration. The company also comes into conflict with the English East India Company.
  • Jamestown gets founded in Virginia

    Jamestown gets founded in Virginia
    In 1607, Jamestown was founded in Virginia by King James I. This was the first permanent English settlement in North America. It’s language, laws, and religious institutions have spread around the globe.
  • Samuel e Champlain discovers Lake Champlain

    Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer, and navigator who mapped much of northeastern North America and started a settlement in Quebec, discovered Lake Champlain in 1609. Important in establishing and administering the French colonies in the New World.
  • Henry Hudson gets hired to find a route to India through the Americas

    Henry Hudson gets hired to find a route to India through the Americas
    Henry Hudson was hired by the Dutch East India Company, a trading company, to find a trade route through the Americas to India. He failed at this because of ice, but instead, he discovered the Hudson River, Hudson Bay, and the Hudson Strait on his third and fourth voyages to North America. He also sailed through parts of the Arctic on his search for a Northwest Passage to China.
  • The first enslaved Africans arrive in Jamestown

    The first enslaved Africans arrive in Jamestown
    The first enslaved Africans arrive in Jamestown. On August 20, 1619, “20 and odd” Angolans, kidnapped by the Portuguese, arrived in the British colony of Virginia and were then bought by English colonists. The arrival of the enslaved Africans in the New World marks the beginning of two and a half centuries of slavery in North America.
  • America's first Puritan settlement gets established in Massachusetts

    America's first Puritan settlement gets established in Massachusetts
    In 1620, America’s first Puritan settlement was established in Massachusetts by a group of English Puritans who came to be known as Pilgrims. The Pilgrims left England in search of religious freedom and a better life. Some of the Pilgrims were known as Separatists because they wanted to “separate” from the Church of England.
  • Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet become the first Europeans to map northern Mississippi river

    Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet become the first Europeans to map northern Mississippi river
    Jacques Marquette & Louis Joliet are known as the first European to see and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River. Marquette and his friend Louis Joliet, a French-Canadian explorer, were chosen to lead an expedition that included five men and two canoes to find the direction and mouth of the Mississippi River, which natives had called Messipi, "the Great Water." They traveled along Lake Michigan to Green Bay, to Fox River, and the Wisconsin River to the Mississippi River.
  • Robert de La Salle leads expeditions down the Illinois and Mississippi river

    Robert de La Salle leads expeditions down the Illinois and Mississippi river
    Robert de La Salle, a French explorer and fur trader in North America who led an expedition down the Illinois and Mississippi rivers and claimed all the region watered by the Mississippi and its tributaries for Louis XIV of France, naming the region “Louisiana.” He also explored the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the Mississind the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Articles of Confederation were written

    The Articles of Confederation were written
    In 1777, the Articles of Confederation were written. This document served as the first constitution of the United States and it gave the central government no coercive power over their citizens. This is the major reason why the Articles of Confederation failed: the central government was so weak that it couldn’t enforce laws.