Martin Frobisher sights land in North America.
Born Around 1535 in Yorkshire England, Martin Frobisher became licenced pirate and plundered French ships off the coast of Africa. In the 1570's, he made three voyages to discover Northwest Passage to the Orient. Instead, he discovered Labrador and what is now Frobisher Bay. Later, He was knighted for fighting against the Spanish Armada. He was killed in a battle with Spanish forces in 1594.
VASCO DA GAMA
The Portuguese nobleman Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) sailed from Lisbon in 1497 on a mission to reach India and open a sea route from Europe to the East. After sailing down the western coast of Africa and rounding the Cape of Good Hope, his expedition made numerous stops in Africa before reaching the trading post of Calicut, India, in May 1498. Da Gama received a hero’s welcome back in Portugal, and was sent on a second expedition to India in 1502, during which he brutally clashed with Muslim traders in the region. Two decades later, da Gama again returned to India, this time as Portuguese viceroy; he died there of an illness in late 1524.
1. 1492 King John II sent da Gama to the port city of Setubal (south of Lisbon) and to the Algarve region to seize French ships in retaliation for French attacks on Portuguese shipping interests. 2. In 1497, John’s successor, King Manuel I (crowned in 1495), chose da Gama to lead a Portuguese fleet to India in search of a maritime route from Western Europe to the East. 3. Though the local Hindu population of Calicut initially welcomed the arrival of the Portuguese sailors (who mistook them for Christians), tensions quickly flared after da Gama offered their ruler a collection of relatively cheap goods as an arrival gift.
1. By the time Vasco da Gama returned from his first voyage to India in 1499, he had spent more than two years away from home, including 300 days at sea, and had traveled some 24,000 miles. Only 54 of his original crew of 170 men returned with him; the majority (including da Gama's brother Paolo) had died of illnesses such as scurvy. 2. da Gama was able to cross the Indian Ocean and reach the coast of India at Calicut (now Kozhikode) in May 1498. 3. This conflict, along with hostility from Muslim traders, led Da Gama to leave without concluding a treaty and return to Portugal. A much larger fleet, commanded by Pedro Alvares Cabral, was dispatched to capitalize on da Gama’s discoveries and secure a trading post at Calicut.
A German mapmaker names the "New World" America.
Like most, I’ve known that the Americas were named after Amerigo Vespucci since my early education. However, the story behind why this is the case is somewhat more interesting and quite a bit less well known. Vespucci was a navigator that traveled to “the new world” in 1499 and 1502. Being a well educated man, he realized that this new world was not part of Asia, as some had initially thought.
1. When the large new map, approximately 8 feet by 4 feet, was unveiled by Waldseemüller, it had the large title “AMERICA” across what is now present day Brazil. 2. Christopher Columbus might well have had the new world named after him, had it not been for two shortcomings. 3. Waldseemüller’s 1507 map was lost to scholars from 1538-1901 when it was discovered inside a German castle.
1. Waldseemüller used Vespucci’s travelogues as a reference for his drawing and so his map had South America as the only part of this new western hemisphere. When North America was later added, the mapmakers of the time retained the original name. In 1538, The famous geographer Gerard Mercator chose to name the entire north and south parts of America as one large “America” for the entire western hemisphere. 2. The first was that Columbus was under the mistaken impression that he had found a new route to Asia and was not aware that America was an entirely new continent. The second was that he never wrote publicly about it so the masses were not aware of his discovery. Had he done this, Mr. Waldseemüller and his colleagues might have named it Columba! As it happened, Vespucci did write about it and was the first to call this land the “Novus Mundus” (Latin for “New World”). 3. Once found, it was recognized as the earliest map to record the use of the name “America”. Today, that map is on permanent display in the Library of Congress. They purchased it in 2001 for $10 million.