The discovery of America

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Did you know the history of how America was discovered?, well this post is about the whole history of the discovery of America! This is really helpful to history students and people who love to read and listen to the historical context of different things. Let’s begin with how modern Spain emerged. 
  Modern Spain emerged after the amalgamation of two kingdoms, namely Castille and Aragon. This amalgamation became possible when King Ferdinand of Aragon married Queen Isabella of Castille in 1469, and a powerful state emerged. By 1492, the military power of the new state was shown    
 with her defeat and subsequent capture of Grenada, destroying the last relic of the Muslims who had earlier conquered Spain. The conquest led to the expulsion of the Muslims and the re-establishment of Christian rule throughout the Spanish peninsula. The state was therefore preoccupied with problems of nation-building and internal consolidation. 
 Spanish rulers therefore paid little attention to maritime discovery and exploration as Portugal, but rather focused their attention to domestic issues. But in 1492, a landmark in the history of Spanish maritime discovery was by Columbus. 

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  Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa in 1451. By 1479, he had settled in Portugal and in 1482 he probably went on a voyage with Portuguese sailors to the Guinea Coast. After this voyage he developed a new idea which he pursued for the rest of his life: that the wealth of the East lay westwards. In 1483, he asked for permission from King John II of Portugal to sail westwards. The king turned down his request. He became dejected and moved to Spain in 1484.
While in Spain, between 1484 and 1492, he tried to get the support of both King Ferdinand and his wife, Queen Isabella for his ambition of sailing westwards. Early in 1492, Queen Isabella granted him a royal charter, a title of “Admiral” and an agreement that one-tenth of all profits made by Columbus from his voyages would accrue to the state. With these, Columbus became fulfilled and on August 3,1942, he set out of Spain in a fleet of three vessels, the Santa Maria, thime Pinta, and the Nina, into the unknown west, with the main aim of finding an alternative (westward) route to India and Far East. 
After travelling for many weeks, relying on the compass of Ptolemy, on October 22, 1492, Columbus landed on the outer island of Bahamas. Later he discovered Cuba and subsequently the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti). Columbus thought these must be the islands off the Coast of China. Columbus mistook these islands for the Indies and named them WEST INDIES. The mistake remained uncorrected up till today. In January 1493, he returned home and announced that he had found an alternative route to India and Far East via the west. This was well recorded in Spain, but the Portuguese doubted the claims. 

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In September 1493, he embarked on his second voyage, with the main aim of developing the colonies (most especially Hispaniola). Moving further westwards, he discovered many new islands such as Dominica, Montserrat, Virgin Islands, Santa Cruz, and Puerto Rico. He also discovered an island he named Isabella. He sailed again southwards and discovered a large island he named Santiago and Jamaica. From Jamaica he returned to Cuba where he tried to establish colonial rule and exert Spanish control over the natives before returning to Spain. He still believed that he was very close to Japan. 
 In 1498, he embarked on his third voyage with royal support and this time he discovered Trinidad. He sighted the mainland of South America, but paid little attention to it. All along, Columbus did not know that he had discovered a new Continent, but rather, he thought everything he had discovered was an extension of Asia. Between 1502 and 1503, he made his fourth and last voyage. He was still of the opinion that Asia was not far off, and on this voyage he was seeking a strait leading there from the western limits of his previous discoveries. Columbus died in 1506, still believing that he would reach the Far East. He reached Central America and followed his coastline from Honduras to the Gulf of Darien, but no westward passage was found to India and Far East. 
Columbus’ exploration, discoveries and achievements have been interpreted differently by his contemporaries and writers. While some commended his achievements and ranked him one of the greatest explorers, others severely criticized his geographical ideas, his seamanship and his claims of exploration. There is no denying fact that Columbus made outstanding contributions to colonial exploration. During his voyages, he made impressive discoveries and indeed he discovered most of the Caribbean islands and part of the coast of America. His discoveries opened the floodgate for further discovery of America by other explorers. 
 The discovery of America was further given a boost when Amerigo Vespucci confirmed that what Columbus discovered was not a western passage to the Far East, but a “new world” or a “new continent.”  Vespucci was an Italian born in Florence in 1451. He went to Spain as a merchant representative of the Duke of Florence in 1492. He embarked on four voyages to the New World between 1497 and 1503. His first voyage was between May 1497 and Oct. 1498, during which he discovered the coasts of Honduras, Mexico and Florida. The second voyage was between 1499 and 1500, when he visited the coast of South America. His third voyage was between 1501 and September 1502, and this took him to South America, while his fourth voyage between May 1503 and June 1504 took him to Bahia and Brazil. 
 In 1505, Vespucci returned to Spain and naturalized and in 1508, he was appointed as a pilot trainer, training all crew which wanted to embark on voyages, on mapping and charting and geographical knowledge. He was a good writer and also skilled in geographical interpretation and description. He wrote down in detail the account of his voyages, which were well circulated in Europe. He popularized  
 the idea of “New World” for the newly discovered land of America. This idea became popular and in 1507, a German Geographer, Martin Waldesmuller rather than referring to the area as “New World” in his  
 New World map preferred to the name “America,” after the sagacious discoverer Americus. Amerigo Vespucci died in 1512, This was how the name “America” came to be. 
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