The saga of discovery and settlement of the New World, begun by European's in the late 15th century, lasted more than 200 years. Successive transatlantic crossings, first into the Caribbean and then to the coast of Canada and along the coast of South America, describe the general pattern of exploration by the Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, French, and English. Several factors made the Age of Exploration possible. Medieval cartographers placed Jerusalem at the centre of the earth. But in the 15th century, Western scholars rediscovered Ptolemy's "Geography", with its maps of a semispheric earth that accurately located all distant places. Improvements in equipment enabled the construction of larger, more manoeuvrable ships. In the East Europeans were cut off from land routes to India and China. The need for new avenues of trade with the Far East led to the seafaring explorations of the Age of Discovery.
In 1492 the Italian Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic in a Spanish-backed attempt to find a new trading route to the Far East. While that objective went unfulfilled, subsequent voyages by explorers did much to reveal both the complexities of transatlantic navigation and the nature of the New World. Simultaneously, Portuguese seafarers led by Bartolomeu Dias had pushed southward to the Cape of Good Hope, mapping the entire western coast of Africa in the process and proving the existence of a sea route between Europe and India. In 1497 John Cabot, a Venetian sea captain, completed the first recorded transatlantic voyage by an English vessel, while attempting to find a north-west passage to Asia. Cabot died during the second attempt to find a direct route to Cathay in 1498. Although Sebastian Cabot continued his father's explorations in the Hudson Bay region in 1508-1509, England's interest in the New World waned. However, Cabot's voyages established England's belated claim to America. In 1520 Ferdinand Magellan discovered the strait, now bearing his name, that links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The discovery of Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America was made in 1578 by the English navigator Francis Drake; this provided a more suitable route for trading ships.
Colonisation followed exploration, and, as isolated outposts gave way to larger protected settlements and military garrisons in the 17th and 18th centuries, the tide of colonists to the New World and the exploitation of natural resources from both land and sea increased. The explorers were inspired by curiosity and the desire to become wealthy. The Age of Exploration enriched Europe.
saga - увлекательная история
New World - Новый Свет
successive - последующий
Caribbean - карибский, относящийся к Карибскому морю
exploration - исследование
Age of Discovery - Age of Exploration - эпоха Великих географических открытий
Ptolemy - Птолемей
accurately - точно
Columbus - Колумб
trading route - торговый путь
subsequent - последующий
voyage - морское путешествие
explorer - исследователь
reveal - показать
simultaneously - одновременно
Bartolomeu Dias - Бартоломеу Диаш
Cape of Good Hope - мыс Доброй Надежды
vessel - судно
wane - уменьшиться
claim - притязание
Ferdinand Magellan - Фернандо Магеллан
garrison - гарнизон
1. What was the general pattern of exploration in the New World?
2. What factors made the Age of Exploration possible?
3. Why did Columbus sail westwards?
4. What did Bartolomeu Dias do?
5. What discoveries did Magellan and Drake make?
6. What followed exploration?
7. What inspired explorers?