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Age of Discovery

1400's A.D. - 1600's A.D.

A period in European history when there's lots of overseas exploration

Important Events:

Spice Trade & Sea Exploration

Key Players:

  • Asia/ India

  • Ottoman Turks

  • Spain

  • England

  • France

  • Portugal 

  • Italy

It's easy to think of the Age of Discovery and Spice Trade as a purely Western European narrative, but that's not the full story. The Ottoman Turk empire was the dominant empire of the Muslim world. They also had the upper hand against Western Europe in the Spice Trade because of their easy access to Asia/India.

Who were the Ottoman Turk's greatest competition in the Spice trade?

A. England

B. France  

C. Spain     

Key People: Explorers

Christopher Columbus


1451 -1506 A.D.

Italian dude who couldn't convince Italy to pay for his Asia trade route exploration adventures, but convinced Spain to sponsor him to find a Western trade route to Asia and winds up in America  (which he thinks is Asia!).

Amerigo Vespucci


1454 -1512 A.D.

Another Italian dude sponsored by Spain. Vespucci was the first European to figure out that America wasn't actually Asia. He realized that Brazil was, in fact, not Asia and that the land he was exploring was actually a completely different continent. The Americas are named after him.

Juan Ponce de Leon


1474 -1521 A.D.

Spanish conquistador and first known European to reach the mainland of present day United States. He's also the first governor of Puerto Rico...and he's the guy who named Florida.

Vasco Nunez de Balboa


1475 - 1519 A.D.

Spanish conquistador and head of the first South American settlement. He's also the first European to discover the Pacific Ocean

Ferdinand Magellan


1480 -1521 A.D.

Portugese dude who was sponsored by Spain to find a Western trade route to the Spice Islands and ended up leading the first circumnavigation around the world. (He actually died before the trip was over, but his crew made it back to it counts.) He's considered the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean.

Francisco Pizarro


1475 -1541 A.D.

Spanish conquistador who was obsessed with quick wealth and power. He's a pretty awful guy. He is responsible for the arrest that led to the death of Vasco de Balboa and the end of the Inca civilization in South America. 

Jacques Cartier


1491 - 1557 A.D.

French explorer sent by France to explore the New World.  He's the guy who named Canada and claimed it for France. He was the first European to find the St. Lawrence River.

Sir Francis Drake


1540 - 1596 A.D.

British sea captain, privateer, and slave trader. He's the first European to circumnavigate the world and stay alive to see the whole thing.  Also, he's the guy who led the victorious attack against the seemingly invincible Spanish Armada (a.k.a. the Spanish Navy fleet). He basically ended Spanish dominance in the New World.

Sir Walter Raleigh


1554 - 1618 A.D.

British dude who attempted to establish the first permanent English settlement in the new world: the Roanoke Colony. He's the guy who wrote a book that made the treasure of El Dorado a legend. He's also the guy who introduced potatoes and tobacco to England.

Christopher Newport


1561 - 1617 A.D.

British sea captain who brought people over to found Jamestown settlement - the first successful permanent English settlement in the new world

Christopher Columbus Card
Juan Ponce de Leon Card
Amerigo Vespucci Card
Ferdinand Magellan Card
Vasco Nunez de Balboa Card
Francisco Pizarro Card
Jacques Cartier Card
Sir Francis Drake Card
Sir Walter Raleigh Card

Connecting the Dots: The Tudor Period

The Age of Discovery and the Tudor Period happened at the same time.

 Have Some Questions?

Click below to learn  more about this dramatic family of rulers


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