Early Portuguese and Spanish Explorers

Henry the Navigator

Prince Henry the Navigator was the son of King João of Portugal, born in 1394. He is most famous for the voyages of discovery that he organised and financed.

Map of Portugal

external image mportgal.gif
external image mportgal.gif
SAGRES is where Henry the Navigator had his base (Sagres is located on the bottom of the map).

Why was Henry the Navigator famous?

Henry the Navigator is mostly famous for the voyages of discovery. This eventually led up to the rounding of Africa and the establishment of sea routes to the Indies.
Henry discovered the Atlantic Islands. This was the discovery of the small island of Porto Santo.
Soon after that he went to on to discover Madeira.
Henry main aim was to explore further south than Cape Bojador, just south of the canaries.
Henry was given the name 'the navigator' becuase he made many exploration trips and explored many countries that he soon made to know the land of the Earth.

Henry_the_Navigator1.jpg
Henry_the_Navigator1.jpg


Bartholomew Dias

Bartholomew was born in 1450 and died in 1500. He sailed from the age of 36 till the year before he dided when he was only 49. Bartholomew main reason to explore was because King John II wanted a spice trade. He had to sail because if he did not King John would have his men to kill Bartholomew.
Bartholomew Dias
Bartholomew Dias

Bartholomew Dias

His Journey

In 1481 and 1482, Bartholomew commanded a ship of his journey to the Gold Coast of Africa. He was the first person to discover the Cape of Good Hope and therefore the first person to sail round it. On the way back, he came across a storm that blew him to the southernmost tip of the land where he wanted to be. He died in that storm as the ship had sunk beneath the waves. Bartholomew wanted to call the place he had visited 'The Cape of Storms', but they soon renamed it to 'The Cape of Good Hopes' due to the fact that the bad name would not draw peoples attention to go and visit.

Bartholomew Dias's Route
Bartholomew Dias's Route

Bartholomew Dias's Route


Christopher Colombus

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451. Living by the Mediterranean Sea he longed to be a sailor. He began sailing on Italian ships at the age of 14. When Columbus was 25 he was sailing on a ship headed for England. A group of French pirates attacked his ship. Columbus was hurt, but managed to grab onto some floating wood and make his way to shore.

Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

His Journey
One day Christopher was sailing, it was a storm and ended up in Portugal by accident. He travelled to many islands and found himself trying to persuade kings and queens to give him money for food and drink during his voyage to find a new route to China. When he finally managed to persuade the king and queen of Spain to lend him money, he had to make a deal. In return, he had to give them: newlands, spices, money and new people to become christian. Columbus had three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.
One morning, Columbus spotted land called San Salvador, known as the Bahamas. He then moved on to Cuba. After Cuba, he moved to a place he called Hispaniola. This land today is now shared by Haiti and Dominican Republic. This led him to the land which is now called America.

Christopher Columbus's Route
Christopher Columbus's Route

Christopher Columbus's Route


Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama was born in Sines, Portugal, in 1460, the year Prince Henry of Portugal, more famously known as Henry the Navigator, died. Da Gama’s father was a member of the royal household of Prince Dom Frenoyo, and young Vasco grew up in the town of Lisbon.

Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama


His Journey

Vasco da Gama helped Portugal become rich and famous. As he was making Portugal one of the most important trading and naval powers in the Indian Ocean.
In 1492, he commanded the defense of Portuguese colonies against the French in Guinea. Then he set sail for India with four ships: the Sao Gabriel, the Sao Rafael, the Berrio and one cargo ship that did not have a name. During this voyage, his ships were fitted with enough food and wine for three years! Da Gama sailed around the Coast of Africa. That was the same route Bartholomew Dias had taken in earlier years. Vasco da Gama was finishing what Bartholomew had started. Da Gama’s first voyage to India took more then two years to complete. When he got to India, his final destination, he bought spices and silk cloth. He left again for Portugal in 1499. When he got back to Portugal, those things were proof that there were great treasures in India. On da Gama's second voyage, he stopped at some of the African Kingdoms.

In 1502 da Gama destroyed the Arab trading centers in India and along Africa’s East coast and set up Portuguese trading centers, making Portugal one of the most important trading powers. On one voyage he came back to Portugal with news of seeing a Christian Kingdom in East Africa. Later, in 1524, da Gama had set up trading centers and had made himself and Portugal rich, King John III named him Viceroy to India. During that same year he also became Admiral of India.In September of that same year, he took charge of the Portuguese administration in India. Da Gama received many awards for his achievements. One of the awards he received was Admiral Dom; he was also Count of Vidigueira, Portugal, meaning he was able to collect taxes and rents in two Portuguese towns.

Vasco da Gama's Route
Vasco da Gama's Route

Vasco da Gama's Route



Ferninand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan was born in 1480 in northern Portugal. He grew up in a wealthy family and served as a page in the royal court. He enjoyed sailing and exploring and sailed for Portugal for many years. Magellan had traveled to India by sailing around Africa, but he had the idea that there may be another route by traveling west and around the Americas. The King of Portugal did not agree and argued with Magellan.

Ferninand Magellan
Ferninand Magellan

Ferninand Magellan





















His Journey

In September 1519 Magellan set sail in his attempt to find another route to Eastern Asia. There were over 270 men and five ships under his command. The ships were named the Trinidad, the Santiago, the Victoria, the Concepcion, and the San Antonio.They first sailed across the Atlantic and to the Canary Islands. From there they sailed south to Brazil and the coast of South America.
Magellan continued to sail south. Soon he found the passage he was seeking. He called the passage the All Saints' Channel. Today it is called the Straights of Magellan. Finally he entered into a new ocean on the other side of the new world. He called the ocean the Pacifico, meaning peaceful.Now that they were on the other side of South America, the ships sailed for China. There were only three ships left at this point as the Santiago had sunk and the San Antonio had disappeared.Magellan thought it would only take a few days to cross the Pacific Ocean. He was wrong. It took nearly four months for the ships to make it to the Mariana Islands. They barely made it and nearly starved during the voyage.

Ferninand Magellan's Route
Ferninand Magellan's Route

Ferninand Magellan's Route



Early English and Dutch Explorers

Francis Drake


Francis Drake, eldest of twelve children, was born in Crowndale, near Taverstock, in about 1540.In 1563 he joined his cousin, John Hawkins, on a voyage to Africa. The two men started capturing people in Sierra Leone and selling them as slaves to Spanish settlers in the Caribbean. As it was illegal for the settlers to buy from foreigners, Hawkins and Drake soon came into conflict with the Spanish authorities.


Francis Drake
Francis Drake

Francis Drake





















His Journey

His first command was in 1567 when he took part in a successful attack on Spanish ships in the port of San Juan de Ulua. He returned to Plymouth with gold and silver worth over £40,000. Drake, a committed Protestant, saw himself as an instrument of God in his crusade against Philip II and the Spanish Empire. This was followed by voyages to the West Indies and in 1572 he seized gold and silver in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean.




Francis Drake's Route
Francis Drake's Route

Francis Drake's Route



Abel Tasman

Abel Janszoon Tasman born in 1603, a mariner, was born at Lutjegast, near Groningen, in the Netherlands. He received a sufficient education to enable him to express his ideas clearly in writing and to become a skilled navigator. He married Claesgie Meyndrix, by whom he had a daughter. After his wife died, he married Joanna Tiercx in January. In that year in a minor exploration he had a narrow escape from death, when in an incautious landing several of his companions were massacred by people of Ceram. After spending some time in warlike and anti-smuggling operations he returned to Holland in 1637.

Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman


His Journey

He started his voyages in 1642. Abel Tasman is famous for being the first European to reach Van Diemen's island (now Tasmania), and most of all the western side of Australia and New Zealand. He was also the first to sight the Fiji islands. He helped to map large areas of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
On 24 November 1642 Tasman sighted the west coast of Tasmania near Macquarie Harbour. He named the island Van Diemen's Land after Antonie van Diemen, who was the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.
Later Tasman tried to land at Peninsula but the rough seas made it too difficult. Eventually the ship's carpenter swam to shore and planted a flag. In this way possession of the land was claimed by Europeans.

Abel Tasman's Route
Abel Tasman's Route

Abel Tasman's Route


William Dampier

William Dampier was a English explorer, sea captain, and scientific observer. He was the first Englishman to explore or map parts of Australia and New Guinea. He was the first person to circumnavigate the world twice, and went on to complete a third circumnavigation. Dampier was born at East Cokr in Somerset and went to sea at the age of 16. He served with Edward Sprague in the Third Anglo-Dutch War and fought at the Battle of Schooneveld in June 1673. In 1674 he worked as a plantation manager on Jamaica, but he soon returned to the sea.

William Dampier
William Dampier

William Dampier


His Journey

Dampier jumped at a friend’s offer for him to manage a plantation in Jamaica. He then went on to travel to Jamaica. After a year of this, he grew discontent and involved himself in coastal trading. After making two voyages to the Bay of Campeachy, Dampier determined to stay there for a while and become a logger. He coupled logging with amateur pirating to sustain himself. Dampier returned briefly to England and then made his way back to Jamaica. He then proceeded to cross the Isthmus of Darien, a.k.a. Panama, with a group of pirates. He spent the next year with these men, pirating the coast of Peru, mainly to harass the Spaniards. Although Spain and England were not at war during this time, the pirates Dampier was sailing with took about 25 Spanish ships.
He mostly known for the first man to set foot on Australian mainland.

William Dampier's Route
William Dampier's Route

William Dampier's Route


James Cook


James Cook was born in the village of Marton, Yorkshire on October 27, 1728; he was one of seven children born to a day laborer. Cook received basic schooling at the village school and was then sent to work for William Sanders in the nearby fishing village of Staithes. Here Cook developed a love and fascination for the sea, but he was not especially happy with his job amongst the hard working people of the land. In July 1746, at the age of 17, Cook gave into his temptations for the sea and became an apprentice to the Walker Family, ship owners, at the port of Whitby. Whitby was a bustling place, always full with many varieties of ships. Cook's job as an apprentice required him to become very familiar with the coal ships of the area and he soon learned the ins and outs of the colliers type ships. He worked hard and soon had his first voyage aboard the Whitby collier 'Freelove.' The coal ships or colliers were of sturdy construction, strong sailing abilities, and could handle a great deal of cargo and weight. Cook's expertise in this type of ship would bring him to use this type of ship for all three of his major voyages of world exploration.



James Cook
James Cook


His Journey


The Endeavour travelled by way of the Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde islands and Rio de Janeiro and rounded Cape Horn into the Pacific. Cook carried good provisions and citrus products and thus avoided the plague of scurvy. The ship reached Tahiti in April 1769. During their three months there the scientists examined the island thoroughly and observed the transit of Venus on June 3. They sailed west with a Tahitian guide through the Society Islands and then southward, finally reaching land on Oct. 7, 1769.
Cook had rediscovered New Zealand, originally discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642. He spent several months circling and surveying North Island and South Island, proving that they were islands and not a continent. The expedition then sailed west, reached the unexplored eastern coast of Australia, which he chartered and claimed for Great Britain. Sailing north, Cook saved the Endeavour after it struck and was grounded on a coral reef. Overall about 3,200 km (2,000 miles) of Australian coast was surveyed. Cook also confirmed the existence of a passage between Australia and New Guinea. The expedition sailed on, refitted at Batavia in Java, and returned by way of the Indian Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope. It reached England on July 13, 1771.




James Cook's Route
James Cook's Route