European Exploration and Settlements

Topics: Caribbean, Spain, Christopher Columbus Pages: 3 (647 words) Published: May 19, 2013

Manhattan Learning Center

Generic Studies Program

TOPIC: European Exploration and Settlements

Course: American History 1

Assignment #: 1

Summer 2013

Student’s Name: Rosmery Ventura

Cycle: 3rd
Facilitator: Carmen Vega

Date: 05/16/2013

Rosmery Ventura
Professor: Carmen M. Vega
Theoretical Studies: American History 1

European Exploration and Settlements
European settlements in the Caribbean began with Christopher Columbus. Carrying an elaborate feudal commission that made him perpetual governor of all lands discovered and gave him a percentage of all trade conducted, Columbus set sail in September 1492, determined to find a faster, shorter way to China and Japan. He planned to set up a trading-post empire, modeled after the successful Portuguese venture along the West African coast. His aim was to establish direct commercial relations with the producers of spices and other luxuries of the fabled East, thereby cutting out the Arab middlemen who had monopolized trade since capturing Constantinople in 1453. He also planned to link up with the lost Christians of Abyssinia, who were reputed to have great quantities of gold--a commodity in great demand in Europe. Finally, as a good Christian, Columbus wanted to spread Christianity to new peoples. Columbus, of course, did not find the East. Nevertheless, he called the peoples he met "Indians," and, because he had sailed west, referred to the region he found as the "West Indies." However, dreams of a trading-post empire collapsed in the face of real Caribbean life. The Indians, although initially hospitable in most cases, simply did not have gold and trade commodities for the European market. In all, Columbus made four voyages of exploration between 1492 and 1502, failing to find great quantities of gold, Christians, or the courts of the fabled khans described by Marco Polo. After 1499, small amounts of tracer...
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