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The Age of Exploration in Spain

The Age of Exploration in Spain

The age of exploration was one that flourished in new discoveries of new lands, and resources. Many countries had a lasting effect on this era of time. Perhaps the most influential was Spain. Spain was the beginning point for many famous explorers including Columbus, Pizzarro, and Cortes. All three greatly influenced the exploration age.

Of the three explorers, Columbus was the first to embark on his voyage. In 1492, the sea captain, Christopher Columbus, set off for Asia, to find the luxuries many talked of. The spices, silks, and other raw materials prompted Columbus to sail west and find an alternate trade route to Asia and its riches. However Columbus never reached his destination. Instead, he landed on one of the Caribbean lands. Since these lands were unheard of, Columbus assumed he had reached the East Indies when he reached land. Remarkably, he named the native people of the islands “los indios”, a term translating to “Indians”, a term mistakenly applied to all the peoples of the Americas. Columbus named the land San Salvador, or “Holy Savior” and claimed the land for Spain. In search of gold, he looked all over the Caribbean islands, however in early 1493, he returned home with not much wealth. Spain’s rulers agreed to finance three more trips. After the voyages, he had claimed land all inside and on the cost of the Americas. Columbus was so vital in the age of exploration, because his giant mistake, of landing on the Americas and not the East Indies, is what started a great search of unclaimed lands by many other European explorers. Also, if Columbus hadn’t found the Americas, we may not be here today!

The next explorer of the three to commence his voyage was Hernando Cortes. Cortes landed on the shores of Mexico and marched inland, looking to claim new lands for Spain. Cortes was also in search of something more. The tribe and lands that he had heard rumor of, of the wealthy Aztecs. He marched and marched through many rough mountain passes until finally, Cortes and his fleet of 600 men, reached the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. The Aztec leader, Montezuma II, first thought Cortes to be an armored god, so he naturally offered him gifts if...

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