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Exploring the Americas

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1 Exploring the Americas
This Power Point presentation was designed to be used with middle school students studying American history. It was developed to be used with corresponding text that was adapted from the seventh grade history book used in our school district. The goal of this activity was to reinforce prior knowledge gained from reading the history book, help organize the information, and retain the important facts. This activity was intended for use with Deaf/Hard of Hearing students but could also be used with other special education or general education students. Using Power Point in the classroom has helped spark and maintain student interest across the curriculum.

2 Exploring the Americas

3 Early European Maps The maps the first European explorers used did not include America. The maps only showed three continents—Europe, Asia, and Africa as one large piece of land surrounded by oceans. Some explorers also thought that the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean made one large ocean called the Ocean Sea. At this time no one knew that there was another huge piece of land that was missing from the maps or that the oceans were as big as they are.

4 Portugal's Desire for Exploration
The country of Portugal was one of the first countries to explore the unknown land. Because Portugal did not have a port, a large town or city along a body of water where ships can dock, on the Mediterranean Sea, it could not be part of the trade between Asia and Europe. The country’s rulers then decided that they wanted to find a new route to China and India.

5 Early Trade Routes In the 1400’s Europeans wanted to buy fine porcelain, jewels, silk, and spices from East Asia. However, it was very expensive to buy these things. To get the goods for less, the Europeans wanted to find a new way to get them from East Asia by water.

6 Let's Review! 1. What three continents could be found on early European maps? Africa, Asia, and Europe 2. Why were North and South America not on the maps? People did not know the two continents existed 3. Why did Portugal want to explore new and unknown lands? Portugal did not have a port so they could not trade with Asia and India, if they explored new lands they could be part of the trade route 4. Why did Europeans want to find a new trade route to East Asia? They believed that if they found a new and faster trade route it would be cheaper to get the goods.

7 Early Explorers Bartholomeu Dias Vasco da Gama The Vikings Christopher Columbus Vasco Nunez de Balboa Ferdinand Magellan

8 Early Explorers Time Line

9 Bartholomeu Dias In 1488, King John II of Portugal sent a man by the name of Bartholomeu Dias to explore the southernmost part of Africa. As Dias reached the south part of Africa he ran into a terrible storm which moved him off course and around the southern part of Africa. Dias wrote that he had been around the “Cape of Storms.” After learning about Dias’ voyage, King John renamed the southern part of Africa the “Cape of Good Hope” believing that this was the way to a new route to India. Bartholomeu Dias

10 Vasco da Gama In July 1497, after many years of preparation, Vasco da Gama left Portugal with four ships. Da Gama sailed down the west coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, and visited cities on the east coast of Africa. With the help an Arab man, da Gama arrived in India. He reached the port of Calicut in 1498, which then completed the eastern sea route to Asia. Vasco da Gama

11 The Vikings In the 800’s and 900’s Viking ships arrived in Iceland and Greenland and began to settle there. Then in about 1000, a Viking sailor named Leif Erikson got lost on his way to Greenland and arrived in what is now Newfoundland. He set up a small community there but it did not last. Stories about the Vikings were known in legends of people from Greenland and Iceland, but they were not known to the other people living in Europe. Europeans did not discover the Americas until Columbus made his great voyage. Viking ships, because of their shallow draft, were able to successfully navigate rivers and streams that many other vessels could not. This allowed the Vikings to raid settlements far upriver from the sea, settlements that frequently were not prepared for an attack from the water.

12 A photograph of Christopher Columbus
On August 3, 1492, Columbus began his voyage from Palos, Spain. He had two small ships, the Nina and the Pinta, and a larger one, the Santa Maria. The three ships carried about 90 sailors. On October 12, 1492, at 2:00 in the morning, one of the men shouted, Land! Land! He had seen a small island, part of what is not the Bahamas. Columbus went onto the land, claimed the land for Spain, and named it San Salvador. Although Columbus did not know it, he had discovered the Americas. Columbus’ Voyages A photograph of Christopher Columbus

13 Vasco Nunez de Balboa Vasco Nunez de Balboa was a governor in a Spanish town in what is now Panama. He had heard stories of the “great waters” beyond the mountains. In 1513, he and his group of explorers traveled through the jungles. Traveling through the forest was very difficult. De Balboa climbed a hill and saw a huge body of water. When he reached the Pacific Ocean he claimed the ocean and the lands that touched the ocean for the king and queen of Spain.

14 Ferdinand Magellan In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan, from Portuguese sailor, lead five ships in an exploration across the Atlantic Ocean and south along the eastern coast of South America. In late November 1520, Magellan finally found and sailed through the narrow passage to the Pacific Ocean. This narrow passage is called a strait. This strait was named the Straight of Magellan. Magellan was killed in the Philippines, in a war. Some of his crew returned to Spain. The trip took almost three years. Only 1 of the 5 ships and 18 of the 250 crew members completed the journey. These men were the first to circumnavigate, or sail around the world. renaissance.htm

15 Review of Early Explorers
Country Year Route Accomplishments Bartholomeu Dias Vasco da Gama The Vikings Christopher Columbus Vasco Nunez de Balboa Ferdinand Magellan

16 Review of Early Explorers
Country Year Route Accomplishments Bartholomeu Dias Portugal 1488 Explored the southern part of Africa Cape of Good Hope Vasco da Gama 1497 Explored southern Africa and arrived in India Completed the eastern sea route to India The Vikings Traveled through the north Atlantic Sea Settled in Greenland, Iceland, and Newfoundland Christopher Columbus Spain 1492 Set sail from Spain to the Caribbean Islands The first to discover North America Vasco Nunez de Balboa 1513 Traveled through the jungles of Panama Discovered and claimed Pacific Ocean for Spain Ferdinand Magellan 1520 Southern tip of South America – Strait of Magellan His crew first to circumnavigate the world

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