Period 5 Time of explorers and reformers

The beginning of European overseas expansion

The world is at your feet. Do you know this saying? In the era of the explorers and reformers, they have discovered almost all parts of the world.

Charles V was emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He was only 15 years old when he became lord of the Netherlands. He inherited the area from his father. The Netherlands consisted of several regions. These were the areas that belonged to the independent cities. He wanted to make the Netherlands one country. That's why he conquered the independent regions. He had them governed by his own officials. Charles V not only went to war to conquer independent regions. He was also attacked in the east. He has had to wage many wars against the Ottomans. But also against the French and the reformers. Charles V was a Catholic and therefore hated the reformers who wanted to leave the Catholic Church.

Charles V ruled in the era of reformers and explorers from 1515 to 1555. This meant that under his rule many important sea voyages were sailed. During those sea voyages, much land was conquered. In the years 1519 – 1521 the Spanish conquistadors conquered the empire of the Aztecs. They lived in what is now Mexico. The Spanish called this country the New World. In 1532 he conquered the Inca Empire. This too was in South America. This was later called Peru. Because Charles V now ruled over countries in both Europe and America, it was said that he ruled over the empire where the sun never goes down.

The European rulers conquered these countries to spread the Christian faith, but they were also able to increase their trade area. The first explorers in history were sent by the Pope. This happened as early as the 13th century. One of these explorers was Marco Polo. He traveled by land and along the coast to Asia, especially to India. In the 15th century, Europeans wanted to find a shorter route to India. Because they knew that there were many spices available there.

At first they tried to find India by using a ship to follow the coastline of Africa. In 1488, Bartholomew Diaz was the first to sail past the Cape of Good Hope.

Thanks to the Renaissance, people were once again interested in the ancient Greek philosophy books of history. In this they found the theory of the spherical earth. According to this theory, you could also reach India by crossing the Atlantic. This is what they did. Columbus crossed the Atlantic and arrived in America in 1492. At this time, Europeans did not know about America's existence. They thought the theory was right. Of course he did, but they did not take into account the possibility that there would still be an undiscovered continent. They thought they had indeed reached India. That's why Columbus called the inhabitants of this new land Indians.

The Portuguese Ferdinand Magelhaes wanted to prove that behind the American continent India could be found. In 1519 he left under the Spanish flag with 5 ships heading west. He crossed the Atlantic and sailed south along the American coast. At the very bottom tip of South America, he found a passage from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This passageway we now call St. Magellan. It took almost half a year before they could throw out the anchor at the Philippines. This is where Magelhaes was murdered. But the fleet sailed further. They lost 4 ships to conquests. Most of them to the Portuguese. There was only one ship that arrived back in Spain in 1522.


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