tv Lectures in History Early Atlantic Exploration CSPAN June 20, 2021 12:00am-1:11am EDT
>> on lectures in history, northeastern university professor william fowler teaches a class about early atlantic expiration -- expiration, crisper clubs, and the discovery of the americas by the europeans. it describes the oceanic avengers of the vikings, portuguese, and spanish as well as the navigation assumption of the time. . prof. fowler: the portuguese were the first europeans to really venture out on the atlantic. but they adventured to south, not less. keep in mind as someone mentioned about the world being flat, europeans did not believe that.
13th, 14th century europeans knew the world was round. this map, which was not meant for matt -- meant for navigation shows you that this was the 13th century map of the world and you might not be able to make out the continents in the country's year she can see that they saw the world is around. the question was not how the shape of the earth -- the question was whether you can make it around the earth. they knew theoretically that if you sailed west he would come to the east. how far that would be, what dangers they would encounter, none of that was known to them. none was known. while the portuguese worked their way down the southern coast towards the tip of africa, there were another group of people who are pushing off in a different direction onto the atlantic. these were the norse. the vikings as they are sometimes called. in the common image the vikings are seen as ferocious warriors,
conquerors, leaders care -- looters. there is a prayer the monks offered to protect from the north men. some of that is true, but for the most part these scandinavians were farmers, sea traders, fishermen, for reasons that are not entirely clear, beginning about the 800 -- the year 800, these norse push into the atlantic. it could have been there was climate change in scandinavia that was harming the harvests. it could have been overpopulation. not quite sure. for whatever reason the norse began to leave scandinavia adventure out to the atlantic. they were not venturing out as explorers. they were not looking for new continents. they were not looking for the route to asia or china. they were looking for other places to settle. they began to sort of island hop. they came from skin navy over to
the shetland island to the faroe islands. you can see from these arrows that they would come down the coast of england and ireland and into europe and france and eventually of course some would get into the mediterranean. they were wide-ranging. very wide-ranging. >> you said they wanted north america echo -- north america echo -- north america? prof. fowler: great question. mostly we get the information about these vikings from the icelandic sagas, oral traditions that the norsemen cap and were written down around the 13th century. we do not have actual eyewitness firsthand accounts of the norse sitting out here on the atlantic. we do have these oral traditions from the sagas written down. they begin to push out and think of these people as kind of island hopping. the voyages they are making here
and the vessels they had are probably not more than two or three days. so not passed into the atlantic -- fast out into the atlantic. there are other kinds of vessels used. we talked about the egyptian vessel and the greek one and the roman warship at how those vessels, galleys, were not really suited for long-distance travel. or travel on a ferocious ocean. you can see the viking appears -- ship appears the same way. not much freeboard, the distance between the top and the waterline. a rough water would be rough for this water. relatively small, probably about 60 or 70 feet long. we can see from this -- this is an archaeological expertise -- excavation, a real viking longboat. we can see the remnants of a mast here. these are the kinds of vessels that these vikings used to sail out onto the atlantic. where did they go? we saw they went down the coast
of europe, they went to the faroe islands and the shetland islands and ireland and scotland. they also ventured a little bit further as well. they ventured first to iceland. again, the journey from the north of scotland towards iceland is not all that far. 300 and hundred miles. the vikings -- 300 or 400 miles. the vikings began to notice. they asked, why sailed west at all? they saw debris coming from the west area they also saw birds. so they understood there had to be something out there. these birds are coming from somewhere and the debris has to be coming from somewhere. that is why they sailed west. about the year 800, there's archaeological evidence but no pinpoint, but the vikings arrived in iceland. they settled iceland.
not many of them -- one of the things these people encounter, of course, is that the lands here are pretty fragile. i do not know if you've ever seen iceland, but it is not a country that can support a large population, particularly in days of agriculture. it cannot support a large viking population. about 900, 1 of these vikings, amen name -- a man named eric the red was exiled from iceland and told to go west, get out of here. he did. but again. he is going in a direction where they think there is something, because -- like here, between iceland and greenland, not a vast distance. you can imagine him standing on the shore of iceland seeing birds flying from the last. seen debris in the water. eric the red with a number of vessels, exiled from iceland, heads west. he finds greenland.
he sees this sort of as an opportunity for real estate development. greenland -- you could probably call it white land. or gray land. or icy land. rock land. but if you have seen greenland, you would not think of it as green. but eric wants to attract people there so he calls it greenland. he returned some to iceland -- returns home to iceland and tells people he found this greenland. that begins a viking nitration -- migration to greenland. they established communities along the south shore agreement, the south and southwestern shore of greenland. these settlements are going to be in greenland for almost 500 years. think about that for a minute.
around 900 to 1000, we are talking about a very long. of time. they are here in greenland 500 years before columbus. they are here 500 years before columbus. it is a remarkable story. that's a great question, what happened. by the time 50 and hundred thereabouts, -- by the time 1500, thereabouts, we know there are no more viking settlements in greenland. it would seem a couple things happen. one is perhaps the climate change. it got colder, we know that from evidence from climate history. they have the little ice age, as it is called. so probably got colder in greenland, which of course impacted domestic animals, agriculture, etc. they may have been rotted, attacked by pirates and others.
there are lots of vessels sailing through there, they might've sacked some of these towns. there's also something else curious that relates back to our friends the portuguese. one of the big exports from greenland -- what do you think the green lenders would be sending back to iceland and scandinavia? what is valuable daca -- what is valuable? walrus tasks. ivory. ivory is quite valuable. but then the portuguese, as you know in the 15th century, the portuguese pushed down africa and, what can you get out of africa? elephant tasks. so the portuguese find a greater and cheaper supply of ivory and it is likely this is an economic impact. that this has an economic impact
on the struggling communities in greenland. while these greenlanders are living here, they look to the west. one of the things, matthew, that they do lack is timber. so they are looking for a source of timber. timber for building and fuel. they sell west looking for timber. and as you can see, not a very long distance this is sail west and encounter north america. the first of the vikings to encounter north america is the son of eric the red. he's is called leif erickson. leif erickson ventures west and we know encounters north america. he probably went first to labrador which is in the upper coast here. did not find much timber there.
pretty desolate coasts. so he fails -- sailed further south looking for a reasonable place to live. he finds it. on the north, the tip of newfoundland, on the northwest corner, a little peninsula that juts out. in the 1960's, scandinavian archaeologists began to look into this area. it is interesting how they decided to do this. they looked at maps from the 14th and 15th century from this part of the world. primitive, but they showed a gross outline something that looked like newfoundland. they began to apply common sense. if you were sailing west from greenland, it would likely be
the first place looking at tides and currents. so they sort of narrowed it all down and they came to this place and began excavations. this is what they found. they found the archaeological remains of the viking settlement on newfoundland. this is leif erickson settlement. what you see here is a reconstruction of the homes. parks canada, the canadian equivalent of the national park service administers the site. i've been there several times. if you have the opportunity -- it's a little out-of-the-way, but if you have the opportunity, it is quite remarkable. to come here and see the actual archaeological site of people who lived in north america, europeans, not natives, europeans who lived here in the year 1000. this is a reconstruction of the kind of huts they lived in and here is of the digs. you can see by the way in the
distance the shoreline. it is a gentle sloping shore. it is greed. i'm not sure what it is like -- it is green. i'm not sure what it is like in the winter. it is a welcoming place. so they settled here. here. let's go back here. the question might arise. they are not there now. what happened? why didn't they stay? we think they stayed here probably not more than a couple years so it was not a long settlement. but there are some things we know about it from archaeological evidence. we know for example that women were here. which sort of indicates someone might have been thinking about a relatively permanent place. how do we know that from archaeology? >> remains if there were clothing. prof. fowler: clothing, but also
what the archaeologists were found were remnants of a spinning wheel. the norse warriors did not spin. but the wives did. so we know women were here and other archaeological remains indicate they were clearly here and here for a. of time. -- here for a period of time. so what happened? why didn't they stay? they have metal weapons. they meet natives called the inuit. the vikings called them skralings. these were natives -- native peoples. they were still in the stone age. but when you about the encounter of two cultures coming against one another, and their capacity to defend or attack, the viking
weapons, while metal weapons, or not far superior to the weapons the skralings had, hatches, spears, bow and arrow. and there were more of them then the vikings. so seems likely the vikings cannot sustain themselves against the hostility. that will change for europeans, is that? what will make it possible for relatively small numbers of europeans to sustain themselves against hostile peoples? >> guidance echo -- guns? prof. fowler: guns. but the vikings do not have the guns. but that will be the development of that technology. >> thanksgiving? prof. fowler: what do you mean. >> 11 to save the population.
prof. fowler: good point. this is not good agricultural country. so if they did not have good relationships with the skralings it would be very difficult to survive. and they did not. a sidebar, recent archaeological excavations further north in the arctic, we find among inuit settlements european goods. so on one hand, the hostility between the two, but it also seems that for over a. of time, maybe hundreds of years, maybe hundreds of years, the vikings, first in newfoundland and then in greenland actually are trading with the inuit in the arctic. there is an interchange there. the archaeological evidence seems to indicate that. people always say, didn't the vikings come further south? the answer to that is probably not. every once in a while someone
will come up with a theory that the vikings were in new england or rhode island or someplace like that, or the vikings were in minnesota. not the football team, the original vikings. that's not seem to have much substance. we know for certain, without question, they are in newfoundland. we know they were trading with the nu in the arctic. -- inuit in the arctic. but then it goes away. it goes away. by 1500, roughly 1500, the vikings are no longer either in greenland or certainly not in north america. so it is an astounding story about their schmidt. -- there are competent. but as historians, we have to ask, what was the long-term impact? the answer to that is, probably, not much. because no one else really knew about this. there is no sustained settlement.
no bigger important cultural interaction here. an extraordinary achievement, yes. but in terms of impact of the settlement and the evolution of north america, probably not terribly important. yeah? >> when did the western powers have an understanding of the vikings establishing this? prof. fowler: let me rephrase that slightly -- did other western europeans know about the vikings in greenland? the answer that would seem to be yes -- answer to that would seem to be yes. they knew inferentially. there was european trade with iceland. french, spanish, british sailors went to iceland. it is probably true that when they are in iceland they could have heard stories about
something to the west. but we have no really hard evidence of that. common sense would tell us that sailors tell stories to one another. so it is possible. christopher columbus who i will come to in a minute did not apparently -- did apparently visit iceland and one might speculate, did he hear about these stories in the west? maybe, maybe not. he doesn't speak icelandic. could he even understand? and also, he was out to find greenland, north america, or iceland. he had different motives. but yes, europeans heard the stories. no question about that. again, historical impact, probably fairly none. but not so for this guy. christopher columbus. i need to warn you about one thing.
christopher columbus -- we have no clue what he looks like. this could be him, it could be almost anyone. we have no life portraits of christopher columbus. you could imagine him in any way you want. in any way you want. he is born in genoa, italy, in 1451. his father is in the wool is notice. touch wool business. -- the wool business. that means travel by sea. at an early age, young christopher goes to see. who seems to enjoy it. seems to be pretty good at it. he takes up the life of a sailor. there's the place to go. late 15th century. what do you think about this going on the waterfront and was been? what are they talking about?
do think they are talking about india? china? the expiration of their captains, -- exploration of their captains. columbus watches these portuguese and see how they navigate, how they use the compass into the astrolabe. he takes courage from them. these men were able to take long voyages and come back. that is the important part. long voyages out, but they come back. from them, columbus learns about what lasts on a long trip. if you're going on a hiking trip into the appellations, what you bring that will last and not go that echo not an important question. all kinds of vessels to use -- what kinds of vessels to use. columbus absorbs all of this from his portuguese shipmates.
he absorbs all of this from his portuguese shipmates and learns how to handle these caramels. we talked about these -- handle these varavels. we talked about these. he learns how to sail close to shore. how to master the sort of long distance voyages the portuguese were accustomed to making. he also knew about the larger vessels. what their capabilities were. he learned how to handle men. when you learn about that -- where do you learn about that? how are you going to handle a crew? what are the techniques? how about discipline? all these things he is learning from the portuguese. where does columbus get the idea of sailing west to come to the east? he gets it again from the
general knowledge of the time that the world is round. columbus, who by this time experienced navigation -- also a pretty good chart maker. he begins to calculate the size of the earth. how big is this paul -- ball? columbus comes up with an estimate that is grossly inaccurate. he comes up with an estimate of the size of the earth which is considerably smaller than it actually is. which is a good thing for him, of course. if he knew the true size of the earth, he would know that what he proposed to do was impossible. so he sort of shrinks the earth. what else is he not know? you can shrink the size of the earth, but if you sell west to get to the east, there is land. someone called north america, south america. he has no knowledge of that. none. he just thinks it's ocean between europe and china.
and then shrinks that ocean. he comes up with this proposal. he tries to peddle his wares. he needs a sponsorship. he needs someone to finance what could be an expensive voyage like going to the moon or mars. it would cost money. so compass has defined the money. he goes first to this man, henry the seventh, henry tudor, king of england. known as the biggest skinflint in europe. henry the seventh listens and says now. -- says no. columbus decides england will not sponsor the voyage so he goes to other places. he tries france while the first, king of france. the french nation at this particular time is somewhat in a crisis and the king is not willing to support him, either. so he begins to go and visit with other people. here you see a wonderful depiction -- years, is making
his proposal to a group of people. he goes to portugal and makes his pitch to the portuguese. the king of portugal -- these are people who know seafaring. the king of portugal decides he will do what executors always do when in doubt. what does an executive do when in doubt? >> consult his advisors? prof. fowler: exactly. form a committee. hire consultants. that's what you see here. the kings consultants looking the proposal over. the king of poultry go, the portuguese -- the king of portugal, the parties are skeptical. not skeptical that you can sail. the portuguese are invested heavily in the africa route. the portuguese are not cheated all -- keen at all. columbus, next tries spain.
ferdinand and isabella. at this time, spain and portugal are rivals. very serious rivals in trade. for political reasons, as well. columbus makes his pitch to the spanish court and that is what you see here. again, the consultants pondering, thinking, looking at the charts. the consultants came back with an opinion. they said, you made the earth too small. they were right. they were right. the experts and portugal and spain were right. you've made the earth too small. but nonetheless, for spain, there is something in it for them here. if they can outmaneuver their portuguese rivals, they can get to the east, that is something they are interested in. however, at this particular moment, 1491, 1492, the spanish
have some thing else consuming them at this particular moment. king ferdinand, queen isabella, are concerned about what? >> the moors? prof. fowler: yes. think about this. spain has been at war with the moors for hundreds of years. they conquered the iberian peninsula and various kingdoms push them back and back and back. until, by the late 15th century, in 1492, the wars are confined to only one kingdom in the south of spain, granada. this is the end of what is called the recon keister, three conquering. -- the reconquista, the
reconquering. ferdinand and isabella want to finish this. they tell columbus, the moment is not prodigious. we are not saying now, but the moment is not propitious. and then what happens? >> he goes back to the drawing board. prof. fowler: no, not clemens. what happens in spain? >> they finally reconquer the iberian peninsula. prof. fowler: yeah. it marks the end of this centuries long struggle. here is spain now sort of writing hi. -- riding high. reconquering the iberian peninsula. the strong sense, the urge, the
missionary zeal, this militant catholicism that has so infused this country. the opportunity to thrust out, to get to china, is very attractive. it fits into the psyche of the nation at that time. it also fits into the political and strategic motives here of ferdinand and isabella, vis-a-vis their portuguese rivals. at this time navigator -- if this italian navigator can find a route to the east, we can dominate. and so, columbus is called back. i love this painting. isabella looks somewhat disinterested in all this, half asleep. ferdinand looks like he is looking at the ceiling. here columbus. -- here is club us. again, we do not know what he really looked like. here he is making his pitch. ferdinand and isabella agree to
support his venture. she did not have to pond her jewels. queen isabella did not have to pawn her jewels to finance this expedition. columbus is given a contract by the crown. he will be admirable of the ocean seas and vice roy of all the lands he discovers. they didn't know what they were doing. but he will be admiral of the seas and viceroy of all the lands they discover. they didn't know what they were giving away. they tell columbus we want to go to the port, southern spain, and again for reasons that they're not quite clear would seem that the people had done something and they were being punished and
the way to punish the people was to force the community to give columbus three ships. that was the punishment, three ships, that he would use for his voyage. so columbus goes to the port of pollos and makes arrangements. well, think. fellow shows up in town, glenda italian fellow and speaking spanish, may not have been the best spanish and now he will recruit a crew for three ships. where are you going? oh, i am sailing out on the vast ocean there to get to the east. has anyone done this before? no. have you done it before? no. there wasn't a line to sign up. ok? people weren't rushing to sign on board columbus' ships so he turned to get local help.
he got local help from the pinzone brothers. they were sort of ship brokers, personnel recruiters, whatever you want to describe, but they're the locals and so the pinzone brother that helped columbus recruit his crew and prepare his ships for the voyage. columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, was sailing ships that numbered three, the nina, the pinta, the santa marie. well maybe, sort of, not quite. the nina and the pinta were small caravalles. the santa maria, better known as
la calissa was a larger vessel, and here you see the santa maria and in the missy background the nina and the pinta. and this is a very romantic view obviously, the departure of christopher columbus. whether it was as ceremonial as this, who knows. it might have been get on board and get out, but this indicates some great ceremony at which the admiral of the ocean sea with three vessels is bound to the indies. columbus had a view of the world if he sailed to the canary islands off the coast of spain and portugal and headed due west he would bump into japan in about 2,400 miles. that was his estimate. no if you look at a map of the
globe, look at a globe, you notice if you look at the latitude, remember, we talked about latitude the other day, that the latitude of the canary islands in the atlantic and the latitude of the japanese islands in the pacific within a few degrees roughly comparable, roughly comparable. so from that point of view columbus has had a decent idea. i will go to the canary islands, pick up the latitude, the latitude, remember, he can measure latitude with his astro laid, if he figures if he can go to the canary islands and pick up that latitude and head west, 2,400 miles later, i will bump into japan. that's the plan. leaves pollos, the second of august and does indeed sail with his vessels to the canary islands and they take on more
stores, freshwater, etc., and then they begin to head west along the latitude that columbus feels will bring him to japan. well, the voyage takes -- they're at sea for five weeks which might seem a long time to us, but in this age and the 15th century, a five-week voyage was not all that far. the crew gets a little nervous. what do you think the crew is most nervous about as they're sailing west? what do you think? if you were aboard, what would you be most nervous about as a crew sailing west? >> maybe weather, unexpected weather. >> weather. weather is pretty good, though. columbus -- we'll come back to that in a moment. weather is not bad. weather is ok. >> not finding land. >> not finding land. that would be a problem. encounters other civilizations. just think of the very simple, simple concerns of a sailor. >> exact location, how did he know where he was? >> good question.
how did columbus know where he was? we talked about latitude and how they measured latitude, the inability to really get any kind of real fix on longitude, so what columbus did is he estimated everything, used that hour glass, turning the hour glass and using the hour glass to measure time and the length of how far the vessel moves in that length of time. that's how he did it. very crude and quite wrong. when you look at columbus' log, his log is quite wrong, quite wrong. so he didn't really know where he was except for the latitude. but what would you worry about? >> fresh water. >> yeah. >> coming home. >> coming home, right. we talked about the portuguese going through africa. this is great. what a great day for sailing, the wind is behind us. oh, wow, great. then we have to come home. that's what they worried about. so every day the farther they went, the farther they knew they would have to go home. that was their concern.
then the crew began to murmur, began to murmur. fortunately, fortunately, columbus continued on. he was not the world's best navigator, he was certainly a courageous seaman, and this is columbus at the rail of the santa maria. this may look familiar to you. something about this painting look familiar to you? how about that face? yeah. >> george washington. >> that's george washington. this is columbus crossing the delaware. ok? yes. this particular artist, you know, who else? columbus must have looked like washington. yes, if it is washington crossing the delaware or columbus crossing the atlantic. take your pick. in any case he is a brave and persistent sailor and a good commander. he keeps order among his men and among the three vessels under his command. the first voyage, altogether he
makes four voyages. let's just look at the first voyage, which is at the top here in the yellow. sailing west, boy was columbus lucky. he is sailing in august and september across this part of the world, kind of not quite the south atlantic and what does columbus avoid? he is blessed. >> hurricanes. >> hurricanes. think about it. he didn't know. columbus didn't know it was hurricane season. he sailed in the hurricane season. no hurricanes. at least he didn't encounter any. very lucky. does another wise thing, too. as they're sailing west, they begin to see flotsam, stuff in the water, birds occasionally, so like the vikings, well, there must be land somewhere near and columbus is on a course nearly
due west. then he decides because he has seen some stuff in the water that seems to him to be coming up from the south, so he veers course and instead of heading due west he veers slightly to the south. that's a great move, too, even though he doesn't know it. what might have happened had columbus continued on a due west course, what would he have encountered that probably would have caused him difficulty? >> civilization. >> not civilization. what's the great river that flows out of the gulf of mexico and up along the coast? >> the gulf stream. >> the gulf stream is a powerful body of water. if columbus had continued on the westward course he would have bumped into the gulf stream and his vessels probably would not have been able to counter the gulf stream. the gulf stream would have carried them north past bermuda and if he was lucky probably back to europe.
so by turning south and making that alteration in course, he avoided the gulf stream. on the night of october the 11th the lookout on santa maria calls down to the deck. [speaking foreign language] land, land and he had seen a distant fire and the next morning columbus is on deck and sees land and he had offered the king, the king and queen, offered a prize to the first person to sight land and columbus then asserts that it is me, ok? the lookout last night was seeing something imaginary. i saw land. not the most generous fellow. but it is october the 12th. columbus day. and there is land.
there is land. it is one of the great moments in history. did you have a question? >> no. >> guess what? columbus had estimated that he had sailed how many miles from the canaries at this point? >> 2,000. >> roughly 2,400 miles. he was on the right latitude, right? got to be japan. got to be the out islands. got to be the outline -- outlying islands of the indies must be, because it fits the , calculations, right latitude, right distance, it is the indys, -- indies, incredible moment in world history completely misunderstood by those participating, but an incredible moment and then comes the landing, of course, and i love all the depictions of columbus landing. you can imagine swords and decorations worn and put on the
fanciest clothes you got and there is one depiction with the vessel off and coming ashore and claiming this land for their majesties for ferdinand and isabella and holding a flag and the men in prayer. i love this one. this is one of my favorites. i don't know if you have been to the bahamas. the rock bound coast of the bahamas. there are no rocks in the bahamas. >> is that why he called the natives the indians? >> precisely. people that he encounters the native people and will begin to see more and more, calls them indians because we are in the indies. >> had he been to japan? >> no, as far as we know, i am
pretty certain about this, had never been in asia, never, no. unlike the portuguese, some of the portuguese had. 2,400 miles away. that was his calculation. that's what i calculated on the map, on the chart, calculated 2,400 miles. again, because he shrank the size of the globe and here it was confirmed, confirmed. i am here, i am here. this is my favorite, of course. here is columbus with all the pink flamingos flying around and by the way here he is in army and looks like don quixote to me. can you imagine kneeling in sand in armor? you begin to catch the flavor of the depictions of this phenomenal moment. here is one that is mystical and gives you the mystery of christopher columbus. well, columbus on his first voyage now sails about and goes from island to island and every place he goes he does encounter
native peoples and as he encounters these native peoples, he inquiries of them and you can imagine the difficulty with communication, and many of these native peoples have small gold ornaments, just trifle little things, but when the spaniards see gold, ok, immediately flashes into their minds that we have discovered this immense potential rich civilization. truth of the matter was that the gold that they were seeing amongst these natives were gold trinkets that had been traded from the mainland, perhaps from mexican plateau where the aztecs were and it had taken generations. it wasn't as if there was a gold mine over the next hill. of course, whenever columbus or his associates would ask the natives, however rudimentary way they would do it, where did these riches come from, the answer was always the next village over. they were always anxious. you want to go to the next village over. well, as they went to the next village over, it was
disappointment upon disappointment. they did not find the great khan. they didn't find people speaking chinese. they didn't see the fine silks and teas and everything they're looking for, none of it, none of it. on christmas day 1492 the santa maria is ship wrecked on the island of espanola. columbus puts the crew ashore and tells them, establish this town and we'll be back for you. the town becomes known as navidad, christmas, and columbus then with the nina and the pinta returns to spain. this is columbus returning to spain to visit the court, ferdinand and isabella receiving the admiral of the ocean seas. now this is columbus' greatest
moment because it is at this moment that everyone believes he's found the route to the east. now, it is a little disappointing when he brings back coconuts, rare tropical birds, kidnapped a few natives, and it is a little disappointing , but, don't worry, don't worry, send me back, and send me back and i will find the court of the great kahn, so he makes a second voyage. on his second voyage he returns again. this is getting to be a little disappointing now. wait a minute. you have been out there twice now. he comes back, and you still haven't given us any evidence that you have discovered the route to the east. again, tropical birds and exotic plants, that sort of thing and where is the gold? where is the silk? columbus is given a coat of arms for his accomplishments, he is the admiral of the ocean sea. this is the coat of arms. the lion and the ramparts, the anchors to symbolize his sea going.
and of course the islands, the indies. the indies. christopher columbus, admiral of the ocean sea. he goes on a third voyage. getting a little frustrating now. takes his young son with him. explores more. he's setting foot on other islands. by this time he has set foot roughly on the coast of venezuela. so columbus has set foot in the western hemisphere. not just the islands of cuba and hispaniola. but again, the results are very disappointing. very, very disappointing. he'll make a fourth voyage. and then return with more charts and more islands, but no evidence, no evidence. what is this, people ask? what is this that columbus has found? they're not sure.
at this point they are simply not sure. they still want to believe it's the islands off of coast of japan and china. the evidence is getting pretty thin. columbus returns home, he does not make any fourth voyage, his last voyage. he retires to a monastery. he is a man, really, in disgrace. great hopes, great plans. but at this point nothing. very little. very, very little. he still believes, firmly believes of course, that he's found the route to the indies. columbus dies in 1506, a broken, unhappy man, again feeling that somehow he has failed and others think he has failed as well.
when he dies he's buried in the city of voldelief. some years later his son, diego, who had been made governor of the island of hispaniola, thinks that his father's remains should be moved to hispaniola, to the city of santo domingo, today in the dominican republic. and so columbus' remains are moved. the cathedral there. and honored. in 1795, in one of those european treaties, the island of santa domingo is turned over to the french. well, we don't want a spanish hero, even though he's italian, buried on french territory, do we. so they exhumed the body and they moved columbus to havana. well, that's good for about 100 years.
till 1898. the cuban revolution, spanish-american war and cuba becomes a free country. can't have columbus in havana. can we? no. so they exhume him again and move him to seville. this is the tomb of columbus in seville, buried in great pomp, grandeur. ah, but wait a minute. did we get the right guy? [laughter] in an archaeological dig archaeologists find a box. it's labeled columbus. this isn't good. this isn't good. and so this controversy now, this big controversy. in santo domingo they erected
this monument light house. this is where they now claim columbus is buried because the box is asserted that when they exhumed the body in 1795 they got the wrong guy. well, so what do you think we do in the 20th and 21st century to settle this argument? you all watch csi. what are we going to do? what are we going to do? is this or is this not christopher columbus? >> dna. >> of course. the solution to everything. we do have -- we know where the remains of his family are, some of his sons so we can get accurate information. so they do a dna analysis. with the body -- with the remnants of the body the remains in seville. turns out that in seville, what appeared to be columbus, the dna, the authorities in the
dominican republic have yet to permit a dna analysis of the remains here. so they still assert that's where columbus is. so you have your choice. seville or santo domingo. which place is christopher columbus buried? ironic when you think of it given the controversy of his life that even in death columbus is a mysterious figure. good looking guy here. columbus, 1492, we know today has found the route to north america. that wasn't his goal. this guy achieves his goal. this is a portuguese seaman, explorer, degama. he looks pretty ferocious. i don't think i'd want to sail under his command.
in 1498 degama following that portuguese route along the coast of africa, around the cape of good hope into the indian ocean, it is degama who reaches india, 1498. he finds the water route to the east. and begins of course, because of degama begins the development of the portuguese empire in the east. what about columbus? what's he done? well, we don't really know that for certain until 1519, 1520 when this fellow, portuguese, magellan, set sail, passes under latin america, through the straits that bear his name today, straits of magellan,
sails through the straits of magellan into the pacific ocean. a vast oceanic world. it is magellan who crosses the pacific, arrives in the philippines, in the philippines, there was an encounter with native peoples and magellan was actually killed in the philippines. but his crew and his ship continued their voyage and get home. it is magellan's voyage that establishes now, oh, my heavens, it's a new world. it's not part of china, it's not part of asia. it is, in fact, a new world. it is magellan. it is magellan. or his men who establish that columbus has in fact
accomplished an extraordinary feat. how do we emphasize how it changed the world? but that becomes known now. columbus of course in the meantime died 13 years before, completely unaware of what he had accomplished, and feeling himself to be a failure. by 1500, others have come in now. spanish, the island of hispaniola, and cuba, puerto rico, more spanish are coming. you see, here, here is the difference. between columbus and the vikings. people knew what columbus had done, and people came after him. one of the things to consider that in columbus' world they had that they did not have in the world of the vikings that helped to spread information. what would be the most effective method that columbus and his people had to spread information that the vikings didn't have? what is it? not the internet.
[laughter] but what? what was available in 1500 that wasn't available in the year 1000? it could spread information. >> printing. >> printing. guttenberg. remember. movable type. think about that. we think of books today. so ordinary. everything is online. the point is, now information can spread very rapidly, relatively, and it does. so columbus' experience now, is shared. and here you see, now we've yet, the spanish have yet by 1500 yet to get to the mainland that will come later with the conquistadors, but they are certainly probing about, probing about here in the west indies. by 1520, 20 years later, you can see now how the spanish empire is in fact expanding here. and of course we carried this forward a few more decades you would see the creation of a great spanish-american empire.
yes. >> so when did the kind of colonization of north america -- >> the colonization of north america doesn't really begin until early in the -- permanent, to the early 17th century. here you see the route that john cabot takes in 1497. but it won't be until jamestown and st. augustine is established. >> i was going to say saint augustine. >> yes. st. augustine. 1565. but a few generations away. from permanent settlement on the north american continent. think for a moment, what would the attraction be here. if you can come down here, cortez, the other conquistadors are finding these enormous civilizations. rich beyond measure, that's the attraction. who wants to go up here? what's the attraction up here? at this point not a lot. not a lot. you don't really want to go to maine, do you? not in the winter. down here. so it will take a while but yes,
it comes later. this is first. this is first. and here we see an example of the spanish and portuguese explorations between 1400 and 1600. and look at this. it's an incredible accomplishment. it is these navigators, these spanish and portuguese. before the french, before the english. french and english come into this business late. late. when it comes to europeans and european expansion you can see magellan, 1520. cortez, well, columbus obviously, degama, magellan, et -- etc. going, mastering the capacity now to sail to distant lands. this tremendous technological, emotional, physical triumph of being able to sail to distant lands. this is the beginning of the establishment of the european expansion into other parts of the world.
so, on october 12th, remember christopher columbus. don't remember that he took the prize. don't remember that. but remember what he accomplished and the sadness in the sense of his life in that he didn't understand the great triumph that was his. any questions? anything i haven't covered that you might be curious about? yes. >> they went south? >> who went south? >> like the farthest northern explorers, cortez. >> because there is nothing to attract them. in the 16th century it's the incas, the aztecs. this is where the action is, and of course in india. and they do sort of poke around on the northern coast here. a little bit. but there's nothing that attracts them. why would you come up here where it's -- there aren't great kingdoms, gold mines, silver mines.
they are rapacious to seize the wealth and treasure here. >> wasn't magellan like -- well, he was the first to sail under south america. >> first european. >> wasn't that like a huge accomplishment because there were rocky waters. >> exactly. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021]