Europe reclaims America: the Atlantic joined - 1492: an enduring voyage | exhibitions (2023)

Europe reclaims America: the Atlantic joined - 1492: an enduring voyage | exhibitions (1)

Heim|exhibition overview|To know more|thanks

Sections: What was later called "America".|mediterranean world|Christopher Columbus|invent america| Europe claims America |Epilogue

Europe reclaims America: the Atlantic joined - 1492: an enduring voyage | exhibitions (2)The dramatic encounters between European and American peoples from 1492 to 1600 varied greatly from place to place and over time. This section of the exposition examines the immediate consequences of contact in the five geographic areas of America discussed earlier.

Native American peoples sometimes gave Europeans a warm welcome, provided them with food, and taught them important new survival skills. In some cases they felt divine or at least spiritually powerful. Some used the newcomers as allies against old enemies. Others saw them as new enemies to be reluctantly tolerated or fiercely fought. However, the natives quickly became disillusioned with betrayal or mistreatment at the hands of the Europeans.

Europeans brought technologies, ideas, plants, and animals that were new to America and would transform people's lives: guns, iron tools, and weapons; Christianity and Roman Law; sugar cane and wheat; horses and cattle. They also carried diseases that Native American peoples had no defenses against.

Interaction between groups created a complex mosaic of relationships. Across the region, there have been diverse forms of resistance and accommodation among indigenous, African and European peoples.

Die Karibik – The Indies

The arrival of Europeans was disastrous for the Caribbeans. It is estimated that the native population of Hispaniola dropped from one million to 30,000 in 20 years.

The Spaniards first settled on the island of Hispaniola and then moved to Cuba, Puerto Rico and Jamaica, forcing the Taíno to pan for gold. The local population rapidly declined as a result of abuse, flight, agricultural disruption, and disease. As early as 1502, African slaves were imported to replace the dwindling supply of labor.

With the decline of mining, the Spanish introduced livestock, crops and fruit trees. Cattle ranching and sugar cane became important when a stable Spanish society was established on the large islands. The Caribbean played a crucial role as a base for future explorations and conquests and as a strategic point of defense for the Spanish Empire.

Central America – Creating New Spain

After organizing the expedition in Cuba, Hernando Cortés led the conquest of the Mexican (Aztec) Empire from 1519 to 1521. Tenochtitlán, the capital, was destroyed and rebuilt as Mexico, capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

Within thirty years, it had America's first printing plant, a cathedral, and a university. By 1550, around 8,000 Spaniards and perhaps 5,000 Africans of various origins lived there, many more Indian residents. From the capital, the Spaniards spread to adjacent areas and eventually to present-day New Mexico and Guatemala.

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Silver mining ensured that the economy prospered. The Spaniards used indigenous laborers to establish their farms, ranches and towns, and religious orders engaged in intense missionary campaigns. Despite a sharp decline in population, native cultures and communities that adapted to the new circumstances of Spanish rule survived.

Huejotzingo testimonial

A hand-painted document presented as a witness in a court case against the Spanish Crown documents a people whose vibrant culture began to reflect the influence of a new political and religious system. Ten years after siding with Cortés in the siege of Tenochtitlán, the people of Huejotzingo asked him for help in a legal battle - this time against the extremely onerous tributes demanded by the Spanish administrators sent to govern New Spain.

The paintings are nativeamatl, a pre-European paper made from fig or maguey bark. They describe the tributes paid, including masses of stones, bricks, food, and pieces of woven cloth. One sheet shows a gold and feathered banner with an image of the Madonna and Child. According to the painting, eight male and twelve female slaves were sold to pay for the gold.

In 1531, the conquistador Hernando Cortés acquired control of extensive properties in Mexico and the title of governor of New Spain. After a long absence from the region, residents of the city of Huejotzingo (in present-day Puebla state) asked him to prosecute some members of the Supreme Court of New Spain for their incriminating exploitation of the population and the unfair use of the revenues and profits obtained during the period were secured by the city in his absence. The ensuing written legal document and accompanying affidavit - eight sheets of beautiful indigenous drawings on paper native to Maguey andamatl– are now known asHuejotzingo code of 1531.

This moving and visually stimulating document reveals a highly stratified social structure of the Nahuatl Indians, with a complex and accurate accounting system and an impressive variety of cultures, products and occupations. It contains one of the earliest known images of the Madonna and Child in this type of document, a depiction of an expensive standard of costly feathers and gold. The use of this highly revered form of indigenous art to represent a Christian symbol, introduced by Iberian religious missionaries, is a powerful testament to the confluence of Spanish and indigenous cultures and belief systems that would later occur in the Americas.


Codex Huejotzingo sheet. Goods and services provided in honor, including a Madonna and Child banner.Huejotzingo Codex, aAmatlPapier, 1531.Page 2|page 3|page 4|page 5|page 6|page 7|page 8Harkness Collection.manuscript department, Library of Congress

Representation of the national symbol of Mexico (eagle, snake and cactus).


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National symbol of Mexico.How the king of Tezcuco warned Montezumo of the approach of the Spaniards.Photo reproduction by Fray Diego Durn,The Ancient History of New Spain[Nineteenth-century manuscript, facsimile of the 1585 original]. Peter's Strength Collection,manuscript department, Library of Congress

Conquer the Andes

The conquest of Peru was in many ways similar to that of Mexico. Inspired by rumors of a wealthy empire, Francisco Pizarro and other Spaniards explored the west coast of South America in the 1520s. In 1532, in the midst of civil war, the Spaniards arrested the Inca Emperor Atahaullpa. After demanding a large ransom in gold and silver, they carried it out, but it took some time for them to consolidate their hold.

The Spaniards conquered the Inca capital of Cuzco, but found the imperial city too high and remote. Instead, they established a new capital, Lima, near the coast. Thus, highland communities had less exposure to Spanish culture than lowland communities. However, all Native American communities were subject to Spanish tribute and labor requirements, which were adopted by the Incas.mitaSystem. These often onerous commitments brought disruption, changes and difficulties.

According to legend, Santiago (St. James) converted Spain to Christianity and after his death his remains were taken to Santiago de Compostela. A later addition to the legend shows Santiago mounted on a white steed and carrying a white flag that appears in a radiant cloud over Christian troops fighting Muslim forces. The idea of ​​Santiago as a symbol of Christian triumph over non-Christians was part of the thinking that the conquerors brought to America. Chroniclers report that Santiago was invoked numerous times in battles against indigenous peoples. This figure shows such a scene.


Conquest. Milagres de Santiago Photoreproduction of Guaman Poma de Ayala, Nueva Coronica y Buen Gobierno [facsimile of an early 17th-century manuscript (Paris, 1936)].General Collections, Library of Congress

This church in Cuzco was built on the remains of an Inca temple. The apparent combination of Christian, Muslim and Inca culture is evident in this photo.


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Church of Santo Domingo, Cuzco, Peru🇧🇷 Photo reproduction of the original photo.Department of Prints and Photography, Library of Congress

Europeans across the South Atlantic

Portugal's claim to Brazil resulted not only from Cabral's landing in 1500, but also from the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas. French efforts to exploit resources and establish settlements in the area continued through much of the 16th century. The Spaniards concentrated in the Rio de la Plata region, founding the cities of Buenos Aires in 1536 and Asuncion in 1537.

In the same decade, the intense Portuguese colonization of Brazil began. The capital Salvador was founded in 1549 in Baía de Todos os Santos. The first Jesuits, who would play a fundamental role in Brazilian society, arrived that same year. They founded missionary settlements, which were calledvillagesin which they hoped to bring the Tupinambás and other groups into "civilized" society by subjecting them to a disciplined routine and making them full-time farmers. Portuguese efforts to use native labor were never very successful. Gradually, they began to import African slaves as sugarcane cultivation took off in the Northeast.

After initially trying to develop the brazilwood trade, the Portuguese turned to producing sugar cane and importing African slaves to work in the industry in the mid-16th century.


Moulin a sucre🇧🇷 Photographic reproduction by João Rugendas,Picturesque trip through Brazil[Facsimile of the French original of 1835 (Rio de Janeiro, 1972)].General Collections, Library of Congress

Incursions in North America

The French, Spanish, Portuguese and English arrived in North America sporadically and in small numbers during the 16th century. By the 1500s, fishermen were plying their trade off the coast of Newfoundland. Some Europeans hoped to find an alternative route to Asia (the Northwest Passage), prosperous civilizations or precious metals, but few found what they were looking for. However, they did not face an untamed desert, but people who often lived in towns and cities.

European invaders depended almost entirely on native peoples for food and guides, sometimes under duress. They made few serious attempts to establish themselves in the early years. Often the most lasting effect of their expeditions was a negative one. Their illnesses devastated the local population, and the violence and mass seizures of food supplies left a legacy of fear and hostility.

The Spanish and French disrupt life in Florida

Almost from the beginning, the arrival of Europeans on the Florida peninsula led to violent clashes. The Spaniards came first, presumably as an extension of the slave raids on the Caribbean islands. Ponce de Leon's expeditions in 1513 and 1521 failed due to opposition from Timucua and Calusa. Subsequent Spanish expeditions moved on without establishing permanent settlements until St. Augustine was founded in 1565.

In the early 1560s, French Huguenots established a colony at the mouth of the Saint Johns River. Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, who mapped the area and wrote an account of his experiences, survived the 1565 Spanish attack that destroyed the French colony. Engravings based on his drawings show the location in Florida where the French first landed; Timucua men and women bearing fruit; and a battle scene in which French soldiers aid their ally Outina against their enemy Potanou.

The French first touched the coast of Florida near the St. Mary in the early 1560s, trying to establish itself in the region, forming alliances with various indigenous settlements, and finally being annihilated by the Spanish in 1565.



foothills of Florida. Photographic reproduction by Theodor de Bry and Charles de la Roncière,French Florida: Scenes from Indian Life, painted in 1564[Facsimile of the original of 1564 (Paris, 1928)].Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Library of Congress

French contacts with the Timucua peoples of present-day North Florida have been documented by Jacques Le Moyne. From this point of view, the alliance of the French with Chief Outina is used to subdue their enemy Potanou.


Outina via Potanou. Photographic reproduction by Theodor de Bry and Charles de la Roncière,French Florida: Scenes from Indian Life, painted in 1564[Facsimile of the original of 1564 (Paris, 1928)].Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Library of Congress

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Heim|exhibition overview|To know more|thanks

Sections: What was later called "America".|mediterranean world|Christopher Columbus|invent america| Europe claims America |Epilogue


What happened in 1492 in American history? ›

Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the Americas in 1492. Americans get a day off work on October 10 to celebrate Columbus Day.

What factors helped the Europeans conquer the Americas? ›

The Europeans brought technologies, ideas, plants, and animals that were new to America and would transform peoples' lives: guns, iron tools, and weapons; Christianity and Roman law; sugarcane and wheat; horses and cattle. They also carried diseases against which the Indian peoples had no defenses.

What was introduced in Europe because of exploration of the Americas? ›

People in Europe were introduced to maize (a type of corn), potatoes and sweet potatoes, beans and squashes, tomatoes, avocados, papaya, pineapples, peanuts, chili peppers, and cacao (the raw form of cocoa). New crops from America changed how Europeans lived and farmed.

Where did Columbus think he landed in 1492? ›

After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island on October 12, 1492, believing he has reached East Asia.

Why was 1492 so important? ›

The year 1492 has always been a significant year in his understanding of world history, forever associated with Columbus's discovery of a sea route to America, which united civilisations by transforming the Atlantic from an insuperable barrier into a highway of trade and ideas.

What was happening in Europe in 1492? ›

The events which propelled the year into Western consciousness, listed below, include the completion of the Reconquista of Spain, Europe's (Spain) discovery of the New World, and the expulsion of Jews from Spain.

What were the two main reasons for European explorations? ›

Along with the idea of looking for new trade routes, they also hoped to find new sources of gold, silver, and other valuables. Additionally, Europeans saw exploration as a way to bring Christianity to other cultures that lived in other lands.

What were the three simplified reasons for European exploration? ›

Strong among them are the satisfaction of curiosity, the pursuit of trade, the spread of religion, and the desire for security and political power. At different times and in different places, different motives are dominant.

What are 4 things that were introduced to Europe from the Americas? ›

Christopher Columbus introduced horses, sugar plants, and disease to the New World, while facilitating the introduction of New World commodities like sugar, tobacco, chocolate, and potatoes to the Old World. The process by which commodities, people, and diseases crossed the Atlantic is known as the Columbian Exchange.

Who found America first before Columbus? ›

We know now that Columbus was among the last explorers to reach the Americas, not the first. Five hundred years before Columbus, a daring band of Vikings led by Leif Eriksson set foot in North America and established a settlement.

What did Columbus find on his 1492 voyage? ›

The explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain: in 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502. He was determined to find a direct water route west from Europe to Asia, but he never did. Instead, he stumbled upon the Americas.

Who came to America first? ›

The Spanish were among the first Europeans to explore the New World and the first to settle in what is now the United States. By 1650, however, England had established a dominant presence on the Atlantic coast. The first colony was founded at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.

How did European settlers impact the Americas? ›

As Europeans moved beyond exploration and into colonization of the Americas, they brought changes to virtually every aspect of the land and its people, from trade and hunting to warfare and personal property. European goods, ideas, and diseases shaped the changing continent.

How did European expansion impact the Americas? ›

The European explorers brought a written alphabet, which the Native Americans did not have at the time. They brought new farming equipment and new ideas on how to better farm. They brought better weapons so the natives could hunt and find food.

What was the result of the European conquest of the Americas? ›

After European contact, the native population of the Americas plummeted by an estimated 80% (from around 50 million in 1492 to eight million in 1650), due in part to Old World diseases carried to the New World, and the conditions that colonization imposed on Indigenous populations, such as forced labor and removal from ...

Why was the year 1492 so important in Spanish history? ›

In 1492, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castille conquered the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, finally freeing Spain from Muslim rule after nearly 800 years.

Why was the 1492 journey of Christopher Columbus a turning point in history? ›

On October 12th, 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived in America. This was a major turning point in history because if Christopher Columbus never came to America, Europe would never know the wonders of the New world. No wonder why this was called the New World.

Why was 1492 and the development of the Columbian Exchange Significant? ›

The travel between the Old and the New World was a huge environmental turning point, called the Columbian Exchange. It was important because it resulted in the mixing of people, deadly diseases that devastated the Native American population, crops, animals, goods, and trade flows.

What major exploration event occurred in 1492? ›

Columbus Day. Early in the morning of October 12, 1492, a sailor on board the Pinta sighted land, beginning a new era of European exploration and expansion.

What was European society like before 1492? ›

Europe's feudal society was a mutually supportive system, at least in theory. The lords owned the land; the knights gave military service to a lord and carried out his justice; the serfs worked the land in return for the protection from invaders within the walls of the lord's castle or city.

How did Europeans explore and establish settlement in America? ›

The first attempt by Europeans to colonize the New World occurred around 1000 A.D. when the Vikings sailed from the British Isles to Greenland, established a colony and then moved on to Labrador, the Baffin Islands and finally Newfoundland.

What are the 4 major reasons for European exploration and colonization? ›

Reasons for Exploration: All of the European nations ( Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands) came to America for the same 4 major reasons: wealth & power, religion, nationalism, and the Renaissance spirit of curiosity and adventure.

What are two effects of European exploration? ›

The voyages of explorers had a dramatic impact on European trade. As a result, more goods, raw materials and precious metals entered Europe. New trade centers developed, especially in the Netherlands and England. Exploration and trade led to the growth of capitalism.

What were the main purposes of European exploration essay? ›

The three main goals of the explorations were to spread Christianity, gain wealth and get land. Europeans believed that they had to fight Muslims, also to convert non-Christians. the main reason for exploration social studies the desire for wealth.

What were the 3 main reasons for European exploration quizlet? ›

Some key motives for Europeans during the Age of Exploration was they wanted to find a new sea route to Asia, they wanted knowledge, they wanted to spread Christianity, they wanted wealth and glory, and they wanted spices.

Which 3 items came from the Americas and went to Europe? ›

Raw materials like precious metals (gold and silver), tobacco, sugar and cotton went from the Americas to Europe.

What were the 3 main European countries that explored the Americas? ›

Many more Europeans followed Columbus to the Americas. Most were from Spain, Portugal, France, and England. The Americas were named not for Columbus but for Amerigo Vespucci. He was an Italian merchant and explorer who was one of the first people to realize that the land Columbus found was not a part of Asia.

Why did Europeans come to America quizlet? ›

The Europeans came to the New World because they were looking for spices, silks and routes to Asia. They found America instead. What did explorers bring back from their trips? Explorers brought back things of value.

Who named America? ›

Waldseemüller named the new lands "America" on his 1507 map in the recognition of Vespucci's understanding that a new continent had been uncovered following Columbus' and subsequent voyages in the late 15th century.

What was the name of America before it was called America? ›

On September 9, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted a new name for what had been called the "United Colonies.” The moniker United States of America has remained since then as a symbol of freedom and independence.

How old is America today? ›

How old is America today? As of 2021, the United States of America is 245 years old.

What Did Columbus bring to America on his first voyage? ›

Columbus brought back small amounts of gold as well as native birds and plants to show the richness of the continent he believed to be Asia.

What happened on Columbus first voyage? ›

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Spain to find an all-water route to Asia. On October 12, more than two months later, Columbus landed on an island in the Bahamas that he called San Salvador; the natives called it Guanahani.

What was Columbus looking for when he sailed from Europe in 1492 quizlet? ›

Christopher Columbus wanted to find a new water route to Asia. He thought that he could sail west across the Atlantic Ocean, instead of around Africa. Spain agreed to fund his voyage because the new sea route would help Spain compete with Portugal.

Who owned America before America? ›

The three principal colonial powers in North America were Spain, England, and France, although eventually other powers such as the Netherlands and Sweden also received holdings on the continent. Settlement by the Spanish started the European colonization of the Americas.

What was America before 1492? ›

Before 1492, modern-day Mexico, most of Central America, and the southwestern United States comprised an area now known as Meso or Middle America.

What were the 3 main reasons why English settlers came to America? ›

The motivations were the desire for riches, the hope of freedom of religion or freedom from imprisonment, debt or slavery. All of these people and these reasons contributed to the Americas early settlement.

What discovery happened in 1492? ›

Explorer Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) is known for his 1492 'discovery' of the New World of the Americas on board his ship Santa Maria.

What did Columbus saw in 1492? ›

Early in the morning on October 12, 1492, a sailor looked out to the horizon from the bow of his sailing ship, the Pinta, and saw land. After 10 long weeks at sea, from the port of Palos, Spain, Columbus and his crews saw the New World.

What happened to native people in the Americas after 1492? ›

Between 1492 and 1600, 90% of the indigenous populations in the Americas had died. That means about 55 million people perished because of violence and never-before-seen pathogens like smallpox, measles, and influenza.

Who discovered America before 1492? ›

Half a millennium before Columbus “discovered” America, those Viking feet may have been the first European ones to ever have touched North American soil. Exploration was a family business for the expedition's leader, Leif Eriksson (variations of his last name include Erickson, Ericson, Erikson, Ericsson and Eiriksson).

What did Columbus discover on his last voyage? ›

Columbus never sailed again and when he died in 1506, he was convinced that he'd found Asia—even if most of Europe already accepted the fact that the Americas were an unknown “New World." That said, the fourth voyage showcased more profoundly than any other Columbus' sailing skills, his fortitude, and his resilience— ...

What did Christopher Columbus discover on his first voyage? ›

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Spain to find an all-water route to Asia. On October 12, more than two months later, Columbus landed on an island in the Bahamas that he called San Salvador; the natives called it Guanahani.

What important event happened in October of 1492? ›

October 12, 1492, is of enormous significance in Western history: It is the day when explorer Christopher Columbus completed his journey across the Atlantic Ocean and landed in the “New World.”What Columbus actually reached on that October day was an island he named San Salvador that is now part of the Bahamas.

When did Europeans start exploring America? ›

In 1492 the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean islands—a momentous event in world history. Although Europeans would not realize it for several years, he had accidentally “discovered” the Americas.

What did European explorers find when they sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean? ›

Exploration. In the 15th century, Europeans began to sail west across the Atlantic Ocean in search of new routes to China and the East, but in the process they discovered an entirely New World: North and South America, plus many other lands.

What happened to the Native American population after Europeans arrived? ›

American Indian populations plummeted after the arrival of Europeans in the New World, largely because of the spread of smallpox, typhus, measles, and other infectious diseases. But archaeologists and historians have debated the exact timing and severity of the decline.

How did European exploration affect Native American peoples? ›

Europeans carried a hidden enemy to the Indians: new diseases. Native peoples of America had no immunity to the diseases that European explorers and colonists brought with them. Diseases such as smallpox, influenza, measles, and even chicken pox proved deadly to American Indians.

What was the impact of European colonization on Native American societies? ›

European colonization of North America had a devastating effect on the native population. Within a short period of time their way of life was changed forever. The changes were caused by a number of factors, including loss of land, disease, enforced laws which violated their culture and much more.


1. The problem with commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Italian-American Heritage on October 12
(Hofstra University)
2. America – The Last Best Hope: The Scramble For Empire
(Reach More Now)
3. Interview with Alan Mikhail on Sultan Selim and the Ottomans
(Travels Through Time)
4. Tenochtitlan and the Spanish Conquest of Mexico and Peru (HOM 10-B)
(Professor Barth)
5. Dr Sayers's AP US History 2: The Age of Exploration
(Jerry Alan Sayers)
6. Christopher Columbus, Should He Stay or Should He Go?
(Loyola University Chicago)
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