The world as we know it today was mostly founded by adventurers who took to the oceans and seas and discovered new lands and peoples. Most were sponsored by governments or kings and queens who were dispatched to find new treasures, conquer native people and claim the land for their respective countries. In a way it was pure robbery, a land grab on a huge scale. But it also offered less advanced cultures new technologies, and to develop their way of life. The men and women who sailed the world in their quests were some of the best sailors that had ever navigated uncharted waters, and in this blog, we take a look at these highly important people that shaped our modern world.
Columbus hailed from Genoa and actually made four voyages from Spain across the vast Atlantic Ocean from 1492 to 1502. His personal mission was to uncover a direct ocean route through Asia, but of course he never did not find this. But whilst he was busy doing so he accidentally discovered the Americas, he is cited as discovering the New World, but as already mentioned it was already populated. But Columbus’s voyages began centuries of transatlantic colonization.
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan set sail with a flotilla of five ships to unearth a route through the west to the Spice Islands. He did discover a passage which is now called the Straits of Magellan, and by doing so he became the first European to navigate the Pacific Ocean. Three years later only one of the vessels made it back to Spain, and worse still only eighteen of the flotilla’s three hundred initial complement survived the dangerous journey. Magellan did not survive the journey either, he died in battle. But his voyage emphasized how large the globe actually was and it could actually be sailed around.
In 1578 Raleigh set out with Humphrey Gilbert to try and find the Northwest Passage to North America. This they never did uncover and the voyage ended up a sort of pirate war against Spanish ships. Raleigh was a keen supporter of sending expeditions to colonize the area around Roanoke, he was banned from going himself as the Queen wanted him to stay at court. After a serious quarrel with the Queen he set sail again in 1594 to search for El Dorado the legendary city of gold, again this proved to be unsuccessful.
Pirate and Slaver, these accusations could be firmly leveled at Drake and he was responsible for the earliest English slaving expeditions to Africa. He earned great fame for privateering against the ships of Spain. His voyage by royal command to South America in 1577 bought Drake fame as he returned via the Pacific and became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. Drake was a great patriot and served as second in command during the great sea battle against the Spanish Armada. These great sea adventurers traversed the world with rudimentary charts and wooden boats, no matter what their purpose was cannot alter their great navigation skills and pure courage. They changed world history forever because of their bravery and great patriotism.