-Historians have debated for years about Polynesian people and their sailing. Despite traveling over the vast Pacific Ocean and not being able to navigateusing the land (because of their distance from it, they could not follow the shoreline) The Polynesians left no written records on how they navigated, andhistorians debate over whether they were actually able to navigate or whetherthey just got lost and found their way through the chain of Hawaiian islands, eventhough some were over 2000 miles away from their home ports.
Others say thatpeoples from the Americas settled there instead of the Polynesians, however thenative language has ties to Malaysia, the Pacific west, and the Asian continent,disproving this theory. -In 1976, a Polynesian crew proved that it was possible to navigate the Pacificwaters using only observations of stars, currents, and land. B. The Indian Ocean -The Indian Ocean has long been a vital area for developing civilizations in theMiddle East and Asia. It served as a highway for goods and people, with itscoves and large landmass proximity sheltering the seafarers.
The monsoonwinds were very predictable and helped to transport goods very easily, and largeships filled with goods were easily transported -The traders and merchants who operated in the Indian Ocean trading systemwere for the most part not loyal to their homeport. They were independent andtraded without influence from their homeland. -During the period of 1368, the Chinese government began to show interest inthe trading going on in their ports, because of the large amount of revenue it wasgenerating.
The ruler’s Ming dynasty overthrew the Mongols at this point andbegan to establish connections and implement policies in order to nurse China’ssuffering economy and prestige back to what it was before the Mongolconquests. Once establishing control over the East Asian continent, the Mingsent out expeditions on an enormous scale. Under the command of Zheng He,these expeditions sent large treasure ships for trade and documented the localcustoms and cultures of the places visited. After 1433 though, the Mingdiscontinued the expeditions due to the fact that it faced growing internal issuesand lacked the finances to continue sending out ships.
C. The Atlantic Ocean -The Vikings were the main group of mariners in the Atlantic Ocean during themiddle ages. Much like the Polynesians, they navigated without maps andnavigation tools. They used their small nimble ships to attack towns throughout the Atlantic. -During this time, the Europeans and the Africans sent out exploratoryexpeditions in the Atlantic. The Amerindian peoples voyaged up and colonizedthe West Indies, and by 1000 AD, the Arawak (Group of Amerindian peoples) hadmoved and settled into the Greater Antilles, consisting of Cuba, Jamaica, PuertoRico, and Hispania.
II. European Expansion 1400-1550 A. Motives for Exploration -There were many motives for the rulers of Europe to send out these explorers,one reason even being that the rulers had an adventurous personality. Otherreasons include economy, and wanting to expand the trade and wealth. Somecountries like Spain and Portugal did it because of religion and their militantviews of Christianity, as well as the growing dominance of Islam. Also the growingcuriosity about the world around them sparked these exploratory trips. Some countries like Italy however, who was a leader in Europe, did not send outexpeditions because they were comfortable with the trade that they had alreadyestablished with the Muslims and Islamic states.
-These new expeditions also helped to stimulate new technologies, as the smalland brittle ships of the Mediterranean could not withstand the heavy winds andcurrent of the Atlantic. This led to new shipbuilding techniques, as well asadvances in gunpowder technology. B. Portuguese Voyages The Portuguese voyages were based on two building blocks, the strong Atlanticfishing, and a long history of anti-Islamic feelings. So when the Islamic Moroccangovernment began to show signs of weakness, the Portuguese attacked. Thesecrusades helped to establish the trade of gold from west Africa, and thePortuguese would sail from their home ports directly to the gold mining areas. -During this time, the Portuguese established new forms of navigation and filledin many blank spots on the map largely due to the efforts of Henry the Navigator.
While Henry himself actually traveled very little, he founded an establishment thatfocused on collecting maps, geographical information, and navigationtechniques. -The advent of new ships called caravels helped explorers to gather newinformation like this. These ships were small enough to sail up rivers and entershallow areas, but they were strong enough to with stand the strong Atlanticcurrents and weather. They also were moderately fast and were armed withcannons making it a good ship to explore in. Henry also encouraged the explorers to travel into the South Atlantic, and duringthat time period, ocean routes were discovered. An ocean route is a path alongwhich ships can easily sail due to the current and wind being in their favor. Inorder to finance all of these expeditions, Prince Henry took money from TheOrder of Christ, and that is why the Portuguese sails had crusaders’ crosses onthem. Slave and gold trade also helped to finance these trips. -After the Portuguese had established colonies on the west coast of Africa, therewas a sudden speeding up of expeditions.
This was due to a new public interest,which led to private funding in addition to the money the government paid forthese trips. C. Spanish Voyages -The early Spanish voyages were not meticulously planed out and organized asthe Portuguese were. The Spanish explorers got as far as they did mostly due toblind luck. During the 1400s, a man named Christopher Columbus gotauthorization from Spain to sail across the Atlantic to what was believed to be theIndian Ocean. Instead in 1492, he sailed to the American continent, discoveringthe New World for the first time.
He however, believed that he had found Indiaand insisted on calling the local inhabitants Indians. -In an attempt to settle any disputes that might arise over this new world, theSpanish and Portuguese signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, which divided the globein half. -In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan set out to sail around the American continent andlink up on the other side with Asia and India. He died on his journey, but theoverall voyage was a success and Magellan is considered the first person to eversail across the entire world. -The ffect of all of this is that the Spanish and most of Europe now began toestablish trade and colonies in the Atlantic, and it grew so large that it began torival the Indian Ocean trading system. III. Encounters With Europe 1450-1550 A. Western Africa -In West Africa, there was much anticipation for the Portuguese. When thePortuguese did come they did so peacefully, and obtained permission to build asmall trading port on the coast. The African king warned that if the Portuguesetried to overthrow them, they would simply move away and leave the trading citywithout food or water.
The Portuguese complied and the trade that flourished wasexcellent. The Portuguese imported massive quantities of gold in exchange forgoods delivered to Africa. -The kingdom of Benin also traded with the Portuguese, creating a slave trademonopoly. When the demand for slaves went up, the ruler put limitations on themarket and raised all of the prices, creating an even higher demand in Portugal. After internal strife over this trade, Benin’s government weakened and the slavetrade mover further south. B. Eastern Africa The reaction to the Portuguese in the Muslim controlled East Africa was verydifferent from the west. The leaders were very suspicious of the Portuguese andChristianity, and did not want to get involved with them. Their suspicions wereconfirmed years later when the Portuguese bombed and burned their cities. Theyspared the trading city of Malindi because they had been very welcoming andopen to trade with Portugal. -During this time Ethiopia tried to obtain help from the Portuguese, as their statewas being threatened from the surrounding Muslim states.
Their pleas wereignored at first, but finally given into and the Portuguese sent a fleet to help theEthiopians push back the Muslims. It worked, however Portugal and Ethiopianever forged a long lasting diplomatic relationship because the Ethiopiansrefused to transfer their Christian alliances to the Pope in Rome. C. Indian Ocean States -Portugal’s first impression in India was a weak one, with tiny ships and a sickcrew giving meager gifts to the Indian ruler. Portugal however, intended to controlthe Indian Ocean trade, and in 1505 launched a large campaign that would helpthem to dominate the trade. The Portuguese seized control over many of the trading ports, and tried tomonopolize and tax all trade in the area, using their far superior navy. They had adifficult time regulating this however, and smugglers began to secretly sneak inand out of ports, trading goods. -In China, they welcomed Portugal and let them set up a small trading town. They did however, isolate themselves somewhat. -Overall, the Portuguese were the powerful and reigning force of the IndianOcean, and their warships put the surrounding countries at their mercy, and while