29 Aug In this assignment, consider the attached three primary sources that reflect Europeans’ views of this ‘newly-discovered’ land. 2-3 paragraphs in which you discuss what these primary
In this assignment, consider the attached three primary sources that reflect Europeans' views of this "newly-discovered" land. 2-3 paragraphs in which you discuss what these primary sources reveal about motives, desires, and competing visions of the "New World."
Primary Source Analysis Activity: The World Encompassed
Source 1. King Manuel’s Letter to the King and Queen of Castile [Spain], July 1499.
A few years after Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World, the Portuguese crown commissioned Vasco da Gama to sail four ships into the Indian Ocean and through to India. Da Gama and his crew rounded the Cape of Good Hope, sailed up the Eastern Coast of Africa, and eventually made it to India, becoming the first to sail directly from Europe to India. Nearly two years after their departure, they returned to Portugal. Upon their return, Dom Manuel, the King of Portugal, wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, announcing the important discoveries of his mariners. (Note: Ferdinand and Isabella sponsored the voyages of Christopher Columbus earlier in the decade.)
Most high and excellent Prince and Princess, most potent Lord and Lady! Your Highnesses already know that we had ordered Vasco da Gama, a nobleman of our household, and his brother Paulo da Gama, with four vessels to make discoveries by sea, and that two years have now elapsed since their departure. And as the principal motive of this enterprise has been, with our predecessors, the service of God our Lord, and our own advantage, it pleased Him in His mercy to speed them on their route. From a message which has now been brought to this city by one of the captains, we learn that they did reach and discover India and other kingdoms and lordships bordering upon it; that they entered and navigated its sea, finding large cities, large edifices and rivers, and great populations, among whom is carried on all the trade in spices and precious stones, which are forwarded in ships (which these same explorers saw and met with in good numbers and of great size) to Mecca, and thence to Cairo, whence they are dispersed throughout the world. Of these [spices, etc.] they have brought a quantity, including cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper, as well as other kinds, together with the boughs and leaves of the same; also many fine stones of all sorts, such as rubies and others. And they also came to a country in which there are mines of gold, of which [gold], as of the spices and precious stones, they did not bring as much as they could have done, for they took no merchandise with them. As we are aware that your Highnesses will hear of these things with much pleasure and satisfaction, we thought well to give this information. And your Highnesses may believe, in accordance with what we have learnt concerning the Christian people whom these explorers reached, that it will be possible, notwithstanding that they are not as yet strong in the faith or possessed of a thorough knowledge of it, to do much in the service of God and the exaltation of the Holy Faith, once they shall have been converted and fully fortified (confirmed) in it. And when they shall have thus been fortified in the faith there will be an opportunity for destroying the Moors of those parts. Moreover, we hope, with the help of God, that the great trade which now enriches the Moors of those parts, through whose hands it passes without the intervention of other persons or peoples, shall, in consequence of our regulations (ordenancos) be diverted to the natives and ships of our own kingdom, so that henceforth all Christendom, in this part of Europe, shall be able, in a large measure, to provide itself with these spices and precious stones. This, with the help of God, who in His mercy thus ordained it, will cause our designs and intentions to be pushed with more ardour [especially as respects] the war upon the Moors of the territories conquered by us in these parts, which your Highnesses are so firmly resolved upon, and in which we are equally zealous.
And we pray your Highnesses, in consideration of this great favour, which, with much gratitude, we received from Our Lord, to cause to be addressed to Him those praises which are His due. Most high and excellent Prince and Princess, most potent Lord and Lady, may the Lord our God ever hold your persons and kingdoms in His holy keeping. Written at Lisbon, July 1499. Source: “KING MANUEL’S LETTER TO THE KING AND QUEEN OF CASTILE, JULY 1499,” in E.G. Ravenstein, F.R.G.S., ed., A Journal of the First Voyage of Vasco Da Gama, 1497-1499 (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1898), 113-114.
Source 2. Landing of Christopher Columbus in America, at San Salvador, October 12th A.D. 1492
Following Columbus’s landing in the Americas in 1492, many depictions of his arrival and interactions with the local population were crafted by artists who read his letters, journals, and reports, and which were then published and circulated around the world. This imagined engraving, from the nineteenth century, is a typical Euro- centric depiction of the arrival of Columbus and his men and the passive greeting by the native peoples of San Salvador.
Source: “Landing of Christopher Columbus in America, at San Salvador, October 12th A.D. 1492,” n.d. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-pga-02023.
Source 3. The Letters patents of King Henry the seventh granted unto John Cabot and his three sonnes, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius for the discovery of new and unknown lands, March 4, 1496.
On March 4, 1496, Henry VII, King of England, granted Italian navigator John Cabot and his sons a letters patent offering official royal support for Cabot’s voyage to North America. This patent gave the explorers permission to seek out and lay claim to new lands in the Americas, provided that they were not already claimed by Spain and Portugal. Cabot made three voyages—one in 1496, which was cut short due to poor weather and a lack of provisions; a successful voyage in 1497, where he landed in Newfoundland and Labrador; and one in 1498, where his whereabouts after departing Bristol, England, in May remain unknown.
Henry by the grace of God, King of England and France, and lord of Ireland, to all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting. Be it knowne that we haue giuen and granted, and by these presents do giue and grant for vs and our heires, to our wel beloued Iohn Cabot citizen of Venice, to Lewis, Sebastian, and Santius, sonnes of the said Iohn, and to the heires of them, and euery of them, and their deputies, full and free authority, leaue, and power to saile to all parts, countries, and seas of the East, of the West, and of the North, under our banners and ensigns, with fiue ships of what burthen or quantity soeuer they be, and as many marines or men as they will haue with them in the sayd ships, vpon their owne proper costs and charges, to seeke out, discouer, and finde whatsoeuer isles, countries, regions, or prouinces of the heathen and infidels whatsoeuer they be, and in what part of the world soeuer they be which before this time haue bene vnknowen to all Christians: we haue granted to them, and also to euery of them, the heires of them, and their deputies, and haue giuen them licence to set vp our banners and ensignes in euery village, towne, castle, isle, or maine land of them newly found. And that the aforesaid Iohn and his sonnes, or their heires and assignes may subdue, occupy and possesse all such townes, cities, castles and isles of them found, which they can subdue, occupy and possesse, as our vassals, and lieutenants, getting vnto vs the rule, title, and iurisdiction of the same villages, townes, castles, and firme land so found. Yet so that the aforesaid Iohn, and his sonnes and heires, and their deputies, be holden and bounden of all the fruits, profits, gaines, and commodities growing of such navigation, for euery their voyage, as often as they shall arriue at our port of Bristoll (at the which port they shall be bound and holden only to arriue) all maner of, necessary costs and charges by them made, being deducted, to pay vnto vs in wares or money the fift part of the capitall gaine so gotten. We giuing and granting unto them and to their heires and deputies, that they shall be free from all paying of customes of all and singular such merchandize as they shall bring with them from those places so newlie found. And moreouer, we haue giuen and granted to them, their heires and deputies, that all the firme lands, isles, villages, townes, castles and places whatsoeuer they be that they shall chance to finde, may not of any other of our subiects be frequented or visited without the licence of the foresayd Iohn and his sonnes, and their deputies vnder payne of forfeiture as well of their ships as of all and singular goods of all them that shall presume to saile to those places so found. Willing, and most straightly commanding all and singular our subjects as well on land as on sea, appointed officers, to giue good assistance to the aforesaid Iohn, and
his sonnes and deputies, and that as well in arming and furnishing their ships or vessels, as in prouision of quietnesse, and in buying of victuals for their money, and all other things by them to be prouided necessary for the sayd nauigation, they do giue them all their helpe and fauour. In witnesse whereof we haue caused to be made these our lettres patents. Witnesse our selfe at Westminister, the fift day of March in the eleuenth yeere of our reigne. Source: “The Letters patents of King Henry the seventh granted unto John Cabot and his three sonnes, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius for the discovery of new and unknown lands, March 4, 1496,” in Albert Bushnell Hart and Edward Channing, eds. American History Leaflets, No. 9, May 1893: Documents Describing the Voyage of John Cabot in 1497 (New York: A Lovell and Company, 1893), 4-5.
- Source 1. King Manuel’s Letter to the King and Queen of Castile [Spain], July 1499.
- Source 2. Landing of Christopher Columbus in America, at San Salvador, October 12th A.D. 1492
- Source 3. The Letters patents of King Henry the seventh granted unto John Cabot and his three sonnes, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius for the discovery of new and unknown lands, March 4, 1496.
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