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48
votes
9answers
10k views

Why was Africa colonized last of the continents in the Age of Discovery?

One thing that I always wondered is during the time where European powers were dividing up the world amongst themselves (1500-1900 roughly), why was it that Africa seemed to lag behind in ...
1
vote
0answers
103 views

Is there a process name for islanders becoming unisolated?

Basically I would like to know if there is an official term for the process which an independent island would undertake once reaching the point in societal/technological development to travel to other ...
15
votes
1answer
393 views

What did Vikings wear in cold wet conditions at sea?

As you can see from this BBC documentary, the crew of this 2009 summertime journey from Denmark to Ireland in a Viking longship suffered from hypothermia (approx 00:20:00 into the video), even though ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

What sort of cold weather clothing did they wear on the Ross expedition to the Antarctic?

James Ross led an early expedition to the Antarctic from 1839 to 1843, aboard the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. After his voyage, nearly thirty years passed before the next Antarctic expedition. ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Were there any Chinese expeditions to explore the world? If not, why not?

It occurred to me today that all essential historical exploration was done by the Europeans, who discovered the Americas and mapped most of the world. This got me wondering about Eastern ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Why was spice trade so profitable in the 15th century?

During the 16th century, Portuguese captured Melaka to dominate the lucrative spice trade; other city states such as Aceh, Banten, Brunei and Pegu also sprung up by exporting and trading spices. ...
6
votes
1answer
169 views

How does finding a Franklin ship change what we know about the expedition?

An expedition to find the Franklin ships has found one. At this point, the searchers aren't sure if they've found HMS Erebus or HMS Terror. But sonar images from the waters of Victoria Strait, ...
2
votes
1answer
251 views

Why did Meriwether Lewis think that William Clark was coming to help him just before he killed himself?

It is well known that Meriwether Lewis suffered from some kind of mental illness, and that the his symptoms were especially pronounced during his final days of life, in the weeks leading up to his ...
16
votes
5answers
7k views

Did Antarctica remain entirely unvisited by humans until the early 19th century?

Antarctica today is covered permanently by thick layers of ice, making it extremely inhospitable to humans. And, unlike the Arctic regions, it had no indigenous population of humans when modern man ...
14
votes
1answer
692 views

Where was the furthest extent of Arabian trade explorations?

Traders from Arabia travelled to and traded with Roman and Asian empires and this Nabataean Sea Merchants article. How far did Arabian traders travel - where was the furthest extent of their ...
2
votes
1answer
157 views

The land of gold described in Genesis

Genesis 2:11-12 describes a land called Havillah, where there is very good gold. Were there historical attempts made to locate this land, and what do we know about such expeditions if they did exist? ...
32
votes
6answers
7k views

How did people travel to remote islands like Easter Island?

Easter Island is extremely remote, being thousands of kilometers from its nearest neighbor. How did people get there safely, and how did they even know it was there?
2
votes
0answers
51 views

What convinced the Europeans that they hadn't landed in Asia? [duplicate]

Famously, when Columbus (and several other European explorers) landed in the New World, they thought they'd reached Asia. Hence, for example, our use of the word "Indians" for the local peoples. ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

Did the indigenous inhabitants of Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia originate from the same diaspora? [closed]

Pacific settlement is spread over a very wide area, grouped into three common ethic or geographic groupings: Did the indigenous inhabitants of these regions originate from the same diaspora?
10
votes
1answer
367 views

Around the time of Columbus, were there other failed attempts?

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He sailed farther than anyone else had ever done, on three tiny ill-equipped ships. After days of sailing he finally reached his intended destination and ...
-4
votes
1answer
117 views

Franklin's missing ships [closed]

I know there have been recent searches for the Erebus and Terror but I can't seem to find anything up to date on any findings. Do you suppose it utterly possible with the ongoing melting of the Arctic ...
4
votes
2answers
350 views

What led to the romantic perception of the Mayan civilization?

When the territories of the Mayan civilization were conquered in Mesoamerica, the European priests burnt all the books and references they could find about the Mayan culture. It was not until 1839 ...
4
votes
1answer
177 views

Were Magellan's wife and kids held hostage?

I feel like I read somewhere that, in an attempt to make sure Ferdinand Magellan returned to Spain, King Charles held his wife and kids hostage (or at least kept them in the area) until he returned ...
5
votes
1answer
235 views

How did Diego Gutiérrez know the boundaries (shape of the Americas) when he drew the 1562 Map of America

The map drawn by Diego Gutiérrez in 1562 shows both North and South American shapes (borders). How did he (or the 15th century Europeans) know the shapes of the American continents and their geography ...
19
votes
1answer
571 views

Did anyone predict the existence of the Americas?

According to the answer of this question, Columbus was pretty much unique in his belief that the world was small enough and Asia was big enough to make sailing west to Asia possible. Everyone else ...
7
votes
5answers
941 views

Was Christopher Colombus Polish?

A Polish friend of mine stated that Colombus was of Polish heritage. Claims are made that he was a Polish immigrant to Italy, and that he came from a disgraced noble family in Poland. ...
1
vote
1answer
269 views

In 1492, what was the shortest distance you could travel to discover the new world from the old world? [closed]

In 1492, when Christopher Columbus brought the new world to the attention of the old world. What was the extent of the known world, and what was the shortest distance someone could have travelled to ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

Could Columbus have suspected the New World lay on his path to India? [closed]

According to most historical textbooks Columbus made mistakes while measuring the size of the Earth. This led him to believe, that he can travel to India westwards in a reasonable time. This is ...
10
votes
2answers
366 views

How Many Surface Ships Have Reached the North Pole?

I realize that the nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika (Soviet Union) reached the north pole on August 17, 1977. However, I would like to know of any other ships that have also reached the North Pole. ...