41

As fate would have it, the first known globe of the Earth was created in 1492, the same year as Columbus' voyage. As such, it is also the only known globe to depict the area between Western Europe and East Asia prior to the discovery of the New World. None of the earlier flat maps I could find made any kind of legitimate effort at depicting this area. The ...


35

Because the Sahara desert goes all the way to the Atlantic coast. The Romans were not great seafarers and required the support of coastal towns to cover long distances. The Western Sahara represents a break in that chain, over 1000 km of inhospitable coastline. Even today, Western Sahara is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world with an ...


27

What a wonderful question! Dom Henrique is one of the chief characters of this story, and that means we need to explore him more than the general Portuguese knowledge. These explorations as a whole were a manifestation of the soul of this great man who was well beyond his contemporaries in what he wanted and expected from his sailors. I'm basing this answer ...


24

We can be fairly certain that humans did not live on Antarctica, the continent, before the 20th century. Since about 15 Ma, the continent has been mostly covered with ice. Ref: Trewby, Mary, ed. Antarctica: An Encyclopedia from Abbott Ice Shelf to Zooplankton. Firefly Books. ISBN 1-55297-590-8. Intermittent warm periods allowed Nothofagus shrubs to ...


22

Europeans, perhaps not, someone in the old world, yes. Al-Biruni (973–1050) lived in Khwarezm (modern Uzbekistan). Among other works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, mineralogy, history and geography, he calculated the circumference of Earth with a precision higher than his predecessors, and made some precise maps of known lands. In his work Codex ...


16

In terms of Chinese naval explorers in general, Zheng He springs to mind. He was one of China's primary explorers in the Indian Ocean and beyond in the 14th and 15th centuries. Around this time, the Europeans had been venturing eastward. Zheng He went westward to the "Western Oceans", going to India and the Middle East by sea in an attempt to show China's ...


15

It's not a full answer, but if you're interested by medieval Arabic travels, the unavoidable reference is Ibn Baṭūṭah. In his Rihla, he describes three travels he made during the 14th century : from Tangiers to middle-East, with a travel along the East coast of Africa, down to Zanbar and Kilwa. (map here) from Mecca to Beijing, and back, through Eastern ...


14

For reference, here is the official classification from Wikipedia of the conditions necessary for a "pleasant" Antarctic day: Condition 3 Windspeed below 48 knots (55 miles per hour) Visibility greater than 1/4 of a mile (402 meters) Wind chill above −75 °F (−60 °C) Description: Pleasant conditions; all outside travel is permitted. Condition 3 ...


14

The question is a bit confusing. The way I read it, you're asking why something expensive has enough demand to sustain a profitable trade ("How did the high price of spices allow such high demand?"). The answer is that it wasn't that expensive. A pound of spices might cost several days' worth of wages for an average craftsman, but a pound of pepper is a lot ...


14

Is there evidence of Chinese exploration of Australia (before European contact)? There is no tangible evidence that Chinese explorers (or traders or any other Chinese for that matter) did land in Australia before the European exploration of the continent began. No Chinese ship wrecks in Australian waters, no Chinese records of having visited Australia, no ...


13

England The city of Bristol was the hub of English expeditions into the Atlantic. Several voyages were launched from her harbours, the second largest in England, around the time of Columbus. Bristol's mariners were inspired by the legendary phantom island of Brasil, which is said to lie off the western coast of Ireland(1). There is some evidence[2] that at ...


13

Columbus' origins are a bit of a mystery. He himself claimed to have been born in Genoa, but this may have been a ruse according to some. ChristopherColumbus lists the most notable claims, Poland is not among those. What all the possible locations have in common is that they're in southern Europe, a quick look at the map shows that Poland is not in that ...


13

Manuel da Silva Rosa, an information technology analyst, claims that Columbus was the son of Władysław III of Poland (and Hungary, but for some reason nobody seems to mention that). To make this claim, he has to first claim that Władysław III, who died in a battle in 1444 without having children and had his head displayed on a pole, for no good reason faked ...


12

The map shows the general shape of South an Central America, and the general shape of the Atlantic coast of North America. If it shows it in "such detail" or not is a matter of opinion. Sure, a lot of things are correct, but a lot of things are incorrect. The question then is how they could know the general shape of South and Central America at all, and the ...


12

The Romans for the most part didn't expand because there was nice productive land they'd like to colonize. They expanded for political reasons. For example, North West Africa was originally part of Carthage. After the Punic wars, the Romans simply gifted most of it to their allies/clients, the native Berber kings of Numidia and Mauretania. Both eventually ...


11

Although the Spanish had claimed all the coast from Mexico to the Bering Straits, it was Russians who were the first Europeans to actively explore and trade around the Alaskan mainland and nearby islands. According to the Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America, in 1761 the fur trader Gavriil Pushkarev was the ...


11

The Egyptian/Phoenician circumnavigation of Africa you refer to is recorded by Herodotus: For Libya shows clearly that it is encompassed by sea, save only where it borders on Asia; and this was proved first (as far as we know) by Necos king of Egypt. He, when he had made an end of digging the canal which leads from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf, sent ...


10

Understanding this development first requires a discussion of various sailing rigs. Further, to understand the consequences of various sail plan decisions, one must need understand the points of sail, from close-hauled, through beam reach, to running. When running-before-the-wind a sailing vessel is very comfortable, with the deck flat, hull stable in the ...


10

Thor Heyerdahl proved it was possible with the Kon-tiki raft to sail from South America to Polynesia. Later he did a similar experiment to see if Egyptians could have crossed the Atlantic with boats build out of papyrus. More precisely, he didn't really prove it was possible: he proved it was not impossible. That doesn't want to say it was likely, and it ...


9

Let me add one more reason: when the discovery age began, large parts of Africa was already "colonized" by the Muslims.


9

This is an interesting and difficult question. Unfortunately, not much is known of Viking equipment, including clothing, because such military goods were relatively expensive and rare. For example, in those times (800-1000 AD) it was common for people to go barefoot, shoes were so expensive. Written works from the time rarely discuss viking clothing in any ...


8

Jesse Byock in "Viking Age Iceland" reports "a type of rough woolen cloak (vararfeldr) that provided protection from the rain". A higher grade of the same wool was impregnated with animal fat and used for sailcloth. Furthermore, seal fat was "used to grease leather clothes, making them water repellent." Staying dry by using a greased outer layer seems a ...


8

Peter Laurisden mentions "seven priests" among the first detachment that left with Bering from St. Petersberg in 1733. On the same page he also describes a "list of names of those engaged", but I am unable to find this list.


8

I've not found an English travel journal yet, but Captain Trivier took about seven weeks from France in 1887. https://books.google.com/books?id=kN4_AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA6#v=onepage&q&f=false This is an account of Captain Trivier's trip to Congo in the late 1880s. He left France on August 20, 1888 (port not given) in the steamer Nerthe, and arrived in ...


8

gktscrk answers the question directly but, although it is true that there were legends and fears, and simple minded sailors, it is absolutely false that the elite did not expect to find anything valuable beyond the Bojador, or that only India was a valuable objective. How significant was the Fall of Constantinople as an event leading to the Age of ...


7

Because their ships weren't up to very long sea voyages, particularly if they didn't know where they were going. The coast of northwest Africa is dangerous. The Portuguese called part of it the Cabo do Medo, which means the Cape of Fear. They didn't manage to get past that until the 15th century. The Romans were nothing like as sophisticated in terms of ...


7

Wikipedia has an article called List of countries and islands by first human settlement. The latest by continuous habitation is Crozet Islands, which was discovered in 1772 but was only intermittently inhabited (by sealers) until 1963 with the establishment of the Alfred Faure research station. However it is part of France, which is obviously much older. ...


7

"Was it a continuous and extensive trade network with political interactions like in the ancient Mediterranean?" No. Unlike the Mediterranean, trade is much more marginal in Polynesia. The problem is that all of the islands pretty much all had the same resources. Now, within the same island chain, there was potential for specialisation in comparative ...


7

This is unproven. There are several major claims of possible prehistoric contact between Polynesians and the Americas. The Polynesian culture was the more maritime one. It reached as far as Easter Island with certainty, and why would it have not gone farther? The Inca did have seaworthy rafts but only for coasting. If Topa Inca Yupanqui's sea voyage truly ...


6

Although the Lewis and Clark expedition ended on September 23, 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark remained close both personally and professionally up until the death of Meriwether Lewis on October 11, 1809. Lewis, Clark and Clark's wife Julia actually lived together for a short time (ca. 1808) in St. Louis, Missouri. Julia Clark gave birth to a son ...


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