Pre-America: The Starting of a Nation
By Fred Fishburn
Men of Pre-America
Many men in history contributed to the founding of America. At around 1000 A.D., as Leif, son of Eric the Red, sailed into unknown waters, seeking new lands, the curtains of the American story opened briefly, but it took another 500 years until the main drama began.
In these years, men's appetites of a better future caused history changing events to occur. Men with the same Viking blood that sailed the North Atlantic, became part of the columns of fighting laymen of the Crusades. Marco Polo and others traveled widely in Asia. The travels of such men succeeded in producing an awakening, perhaps as climactic, as that which Columbus and the Age of Discovery would bring.
The Printing Press
The invention of the Gutenberg movable type printing press changed history forever, making available for circulation, Bibles, legal documents, The Book of Marco Polo, and maps, the very map Columbus used to chart his course of discoveries, the map of Ptolemy, which by the way, contained many mistakes, which led to the discovery of America.
Early Old World Development
Also in the 14th Century, people were developing ox drawn wagons and rutted, primitive roads, where food could and other supplies could be transported, instead of having to be self-relying. Gold was discovered in the Black Forest, providing freer circulation to money. Great changes touched the minds of men and altered their habits, such as, craftsmen of iron and leather work. Middlemen appeared, founding what is known today as the factory system. Across Europe grew the Protestant Reformation.
Among these great men of the story of America, was a dreamer-navigator, Christopher Columbus, who found the Map of Ptolemy and The Book of Marco Polo to be fascinating, was moved by an ancient prophesy that spoke of a new world of lands, "There will come a time in the long years of the world when the Ocean Sea will loosen its shackles that bind things together and a great part of the earth will be opened up, and a new sailor such as Jason's guide, whose name was Thyphis, shall discover a new world, and then shall Thule no longer be the last of lands". Thus the Age of Discovery began some 500 years after the Vikings sailed the cold Atlantic waters.
Looking East Sailing West
Columbus pondered these prophetic words until they were woven into his heart. We must give credit to him for the beginning of the Age of Discovery, pointing the way to the new world. As the Middle Ages were waning into the intellectual and artistic move called, Renaissance, more and more, worldly living was being emphasized in contrast to the strict virtues of the Middle Ages. This new spirit wetted appetites for the exotic goods of the Far East, of which Marco Polo had already documented in his book, The Book of Marco Polo.
There was growing urgency to re-establish the two known civilizations, the European West and the Asiatic East of the Great Khan and Cipango (Japan), which had been increasingly close during the Middle Ages, but had been hampered by the Turks, who controlled much of the near east, capturing important cities, such as Constantinople (Istanbul).
The West (Europe) was determined to find other routes to the Far East to trade for their exotic goods. Venice held a commanding domination in trade with the Orient, and as the Spanish begin to compete for this position, the Mediterranean center of gravity shifted to the Spanish peninsula, of which the westward voyages began, thus launching the Age of Discovery. The Age of Discovery was the pursuit of the setting sun.
Even before Columbus had concluded the last of his four voyages, many exploring expeditions were released from Europe. The Cabots sailed from England, the Corte-Reals from Portugal, and from Spain, Solis and Ojeda, the latter was accompanied by a Florentine, Amerigo Vespucci, the man who was given credit for naming America. In a short time, these and others sailed west. There was one major obstacle standing in the way of these early explorers and the land of the Great Khan, a massive land mass consisting of two continents, The Americas.
Only Magellan, a Portuguese Argonaut in the service of Spain, was able in 1520 to penetrate to the Pacific, which had been glimpsed by Balboa at the isthmus joining the two continents, where Columbus and others had failed. The strait through which Magellan passed was of little benefit, due to being so close to the southern tip of the continent.
With the existence of an immense continental barrier to the Far East, established for all time, on Columbus's predictions as being a land of great riches, the Spanish efforts shifted to the exploration of what was before them, thus entered the Conquistadors in The Age of Discovery.
By a series of established bridgeheads, these hardy adventurers swarmed over the immense lands of the two continents, from what is now, the northern part of South America, to the southwestern part of the United States.
Impelled by their drives of greed, wonder, fantasy, plunder and carnage, the Spanish Conquistador's positive contribution of geographical knowledge, spearheading the westernizing of the globe, went mostly unnoticed in the Age of Discovery.The Conquistadors were the bridge between the medieval and the modern western age.
The Story of America, http://mcdonoughinfo.com/thestoryofamerica
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