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Age of Exploration

Consecutive European explorations in North America began with the voyage made in 1492 by Christopher Columbus in the service of Spain. His three ships sailed from Palos de la Frontera, Andalucia, on August 3, and on October 12 made landfall in the Bahamas. Although the exact landing site is disputed, most historians favor Samana Cay. Before returning to Europe, Columbus also landed on Cuba and Hispaniola. It was on Hispaniola that he established the first Spanish settlement in the Americas. He made three additional voyages between 1493 and 1502.

In 1497 an Italian navigator in English service, John Cabot, landed on Cape Breton Island; in 1498 he also sailed along the Labrador, Newfoundland, and New England coasts, and possibly as far south as Delaware Bay. Portuguese navigator Gasper Corte-Real made a voyage in 1500 to the North American coast between Labrador and southeastern Newfoundland. In 1513 Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish governor of Puerto Rico, landed in Florida. Four years later Spanish soldier Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba explored the Yucatan, and in 1518 Juan de Grijalva, a nephew of Spanish soldier Diego Velazquez, explored the eastern coast of Mexico, which he called New Spain. The following year Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes invaded Mexico; he conquered it during the next two years.

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