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In aspiration to find a way on the East the European seafarers have made a number of the travel which have turned the course of history.

To the beginning of 1400 in Europe there was a set of skilled seamen and the strong ships, but they seldom ventured to fall outside the limits not knowing inflow and otlivov Mediterranean sea and coastal waters of Atlantic ocean. Trade with the East was conducted mainly overland, the goods were transferred from the dealer to the dealer and consequently only few Europeans reached to "Ђэфшш" - this general name was meant also as India, and East Asia. In imagination of people Asia, Africa and oceans were the forbidden places occupied by various monsters, unprecedented beings like people without goals, and such mythical persons, as the Christian tsar Presviter John ostensibly correcting somewhere in Africa or Asia.

Thus, in 1400 the Arabian dealers regularly plying between India and East Africa, possibly, knew about the world more than the European seafarers, which else it was necessary to enter into a century of rather courageous voyages.

Henry Moreplavatel

Portugal, the state in a southwest part of the Atlantic coast of Europe, had obvious advantages of a geographical position as base for voyages, however the basic merit that Portugueses have reached so considerable successes in navigation, belongs to prince Henry (1394-1460) known as Henry Moreplavatel though actually it never accompanied organizuemye it expeditions. After capture by Portugueses of Ceuta (1415) Henry was convinced of Morocco that expansion to Africa promises the big benefits - superiority in trade in gold, slaves, an ivory and pepper, and, probably, and the union with Presviterom John. With its support expeditions along west cost of Africa have been organised and a certain similarity of the research center for gathering of the geographical and navigating data and improvement of ship designs is created. In those days protection of the royal person was of great importance for financing expensive and ventures.

Throughout 70 years the Portuguese ships moved ahead all further and further on the south along the African coast, having passed at first cape Nun, then cape Bohador, White and cape Verde. During this process groups of coastal islands - Madiera, Canary and islands of cape Verde - for use as reloading points and refuges have been opened and colonized. However, having at the order equipment and a fire-arms, Portugueses could locate strongly enough at coast.

the Way round Africa

By the end of XV century of Portugueses the idea to round Africa on the sea more and more carried away and to reach India. The overland road on the East was heavy and unsafe, because trade was disturbed often by Turks-osmanli Turks. Therefore the prices for the goods brought from India, were unreasonably high, especially on spice without which meat (as a rule, salted) was frequent almost inedible. As have shown events, even long flight in which course gibla the most part suden, could make huge profit if at least one ship came back with full hold of spices.

Portugueses were not receded from the idea though nobody could be charged that Africa can be rounded from the south - on some cards it has been shown merging with Southern Continent which placed in the bottom part of globe. A wreath of board of one more enthusiast of navigation, Zhuana II (1481-95), was expedition of Bartolomeu Diasha which in 1487 has swum away on the south further someone from Europeans, but has got to a storm directly at an extreme southern point of Africa. Diash wished to go further, but the crew has compelled it to turn back. Again passing by this place, Diash named its cape of Storms, but king Zhuan, having listened to its report, has changed this name to more optimistical - cape of Kind Hope.

Arrival in India

Now all was ready, at last, to reach India. Thanks to one Portuguese dealer who has made travel across Mediterranean sea to Calcutta, port at the western coast of India, it became authentically known that by the ship it is possible to pass from Africa to India, so - all way from Portugal. In 1497 in the sea there was an expedition under the direction of Vasco da Gama. It has deduced the ships far to Atlantic ocean where the western winds have carried them directly to cape of Kind Hope bypassing an artful coastal current. And still travellers had to worry much on the way upwards along east coast of Africa before they have crossed Indian ocean and have landed in Calcutta. Da Gama returning to Lisbon in September, 1499 was celebrated as the epoch-making event which has made Portugal by the largest intermediary between the East and the West.

Portugueses jealously protected the secrets, and their neighbours-Spaniards could not break the Portuguese monopoly for trade in Africa and Asia. It, most likely, also has forced the Spanish monarchs, king Ferdinand and the queen the Isabella, to support the person asserting that it can find shorter road to India. It was the Italian, sea captain Christopher Columbus who asserted that India is on distance only 3500 miles, on other party of Atlantic ocean. Its arguments seemed quite convincing as the majority of the formed people already knew that the earth round, but still nobody suspected about existence of America. However Columbus's figures were challenged by other authorities. Columbus really was mistaken, but its error in calculations has appeared one of the happiest in the history of mankind. After several years of expectation Columbus all the same has received three Spanish ships, "Ррэ=ѕ-¦рЁш¦" "-шэі¦" and "¤шэ=ѕ" Also left the Atlantic port Paloe on August, 3rd, 1492. Good luck and ability has sufficed it to catch a trade wind and quickly, without undue incident to go west. However in a month after they passed Canary Islands, the command began to demand, that Columbus has turned back. Finally he has promised and to arrive, if during odd-come-shortlies they do not see the earth. Two days later, at two o'clock in the morning on October, 12th, by moonlight vperedsmotrjashchy the islet has noticed. At a dawn Columbus has deduced the first party of people on the island San Salvador which nowadays is a part of the Bahamas. The first Europeans who have arrived to a New World, gold ornaments of friendly natives have delighted, but they have not found those fantastic riches of which dreamt. It was not visible also civilised Chineses or Japanese with whom it would be possible to trade.


Despite growing uncertainty in that, where exactly in India they have landed, Columbus never doubted that it was really India, and we name till now islands of Caribbean basin West Indies, and radical Americans Indians. To Columbus has not carried and with a name of new continent. Some years after the Italian researcher Amerigo Vespucci have convincingly proved that the earth lying on that party of Atlantic ocean, actually is new continent which it is necessary to name a New World, and Marin Valdsemjuller's German printer on the card of the world named its America in honour of Amerigo.

Columbus has made three more travel through Atlantic, and without having changed the belief that it has found a way to India, and without having found neither gold, nor the spices promised to Ferdinand and the Isabella. In the meantime Portugueses have reached India and its desired riches. It seemed, New World opening has grown dim. Nevertheless, Spaniards and Portugueses continued to open, declare the possession and to win "-ютѕ¦ Ђэфш¦" and throughout 40 years Cortes in Mexico and Pisarro in Peru fire and a sword created the Spanish empire, reaping the fruits of the riches which have escaped Columbus.

Searches of an alternative western way to India proceeded and after 1513 when Vasko Nunes of Balboa has crossed isthmus of Panama and has seen one more ocean separating Spaniards from the present India. Six years after the Portuguese traveller Ferdinand Magellan has headed the Spanish expedition, intending to find an extreme southern point of new continent, to round it and to reach the East. It has proved its existence, having floated through the passage carrying now his name, and has crossed Pacific ocean. Magellan was lost during skirmish on Philippines, but one of its ships has returned to Spain through cape of Kind Hope, having made the first-ever global cruise. In 1577-80 pirate Frensis Drake has repeated this achievement.

Gold cities

While Spaniards extracted silver in the South America and searched for seven gold cities and a source of an eternal youth in territory of the modern USA, other people of Europe laid a way on the East. In 1494, under the contract of Tordesiljas, Spaniards and Portugueses have divided all new open earths. Spain has received almost all America along Atlantic ocean, and Portugal - Africa and the Brazil casually not opened still. But with it did not wish to be reconciled neither England, nor France. In 1497 Englishmen have charged to the Italian seafarer Giovanni Kaboto (which they named John Kebot) to find China to the north from a way blazed by Spaniards. Instead it has opened Canada, having extracted many useful data, but not absolutely such which could interest monarchs and businessmen. About the same has occurred to Cartier's French expedition in 1535 and later travel of Frobishera, Hudson and others. All XVI century the problem of search of a way to India remained so actual that Englishmen and Dutches even tried - however, unsuccessfully - to find northeast pass through ices in northern Russia.

Thus, only Portugueses have found that searched in any sense. However besides opening of the New World which finally has appeared by the biggest treasury, for two centuries the European seafarers have reached all oceans and continents, except Australia and Antarctica. For the first time in history their ships have established means of communication and the trade, covering all globe.