Age of Exploration
New World: America
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration, was a period starting in the early 15th century and continuing to the 17th century during which Europeans explored Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 severed European trade links by land with Asia leading many to begin seeking routes east by sea and spurred the age of exploration. Historians often refer to the 'Age of Discovery' as the pioneer Portuguese and Spanish long-distance maritime travels in search of alternative trade routes to "the East Indies", moved by the trade of gold, silver, spices and opium.
Very little of the divided area had actually been seen by Europeans, as it was only divided via the treaty. Soon after Columbus' first voyage a number of explorers headed west, in the same direction. Starting in 1497, there was a spur in maritime exploration. That year John Cabot, also a commissioned Italian, got letters patent from King Henry VII of England. Sailing from Bristol, probably backed by the local Society of Merchant Venturers, Cabot crossed the Atlantic from a northerly latitude hoping the voyage to the "West Indies" would be shorter and made a landfall somewhere in North America, possibly Newfoundland. In 1499 João Fernandes Lavrador was licensed by the King of Portugal and together with Pêro de Barcelos they first sighted Labrador, which was granted and named after him. After returning he possibly went to Bristol to sail in the name of England. Nearly at the same time, between 1499–1502 brothers Gaspar and Miguel Corte Real explored and named the coasts ofGreenland and also Newfoundland. Both explorations signaled in 1502 Cantino planisphere.
In 1497, newly crowned King Manuel I of Portugal sent an exploratory fleet eastwards, fulfilling his predecessor's project of finding a route to the Indies. In July 1499 news spread that the Portuguese had reached the "true indies", as a letter was dispatched by the Portuguese king to the Spanish Catholic Monarchs one day after the celebrated return of the fleet.
While Columbus engaged in two new trips to explore the "West Indies" (Central America), coming into conflict with the Spanish crown, a second Portuguese armada was dispatched to India. The fleet of thirteen ships and about 1,500 men left Lisbon on 9 March 1500. It was headed by Pedro Álvares Cabral with a crew of expert sailors including Bartolomeu Dias, Nicolau Coelho and scrivener Pêro Vaz de Caminha. To avoid the calms off the coast of Gulf of Guinea, they sailed in a southwesterly direction, in a large "volta do mar". On 21 April a mountain was visible, then named Monte Pascoal; on 22 April they landed on the coast of Brazil, and on 25 April the entire fleet sailed into the harbor called Porto Seguro. Cabral perceived that the new land lay east of the line of Tordesillas, and at once sent an envoy to Portugal, with the important tidings described in a (now famous) carta de Pêro Vaz de Caminha letter. Believing the newly discovered lands to be an island, they named it Island of Vera Cruz (Island of the True Cross). Some historians contend that the Portuguese knew of the South American bulge before while sailing the "volta do mar" technique- hence the insistence of John II in moving to west line of Tordesillas- so his landing in Brazil may not have been an accident.
At the invitation of king Manuel I of Portugal, Amerigo Vespucci - a Florentine who had been working for a branch of the Medici bank in Seville since 1491, fitting oceanic expeditions and travelling twice to theGuianas with Juan de la Cosa in the service of Spain - participated as observer in these exploratory voyages to the east coast of South America. The expeditions became widely known in Europe after two accounts attributed to him, published between 1502 and 1504, suggested that the newly discovered lands were not India but a "New World", the Mundus novus, Latin title of a contemporary document based on Vespucci letters to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici, which had become widely popular in Europe. It was soon understood that Columbus had not reached Asia, but rather found a new continent: the Americas. America was named in 1507 by cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann, probably after Amerigo Vespucci.