Columbus, de Gama, and Zheng He! 15th Century Mariners. Crash Course: World History #21

In which John Green teaches you about the beginning of the so-called Age of Discovery. You’ve probably heard of Christopher Columbus, who “discovered” America in 1492, but what about Vasco da Gama? How about Zheng He? Columbus gets a bad rap from many modern historians, but it turns out he was pretty important as far as the history of the world goes. That said, he wasn’t the only pioneer plying the seas in the 1400s. In Portugal, Vasco da Gama was busy integrating Europe into the Indian Ocean Trade by sailing around Africa. Chinese admiral Zheng He was also traveling far and wide in the largest wooden ships ever built. Columbus, whether portrayed as hero or villain, is usually credited as the great sailor of the 15th century, but he definitely wasn’t the only contender. What better way to settle this question than with a knock-down, drag-out, no holds barred, old-fashioned battle royal? We were going to make it a cage match, but welding is EXPENSIVE.

Resources:

The Age of Reconnaissance by JH Parry – An explanation of the technologies that made these voyages possible, and a nice detailed record of many of the important voyages. http://dft.ba/-discovery

When China Ruled the Sea by Louise Levathes: A history of the Ming dynasty’s ventures into maritime exploration. http://dft.ba/-zhenghedragon

Unknown Seas by Ronald Watkins: A highly readable account of Vasco da Gama’s introduction of europe into the Indian Ocean trade. <a href="http://dft.ba/-vasco&quot; target="_blank" rel=”nofollow”>http://dft.ba/-vasco

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"so it is to the printing press--to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news--that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent." ~John F. Kennedy Contributing to the people with passion and diligence through vigorous and tedious research to get the facts out for review. Political Correspondent for: General News Agency United Press Association News Examiner Demonstrating much prowess for informing the inquiring mind throughout the Republic of the United States of America. an accredited member of the General News Agency, United States Press Agency, United Press Association, US Press Association, The Examiner and The Objective Review. You can be confident that you have been objectively and fully informed. Correspondent Joseph Kirk: theobjectivereview@gmail.com

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