"After dire straits, an agonizing haul across the Pacific"
by Simon Winchester
in "Smithsonian" (April 1991, pp. 84-95)
It was only a generation after Columbus that Magellan's tiny fleet
sailed west, via his strait, then on around the world.
     Balboa found the ocean.  Then, in their droves, explorers
emerged to circle and probe and colonize it, but first, in that
most daring of all endeavors, to cross it.
     No one could be sure how wide it was.  No one could be sure
where lay the Terra Australis Incognita, which Ptolemy had
postulated and which Mercator would argue was a necessary balance
for a spherical world--without it the whole planet might simply
topple over, to be lost among the stars.  No one knew the weather
or the currents or the winds.  But one small certainty spurred the
would-be circumnavigators onward.  It was that the Spice Islands,
the Moluccas, lay at the farthest side of whatever might lie beyond
the waters, pacific or unpacific, that Balboa had discovered.
     Traders buying nutmegs and cloves from Arabian merchants had
known about the Spice Islands for centuries; in the 1200s Marco
Polo knew roughly where they were, for he saw junk traffic in the
ports of North China loaded with spices and manned by crews who had
come from the south.  In 1511 a Portuguese expedition led by
Antonio d'Abreu actually discovered them by moving eastward, after
passing the tip of Africa, to Malacca, thence down the strait and
past the immense island of Borneo to the confused archipelago where
nearly all known spices grew in wild profusion.  The reach their
goal, d'Abreu's men had gone halfway round the world from Europe
to the Orient.
     The geographical fact they established was of great political
and imperial importance.  Since 1494, when the Treaty of
Tordesillas was signed, all of the unknown world to the east of an
imaginary line that had been drawn 370 leagues west of the Cape
Verde Islands would belong to Portugal.  Everything to the west of
that line would belong to Spain.  So far as the Atlantic and the
Indian oceans were concerned, there was no problem; but what about
the other side of the world?  Conquest, squatter's rights,
annexation, force majeure--these cruder tools of geopolitics might
well dictate its eventual position.  Thus the Moluccas, if
discovered by going eastward around the globe, would belong to
Portugal--at least by the logic of some explorers.  But the
Moluccas claimed by a party going westward might belong to Spain.
So while d'Abreu and his colleagues went off eastward, even braver
or more foolhardy men, carrying the banner of Castile, were
determined to discover--heroically and, as it turned out for many
of them, fatally--the way to reach this same Orient by traveling
westward across the vast unknown.
     There is thus a nice irony in the fact that the man who
undertook the seminal voyage, and did so in the name of Spain, was
in fact Portuguese.  He was born Fernao de Magalhaes, and the
Portuguese--"He is ours," they insist--rarely care to acknowledge
that he renounced his citizenship after a row, pledged his
allegiance to King Charles I (later to become Emperor Charles V)
and was given a new name: Hernando de Magallanes.  The English-
speaking world, which reveres him quite as much as does Iberia,
knows him as Ferdinand Magellan.
     He set off on September 20, 1519, with a royal mandate to
search for a passage to El Mar del Sur, and thus determine for
certain that the Spice Islands were within the Spanish domains.
He had not the foggiest notion of how far he might have to travel.
For all Magellan's 237 men in their five little ships knew,
Balboa's Panama and the northern coast of South America, which
Columbus had sighted in 1498 on his third voyage, might be the
equatorial portions of a continent extending without a break to the
Antarctic pole, making the southern sea they sought quite
unreachable from the west.  Johann Schoner's globe of the world,
then the best known, placed Japan a few hundred miles off Mexico.
The historian Lopez de Gomara asserts that Magellan always insisted
that the Moluccas were "no great distance from Panama and the Gulf
of San Miguel, which Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovered."  Magellan
would rapidly discover precisely what "no great distance" was to
     The five vessels that would soon make history--the Victoria,
the Trinidada (the Trinidad), the San Antonio, the Concepcion and
the Santiago--were small, the largest being 120 tons, and
hopelessly unseaworthy.  ("I would not care to sail to the Canaries
in such crates," wrote the Portuguese consul in Seville, with
obvious pleasure.  "Their ribs are soft as butter.")
     They set sail from the Guadalquivir River under the proud
corporate title of the Armada de Molucca, amply armed but
hopelessly provisioned, with crews composed of men of nine
different nationalities including a lone Englishman.  There was one
Moluccan slave, Enrique, who would act as an interpreter if the
crossing was accomplished.  There was a journalist, too, Antonio
Francesca Pigafetta, who may have been a Venetian spy.  In any
case, Pigafetta's diaries remained the source for all future
accounts of the voyage; he had joined the ships, he said, because
he was "desirous of sailing with the expedition so that I might see
the wonders of the world."
     The sorry tales of sodomy and mutiny, of yardarm justice and
abrupt changes of command, and of all the other trials that
attended the armada on its path south and west across the Atlantic
do not belong here.  The truly important phase of the journey
starts on February 3, 1520, when the vessels left their anchorage
near today's Montevideo and headed south.  No charts or sailing
directions existed then.  The sailors were passing unknown coasts,
and confronting increasingly terrifying seas and temperatures that
dropped steadily day by day.
     They began to see penguins--"ducks without wings," they called
them, patos sin alas--and "sea-wolves," or seals.  Seeking a way
to the Pacific, they explored every indentation in the coast off
which they sailed, and with depressing regularity each
indentation--even though some were extremely capacious and tempted
the navigators to believe that they might be the longed-for
straits--proved to be a cul-de-sac.  They spent much of the winter,
from Palm Sunday until late August, in the center of a chilly and
miserable bay at what is now Puerto San Julian.  The winter was
made doubly wretched by an appalling mutiny and the consequent
executions and maroonings that Captain-General Magellan ordered;
by the wrecking of the Santiago, which he had sent on a depth-
sounding expedition; and by the realization of the dreadful damage
done to the remaining ships by the chomping of those plank-
gourmets of the seas, teredo worms.
     But one important discovery was made at Puerto San Julian:
these southern plains were inhabited by enormous nomadic shepherds
who herded not sheep, but little wild llamas known as guanacos, and
who dressed in their skins.  Magellan captured a number of these
immense people--one pair by the cruel trick of showing them leg-
irons and insisting that the proper way to carry the shackles was
to allow them to locked around their ankles.  Magellan's men also
liked the giants' tricks: one, who stayed aboard only a week but
allowed himself to ba called Juan and learned some biblical
phrases, caught and ate all the rats and mice on board, to the
pleasure of the cook and the entertainment of the men.  Magellan
called these men "patagones"--"big feet"; the land in which he
found them has been known ever since as Patagonia.
     By late August the fleet set sail again.  Two men had been
left behind, marooned for mutiny by Magellan's orders.  They had
a supply of wine and hardtack, guns and shot, but when other, later
expeditions entered the bay, no trace of them was found.  They may
have been killed by the giants; they may have starved to death.
All that the men of the armada remembered were their pitiful wails
echoing over the still waters as the ships sailed out of the bay
into the open sea, and then south.
     By the time the flotilla had reached 50 degrees south latitude
(not far from the Falkland Islands), the men were restive.  Their
artless plea now was: If the expedition wanted to reach the Spice
Islands, why not turn east toward them and pass below the Cape of
Good Hope, as others had?  Magellan, sensible enough to know this
would make a nonsense of the whole plan to render the Spice Islands
Spanish, refused.  But he promised that if no strait was found by
the time they had eaten up another 25 degrees of latitude, he would
turn east as they wished.  The murmurs stilled.  The Captain-
General clearly had no idea of the utter impossibility of
navigating at 75 degrees south latitude, for on that longitudinal
track his ships would get stuck fast in the thick ice of what is
now the Weddell Sea, hemmed in by the yet unimagined continent and
the unendurable cold of the Antarctic.
The Captain-General sights a virgin cape
     On October 21, 1520, Magellan sighted a headland to starboard.
Cabo Virjenes, which today is equipped with a lighthouse that
flashes a powerful beam and a radio direction beacon, is an
important navigation point on the South American coast.  It marks,
as Magellan was soon to discover, the eastern end of the strait
that bears his name--the tortuous entrance, at long last, to the
     Ranges of immense, show-covered mountains crowded into view;
there could be, Magellan must have thought, no possible exit.
Still, he ordered the San Antonio and the Concepcion into the
headwaters of the bay--only to be horrified when he saw them being
swept into a huge maelstrom of surf and spindrift by unsuspected
currents and winds.  But he had no time to dwell on such miseries,
for an immense storm broke over his own ship, the Trinidad, as well
as the Victoria, alongside.  Men were hurled overboard.  One vessel
was dismasted; the other nearly turned turtle several times.  The
storm went on and on and on.  When relief finally came to the
exhausted crews, the only recourse, it seemed, was to turn tail and
head for home.  The expedition was over, an abject failure.
     Yet just at that moment (one occasionally suspects that the
mythmakers have been at work on the story) the lookout sighted
sails on the western horizon.  They were indeed what they could
only have been: the two scouting vessels had returned.  Not
shattered and aground, they were safe and sound.  The joy Magellan
must have felt at realizing his men were still alive was, however,
as nothing when, as the San Antonio and the Concepcion drew closer,
he saw their yardarms hung with bunting, music being played, and
the crews dancing and singing.
     As an account of the long voyage puts it, "Suddenly, they saw
a narrow passage, like the mouth of a river, ahead of them in the
surf, and they managed to steer into it.  Driven on by wind and
tide they raced through this passage and into a wide lake.  Still
driven by the storm they were carried west for some hours into
another narrow passage, though now the current had reversed, so
what appeared to a great ebb tide came rushing towards them.  They
debouched from this second strait into a broad body of water which
stretched as far as the eye could see toward the setting sun...."
     By tasting the water and finding it salty, and then making
sure that both the ebb tides and flood tides were of equal strength
(tests that argued against this body of water being a river), the
captains of the scout ships realized they had, indeed, discovered
the way through.  Magellan, believing that his ultimate goal was
within his grasp, brushed aside the persistent doubter's view that
he should, despite the discovery, turn back eastward for the
Moluccas.  "Though we have nothing to eat but the leather wrapping
from our masts," he declared, "we shall go on!"
     The Strait of Magellan is as darkly beautiful as it is useful.
Before I first visited the strait I supposed, wrongly, that since
its latitude to the south is more or less the same distance from
the Equator as Maine's latitude is to the north, the coastline
would also be vaguely similar.  But it is much starker, more
hostile, more grand.  Heading west, as Magellan did, the land
begins flat, and wind reduces such trees as there are to stunted
survivors.  Even today the strait is not an easy place for sailing
vessels: "... both difficult and dangerous, because of incomplete
surveys, the lack of aids to navigation, the great distance between
anchorages, the strong current, and the narrow limits for the
maneuvering of vessels," says the pilot manual.
"A cargo of falsehood against Magellan"
     For Magellan and his men it was a nightmare.  The currents
were treacherous.  Unexpected winds, now known as williwaws,
flashed down steep cliffs, threatening to drive the little fleet
onto the rocks.  He lost another ship; though he did not know it
at the time, the San Antonio had turned tail and was heading back
to Spain, "bearing a cargo of falsehood against Magellan."  She
also took away supplies vital for all of the fleet--one-third of
the armada's biscuits, one-third of its meat and two-thirds of its
currants, chickpeas and figs.  The men began begging to turn back.
     Days passed.  Finally, on November 28, 1520, Trinidad,
Victoria and Concepcion passed beyond the horrors of the strait,
and sailed westward into an evening that became, suddenly,
magically serene.  We are told that "the iron-willed Admiral" broke
down and cried.  Then he assembled his men on deck.  Pedro de
Valderrama, the Trinidad's priest, stood on the poop deck and
called down on the crew of all three remaining vessels the blessing
of Our Lady of Victory.  The men sang hymns.  The gunners fired
broadsides.  And Magellan proudly unfurled the flag of Castile.
     "We are about to stand into an ocean where no ship has ever
sailed before," Magellan is said to have cried (though it has to
be emphasized that there is no hard evidence that he did so).  "May
the ocean be always as calm and benevolent as it is today.  In this
hope I name in the Mar Pacifico."  And just in case it was not
Magellan who first uttered the name, then perhaps it was Pigafetta:
"We debouched from that strait," he later wrote, "engulfing
ourselves in the Pacific Sea."
The European dawn breaks on the Pacific
     The concept of the Pacific Ocean, the greatest physical unit
on Earth, had been born.  Balboa had seen it.  D'Abreu had ventured
onto its western edges.  Magellan had reached its eastern
periphery.  Now it was up to the explorers to try to comprehend the
enormity of their discovery.  But before they could do that,
Magellan had to sail across it.  This was his determined aim, and
the aim of those who sponsored his venture.
     So the Captain-General ordered the sails set to carry the
shrunken, but now at long last triumphant, armada northward.  He
thought it might take three or four days to reach the Spice
Islands.  It was a savage underestimate--a tragically optimistic
forecast, based quite probably on the terrible inability of long-
distance navigators to calculate longitude (an inability that
insured that not a single estimate then available to Magellan was
even 80 percent of the true size of the ocean).
     Not that anyone suspected tragedy as they breezed to the north
of Cape Desado.  Far from it.  Once the armada had reached the
lower southern latitudes, the winds began to blow balmily and
unceasingly from the southeast.  They were trade winds, just like
those well known in the southern Atlantic and Indian oceans, and
they were pleasantly warm.  Their effect produced nothing but
splendid sailing: no undue swells, no angry squalls, no cyclonic
outbursts.  Just endless days and nights of leisured running before
a steady, powerful breeze.  "Well was it name Pacific," wrote
Pigafetta later, confirming his master's choice of name, "for
during this period we met with no storms."
     And for weeks and weeks, simply by wafting before the winds
with sails unchanged, the fleet managed to miss every single one
of the islands with which the Pacific Ocean is littered.
Magellan's course, sedulously recorded by his pilot, Francisco
Albo, shows him--almost uncannily--leading his vessels past the
Juan Fernandez Islands, past Sala y Gomez and Easter islands, past
Pitcairn, Ducie, Oeno and Henderson and, indeed past everything
else.  His astrolabe, his crude speed recorder, his hourglass (a
watchkeeper would be flogged for holding it against his chest,
since to warm it made the sand flow faster, the hour pass more
quickly, the watch be more rapidly over) served Magellan admirably:
he plotted the likely course to the Spice Islands, and his ships
took him there, more or less.
     Any deviation could have caused disaster.  Had he strayed just
3 degrees north of Albo's recorded track, he would have hit the
Marquesas; 3 degrees south, he would have come to Tahiti.  He was
a hundred miles off Bikini Atoll.  He passed within a half day's
sailing of razor-sharp coral reefs--thundering surfs, huge spikes
and lances that would have ruined his ships forever.  At this
distance in time, it seems as if some guardian angel had Magellan's
tiny fleet under benevolent invigilation for days and nights too
numerous to count.  Yet this providence has a less kindly face.
Six weeks out of the strait, Magellan's men began to die.  In the
monotony of a long, landless passage, what proved unbearable was
the lack of food aboard the sea-locked ships.
     Much of the stores had already gone, carried off on the
treacherous San Antonio.  Such food as the three ships carried
began to rot under the soggy tropical airs.  The penguins and seals
they had killed and salted in Patagonia started to turn putrid;
maggots raged through the ships, eating clothes and supplies and
rigging; water supplies turned scummy and rank.  Men began to
develop the classic symptoms of scurvy--their teeth loosened in
their gums, their breath began to smell horribly sour, huge boils
erupted from their shrunken frames, they sank into inconsolable
     In January men began to die.  One of the Patagonian behemoths
whom Magellan had persuaded aboard was, despite his immense
physique and power, the first to go; he begged to be made a
Christian, was baptized "Paul" and then died.  By mid-January a
third of the sailors were too sick to stagger along the decks.
Their food was limited to scoops to flour stained yellow by the
urine of rats, and biscuits riddled with weevils.
     The depression and deep anxiety afflicted Magellan too.  At
one point he flung his charts overboard in a fit of rage.  "With
the pardon of the cartographers, the Moluccas are not to be found
in their appointed place!" he cried.  The fleet did, in fact,
strike land in late January--a tiny island they called St. Paul's,
and which seems to be the minute atoll now known as Pukapuka, in
the French Tuamotu group.  (Four centuries later, Pukapuka was the
first island to be spotted by Thor Heyerdahl aboard the balsa raft
Kon-Tiki after his long drift westward from Callao in Peru.)  They
stayed a week, replenishing their water butts and feasting on
turtle eggs.  They left in an optimistic mood; surely, they
surmised, this island must be the first of a vast skein of atolls
and lagoons stretching to the now close Moluccas.  But it was not
to be; the ships had barely traversed a third of their ocean.  Soon
the hunger pains, the racking thirst and the sense of unshakable
misery began anew, and the dying began once more.
After meals of leather--land!
     More and more terrible the voyage steadily became.  By March 4
the flagship had run out of food completely.  Men were eating the
oxhides and llama skins used to prevent the rigging from chafing
(not too bad a diet--so long as the crew's scurvy-ridden teeth hung
in).  The smell of death, the knowledge that it was both inevitable
and impending, gripped Magellan's sailors.  And then dawned March
6, when a seaman called Navarro, the only man still fit enough to
clamber up the ratlines, spied what everyone was waiting for--
     A great cheer went up.  Cannon were fired.  Men fell to their
knees in prayer.  A squadron of tiny dugouts sped from shore to
meet the Spaniards.  Magellan had reached the islands he first
called Las Islas de las Velas Latinas and later, after much of his
cargo had been filched, Las Islas de Ladrones, the Islands of
Thieves.  He had made his landfall at what we now call Guam.  It
was March 6, 1521.  Magellan had crossed the Pacific.  A voyage the
Captain-General had supposed might take three or four days had, in
fact, occupied three and a half months.
     The fleet stayed in Guam for only three days--to rest, make
minor repairs and take on food (such as the "figs, more than a palm
long," which must have been bananas) and fresh water.  Then
Magellan set off, still toward the Moluccas, standing down for the
southwest and to the Philippines, islands of which all travellers
to these parts had often heard, but which no European had ever
seen.  Though the Spice Islands, it must e recalled, were the
armada's prescribed goal, the official mandate and ambition of
Magellan was to discover, name and seize in the name of Spain the
immense archipelago that lay north of them.
     The only Briton on the expedition, Master Andrew of Bristol,
died on this last, short passage.  He was never to see the islands
that, a novelist was later to write, were "as fair as Eden, with
gold beaches, graceful palms, exotic fruits and soil so rich that
if one snapped off a twig and stuck in into the ground it would
start straightway to grow."
     Magellan made his landfall on March 16 on an island at the
southern end of the large Philippine island of Samar.  Two days
later, the first contact was made with Filipinos, though the name
"Philippines" was not to be given to the place until 1543, when
explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named one after the Infante, later
to become King Philip II, the Spanish monarch whose reign made the
words "Spanish Armada" infamous.  (The name "Philippines" caught
on later to mean the entire island group.)  The significant moment
came two days later still, when the ships sailed down the Gulf of
Leyte and the Surigao Strait, where, more than four centuries later
in World War II, one of the world's last great naval battles was
fought, and Adm. William F. Halsey reduced the Japanese Imperial
Navy to vestigial strength.
     Once through the strait, Magellan landed at the island that
guarded its entrance, Limasawa.  Eight inhabitants sailed out to
the Trinidad in a small boat.  On orders from the Captain-General,
his Moluccan slave, Enrique, hailed them.  In a moment that must
have seemed frozen in time, it became clear that the men in the
approaching boat understood the words of the Moluccan perfectly.
     Their language was being spoken to them by a man on a huge
ship that had come to them from the east.  The linguistic globe--
even if not necessarily the physical globe--had been
circumnavigated.  A man who had originated in these parts had
traveled across Asia and around Africa to Europe as a slave, and
had now returned home by the Americas and the Pacific.  Enrique de
Molucca may well have been, strictly speaking, the first of
humankind to circumnavigate the world; he was never to be honored
for so doing.
     Nor, by the unhappy coincidence of ill-temper and wretched
misfortune, was Ferdinand Magellan ever to be able to savor his own
triumph.  Just six weeks after the landing he was dead, cut down
on a Philippine island in a skirmish that is as unremembered as the
place in which it happened is unsung--a flat and muddy little
island called Mactan, where an airport has now been built to serve
the city of Cebu.
     The circumstances of the Captain-General's end, however, are
riven into every Iberian schoolchild's learning, even today.
Despite his crew's objections, Magellan insisted on exploring.  He
was pleased at the relative ease with which the people took to
Christianity.  (It is perhaps worth remembering that the Catholic
faith, which Magellan and his priests brought to Samar and Cebu and
northern Mindanao, flourishes there still today.  The Philippines,
in fact, is the only predominantly Christian country in Asia, and
the influence of the church contributed significantly to the recent
overthrow of President Ferdinand Marcos.)
     But the successful sewing of the seeds of Christianity were
to be Magellan's undoing.  His horribly unglorious end came in late
April.  The precise circumstances were chronicled.  Magellan had
demonstrated what he felt was his superior status to the local raja
of Cebu, and had made Christians of him and all his followers.  But
significantly, the rest of the Philippine nobility did not go
along.  Many local junior rajas objected, especially the minor raja
of Mactan, a man named Cilapulapu and now known to all Filipinos
simply as Lapu Lapu.  He declared that he was not going to pay
fealty to this Christian interloper, come what may.  He cared
little enough for the raja of Cebu, let along the Cebuano's
newfound foreign friends.
     The Spaniards soon got wind of this rebellious mood, and on
April 27 Magellan and 60 of his men paddled across the narrow
strait to Mactan in an attempt to bring Lapu Lapu to heel.  "You
will feel the iron of our lances," Lapu Lapu was told by Magellan's
interlocutor.  "But we have fire-hardened spears and stakes of
bamboo," replied a defiant chieftain.  "Come across whenever you
The last stand at Mactan Island
     The waters at the northern end of Mactan are very shallow and
degenerate into warm swamps.  A selected 48 of the Spaniards,
dressed in full armor, had to wade the last few hundred yards to
do battle with the Mactan warriors.  They fought for an hour,
thigh-deep in the water.  Then Magellan plunged his lance into the
body of an attacker and was unable to withdraw it quickly enough.
It was a fatal delay.  Another islander slashed Magellan's leg with
a scimitar.  He staggered.  Scores of others crowded around him as
he fell, and as Pigafetta was to write, "thus they killed our
mirror, our light, our comfort and our true guide."
     It is worth remembering that Fernao de Magalhaes was a native
Portuguese--of whom it used to be said, because they were such
energetic explorers, "they have a small country to live in, but all
the world to die in."  There is a monument near the spot where he
fell, a tall white obelisk, guarded solicitously for the past 15
years by a man with the splendid name Jesus Baring.  There are two
accounts of the event, one engraved on either side of the cross.
Senor Baring derives much amusement from showing his occasional
visitors--and there are very few, considering how globally
important this spot should be--how markedly they differ.
     The one on the monument's eastern side--the side that pedant
geographers will recognize as marginally nearer to the Spanish
Main--records the event as a European tragedy.  "Here on 27th April
1521 the great Portuguese navigator Hernando de Magallanes, in the
service of the King of Spain, was slain by native Filipinos...."
On the other side, by contrast, it is seen as an Oriental triumph--
a heroic blow struck for Philippine nationalism.  "Here on this
spot the great chieftain Lapu Lapu repelled an attack by Ferdinand
Magellan, killing him and sending his forces away...."  Baring
points to the later and roars with laughter.  "This is the real
story.  This is the one we Filipinos like to hear!"
     Lapu Lapu is thus the first, and to many Filipinos the
greatest, of Filipino heroes.  These days his memory is being
revived, his exploits retold, his adventures made the stuff of
comic strips, films and popular songs.  Each April there is a full-
scale reenactment of the Battle of Mactan on the beach, with an
improbably handsome Cebuano film star playing the part of the
seminaked hero and, when I was last there, the Philippine Air Force
officer Mercurion Fernandez playing the role of the armor-clad
Magellan.  The two sides struggle gamely in the rising surf until
that epic moment when Officer Fernandez contrives to collapse into
the shallow sea and grunts his last.  The assembled thousands then
cheer.  Such is Filipino pride in the raja of Mactan that there are
firebrands--in Manila as well as in Cebu--who believe their country
should shed its present name, a reminder that it is a colonial
conquest, and be reborn as LapuLapuLand.
     Little more needs to be said of the tiny armada now, save to
note what most popular historians choose to forget.  The Concepcion
was scuttled; the flagship Trinidad, which tried to make for home
via the Pacific once more, was blown north as far as Hakodate in
Japan, captured by a Portuguese battle group and became a total
loss in the Spice Islands, which had been its original goal.  But
one of the ships, the doughty little Victoria--at 85 tons she was
the second smallest of the original five--did make it back to
     The Victoria scudded home under the charge of Juan Sebastian
d'Elcano, previously the executive officer of the Concepcion.  She
made Java.  She made it round the top of Africa, through waters
where freak waves sometimes cause modern oil tankers to founder.
She made the Cape Verde Islands, where the crew realized that
despite meticulous log-keeping, they had lost an entire day from
their calendar: the concept of crossing the international date line
was unknown--and profoundly unimaginable--to them.
     On September 6, 1523, the Victoria made the harbor of Sanlucar
de Barrameda, from where she had set off almost exactly three years
before.  Juan Sebastian d'Elcano had brought just 17 men back with
him: 237 had started out.  Circumnavigation, it happened, was a
most costly business.
     But well rewarded.  D'Elcano was given an annual pension and
a coat of arms as handsome as it was aromatic: a castle, three
nutmegs, 12 cloves, two crossed cinnamon sticks, a pair of Malay
kings bearing spice sticks, and above all, a globe circled by a
ribbon emblazoned with the motto 'Primus Circumdedisti me.'  "Thou
first circumnavigated me."

"Ferdinand Magellan:  The greatest voyager of them all"
by:  Raymond Schuessler
in:  "Sea Frontiers" (Sep-Oct 1984)
     Ferdinand Magellan, initiator and leader of the first
expedition to circumnavigate the globe, in 1519-22, never re-
ceived the acclaim he deserved for his great feat.  Compared to
Columbus's voyage of 8,000 miles over the relatively quiet
Atlantic, Magellan's expedition of 42,000 miles--22,000 of them
over waters no white man had ever seen--was an achievement
without parallel in an era of fragile wooden ships.
     Few voyages have been so filled with intrigue, treachery,
mutiny, murder, scurvy, starvation, and death.  Only a lone,
bedraggled ship out of a fleet of five managed to complete the
     Had it not been for a clandestine diary kept by Antonio
Pigafetta, a Venetian nobleman aboard that ship, the record of
the venture would have been quite different.  Only the distorted
accounts of deserters, mutineers, and jealous officers eager to
usurp Magellan's glory would have survived, for Magellan was
murdered midtrip.  It is a miracle that the diarist, Pigafetta,
through all this mayhem, did manage to be one of the handful of
survivors.  Even then, his diary was expurgated by Spanish
authorities who were jealous of Magellan, the Portuguese inter-
loper who had executed many of the Spanish noblemen aboard the
ships.  They called him a "spawn of the devil, witness his cloven
hoof."  (Magellan had a club foot.)
     Magellan was born in Oporto, Portugal in 1480 of middle-
class nobility.  When Columbus made his famous voyage in 1492,
Magellan thrilled to the account and had visions of his own
voyages some day.  In 1505, he enlisted in the navy.
     He learned seamanship and naval warfare under the Portuguese
viceroys in India.  In 1509, he took part in the great battle of
Die, which gave Portugal supremacy over most of the Indian Ocean.
For seven years, he traded from Cochin, China to Malacca and
perhaps even the Moluccas.  During all these years, he had but
one dream:  to sail around the globe heading west from Europe.
     Magellan had studied enough charts and stories to know that
other explorers had probed the South American coast, and he was
sure there existed an opening through the land mass that
stretched from the North Pole south to the vast ocean Balboa saw
at Panama in 1513.  He did not believe, as some did, that the
land mass stretched all the way to the South Pole.
Loyal to a dream
     Help for his great adventure would not be forthcoming from
his native land, however.  He had once served as a page in court,
but he and the king, Dom Manuel, had grown to dislike each other.
Magellan once petitioned the king on his knees as a commoner for
increase in rank and pay.  The king refused.  Perhaps to command
one of the royal ships sailing to the Spice Islands?  Again he
refused.  Humiliated, Magellan asked if he might serve another
court; the king brusquely told him to serve where he pleased.
When Magellan bent forward to kiss the king's hand, Dom Manuel
put his hands behind his back.
     Spain was eager to have such a daring and experienced young
adventurer, and Magellan presented a good petition.  When, in
1493, Pope Alexander VI divided the world in half, the eastern
part went to Portugal, the western to Spain.  Since no one knew
exactly the Pope's boundaries in the East, Magellan proposed to
the Spanish monarch that he would be able to mark the boundaries
between Spain and Portugal in the Pacific and perhaps prove that
the Moluccas, the coveted Spice Islands, lay within Spanish
influence.  King Charles approved such a voyage, and Magellan
prepared to sail in September 1519 with five ships and 280 men.
     The ships, not as renowned in history as those of Columbus,
were San Antonio, Santiago, Trinidad, Victoria, and Concepcion.
Besides a huge store of supplies, they carried 10,000 fish hooks,
20,000 small bells, combs, mirrors, knives, and bracelets.
     Even before he sailed, Magellan's troubles began.  The
jealous King of Portugal hired agents to load empty water barrels
on the ship and change invoices to show twice the amount of
supplies on board as were actually there.  And Spanish officers,
suspecting that Magellan might secretly be working for the
Portuguese, made plans to overthrow and kill him at sea.
Luckily, when Magellan stopped at the Canary Islands to resupply,
a fast ship from Spain arrived to warn him of the conspiracy.  At
the first opportunity, he put the men in chains.
     Three months after leaving Spain, they sailed into the bay
where Rio de Janeiro now stands, one of the most beautiful
natural harbors in the world.  There they were greeted by the
Guarani Indians who believed the white men to be gods and
showered everything they owned upon the visitors, even their
women.  Never would the crew enjoy themselves so much in so
perfect a paradise as they did there for two weeks.  When they
finally pulled anchor, the Indians cried and followed them out to
sea in canoes, begging them to stay.
     As they sailed south, they hit Cape Santa Maria, which
curved west.  Magellan and his men were excited with hope that
this might be the passage west to the Orient.
     One of the ships, Trinidad, was ordered to sail as far west
as possible.  In a few days, the ship returned with the dis-
couraging news that the water became shallow and stayed fresh
     It was late summer now (February) and a crucial decision had
to be made:  should they return and rest in the warm bay at Rio
or continue south into frigid and storm-tossed Antarctic waters
and hope to find a passage that would take them to the warm Spice
Islands.  Against great opposition, Magellan convinced them to
sail south.  The voyage now was arduous.  They hugged the coast
where rocky reefs protruded.  The weather became colder and
colder as they fought almost constant storms for 60 days.  The
crew was disgruntled, and many talked openly of mutiny.
     Finally, they pulled into a bay (Port St. Julian).  A group
demanded to sail back.  But Magellan refused, and his own men on
Trinidad and Santiago remained loyal.
     Magellan now faced a rebellion that took control of three
out five ships and 170 out of 265 men.  The odds were over-
whelming.  But Magellan was not one to panic or to surrender.  He
sent two of his men with six others, secretly armed, to take a
message to Captain Luis de Mendoza of Victoria.  The message
ordered Mendoza to report at once for a conference.  If he
refused, the six men were to kill him.  Meanwhile, another
boatload of 15 men were to row up to Victoria's stern and board
immediately if they heard a scuffle.
     When the note was delivered, the rebel captain Mendoza,
exclaimed, "Would I be that stupid?"  He looked up to see half a
dozen daggers slashing at his throat.  The 15 men from the second
boat boarded and subdued the half-drunk and bewildered crew.
     Now Magellan had three ships, and with them he blockaded the
bay.  That night all ships were darkened.  The stalking game was
played in ghostly black silence.
     Suddenly, San Antonio drifted carelessly into Trinidad.
Immediately, grappling hooks were thrown, and torches flared as
Magellan's crew boarded and subdued the mutineers.  The remaining
ship was easily taken.
     The rebel ringleader's servant was offered pardon if he
would agree to act as executioner.  He agreed.  With prayers on
his lips he hacked the head from his master's body and then
quartered him.  The body of Captain Mendoza was also quartered,
and both remains impaled on stakes ashore as a grim reminder to
the rest of the crew.  Two other men, one of them a priest, were
stranded on the coast as punishment and left to survive a la
Robinson Crusoe.
     Santiago was sent to explore further south.  The ship sailed
for 60 miles until it reached a large river.  Since the water was
salty, the explorers thought they had reached the strait, but at
ebbtide the water became fresh, and they knew it was just another
river.  That night the ship was caught in a gale that rammed her
against the sand, breaking her open like a peach basket.  Two men
made it back to the main fleet after 11 days of hardship trekking
through swamps, frozen plains, and subsisting on berries and
roots and melted snow, and the crew of 37 men was rescued.
     They stayed at the site of the wreckage for two months.
Seals were slaughtered, salted, and stored for the great journey
Westward or perish
     By mid-October, with the stores bulging with food and water,
and the men rested, they set sail again.  But not before many
officers and crew leaders again begged Magellan to turn east to
reach the Spice Islands via India where waters were familiar.
Magellan was adamant:  "We must by Providence search for the
passageway until we find it or perish."
     On October 21, they found a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay
which they named the Cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins.  In the
distance were mountains, hardly a likely spot for a strait.
Should they waste time exploring this unlikely spot or keep
sailing south?  Magellan insisted to his recalcitrant crew that
no possibility should be overlooked.  He ordered San Antonio and
Concepcion to explore the bay.
     Suddenly, a quick storm drove Trinidad and Victoria to open
sea, but San Antonio and Concepcion, close to the bay, had to
head for the inlet.  Dashed about so close to the shore, they
were last seen bouncing toward some rocks and shoals and then
disappeared.  Magellan had lost two more ships.
     But the storm was threatening his own two ships.  As the
fury of the wind increased, the mast was torn from Victoria.  The
immense waves towered high over the ships, but miraculously each
time the ships rode the crest, although some men were swept
overboard.  For two days, the storm raged.  When it cleared, the
ships limped back into the bay.  Surely their sister ships and
their hundred men must lost.
     The next morning, Magellan slowly up the bay--when suddenly
the lookout gave a shout "Two Sails!"  There, running at great
speed toward them, their lines flying pendants, and the men
waving and shouting were the two lost ships.  It could mean only
one thing:  They had found the strait leading to the vast ocean
     A day or two after this, San Antonio deserted presumably
heading back to Spain--with more than a third of the expedition's
provisions.  Again disaster had struck.  The expedition appeared
to be cursed.
Through the Pacific
     After they reached the Pacific, many wanted to turn back and
not face the vast expanse of water to the west.  But Magellan
insisted and, for 96 days, they sailed with the trade winds on a
greater stretch of water without land than they had ever en-
countered in any part of the world.
     The diarist wrote:  "We ate crumbling biscuits infested with
grubs, and drank water filthy and stinking . . .  We ate ox hides
from under the yardarms, sawdust and rats.  The gums of the men
swelled so much they could not chew.  Nineteen died."
     Although the men were also crippled by scurvy, the ships
finally reached the Philippines.  They had crossed the world's
greatest ocean.  But this was to be the end of the voyage for
     Why did he linger so long in the Philippines?  Here they had
found a paradise.  Food and supplies were plentiful and the
natives friendly, the women eager to exchange favors for trin-
kets.  Then gold was discovered in abundance among the utensils
and jewelry of the natives, and Magellan's royal charter did
state that "should you discover more than six new lands you shall
keep particular rights to any two of them, your sons and heirs in
A grievous mistake
     But more than that, Magellan was caught up in the throes of
religious conversion.  Most of the Philippinos gladly and avidly
accepted Christianity.  When he was told that the chiefs on some
islands had refused to be converted, he became indignant and
vowed to convert them or send them directly to hell.
     Believing in God's protection, he took only 60 men to battle
some 3,000 rebellious natives on Mactan, a mistake he would not
live to regret.  Pigafetta, the chronicler, was one of the men
who accompanied the captain.  He wrote:
     "Magellan sent an ultimatum ashore but it was rejected.
When his small party landed three battalions of 3,000 islanders
attacked.  Muskets and crossbows were of little effect since the
natives had shields of bamboo.  A poisoned arrow struck Magellan
in the leg and he ordered retreat.  Most of the men fled leaving
only 7 or 8 around the captain . . .  Arrows, bamboo javelines
and stones bombarded the party.  They were now in water up to
their knees . . .  The natives threw the same lance four or five
times over as they picked it up on advancing.  The battle now had
raged for an hour.  One islander thrust the end of his lance
through the bars of Magellan's helmet.  Magellan ran the culprit
through with his lance but could not withdraw it.  He attempted
to draw his sword, but his right arm was crippled from a wound.
One savage cut Magellan across the legs with a sword.  As he fell
the Indians pounced upon him and, as the master looked implor-
ingly at his ships, they cut the life from his body."
     Only 115 men were left, not enough to sail three ships, so
Concepcion was scuttled.  All the papers, logs, letters, and
diaries of Magellan were put aboard by jealous captains before
the torch was set to destroy forever the evidence of their
treachery and mutiny.  But, meanwhile, Pigafetta kept on
Return home, just barely
     The men now turned pirates.  They captured ships, murdered
the crews, stole cargoes, raided ports for women (they kept a
harem of Muslin women on board which led to petty jealousies and
     At the Moluccas, they loaded their ships with spices, but
Trinidad developed a leak and was scuttled.  Only Victoria
remained now.  Sebastian del Cano, one of the men who had earlier
mutinied against Magellan, was now elected captain.  He set sail
with only a crew of 47 and a few Indian natives.  They sailed by
Timor for the Cape of Good Hope avoiding the coastline where
Portuguese ships might be lurking.
     Their journey was far from over.  From the mid-Indian Ocean,
their provisions began to spoil.  The tropic sun rotted their
meat and turned their water into yellow scum.  Scurvy again laid
the men low.  Monsoon storms broke the masts.  From the intense
heat of the Indian Ocean, they headed deep into Antarctic waters
to round the Cape.
     When Victoria finally made her way back to Spain, she was
nothing more than a floating wreck.  Her sails were in shreds,
her mast askew, her seams split, and she was kept afloat with the
constant use of pumps.  Only 18 Europeans remained out of the
original crew of 290, which had set sail three years before.
     They anchored near Seville, shot their cannon, and marched
ashore barefoot with lighted candles to the church of Santa Maria
de la Victoria.  The ghost of Magellan probably walked with them,
for without him they would not have made it even to the Canary
    As Pigafetta wrote:  "In the midst of the sea he was able to
endure hunger better than we.  Most versed in nautical charts, he
knew better than any other the true art of navigation, of which
it is certain proof that he by his genius, and his intrepidity,
without anyone having given him the example, how to attempt the
circuit of the globe which he had almost completed . . .  The
glory of Magellan will survive him."
The first circumnavigation of the globe was led by Ferdinand Magellan. He was born in the spring of 1480 to a family of lower nobility. Educated in the Portuguese court, Magellan proved himself in many battles in the name of his country. Like Columbus before him, Magellan believed he could get to the Spice Islands by sailing west. He knew he would have to sail around or through the New World to do so. Like so many explorers before him, he thought the earth was much smaller than it actually is. Snubbed by the Portuguese king, Magellan easily convinced the teenaged Spanish king, Charles I (also known as the Holy Roman emperor Charles V) that at least some of the Spice Islands lay in the Spanish half of the undiscovered world.
King Charles approved Magellan's plan and granted him generous funds on March 22, 1518. With money from the king, the explorer was able to obtain five ships (possibly naos) called the Trinidad, the San Antonio, the Concepcion, the Victoria, and the Santiago. In September [1519], he set sail with 270 men. A good deal of what we know of the voyage of Magellan came from an Italian crew member, Antonio Pigafetta. Pigafetta kept a diary of the voyage and remained a staunch supporter of the Portuguese explorer. Like Columbus, Magellan was a foreigner in charge of Spanish captains, and like Columbus, his voyage was fraught with problems. Spanish captains Juan de Cartegena of the San Antonio, Gaspar de Quesada of the Concepcion, and Luis de Mendoza of the Victoria were plotting to kill Magellan.

After a brief stop at the Canary Islands, Magellan's fleet set sail for Brazil on a southwest course. Cartegena, the ringleader of a mutiny attempt, was relieved of his command of the San Antonio and held prisoner aboard the Victoria. After crossing the equator on November 20, 1519, the crew sighted Brazil on December 6. Magellan thought it unwise to go near the Portuguese territory since he was sailing under the Spanish flag. His fleet eventually anchored off the coast of present-day Rio de Janiero, out of the way of the Portuguese, on December 13th. After stocking up on fresh food and water, the fleet made its way down the east coast of South America looking for a passage to the Pacific Ocean. The farther south they sailed, the colder the weather. The weather was so bad, the fleet decided to spend the winter in Patagonia. The area where they settled on March 31, 1520, was called San Julian.

When Magellan reached Patagonia (present-day Argentina), another mutiny was attempted. Cartegena, released by captain Mendoza, attempted once again to take over the fleet and have Magellan killed. The Portuguese explorer was able to put down the rebellion by marooning Cartegena in the barren Patagonia, imprisoning some, and having Quesada and other rebels executed.

 During the cold summer months, Magellan sent the Santiago on a reconnaissance mission down the coast to look for a passage to the other side of the continent. Unfortunately in May, the Santiago wrecked in rough seas. In the latter half of August, Magellan decided it was time to move the remaining four ships south to look for a passage. Finally in October, the fleet sighted a strait and started through it. Magellan named it the strait of All Saints, but it later was named after him. The strait was a tricky passage that took the fleet 38 days to pass through. While sailing at night, the crew saw countless fires from distant Indian camps. They called the land Tierra del Fuego (land of fire). During the passage, the captain of the San Antonio sailed his ship back toward Spain, taking with him most of the fleet's provisions. The loss of the San Antonio was a severe blow to the men on the remaining ships. They had to double their efforts to hunt game and fish to keep from starving.

During the last week of November the three ships emerged from the strait to the open sea of the Pacific. Magellan mistakenly thought the Spice Islands were a short voyage away. He had no idea of the immense size of the ocean and thought he could cross it in two to three days. The voyage took approximately four months.

Conditions aboard the ships were abominable. The crew began to starve as food stores were depleted. The water turned putrid and yellow in color. The crew survived on sawdust, leather strips from the sails, and rats. Without the benefit of vitamin C in fresh fruits and vegetables, the men also came down with scurvy.

Finally in January, 1521, the crew stopped off at an island to feast on fish, crabs, and seabird eggs, but without fresh fruit and vegetables, scurvy still plagued the crew. In March, the crew stopped in Guam and were able to supply the ships with food including fresh fruit, vegetables, and water. They sailed on to the Philippines, arriving on March 28. After befriending an island king, Magellan foolishly got involved in the natives' tribal warfare and was killed in battle on [April 27, 1521].

 Sebastian del Cano took over the remaining three ships and 115 survivors. Because there were not enough men to crew three ships, del Cano had the Concepcion burned. The two remaining ships sailed from the Philippines on May 1 and made it to the Moluccas (Spice Islands) in November. Both ships loaded with valuable spices.

In an attempt to guarantee that at least one ship would make it back to Spain, the Trinidad went east across the Pacific, while the Victoria continued west. The Trinidad did not make it back. The ship was seized by the Portuguese and most of her crew were killed. The Victoria managed to elude the Portuguese as it crossed enemy trade routes in the Indian Ocean and rounded the Cape of Good Hope. On [September 6, 1522], almost three years from the day it began its historic journey, the Victoria and 18 crew members, (Pigafetta among them) arrived in Spain. It was the first vessel to circumnavigate the globe. Click to view Magellan's voyage

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Modern History Sourcebook:
Ferdinand Magellan's Voyage Round the World, 1519-1522 CE


Ferdinand de Magellan was born about 1470 of noble parents, and probably spent his boyhood as a page of the Queen of Portugal. As a young man he was in the East India service, then in Morocco. After a slight from King Manuel, he enlisted under the Spanish king, and set forth his project for a trip round the world. The expedition set sail August 10, 1519. Magellan was killed in April 1521 at Zebu [in the Phillippines], but they had already reached the eastern edge of the known world, and his men completed the voyage to Spain. The voyage proved that the earth is round (although most educated people knew this already!).

This source of this  account is a transcription from the paper-book of a Genoese pilot," who came in the said ship, who wrote all the voyage as it is here. He went to Portugal in the year 1524 with Dom Amriqui de Menezes."

HE [Magellan] sailed from Seville on the 10th day of August of the said year [1519], and remained at the bar until the 21st day of September, and as soon as he got outside, he steered to the southwest to make the island of Tenerife, and they reached the said island on the day of St. Michael, which was the 29th of September. Thence he made his course to fetch the Cape Verde islands, and they passed between the islands and the Cape without sighting either the one or the other. Having got as far as this neighborhood, he shaped his course so as to make for Brazil, and as soon as they sighted the other coast of Brazil, he steered to the southeast along the coast as far as Cabo-frio, which is in twenty-three degrees south latitude; and from this cape he steered to the west, a matter of thirty leagues, to make the Rio de Janeiro, which is in the same latitude as Cabo-frio, and they entered the said Rio on the day of St. Lucy, which was the 13th December, in which place they took in wood, and they remained there until the first octave of Christmas, which was the 26th of December of the same year.

They sailed from this Rio de Janeiro on the 26th December, and navigated along the coast to make the Cape of St. Mary, which is in thirty-four degrees and two-thirds; as soon as they sighted it, they made their course west-northwest, thinking they would find a passage for their voyage, and they found that they had got into a great river of fresh water, to which they gave the name of river of St. Christopher, and it is in thirty-four degrees, and they remained in it till the 2nd of February, 1520.

He sailed from this river of St. Christopher on the 2nd of the said month of February; they navigated along the said coast, and further on to the south they discovered a point which is in the same river more to the south, to which they gave the name of Point St. Antony; it is in thirty-six degrees, hence they ran to the south-west, a matter of twenty-five leagues, and made another cape which they named Cape St. Apelonia, which is in thirty-six degrees; thence they navigated to the west-south-west to some shoals, which they named Shoals of the Currents, which are in thirty-nine degrees; and thence they navigated out to sea, and lost sight of land for a matter of two or three days, when they again made for the land, and they came to a bay, which they entered, and ran within it the whole day, thinking that there was an outlet for Maluco, and when night came they found that it was quite closed up, and in the same night they again stood out by the way which they had come in. This bay is in forty-four degrees; they named it the island of St. Matthew. They navigated from this island of St. Matthew along the coast until they reached another bay, where they caught many sea-wolves and birds; to this they gave the name of "Bay of Labors;" it is in thirty-seven degrees; here they were near losing the flag-ship in a storm. Thence they navigated along the said coast, and arrived on the last day of March of the year 1520 at the Port of St. Julian, which is in forty-nine and one-third degrees, and here they wintered, and found the day a little more or less than seven hours.

In this port three of the ships rose up against the Captain-major, their captains saying that they intended to take him to Castile in arrest, as he was taking them all to destruction. Here, through the exertions of the said Captain-major, and the assistance and favor of the foreigners whom he carried with him, the Captain-major went to the said three ships which were already mentioned, and there the captain of one of them was killed, who was treasurer of the whole fleet, and named Luis de Mendo‡a; he was killed in his own ship by stabs with a dagger by the chief constable of the fleet, who was sent to do this by Fernando de Magelhaes [i.e., Magellan] in a boat with certain men. The said three ships having thus been recovered, five days later Fernando de Magelhaes ordered Gaspar de Queixada to be decapitated and quartered; he was captain of one of the ships, and was one of those who had mutinied.

In this port they refitted the ship. Here the captain-major made Alvaro re Mesquita, a Portuguese, captain of one of the ships the captain of which had been killed. There sailed from this port on the 24th of August four ships, for the smallest of the ships had been already lost; he had sent it to reconnoiter, and the weather had been heavy, and had cast it ashore, where all the crew had been recovered along with the merchandise, artillery and fittings of the ship. They remained in this port, in which they wintered, five months and twenty-four days, and they were seventy degrees less ten minutes to the southward.

They sailed on the 24th day of the month of August of the said year from this port of St. Julian, and navigated a matter of twenty leagues along the coast, and so they entered a river which was called Santa Cruz, which is in fifty degrees, where they took in goods and as much as they could obtain: the crew of the lost ship were already distributed among the other ships, for they had returned by land to where Fernando de Magalhaes was, and they continued collecting the goods which had remained there during August and up to the 18th September, and there they took in water and much fish which they caught in this river; and in the other, where they wintered, there were people like savages, and the men are from nine to ten spans in height, very well made; they have not got houses, they only go about from one place to another with their flocks, and eat meat nearly raw: they are all of them archers and kill many animals with arrows, and with the skins they make clothes, that is to say, they make the skins very supple, and fashion them after the shape of the body, as well as they can, then they cover themselves with them, and fasten them by a belt round the waist. When they do not wish to be clothed from the waist upwards, they let that half fall which is above the waist, and the garment remains hanging down from the belt which they have girt round them. They wear shoes which cover them four inches above the ankle, full of straw inside to keep their feet warm. They do not possess any iron, nor any other ingenuity of weapons, only they make the points of their arrows of flints, and so also the knives with which they cut, and the adze and awls with which they cut and stitch their shoes and clothes. They are very agile people, and do no harm, and thus they follow their flocks: wherever night finds them there they sleep; they carry their wives along with them with all the chattels which they possess. The women are very small and carry heavy burdens on their backs; they wear shoes and clothes just like the men. Of these men they obtained three or four and brought them in the ships, and they all died except one, who went to Castile in a ship which went thither.

They sailed from this river of Santa Cruz on the 18th of October: they continued navigating along the coast until the 21st day of the same month, October, when they discovered a cape, to which they gave the name of Cape of the Virgins, because they sighted it on the day of the eleven thousand virgins; it is in fifty-two degrees, a little more or less, and from this cape a matter of two or three leagues distance, we found ourselves at the mouth of a strait. We sailed along the said coast within that strait which they had reached the mouth of: they entered in it a little and anchored. Fernando de Magelhaes sent to discover what there was further in, and they found three channels, that is to say, two more in a southerly direction, and one traversing the country in the direction of Maluco [i.e., the Straits of Magellan], but at that time this was not yet known, only the three mouths were seen. The boats went thither, and brought back word, and they set sail and anchored at these mouths of the channels, and Fernando de Magelhaes sent two ships to learn what there was within, and these ships went: one returned to the Captain-major, and the other, of which Alvaro de Mesquita was captain, entered into one of the bays which was to the south, and did not return any more. Fernan de Magelhaes seeing that it did not come back, set sail, and the next day he did not choose to make for the bays, and went to the south, and took another which runs north-west and southeast, and a quarter west and east. He left letters in the place from which he sailed, so that if the other ship returned, it might make the course which he left prescribed.

After this they entered into the channel, which at some places has a width of three leagues, and two, and one, and in some places half a league, and he went through it as long as it was daylight, and anchored when it was night: and he sent the boats, and the ships went after the boats, and they brought news that there was an outlet, for they already saw the great sea on the other side; on which account Fernando de Magalhaes ordered much artillery to be fired for rejoicing; and before they went forth from this strait they found two islands, the first one larger, and the other nearer towards the outlet is the smaller one: and they went out between these islands and the coast on the southern side, as it was deeper than on the other side. This strait is a hundred leagues in length to the outlet; that outlet and the entrance are in fifty-two degrees latitude. They made a stay in this strait from the 21st October to the 26th of November, which makes thirty-six days of the said year of 1520, and as soon as they went out from the strait to sea, they made their course, for the most part, to west-north-west, when they found that their needles varied to the north-west almost two-fourths, and after they had navigated thus for many days, they found an island in a little more or less than eighteen degrees, or nineteen degrees: and also there was another, which was in from thirteen to fourteen degrees, and this in south altitude; they are uninhabited. They ran on until they reached the line, when Fernan de Magalhaes said that now they were in the neighborhood of Maluco, as he had information that there were no provisions at Maluco, he said that he would go in a northerly direction as far as ten or twelve degrees, and they reached to as far as thirteen degrees north, and in this latitude they navigated to the west, and a quarter south-west, a matter of a hundred leagues, where on the 6th of March, 1521, they fetched two islands inhabited by many people, and they anchored at one of them, which is in twelve degrees north; and the inhabitants are people of little truth, and they did not take precautions against them until they saw that they were taking away the skiff of the flagship, and they cut the rope with which it was made fast, and took it ashore without their being able to prevent it. They gave this island the name of Thieves' Island (dos ladroes).

Fernando de Magalhaes seeing that the skiff was lost, set sail, as it was already night, tacking about until the next day; as soon as it was morning they anchored at the place where they had seen the skiff carried off to, and he ordered two boats to be got ready with a matter of fifty or sixty men, and he went ashore in person, and burned the whole village, and they killed seven or eight persons, between men and women, and recovered the skiff, and returned to the ships; and while they were there they saw forty or fifty paraos come, which came from the same land, and brought much refreshments.

Fernan de Magalhaes would not make any further stay, and at once set sail, and ordered the course to be steered west, and a quarter south-west; and so they made land [i.e., in the Phillippines], which is in barely eleven degrees. This land is an island, but he would not touch at this one, and they went to touch at another further on which appeared first. Fernando de Magelhaes sent a boat ashore to observe the nature of the island; when the boat reached land, they saw from the ships two paraos come out from behind the point; then they called back their boat. The people of the paraos seeing that the boat was returning to the ships, turned back the paraos, and the boat reached the ships, which at once set sail for another island very near to this island, which is in ten degrees, and they gave it the name of the island of Good Signs, because they found some gold in it. Whilst they were thus anchored at this island, there came to them two paraos, and brought them fowls and cocoa nuts, and told them that they had already seen there other men like them, from which they presumed that these might be Lequios or Magores; a nation of people who have this name, or Chiis; and thence they set sail, and navigated further on amongst many islands, to which they gave the name of the Valley Without Peril, and also St. Lazarus, and they ran on to another island twenty leagues from that from which they sailed, which is in ten degrees, and came to anchor at another island, which is named Macangor, which is in nine degrees; and in this island they were very well received, and they placed a cross in it.

This king conducted them thence a matter of thirty leagues to another island named Cabo, which is in ten degrees, and in this island Fernando de Magalhaes did what he pleased with the consent of the country, and in one day eight hundred people became Christian, on which account Fernan de Magalhaes desired that the other kings, neighbors to this one, should become subject to this who had become Christian: and these did not choose to yield such obedience. Fernan de Magalhaes seeing that, got ready one night with his boats, and burned the villages of those who would not yield the said obedience; and a matter of ten or twelve days after this was done he sent to a village about half a league from that which he had burned, which is named Matam, and which is also an island, and ordered them to send him at once three goats, three pigs, three loads of rice, and three loads of millet for provisions for the ships; they replied that of each article which he sent to ask them three of, they would send to him by twos, and if he was satisfied with this they would at once comply, if not, it might be as he pleased, but that they would not give it. Because they did not choose to grant what he demanded of them, Fernan de Magalhaes ordered three boats to be equipped with a matter of fifty or sixty men, and went against the said place, which was on the 28th day of April, in the morning; there they found many people, who might well be as many as three thousand or four thousand men, who fought with such a good will that the said Fernan de Magalhaes was killed there, with six of his men, in the year 1521.

When Fernan de Magelhaes was dead the Christians got back to the ships, where they thought fit to make two captains and governors whom they should obey; and having done this, they took counsel and decided that the two captains should go ashore where the people had turned Christians to ask for pilots to take them to Borneo, and this was on the first day of May of the said year; when the two captains went, being agreed upon what had been said, the same people of the country who had become Christians, armed themselves against them, and whilst they reached the shore let them land in security as they had done before. Then they attacked them, and killed the two captains and twenty-six gentlemen, and the other people who remained got back to the boats, and returned to the ships, and finding themselves again without captains they agreed, inasmuch as the principal persons were killed, that one John Lopez, who was the chief treasurer, should be captain-major of the fleet, and the chief constable of the fleet should be captain of one of the ships; he was named Gonzalo Vaz Despinosa. Having done this they set sail, and ran about twenty-five leagues with three ships, which they still possessed; they then mustered, and found that they were altogether one hundred and eight men in all these three ships, and many of them were wounded and sick, on which account they did not venture to navigate the three ships, and thought it would be well to burn one of them---the one that should be most suitable for that purpose---and to take into the two ships those that remained: this they did out at sea, out of sight of any land. While they did this many paraos came to speak to them; and navigating amongst the islands, for in that neighborhood there are a great many, they did not understand one another, for they had no interpreter, for he had been killed with Fernan de Magalhaes. Sailing further on amongst islets they came to anchor at an island which is named Carpyam, where there is gold enough, and this island is in fully eight degrees.

Whilst at anchor in this port of Carpyam, they had speech with the inhabitants of the island, and made peace with them, and Carvalho, who was captain-major, gave them the boat of the ship which had been burnt: this island has three islets in the offing; here they took in some refreshments, and sailed further on to south-west, and fell in with another island, which is named Caram, and is in eleven degrees; from this they went on further to west south-west, and fell in with a large island, and ran along the coast of this island to the north-east, and reached as far as nine degrees and a half, where they went ashore one day, with the boats equipped to seek for provisions, for in the ships there was now not more than for eight days. On reaching shore the inhabitants would not suffer them to land, and shot at them with arrows of cane hardened in the fire, so that they returned to the ships.

Seeing this, they agreed to go to another island, where they had had some dealings, to see if they could get some provisions. Then they met with a contrary wind, and going about a league in the direction in which they wished to go, they anchored, and whilst at anchor they saw that people on shore were hailing them to go thither; they went there with the boats, and as they were speaking to those people by signs, for they did not understand each other otherwise, a man at arms, named Joam de Campos, told them to let him go on shore, since there were no provisions in the ships, and it might be that they would obtain some means of getting provisions; and that if the people killed him, they would not lose much with him, for God would take thought of his soul; and also if he found provisions, and if they did not kill him, he would find means for bringing them to the ships: and they thought well of this. So he went on shore, and as soon as he reached it, the inhabitants received him, and took him into the interior the distance of a league, and when he was in the village all the people came to see him, and they gave him food, and entertained him well, especially when they saw that he ate pig's flesh; because in this island they had dealings with the Moors of Borneo, and because the country and people were greedy, they made them neither eat pigs nor bring them up in the country. This country is called Dygua‡am, and is in nine degrees.

The said Christian seeing that he was favored and well treated by the inhabitants, gave them to understand by his signs that they should carry provisions to the ships, which would be well paid for. In the country there was nothing except rice not pounded. Then the people set to pounding rice all the night, and when it was morning they took the rice and the said Christian, and came to the ships, where they did them great honor, and took in the rice and paid them, and they returned on shore. This man being already set on shore, inhabitants of another village, a little further on, came to the ships and told them to go to their village, and that they would give them much provisions for their money; and as soon as the said man whom they had sent arrived, they set sail and went to anchor at the village of those who had come to call them, which was named Vay Palay Cucara Canbam, where Carvalho made peace with the king of the country, and they settled the price of the rice, and they gave them two measures of rice which weighed one hundred and fourteen pounds for three fathoms of linen stuff of Brittany; they took there as much rice as they wanted, and goats and pigs, and whilst they were at this place there came a Moor, who had been in the village of Dygua‡am, which belongs to the Moors of Borneo, as has been said above, and after that he went to his country.

While they were at anchor near this village of Dygua‡am, there came to them a parao in which there was a negro named Bastiam, who asked for a flag and a passport for the governor of Dygua‡am, and they gave him all this and other things as a present. They asked the said Bastiam, who spoke Portuguese sufficiently well, since he had been in Maluco, where he became a Christian, if he would go with them and show them Borneo; he said he would very willingly, and when the departure arrived he hid himself, and seeing that he did not come, they set sail from this port of Dygua‡am on the 21st day of July to seek for Borneo. As they set sail there came to them a parao, which was coming to the port of Dygua‡am, and they took it, and in it they took three Moors, who said they were pilots, and that they would take them to Borneo.

Having got these Moors, they steered along this island to the south-west, and fell in with two islands at its extremity, and passed between them; that on the north side is named Bolyna, and that on the south Bamdym. Sailing to the west south-west a matter of fourteen leagues, they fell in with a white bottom, which was a shoal below the water, and the black men they carried with them told them to draw near to the coast of the island, as it was deeper there, and that was more in the direction of Borneo, for from that neighborhood the island of Borneo could already be sighted. This same day they reached and anchored at some islands, to which they gave the name of islets of St. Paul, which was a matter of two and a half or three leagues from the great island of Borneo, and they were in about seven degrees at the south side of these islands. In the island of Borneo there is an exceedingly great mountain, to which they gave the name of Mount St. Paul; and from thence they navigated along the coast of Borneo itself; and they went forward on the same course and reached the neighborhood of Borneo, and the Moors whom they had with them told them that there was Borneo, and the wind did not suffer them to arrive thither, as it was contrary. They anchored at an island which is there, and which may be eight leagues from Borneo.

Close to this island is another which has many myrobolans, and the next day they set sail for the other island, which is nearer to the port of Borneo; and going along thus they saw so many shoals that they anchored, and sent the boats ashore in Borneo, and they took the aforesaid Moorish pilots on shore, and there went a Christian with them; and the boats went to set them on land, from whence they had to go to the city of Borneo, which was three leagues off, and there they were taken before the Shahbendr of Borneo, and he asked what people they were, and for what they came in the ships; and they were presented to the King of Borneo with the Christian. As soon as the boats had set the said men on shore, they sounded in order to see if the ships could come in closer: and during this they saw three junks which were coming from the port of Borneo from the said city out to sea, and as soon as they saw the ships they returned inshore: continuing to sound, they found the channel by which the port is entered; they then set sail, and entered this channel, and being within the channel they anchored, and would not go further in until they received a message from the shore, which arrived next day with two paraos: these carried certain swivel guns of metal, and a hundred men in each parao, and they brought goats and fowls, and two cows, and figs, and other fruit, and told them to enter further in opposite the islands which were near there, which was the true berth; and from this position to the city there might be three or four leagues. Whilst thus at anchor they established peace, and settled that they should trade in what there was in the country, especially wax, to which they answered that they would willingly sell all that there was in the country for their money. This port of Borneo is in eight degrees.

For the answer thus received from the King they sent him a present by Gonzalo Mendes Despinosa, captain of the ship Victoria, and the King accepted the present, and gave to all of them China stuffs: and when there had passed twenty or twenty-three days that they were there trading with the people of the island, and had got five men on shore in the city itself, there came to anchor at the bar, close to them, five junks, at the hour of vespers, and they remained there that evening and the night until next day in the morning, when they saw coming from the city two hundred paraos, some under sail, others rowing. Seeing in this manner the five junks and the paraos, it seemed to them that there might be treachery, and they set sail for the junks, and as soon as the crews of the junks saw them under sail, they also set sail and made off where the wind best served them; and they overhauled one of the junks with the boats, and took it with twenty-seven men; and the ships went and anchored abreast of the island of the Myrolobans, with the junk made fast to the poop of the flagship, and the paraos returned to shore, and when night came there came on a squall from the west in which the said junk went to the bottom alongside the flagship, without being able to receive any assistance from it.

Next day in the morning they saw a sail, and went to it and took it; this was a great junk in which the son of the King of Lucam came as captain, and had with him ninety men, and as soon as they took them they sent some of them to the King of Borneo; and they sent him word by these men to send the Christians whom they had got there, who were seven men, and they would give him all the people whom they had taken in the junk; on which account the King sent two men of the seven whom he had got there in a parao, and they again sent him word to send the five men who still remained, and they would send all the people whom they had got from the junk. They waited two days for the answer, and there came no message; then they took thirty men from the junk, and put them into a parao belonging to the junk, and sent them to the King of Borneo, and set sail with fourteen men of those they had taken and three women; and they steered along the coast of the said island to the north-east, returning backwards; and they again passed between the islands and the great island of Borneo, where the flagship grounded on a point of the island, and so remained more than four hours, and the tide turned and it got off, by which it was seen clearly that the tide was of twenty-four hours.

Whilst making the aforesaid course the wind shifted to northeast, and they stood out to sea, and they saw a sail coming, and the ships anchored, and the boats went to it and took it; it was a small junk and carried nothing but cocoa-nuts; and they took in water and wood, and set sail along the coast of the island to the north-east, until they reached the extremity of the said island, and met with another small island, where they overhauled the ships. They arrived at this island on the day of our Lady of August, and in it they found a very good point for beaching the ships, and they gave it the name of Port St. Mary of August, and it is in fully seven degrees.

As soon as they had taken these precautions they set sail and steered to the south-west until they sighted the island which is named Fagajam, and this is a course of thirty-eight to forty leagues: and as soon as they sighted this island they steered to the south-west, and again made an island which is called Seloque, and they had information that there were many pearls there: and when they had already sighted that island the wind shifted to a head-wind, and they could not fetch it by the course they were sailing, and it seemed to them that it might be in six degrees. This same night they arrived at the island of Quipe, and ran along it to the south-east, and passed between it and another island called Tamgym, and always running along the coast of the island, going thus, they fell in with a parao laden with bread in loaves, which is bread made of a tree which is named cajare, which the people of that country eat as bread. This parao carried twenty-one men, and the chief of them had been in Maluco in the house of Francisco Serram, and having gone further along this island they arrived in sight of some islands which are named Semrryn; they are in five degrees, a little more or less. The inhabitants of this land came to see the ships, and so they had speech of one another, and an old man of these people told them that he would conduct them to Maluco.

In this manner, having fixed a time with the old man, an agreement was made with him, and they gave him a certain price for this; and when the next day came, and they were to depart, the old man intended to escape, and they understood it, and took him and others who were with him, and who also said that they knew pilot's work, and they set sail; and as soon as the inhabitants saw them go they fitted out to go after them: and of these paraos there did not reach the ships more than two, and these reached so near that they shot arrows into the ships, and the wind was fresh and they could not come up with them. At midnight of that day they sighted some islands, and they steered more towards them; and next day they saw land, which was an island; and at night following that day they found themselves very close to it, and when night fell the wind calmed and the currents drew them very much inshore; there the old pilot cast himself into the sea, and betook himself to land.

Sailing thus forward, after one of the pilots had fled, they sighted another island and arrived close to it, and another Moorish pilot said that Maluco was still further on, and navigating thus, the next day in the morning they sighted three high mountains, which belonged to a nation of people whom they called the Salabos; and then they saw a small island where they anchored to take in some water, and because they feared that in Maluco they would not be allowed to take it in; and they omitted doing so, because the Moorish pilot told them that there were some four hundred men in that island, and that they were all very bad, and might do them some injury, as they were men of little faith; and that he would give them no such advice as to go to that island; and also because Maluco, which they were seeking, was now near, and that its kings were good men, who gave a good reception to all sorts of men in their country; and while still in this neighborhood they saw the islands themselves of Maluco, and for rejoicing they fired all the artillery, and they arrived at the island on the 8th of November of 1521, so that they spent from Seville to Maluco two years, two months and twenty-eight days, for they sailed on the 10th of August of 1519.

As soon as they arrived at the island of Tydor, which is in half a degree, the King thereof did them great honor, which could not be exceeded: there they treated with the King for their cargo, and the King engaged to give them a cargo and whatever there was in the country for their money, and they settled to give for the bahar of cloves fourteen ells of yellow cloth of twenty-seven tem, which are worth in Castile a ducat the ell; of red cloth of the same kind ten ells; they also gave thirty ells of Brittany linen cloth, and for each of these quantities they received a bahar of cloves, likewise for thirty knives eight bahars: having thus settled all the above mentioned prices, the inhabitants of the country gave them information that further on, in another island near, there was a Portuguese man. This island might be two leagues distant, and it was named Targatell; this man was the chief person of Maluco; there we now have got a fortress. They then wrote letters to the said Portuguese, to come and speak with them, to which he answered that he did not dare, because the King of the country forbade it; that if they obtained permission from the King he would come at once; this permission they soon got, and the Portuguese came to speak with him. They gave him an account of the prices which they had settled, at which he was amazed, and said that on that account the King had ordered him not to come, as they did not know the truth about the prices of the country; and whilst they were thus taking in cargo there arrived the King of Baraham, which is near there, and said that he wished to be a vassal of the King of Castile, and also that he had got four hundred bahars of cloves, and that he had sold it to the King of Portugal, and that they had bought it, but that he had not yet delivered it, and if they wished for it, he would give it all to them; to which the captains answered that if he brought it to them, and came with it, they would buy it, but otherwise not. The King, seeing that they did not wish to take the cloves, asked them for a flag and a letter of safe conduct, which they gave him, signed by the captains of the ships.

While they were thus waiting for the cargo, it seemed to them, from the delay in the delivery, that the King was preparing some treachery against them, and the greater part of the ships' crews made an uproar and told the captains to go, as the delays which the King made were nothing else than treachery: as it seemed to them all that it might be so, they were abandoning everything, and were intending to depart; and being about to unfurl the sails, the King, who had made the agreement with them, came to the flagship and asked the captain why he wanted to go, because that which he had agreed upon with him he intended to fulfill it as had been settled. The captain replied that the ships' crews said they should go and not remain any longer, as it was only treachery that was being prepared against them. To this the King answered that it was not so, and on that account he at once sent for his Koran, upon which he wished to make oath that nothing such should be done to them. They at once brought him this Koran, and upon it he made oath, and told them to rest at ease with that. At this the crews were set at rest, and promised them that he would give them their cargo by the 1st December 1521, which he fulfilled within the said time without being wanting in anything.

When the two ships were already laden and about to unfurl their sails, the flagship sprung a large leak, and the King of the country learning this, he sent them twenty-five divers to stop the leak, which they were unable to do. They settled that the other ship should depart, and that this one should again discharge all its cargo, and unload it; and as they could not stop the leak, that they [the people of the country] should give them all that they might be in need of. This was done, and they discharged the cargo of the flagship; and when the said ship was repaired, they took in her cargo, and decided on making for the country of the Antilles, and the course from Maluco to it was 2,000 leagues a little more or less. The other ship, which set sail first, left on the 21st of December of the said year, and went out to sea for Timor, and made its course behind Java, 2,055 leagues to the Cape of Good Hope.

They refitted the ship, and took in the cargo in four months and sixteen days: they sailed on the 6th of April of the year 1522, and took their course for the mainland of the Antilles by the strait through which they had come; and at first they navigated to the North, until they came out from the islands of Ternate and Timor; afterwards they navigated along the island of Betachina, ten or eleven leagues to the North-east: after that they steered about twenty leagues to the North-east, and so arrived at an island, which is named Doyz, and is in three and a half degrees South latitude at its south-eastern side: from this place they navigated three or four leagues eastwards, and sighted two islands, one large and the other small; the large one was named Porquenampello, and passed between it and Batechina, which lay on their starboard side. They reached a cape, to which they gave the name Cape of Palms, because they sighted it on the vigil of Palms. This cape is in two and a half degrees: thence they steered to the South to make Quimar, which is land belonging to the King of Tydor, and the said King had ordered that they should receive whatever there was in the country for their money, and there they took pigs and goats, and fowls and coconuts and hava: they remained in this port eight or nine days. This port of Camarfya is in one and a quarter degree.

They sailed from this port on the 20th of April and steered for about seventeen leagues, and came out of the channel of the island of Batechina and the island Charam; and as soon as they were outside, they saw that the said island of Charam ran to the South-east a good eighteen or twenty leagues, and it was not their course, for their direction was to the East and a quarter North-east; and they navigated in the said course some days, and always found the winds very contrary for their course. On the 3rd of May they made two small islands, which might be in five degrees more or less, to which they gave the name of islands of St. Antony. Thence they navigated further on to the North-east, and arrived at an island which is named Cyco, which is in fully nineteen degrees, and they made this island on the 11th of July. From this island they took a man, whom they carried away with them, and they navigated further on, tacking about with contrary winds, until they reached forty-two degrees North latitude.

When they were in this neighborhood, they were short of bread, wine, meat, and oil; they had nothing to eat only water and rice, without other provisions; and the cold was great, and they had not sufficient covering, the crews began to die, and seeing themselves in this state, they decided on putting back in the direction of Maluco, which they at once carried into effect. When at a distance of five hundred leagues from it, they desired to make the island which is named Quamgragam, and as they sighted it at night, they did not choose to make it; they waited thus till it dawned next day, and they were unable to fetch the said island; and the man whom they carried with them, and whom before they had taken from that island, told them to go further on, and they would make three islands, where there was a good port, and this which the black man said, was in order to run away at them, as indeed he did run away. On arriving at these three islands, they fetched them with some danger, and anchored in the middle of them in fifteen fathoms. Of these islands, the largest was inhabited by twenty persons between men and women: this island is named Pamo; it is in twenty degrees more or less: here they took in rain-water, as there was no other in the country. In this island the black man ran away. Thence they sailed to make the land of Camafo, and as soon as they sighted it they had calms, and the currents carried them away from the land; and afterwards they had a little wind, and they made for the land, but could not fetch it; they then went to anchor between the islands of Domi and Batechina, and while at anchor, a parao passed by them with some men who belonged to the King of an island named Geilolo, and they gave them news that the Portuguese were in Maluco making a fortress. Learning this, they at once sent the clerk of the ship with certain men to the captain-major of those Portuguese, who was named Antonio de Bryto, to ask him to come and bring the ship to the place where they were; because the crew of the ship had mostly died, and the rest were sick, and could not navigate the ship. As soon as Antonio de Bryto saw the letter and message, he sent down Dom Gonzalo Amriquiz, captain of the fortress, and whilst they were discharging its cargo, there came a squall from the north, which cast it on shore. Where this ship turned to put back to Maluco was a little more or less than 1050 or 1100 leagues from the island.

This was transcribed from the paper-book of a Genoese pilot, who came in the said ship, who wrote all the voyage as it is here. He went to Portugal in the year 1524 with Dom Amriqui de Menezes. Thanks be to God.


Christopher Columbus


               Christopher Columbus, Master Mariner and Navigator, was born in Genoa, Italy, about
               August/October 1451 and died at Valladolid, Spain, May 20, 1506. He was the eldest son
               of Domenico Colombo, a Genoese wool worker and small-time merchant, and Susanna
               Fontanarossa, his wife. Columbus is widely thought to have been the first European to sail
               across the Atlantic Ocean and make landfall on the American continent. He made four
               voyages across the Atlantic under the sponsorship of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic
               Monarchs of Aragon, Castile, and Leon in Spain. On the first and second voyages (Aug. 3,
               1492-March 15, 1493, and Sept. 25, 1493-June 11, 1496) Columbus sighted the
               majority of the islands of the Caribbean and established a base in Hispaniola (now divided
               into Haiti and the Dominican Republic). On the third voyage (May 30, 1498-October
               1500) he reached Trinidad and Venezuela and the Orinoco River delta. On the fourth
               (May 9, 1502-Nov. 7, 1504) he returned to South America and sailed from Cape
               Honduras to the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Veragua, and Panama.
               Although at first full of hope and ambition, an ambition partly gratified by his title "Admiral
               of the Ocean Sea," awarded to him in April 1492, and by the grants enrolled in the Book
               of Privileges (a record of his titles and claims), Columbus died a disappointed man. He
               was removed from the governorship of Hispaniola in 1499, his chief patron, Queen
               Isabella, died in 1504, and his efforts to recover his governorship of the "Indies" from King
               Ferdinand were, in the end, unavailing. In 1542, however, the bones of Columbus were
               taken from Spain to the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Hispaniola (now the Dominican
               Republic), where they may still lie. (see also Index: West Indies)

               The period between the quatercentenary celebrations of Columbus' achievements in
               1892-93 and the quincentenary ones of 1992 saw great advances in Columbus
               scholarship. A huge number of books about Columbus have appeared in the 1990s, and
               the insights of archaeologists and anthropologists now complement those of sailors and
               historians. This effort has given rise, as might be expected, to considerable debate. The
               past few years have also seen a major shift in approach and interpretation; the older
               pro-European and imperialist understanding has given way to one shaped from the
               perspective of the inhabitants of the Americas themselves. According to the older
               understanding, the discovery of the Americas was a great triumph, one in which Columbus
               played the part of hero in accomplishing the four voyages, in being the means of bringing
               great material profit to Spain and to other European countries, and in opening up the
               Americas to European settlement. The second perspective, however, has concentrated on
               the destructive side of the European intrusions, emphasizing, for example, the disastrous
               impact of the slave trade and the ravages of imported disease on the native peoples of the
               Caribbean and the American continents. The sense of triumph has diminished accordingly,
               and the view of Columbus as hero has now been replaced, for many, by one of a man
               deeply flawed. While Columbus' abilities as a navigator are rarely doubted in this second
               perception, and his sincerity as a man sometimes allowed, he is emphatically removed by it
               from his position of honour. The further interventions of political activists of all kinds have
               hardly fostered the reconciliation of these so disparate views.

               In an attempt at a balanced account attention will therefore first of all be restored to the
               nature and quantity of the surviving written and material sources about Columbus. All
               informed scholarly comment must depend primarily upon these. Then the admiral's
               achievements and failures will be examined in light of recent research. Finally, the focus will
               briefly return to the debate, in the full recognition that it is far from ended.

               The majority of the surviving primary sources for Columbus were written to be read by
               other people. There is, then, an element of manipulation about them. This fact needs to be
               borne fully in mind for their proper understanding. Foremost among these sources are the
               journals written by Columbus himself for his sovereigns--one for the first voyage, now lost
               but able partly to be reconstructed; one for the second, almost wholly gone; and one for
               the third, again accessible through reconstructions made by using later quotations, like the
               first. Each of the journals may be supplemented by letters and reports to and from the
               sovereigns and their trusted officials and friends, provisioning decrees from the sovereigns,
               and, in the case of the second voyage, letters and reports of letters from fellow voyagers
               (especially Michele da Cuneo, Diego Alvarez Chanca, and Guillermo Coma). There is no
               journal and only one letter from the fourth voyage, but a complete roster and payroll
               survive from this, alone of all the voyages, and Columbus' younger son Ferdinand (b. c.
               1488) traveled with the admiral and left an eyewitness account. The so-called Pleitos de
               Colón, judicial documents put forward by the Pinzón family in 1515 against the claims of
               Columbus' heirs, throw oblique further light upon the explorations. The recent discovery of
               a 16th-century copybook containing five narrative letters and two personal ones from
               Columbus, all previously unknown, as well as additional copies of two known ones, may
               allow one to believe that more may yet be found. In the meanwhile, Ferdinand Columbus'
               The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus, the Historia de los Reyes Católicos
               (c. 1500) of Andrés Bernáldez (a friend of Columbus' and chaplain to the archbishop of
               Seville), and the Historia de las Indias put together about 1550-63 by Bartolomé de las
               Casas (bishop of Chiapas and champion of the indigenous people of the Americas)
               supplement the other narratives.

               Further important material may be gleaned from the few books still extant from the
               admiral's own library. Some of these were extensively annotated, often by the admiral and
               sometimes by his brother Bartholomew. The readings and annotations from Columbus'
               copies of the Imago mundi by the 15th-century French theologian Pierre d'Ailly (a
               compendium containing a great number of cosmological and theological texts), the Historia
               rerum ubique gestarum of Pope Pius II, published in 1477, the version of The Travels of
               Marco Polo known as the De consuetudinibus et condicionibus orientalium regionum
               of Francesco Pipino (1483-85), Alfonso de Palencia's late 15th-century Castilian
               translation of Plutarch's Parallel Lives, and the 15th-century humanist Cristoforo
               Landino's Italian translation of the Natural History of Pliny the Elder cast a most important
               light on Columbus' intentions and presuppositions. So do the contents of certain other
               books known to have been in his possession, such as the Guide to Geography of the
               Greek astronomer and geographer Ptolemy, the Catholicon of the 15th-century
               encyclopedist John of Genoa, and a popular handbook to confession, the
               mid-15th-century Confessionale produced by the Dominican St. Antoninus of Florence.
               The whole shows that the admiral was adept in Latin, Castilian, and Italian, if not expert in
               all three. He annotated primarily in Latin and Spanish, very rarely in Italian. He had
               probably already read and annotated at least the first three named texts before he set out
               on his first voyage to the "Indies." His Christian interests are manifest. He was plainly a
               deeply religious and reflective man as well as a distinguished seaman, and, being largely
               self-taught, had a reverence for learning, especially, perhaps, the learning of his most
               influential Spanish supporters. The Book of Prophecies, a collection of prophetic passages
               and pronouncements, taken largely from the Bible and seeming to bear upon his western
               voyages, which seems largely to have been put together between September 1501 and
               March 1502 (with additions until c. 1505) by Columbus and his friend the Carthusian friar
               Gaspar Gorricio, is a striking manifestation of these sensibilities and seems to contain many
               passages and extracts that were personally important to the admiral.

               Direct material remains of Columbus' travels are few. Efforts to find the Spaniards' first
               settlement on Hispaniola (Haiti), at Navidad, have so far failed, but the local chieftain's
               settlement nearby has been identified, and the present-day fishing village of Bord de Mer
               de Limonade may be close to the original site. Concepción de la Vega, which Columbus
               also founded on Hispaniola, on the second voyage, may be the present La Vega Vieja, in
               the Dominican Republic. Remains at the site of La Isabela are still to be fully excavated as
               are those at Sevilla la Nueva, on Jamaica, where Columbus' two caravels were beached
               on the fourth voyage. The techniques of skeletal paleopathology and paleodemography are
               being applied with some success to determine the fates of the native populations.

               Early career and the first voyage.

               Little is known of Columbus' early life. His career as a seaman began effectively in the
               Portuguese marine. After surviving a shipwreck off Cape St. Vincent at the southwestern
               point of Portugal in 1476, he based himself in Lisbon, together with his brother
               Bartholomew. Both were employed as chartmakers, but Columbus was principally a
               seagoing entrepreneur. In 1477 he sailed to Iceland and Ireland with the marine, and in
               1478 he was buying sugar in Madeira as an agent for the Genoese firm of Centurioni. In
               1479 he met and married Felipa Perestrello e Moniz, a member of an impoverished noble
               Portuguese family. Their son, Diego, was born in 1480. Between 1482 and 1485
               Columbus traded along the Guinea coast and made at least one voyage to the Portuguese
               fortress of São Jorge da Mina on the Gold Coast of equatorial West Africa, gaining
               knowledge of Portuguese navigation and the Atlantic wind systems along the way. His
               search for support for an Atlantic crossing in both Portugal and Spain has encouraged
               conspiracy theorists to suspect a secret pact with King John II of Portugal, but there is no
               evidence of this. Felipa died in 1485, and Columbus took as his mistress Beatriz Enríquez
               de Harana of Córdoba, by whom he had his second son, Ferdinand. By 1486 Columbus
               was firmly in Spain, asking King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella for patronage. After at least
               two rejections, he at last obtained royal support in January 1492. This was achieved chiefly
               through the interventions of the Spanish treasurer, Luis de Santángel, and of the Franciscan
               friars of La Rábida, near Huelva, with whom Columbus had stayed in the summer of
               1491. Juan Pérez of La Rábida had been one of the queen's confessors and perhaps
               procured him the crucial audience. Royal patronage was finally advanced in the euphoria
               that followed the fall of Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain, on Jan. 2,

               Columbus had been present at the siege of Granada in January 1492. He was in fact riding
               back from it to La Rábida when he was recalled to court and the vital royal audience.
               Granada's fall encouraged Spanish Christians to believe that they might indeed triumph over
               Islam, albeit chiefly, perhaps, by the back way round the globe. In the letter that prefaces
               his journal of the first voyage, the admiral vividly evokes his own hopes and binds them all
               together with the conquest of the infidel, the victory of Christianity, and the westward route
               to discovery and Christian alliance:

                    . . . and I saw the Moorish king come out of the gates of the city and kiss the
                    royal hands of Your Highnesses . . . and Your Highnesses, as Catholic
                    Christians . . . took thought to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the said
                    parts of India, to see those princes and peoples and lands . . . and the manner
                    which should be used to bring about their conversion to our holy faith, and
                    ordained that I should not go by land to the eastward, by which way it was
                    the custom to go, but by way of the west, by which down to this day we do
                    not know certainly that anyone has passed; therefore, having driven out all the
                    Jews from your realms and lordships in the same month of January, Your
                    Highnesses commanded me that, with a sufficient fleet, I should go to the said
                    parts of India, and for this accorded me great rewards and ennobled me so
                    that from that time henceforth I might style myself "Don" and be high admiral
                    of the Ocean Sea and perpetual Governor of the islands and continent which I
                    should discover . . . and that my eldest son should succeed to the same
                    position, and so on from generation to generation.

               Thus a great number of interests were involved in this great project, which was, in essence,
               the attempt to find a route to the rich continent of Cathay (or modern China), to India, and
               to the fabled gold and spice islands of the East by sailing westward over what was
               presumed to be open sea. Columbus himself clearly hoped to rise from his humble
               beginnings in this way, to accumulate riches for his family, and to join the ranks of the
               nobility of Spain. In a similar manner, but at a more exalted level, the Catholic Monarchs
               sought, through such an enterprise, to gain greater status among the monarchies of Europe,
               especially against their main rival, Portugal. Then, in alliance with the papacy (in this case,
               with the Borgia pope Alexander VI [1492-1503]), they might hope to take the lead in the
               Christian defense against the infidel. The power of the Ottomans and other Islamic nations
               of the eastern Mediterranean was growing at an alarming pace, threatening the Christian
               monarchies themselves. This power had also effectively closed the land routes to the East,
               via the Caspian Sea, Samarkand, and northern India, and made the sea route south from
               the Red Sea extremely hard to access.

               At a more elevated level still, Franciscan preachers sought to prepare for the end of the
               world, as they interpreted the Book of Revelation to prophesy. According to the
               eschatological vision contained in Revelation, Jerusalem would be recaptured by
               Christendom and a Christian emperor installed in the Holy Land. These events were a
               precondition for the coming, and defeat, of Antichrist and the conversion of the whole
               human race and, ultimately, for the Last Judgment. The westward project would, it was
               hoped, help to finance a crusade to the East. It might also be another arm of it, linking with
               Christians such as Prester John, a legendary Christian ruler of the East, and his
               descendants, who, it was thought by many, still survived east of the lands of the infidel. The
               Great Khan of the Golden Horde was himself held to be interested in Christianity.
               Columbus carefully carried a letter of friendship from his sovereigns to the Great Khan
               with him on his journeys. Finally, the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was known to
               have pressed southward along the coast of West Africa, beyond São Jorge da Mina, in an
               effort to find an easterly route to Cathay and India by sea. It would never do to allow the
               Portuguese to find the sea route first.

               Christian missionary fervour, the power of Castile and Aragon, the fear of Portugal, the lust
               for gold, the desire for adventure, the hope of conquests, and Europe's genuine need for a
               reliable supply of herbs and spices for cooking, preserving, and medicine all combined to
               produce that explosion of energy which launched the first voyage. Adventurous emigration
               may have been encouraged by the decree signed March 31, 1492, ordering the expulsion
               of the Jews from Spain.

               The time has come to lay to rest, finally and for good, the ghost of the notion that
               Columbus had ever thought that the world was flat. Europeans had known that the Earth
               was spherical in shape ever since the spread of the popular Etymologies of St. Isidore of
               Seville, produced (in Spain) in the early 7th century. Columbus' miscalculations, such as
               they were, lay in quite other areas. First, his estimate of the sea distance to be crossed to
               Cathay was wildly inaccurate. A chart (now lost) supplied by the Florentine mathematician
               and geographer Paolo Toscanelli, together with Columbus' preference for the calculations
               of the ancient Greek geographer Marinus of Tyre, encouraged him to reject Ptolemy's
               estimate of the journey from West to East overland and to substitute a far longer one.
               Again, on the authority, primarily, of the 13th-14th-century Venetian Marco Polo's
               Travels, he conceived the idea that the lands of the East stretched out far around the back
               of the globe, with the island of Cipango, or Japan, located a further 1,500 miles from the
               mainland of Cathay and itself surrounded by islands. This cluster of islands might, then,
               almost touch, he seems to have argued, the islands of the Azores. Columbus' reading of
               the seer Salathiel-Ezra in the books of Esdras, from the Apocrypha (especially II Esdras
               6:42, in which the prophet states that the Earth is six parts land to one of water) reinforced
               these ideas of the proportion of land- to sea-crossing, and the mistake was compounded
               by his idiosyncratic view of the length of a degree of geographic latitude. The degree,
               according to Arabic calculators, consisted of 56 2/3 Arab miles, and an Arab mile
               measured 1,975.5 metres. Given the fact that a nautical mile measures 1,852 metres, this
               degree, then, amounts to approximately 60.45 nautical miles. Columbus, however, used
               the Italian mile of 1,477.5 metres for his calculations and thus arrived at a calculation of
               approximately 45 nautical miles to a degree. This shortened the distance across the sea
               westward yet again. According to this reckoning, Zaiton, Marco Polo's great port of
               Cathay, would have lain a little to the east of present-day San Diego, Calif., U.S., and
               Cipango (Japan) on the meridian of the Virgin Islands. The latter were, of course,
               surprisingly, and confusingly, close to where Columbus actually made his landfalls.

               The miscalculation of distance may have been willful on Columbus' part and made with an
               eye to his sponsors. The first journal suggests that Columbus may have been aware of his
               inaccuracy, for he consistently concealed from his sailors the number of actual miles they
               had covered, lest they become fearful for the journey back. Such economies with the truth
               may be evidence rather of bravery and the need to inspire confidence than of simple
               dishonesty or error. Columbus' other miscalculations were a little more serious, however.
               He declined, for instance, ever to admit that he had not found the true Indies and Cathay.
               Perhaps he genuinely believed that he had been there; but, at all events, this refusal to
               accept that he had discovered a brand new world in the Caribbean, in the face of mounting
               evidence that he had, both prevented his adapting his preformed plans and ideas to his
               actual experiences and dented his later reputation. Last, Columbus was autocratic to his
               sailors and remote from his companions and intending emigrants. He was thus a poor judge
               of the ambitions, and perhaps the failings, of those who sailed with him. This combination
               was to prove fatal to almost all of his hopes.

               The ships for the first voyage, the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María, were fitted out at Palos,
               on the Tinto River in southern Spain. Santángel and Columbus' collaborators and suppliers
               in Palos (led by the shipowner Martín Alonso Pinzón, captain of the Pinta) provided at
               least 1,140,000 maravedis, and Columbus supplied more than a third of the sum
               contributed by the king and queen. Queen Isabella did not, then, have to pawn her jewels
               (a myth first put about by Las Casas). The little fleet left on Aug. 3, 1492. The admiral's
               navigational genius showed itself immediately, for they dropped down to the Canary
               Islands, off the northwest African mainland, rather than sailing due west to the Azores. The
               westerlies prevailing in the Azores had defeated previous sailors to the west, but in the
               Canaries they could pick up the northeast trade winds, trusting to the westerlies for their
               return. After nearly a month in the Canaries the ships set out from San Sebastián de la
               Gomera on September 6. On October 12 land was sighted from the Pinta (though
               Columbus, on the Niña, later meanly claimed the privilege for himself). The place of the
               first Caribbean landfall is hotly disputed, but San Salvador, or Watling, Island is currently
               preferred to Samana Cay, Rum Cay, the Plana Cays, or the Turks and Caicos Islands.
               Beyond planting the royal banner, however, Columbus spent little time there, being
               anxious to press on to Cipango. He thought, on October 24, he had found it in Cuba, but
               by his journal entry of November 1 he had convinced himself that Cuba was the mainland
               of Cathay, though so far without evidence of great cities. Thus, on December 5, he turned
               back southeastward to search for the fabled city of Zaiton, missing Florida through this
               decision and, as it turned out, his sole chance of setting foot on the North American

               The fleet was carried by adverse winds to Ayti (Haiti) on December 6, which Columbus
               renamed La Isla Española, or Hispaniola. He seems to have thought that Haiti might be
               Cipango or, if not Cipango, then perhaps one of the rich isles from which King Solomon's
               triennial fleet set sail so long ago, bringing gold and gems and spices back to Jerusalem for
               the king (I Kings 10:11, 22), or the biblical lands Sheba and Seba, confused by some
               commentators with the Tharsis and the isles of Psalm 71:10-11 in the Vulgate. Columbus
               found there at least enough gold and prosperity to save him from ridicule on his return to
               Spain. With the help of a cacique, or local Taino Indian chief, Guacanagarí, he set up a
               stockade on the northern coast of the island, named it La Navidad, and posted 39 men to
               guard it against his return. The accidental running aground of the Santa María provided
               additional planks and provisions for the garrison.

               On Jan. 16, 1493, Columbus left with his remaining two ships for Spain. The journey back
               was a nightmare. Although the westerlies did indeed direct them homeward, in
               mid-February a terrible storm engulfed the fleet. The Niña was driven to seek harbour at
               Santa Maria in the Azores, and then, still storm-bound, to limp on to Lisbon. In Santa
               Maria a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the shrine of the Virgin led to the temporary capture
               of 10 sailors by the hostile Portuguese authorities. An unavoidable interview with King John
               II in Lisbon left Columbus under the suspicion of collaborating with Spain's enemies.
               These events cast a shadow on his return to Palos.

               Many of the tensions endemic to all Columbus' succeeding efforts had already made
               themselves felt on this first voyage. First and perhaps most damaging of all were those
               engendered by the incompatibility between the admiral's apparently high religious and even
               mystical aspirations and the realities of trading, competition, and colonization. Columbus
               never openly acknowledged this gulf and so was quite incapable of bridging it. He chose,
               for instance, in his reports, to interpret the grounding of the Santa María and the
               establishing of his fortress as events decreed by God. They were in fact deliberate and
               radical departures from the original simple project of exploration and contact, but
               Columbus preferred to justify them on religious rather than rational or economic grounds.
               (The admiral had begun even now to adopt a mode of sanctification in retrospect and
               validation through sheer force of autocratic personality that would make him so many
               enemies in the future.) Also, there had been looting, violence, and kidnapping, especially on
               Hispaniola. Columbus did control excesses, but he was determined to take back both
               material and human cargo to his sovereigns and for himself. This blunted his ability to retain
               the high moral ground. Further, the latent doubts about the foreigner Columbus' total
               loyalty to Spain had been revived, and, last, there were clear divisions in the ranks of
               Columbus' companions. Pinzón had disputed the route as the fleet reached the Bahamas
               and had sailed away from Cuba, and Columbus, on November 21. He rejoined him, with
               lame excuses, only on January 6. The Pinta made port at Bayona on its homeward
               journey, separately from Columbus and the Niña. Had Pinzón not died so soon after his
               return, Columbus' command of the second voyage might have been less than assured. As
               it was, the Pinzón family became now his rivals for reward.
The second and third voyages.

               The gold, parrots, spices, and human captives Columbus displayed for his sovereigns at
               Barcelona convinced all of the need for a rapid second voyage. Columbus was now at the
               height of his popularity, and at least 17 ships set out from Cádiz on Sept. 25, 1493.
               Colonization and Christian evangelization were openly included this time in the plans, and a
               group of friars shipped with him. The presence of some 1,300 salaried men with perhaps
               200 private investors and a small troop of cavalry are testimony to the expectations
               invested in the expedition. The confiscated properties of expelled Jews had swelled the
               royal coffers and probably largely financed it.

               Sailing again via Gomera in the Canaries, the fleet took a more southerly course than on the
               first voyage and reached Dominica in the Lesser Antilles on Nov. 3, 1493. After sighting
               the Virgin Islands, it entered Samaná Bay in Hispaniola on November 23. Cuneo, deeply
               impressed by this unerring return, remarked that "since Genoa was Genoa there was never
               born a man so well equipped and expert in navigation as the said lord Admiral." An
               expedition to Navidad four days later, however, was shocked to find the fortress
               destroyed and the men dead. Here was a clear sign that native resistance had gathered
               strength. More fortified places were rapidly built, including a city, founded on January 2
               and named La Isabela after the queen. On February 2 Antonio de Torres left La Isabela
               with 12 ships, a little gold, spices, parrots, captives (most of whom died en route), the bad
               news about Navidad, and some complaints about Columbus' methods of government.
               While Torres headed for Spain, two of Columbus' subordinates, Alonso de Ojeda and
               Pedro Margarit, took revenge for the massacre at Navidad and captured slaves, both
               seemingly with the admiral's full connivance. In March Columbus explored Cibao (thought
               to be the gold-bearing region of the island) and established the fortress of St. Thomas
               there. Then, late in April, three ships, led by Columbus in the Niña, explored the Cuban
               coastline and searched for gold in Jamaica, only to conclude that Hispaniola promised the
               richest spoils for the settlers. It was, the admiral decided, indeed the biblical Seba (Saba in
               the Vulgate), and Cuba was the mainland of Cathay. On June 12, 1494, Columbus
               insisted on a sworn declaration to that effect--a sure indication that, though not all of the
               company agreed with him, he was bent on insisting to his sovereign that he had reached

               The year 1495 saw the determined conquest of the island of Hispaniola and the beginning
               of troubles for the Taino Indians. There is evidence, especially in the objections of a friar,
               Bernardo Buil, that Columbus' methods remained harsh. The admiral's brothers,
               Bartholomew and Diego, were left in charge of the settlement when, on March 10, 1496,
               the admiral left La Isabela for Spain. He reached Cádiz on June 11 and immediately
               pressed his plans for a third voyage upon his sovereigns, at Burgos. Spain was at war now
               with France and in need of buying allies; moreover, the yield from the second voyage had
               fallen well short of the investment. But Portugal still threatened, and, though the two
               nations, in the Treaty of Tordesillas (June 7, 1494), had divided the Atlantic conveniently
               between themselves, they had as yet made no agreement about rights in the East.
               According to the treaty Spain might take all discovered land west of a line drawn from pole
               to pole 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands and Portugal that to the east of the
               line; but what about the other side of the world, where West met East? Also, there might
               be a previously undiscovered antipodean continent; who, then, should be trusted to draw
               the line there? Ferdinand and Isabella therefore made a cautious further investment. Six
               ships left Sanlúcar de Barrameda on May 30, 1498, three filled with explorers and three
               with provisions for the settlement on Hispaniola. It was clear now that Columbus was
               expected both to find great prizes and to establish the flag of Spain firmly in the East.

               Certainly he found prizes, but not, sadly, quite of the kind his sponsors required. The aim
               this time was to explore to the south of the existing discoveries, in the hope of finding both
               a strait from Cuba/Cathay to India and, perhaps, the unknown antipodean continent. Thus,
               on June 21, the provision ships left Gomera for Hispaniola, while the explorers headed
               south for the Cape Verde Islands. Columbus began the Atlantic crossing on July 4, 1498,
               from São Tiago Island in Cape Verde. He discovered the principle of compass variation
               (the variation at any point on the Earth's surface between the direction to magnetic and
               geographic north), for which he made brilliant allowance on the journey from Margarita
               Island to Hispaniola on the later leg of this voyage, and he also observed, though
               misunderstood, the diurnal rotation of the Pole Star. After stopping at Trinidad (named
               after the Holy Trinity, whose protection he had invoked for the voyage), Columbus
               entered the Gulf of Paria and planted the Spanish flag on the Paria Peninsula in Venezuela.
               He sent the caravel El Corréo southward to investigate the mouth of the Rio Grande (the
               northern branch of the Orinoco), and by Aug. 15, 1498, knew by the great floods of fresh
               water flowing into the Gulf of Paria that he had discovered another continent--"another
               world." But he did not find the strait to India, nor did he find those mines of King
               Solomon's gold his reading had led him and his sovereigns to expect in these latitudes; and
               he made only disastrous discoveries when he returned to Hispaniola. (see also Index:
               Trinidad and Tobago, Orinoco River)

               The rule of his brothers, Bartholomew and Diego, had been resented there, by both the
               native inhabitants and the immigrants. A rebellion by the alcalde (mayor) of La Isabela,
               Francisco Roldán, had led to appeals to the Spanish court, and, even as Columbus
               attempted to restore order (partly, it must be said, by hangings), the Spanish chief justice,
               Francisco de Bobadilla, was on his way out to the colony with a commission from the
               sovereigns to investigate all the complaints. It is hard to explain exactly what the trouble
               was. Columbus' report to his sovereigns from the second voyage, taken back by Torres
               and so known as the Torres Memorandum, speaks of sickness, poor provisioning,
               recalcitrant natives, and undisciplined hidalgos (gentry). It may be that these problems had
               intensified. But the Columbus family's repressive policies must be held at least partly
               responsible, intent as it undoubtedly now was on enslaving the native population, both to
               work the placer mines of Hispaniola and for export to Europe. The adelantado (governor)
               Bartholomew Columbus had replaced Columbus' original system of gold production,
               whereby the local chiefs had been in charge of delivering gold on a loose per capita basis,
               by direct exploitation through favoured Spaniards, and this had caused widespread dissent
               among both unfavoured Spaniards and indigenous chiefs. Certainly Bobadilla found against
               the Columbus family when he arrived in Hispaniola. He clapped Columbus and his two
               brothers in irons and sent them promptly back, on the La Gorda, to Cádiz. They arrived
               there in late October 1500.

               The long letter Columbus composed on the journey back and sent to his sovereigns
               immediately on his return is one of the most extraordinary he wrote, and one of the most
               informative. One part of its exalted, almost mystical, quality may be attributed to the
               humiliations the admiral had endured (humiliations he compounded by refusing to allow the
               captain of the La Gorda to remove his chains during the voyage) and another to the fact
               that he was now suffering severely from sleeplessness, eyestrain, and a form of rheumatoid
               arthritis, which may have hastened his death. Much of what he said in the letter, however,
               seems genuinely to have expressed his beliefs. One can learn from it that Columbus had
               absolute faith in his navigational abilities, his seaman's sense of the weather, his eyes, and
               his reading. The last is apparent in his conviction that he had reached the outer region of the
               Earthly Paradise. Thus, as he approached Trinidad and the Paria Peninsula, the rotation of
               the Pole Star gave him, he wrote, the impression that the fleet was climbing. The weather
               had become extremely mild, and the flow of fresh water into the Gulf of Paria was, as he
               saw, enormous. All this could have one explanation only--they had mounted toward the
               temperate heights of the Earthly Paradise, heights from which the rivers of Paradise ran into
               the sea. Columbus had found all such signs of the outer regions of the Earthly Paradise in
               his reading, and indeed they were widely known. He was, then, on this estimate, close to
               the realms of gold that lay near Paradise. He had not found the gold yet, to be sure; but he
               knew now where it was. Columbus' expectations thus allowed him again to interpret his
               discoveries in terms of biblical and classical sources and to do so in a manner that would
               be comprehensible to his sponsors and favourable to himself.

               This letter, desperate though it was, convinced the sovereigns that, even if he had not yet
               found the prize, he had been close to it after all. They ordered his release and gave him
               audience at Granada in late December 1500. They accepted that, although Columbus'
               capacities as governor were wanting (on Sept. 3, 1501, they appointed Nicolás de
               Ovando, not Columbus, to succeed Bobadilla to the governorship), those as navigator and
               explorer were not. Columbus, even ill and importunate, was a better investment than the
               many adventurers and profiteers who had meantime been licensed to compete with him,
               and there was always the danger (revealed in some of the letters of this period) that he
               would offer his services to his native Genoa. In October 1501, then, Columbus went to
               Seville to make ready his fourth and final expedition.
The fourth voyage and death of the admiral.

               The winter and spring of 1501-02 were exceedingly busy. The four chosen ships were
               bought, fitted, and crewed, and some 20 of Columbus' extant letters and memoranda
               were written then, many in exculpation of Bobadilla's charges, others pressing even harder
               the nearness of the Earthly Paradise and the need to reconquer Jerusalem. Columbus took
               to calling himself "Christbearer" in his letters and to using a strange and mystical signature,
               never satisfactorily explained. He began also, with all these thoughts and pressures in mind,
               to compile both his Book of Privileges and his Book of Prophecies. The first, in defending
               the titles and financial claims of the Columbus family, seems oddly annexed to the Christian
               apocalypticism of the second; yet both were linked most closely in the admiral's own mind.
               He seems to have been certain that his mission was divinely guided. Thus, the loftiness of
               his spiritual aspirations increased as the threats to his personal ones mounted. In the midst
               of all these efforts and hazards, Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his fourth voyage on May
               9, 1502.

               The four ships allowed him contrasted sharply with the thirty granted to the governor of
               Hispaniola, Ovando. The confidence his sovereigns had formerly had in Columbus had
               now diminished, and there is much to suggest that pity mingled with hope in their support.
               His illnesses were worsening, and the hostility to his rule in Hispaniola was unabated. Thus,
               Ferdinand and Isabella forbade him to return there. He was to resume, instead, his
               interrupted exploration of the "other world" to the south that he had found on his third
               voyage and to look most particularly for gold and the strait to India. Columbus expected
               to meet the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama in the East, and the sovereigns instructed
               him on the appropriate courteous behaviour for such a meeting--another sign, perhaps, that
               they did not wholly trust him. They were right. He departed from Gran Canaria on the night
               of May 25, made landfall at Martinique on June 15 (after the fastest crossing to date), and
               was, by June 29, demanding entrance to Santo Domingo on Hispaniola. Only on being
               refused such entry by Ovando did he take to the farther west and the south. July to
               September 1502 saw him coasting Jamaica, the southern shore of Cuba, Honduras, and
               the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua. The feat of Caribbean transnavigation, which took him
               to Bonacca Island off Cape Honduras on July 30, deserves to be reckoned on a par, as to
               difficulty, with that of crossing the Atlantic, and the admiral was justly proud of it.
               Constantly probing for the strait, the fleet sailed round the Chiriquí Lagoon (in Panama) in
               October, then, searching for gold, along Veragua and Panama in the foulest of weather. In
               February 1503 Columbus attempted to establish a trading post at Santa María de Belén
               on the bank of the Belén (Bethlehem) River under the command of Bartholomew
               Columbus in order to exploit the promising gold yield he was beginning to find in Veragua.
               Indian hostility and the poor condition of his ships (of which only two now remained, and
               these fearfully holed by shipworm) determined him, however, to turn back to Hispaniola.
               On this voyage the ultimate disaster struck. Against Columbus' (right) judgment, the pilots
               turned the fleet north too soon. The ships could not make the distance and had to be
               beached on the coast of Jamaica. By June 1503 Columbus and his crews were

               Columbus had hoped, as he said to his sovereigns, that "my hard and troublesome voyage
               may yet turn out to be my noblest"; it was in fact the most disappointing of all and the most
               unlucky. In its searches for the strait and for gold the fleet had missed discovering the
               Pacific and making contact with the great Mayan empire of Yucatán by the narrowest of
               margins. Also, though two of the men (Diego Méndez and Bartolomeo Fieschi, captains of
               the wrecked ships La Capitana and Vizcaíno, respectively) left about July 17 to get help
               for the castaways, traversing the 450-mile journey to Hispaniola safely by canoe, Ovando
               made no great haste to deliver that help. In the meantime, the admiral displayed his acumen
               once again by correctly predicting an eclipse of the Moon from his astronomical tables,
               thus frightening the natives into providing food; but it was June 1504 before rescue came,
               and Columbus and his men did not reach Hispaniola until August 13 of the same year. On
               November 7 he sailed back into Sanlúcar, to find that Queen Isabella had made her will
               and was dying.

               It would be wrong to suppose that Columbus spent his final two years wholly in illness,
               poverty, and oblivion. His son Diego was well established at court, and the admiral himself
               lived in Seville in some style. His "tenth" of the gold diggings in Hispaniola, guaranteed in
               1493, provided a substantial revenue (against which his Genoese bankers allowed him to
               draw), and one of the few ships to escape a hurricane off Hispaniola in 1502 (in which
               Bobadilla himself went down) was that carrying Columbus' gold. He felt himself ill-used
               and short-changed nonetheless, and these years were marred, for both him and King
               Ferdinand, by his constant pressing for redress. He followed the court from Segovia to
               Salamanca and Valladolid, attempting to gain an audience. He knew that his life was
               nearing its end, and in August 1505 he began to add codicils to his will. He died on May
               20, 1506. First he was laid in the Franciscan friary in Valladolid, then taken to the family
               mausoleum established at the Carthusian monastery of Las Cuevas in Seville. Finally, by
               the will of his son Diego, Columbus' bones were laid with his own in the Cathedral of
               Santo Domingo, Hispaniola.

               The debate about Columbus' character and achievements began at least as early as the
               first rebellion of the Taino Indians and continued with Roldán, Bobadilla, and Ovando. It
               has been revived periodically (notably by Las Casas and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) ever
               since. The Columbus quincentenary of 1992 rekindled the intensity of this early
               questioning and redirected its aims, often profitably. The word "encounter" is now
               preferred to "discovery" when describing the contacts between the Old World and the
               New, and more attention has come to be paid to the fate of the Native American peoples
               and to the sensibilities of non-Christians. Enlightening discoveries have been made about
               the diseases that reached the New World through Columbus' agency as well as those his
               sailors took back with them to the Old. The pendulum may, however, now have swung too
               far. Columbus has been made a whipping boy for events far beyond his own reach or
               knowledge and a means to an agenda of condemnation that far outstrips his own guilt.
               Thus, too little attention has recently been paid to the historical circumstances that
               conditioned him. His obsessions with lineage and imperialism, his seemingly bizarre
               Christian beliefs, and his apparently brutal behaviour come from a world remote from that
               of modern democratic ideas, it is true; but it was the world to which he belonged. The
               forces of European expansion, with their slaving and search for gold, had been unleashed
               before him and were at his time quite beyond his control. Columbus simply decided to be
               in the vanguard of them. He succeeded. Columbus' towering stature as a seaman and
               navigator, the sheer power of his religious convictions (self-delusory as they sometimes
               were), his personal magnetism, his courage, his endurance, his determination, and, above
               all, his achievements as an explorer, should continue to be recognized.

The motives that spur human beings to examine their environment are many. Strong among them
               are the satisfaction of curiosity, the pursuit of trade, the spread of religion, and the desire for
               security and political power. At different times and in different places, different motives are
               dominant. Sometimes one motive inspires the promoters of discovery, and another motive may
               inspire the individuals who carry out the search. Still other motives draw settlers to the new
               territory. (see also Index: overseas exploration)

               Since the settlement of the European continent, its people have shown an inclination to explore
               and expand from their geographic centre. Exploration of the Mediterranean world led to contacts
               with northern and western Europeans that extended the knowledge and culture of both groups.
               The impetus toward expansion, demonstrated in the establishment of the Hellenistic and Roman
               empires, continued as Christianity spread through Europe and beyond. Colonization of conquered
               territories was undertaken, especially by the Romans, but on a much smaller scale than that which
               followed in the early modern world. The major benefit of early, indeed of all, European expansion
               was the cultural enrichment that resulted from contact with other civilizations. ( J.B.Mi./Ed.)

               The major period of European colonization had its origin with the Renaissance, the development
               of modern science, and the great voyages of discovery. This period began about 1500 and reached
               its peak in the early 1900s, when the last independent territories of Asia and Africa were parcelled
               out. Following World War II the strengthening of nationalistic movements opposed to colonialism
               and the erosion of dominance caused by the modernization of economic systems brought about the
               decline of the colonial empires.

               The threads of geographical exploration are continuous and, being entwined one with another, are
               difficult to separate; three major phases of investigation may nevertheless be distinguished. The first
               phase is the exploration of the Old World centred on the Mediterranean Sea; the second is the
               so-called Age of Discovery, during which, in the search for sea routes to Cathay (the name by
               which China was known to medieval Europe), a New World was found; the third is the
               establishment of the political, social, and commercial relationships of the New World to the Old
               and the elucidation of the major physical features of the continental interiors--in short, the
               delineation of the modern world. (see also Index: Earth)
The exploration of the Old World

               From the time of the earliest recorded history to the beginning of the 15th century, Western
               knowledge of the world widened from a river valley surrounded by mountains or desert (the views
               of Babylonia and Egypt) to a Mediterranean world with hinterlands extending from the Sahara to
               the Gobi deserts and from the Atlantic to the Indian oceans (the view of Greece and Rome). It later
               expanded again to include the far northern lands beyond the Baltic and another and dazzling
               civilization in the Far East (the medieval view).

               The earliest known surviving map, dating probably from the time of Sargon of Akkad (about
               2334-2279 BC), shows canals or rivers--perhaps the Tigris and a tributary--and surrounding
               mountains. The rapid colonization of the shores of the Mediterranean and of the Black Sea by
               Phoenicia and the Greek city-states in the first millennium BC must have been accompanied by the
               exploration of their hinterlands by countless unknown soliders and traders. Herodotus prefaces his
               History (written in the 5th century BC) with a geographical description of the then known world:
               this introductory material reveals that the coastlines of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea had by
               then been explored.

               Stories survive of a few men who are credited with bringing new knowledge from distant journeys.
               Herodotus tells of five young adventurers of the tribe of the Nasamones living on the desert edge of
               Cyrenaica in North Africa, who journeyed southwest for many months across the desert, reaching
               a great river flowing from west to east; this presumably was the Niger, although Herodotus thought
               it to be the Upper Nile. EXPLORATION OF THE ATLANTIC COASTLINES

               Beyond the Pillars of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar), the Carthaginians (from the Phoenician city
               of Carthage in what is now Tunisia), holding both shores of the strait, early ventured out into the
               Atlantic. A Greek translation of a Punic (Carthaginian) inscription states that Hanno, a
               Carthaginian, was sent forth about 500 BC with 60 ships and 30,000 colonists "to found cities."
               Even allowing for a possible great exaggeration of numbers, this expedition, if it occurred, can
               hardly have been the first exploratory voyage along the coast of West Africa; indeed, Herodotus
               reports that Phoenicians circumnavigated the continent about 600 BC. Some scholars think that
               Hanno reached only the desert edge south of the Atlas; other scholars identify the "deep river
               infested with crocodiles and hippopotamuses" with the Sénégal River; and still others believe that
               the island where men "scampered up steep rocks and pelted us with stones" was an island off the
               coast of Sierra Leone. There is no record that Hanno's voyage was followed up before the era of
               Henry the Navigator, a Portuguese prince of the 15th century.

               About the same time, Himilco, another Carthaginian, set forth on a voyage northward; he explored
               the coast of Spain, reached Brittany, and in his four-month cruise may have visited Britain. Two
               centuries later, about 300 BC, Carthaginian power at the gate of the Mediterranean temporarily
               slackened as a result of squabbles with the Greek city of Syracuse on the island of Sicily, so
               Pytheas, a Greek explorer of Massilia (Marseille), sailed through. His story is known only from
               fragments of the work of a contemporary historian, Timaeus (who lived in the 4th and 3rd centuries
               BC), as retold by the Roman savant Pliny the Elder, the Greek geographer Strabo, and the Greek
               historian Diodorus Siculus, all of whom were critical of its truth. It is probable that Pytheas, having
               coasted the shores of the Bay of Biscay, crossed from the island of Ouessant (Ushant), off the
               French coast of Brittany, to Cornwall in southwestern England, perhaps seeking tin. He may have
               sailed around Britain; he describes it as a triangle and also relates that the inhabitants "harvest grain
               crops by cutting off the ears . . . and storing them in covered granges." Around Thule, "the
               northernmost of the British Isles, six days sail from Britain," there is "neither sea nor air but a
               mixture like sea-lung . . . binds everything together," a reference perhaps to drift ice or dense sea
               fog. Thule has been identified with Iceland (too far north), with Mainland island of the Shetland
               group (too far south), and perhaps, most plausibly, with Norway. Pytheas returned to Brittany and
               explored "beyond the Rhine"; he may have reached the Elbe. The voyage of Pytheas, like that of
               Hanno, does not seem to have been followed up. Herodotus concludes by saying, "whether the sea
               girds Europe round on the north none can tell."

               It was not Mediterranean folk but Northmen from Scandinavia, emigrating from their difficult lands
               centuries later, who carried exploration farther in the North Atlantic. From the 8th to the 11th
               century bands of Northmen, mainly Swedish, trading southeastward across the Russian plains,
               were active under the name of Varangians in the ports of the Black Sea. At the same time other
               groups, mainly Danish, raiding, trading, and settling along the coasts of the North Sea, arrived in the
               Mediterranean in the guise of Normans. Neither the Swedes nor the Danes travelling in these
               regions were exploring lands that were unknown to civilized Europeans, but it is doubtless that
               contact with them brought to these Europeans new knowledge of the distant northern lands.

               It was the Norsemen of Norway who were the true explorers though, since little of their exploits
               was known to contemporaries and that little soon forgotten, they perhaps added less to the
               common store of Europe's knowledge than their less adventurous compatriots. About AD 890,
               Ohthere of Norway, "desirous to try how far that country extended north," sailed round the North
               Cape, along the coast of Lapland to the White Sea. But most Norsemen sailing in high latitudes
               explored not eastward but westward. Sweeping down the outer edge of Britain, settling in Orkney,
               Shetland, the Hebrides, and Ireland, they then voyaged on to Iceland, where in 870 they settled
               among Irish colonists who had preceded them by some two centuries. The Norsemen may well
               have arrived piloted by Irish sailors; and Irish refugees from Iceland, fleeing before the Norsemen,
               may have been the first discoverers of Greenland and Newfoundland, although this is mere surmise.
               The saga of Erik the Red (Eiríks saga rauda; also called Thorfinns saga Karlsefnis), gives the
               story of the Norse discovery of Greenland in 982; the west coast was explored, and at least two
               settlements were established on it. About AD 1000, one Bjarni Herjulfsson, on his way from
               Iceland to Greenland, was blown off course far to the southwest; he saw an unknown shore and
               returned to tell his tale. Leif, Erik's son, together with some 30 others, set out in 1001 to explore.
               They probably reached the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland; some think that the farthest
               point south reached by the settlers, as described in the sagas, fits best with Maryland or Virginia,
               but others contend that the lands about the Gulf of St. Lawrence are more probably designated.
               The area was named Vinland, as grapes grew there, but it has been suggested that the "grapes"
               referred to were in fact cranberries. Attempts at colonization were unsuccessful; the Norsemen
               withdrew; and, although the Greenland colonies lingered on for some four centuries, little
               knowledge of these first discoveries came down to colour the vision of the seamen of Cádiz or
               Bristol; the voyages of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot had their strongest inspirations in
               CHINA SEA

               Trade, across the land bridges and through the gulfs linking those parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe
               that lie between the Mediterranean and Arabian seas, was actively pursued from very early times.
               It is therefore not surprising that exploratory voyages early revealed the coastlines of the Indian
               Ocean. Herodotus wrote of Necho II, king of Egypt in the late 7th and early 6th centuries BC, that
               "when he stopped digging the canal . . . from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf . . . [he] sent forth
               Phoenician men in ships ordering them to sail back by the Pillars of Hercules." According to the
               story, this, in three years, they did. Upon their return, "they told things . . . unbelievable by me,"
               says Herodotus, "namely that in sailing round Libya they had the sun on the right hand." Whatever
               he thought of the story of the sun, Herodotus was inclined to believe in the voyage: "Libya, that is
               Africa, shows that it has sea all round except the part that borders on Asia." Strabo records
               another story with the same theme: one Eudoxus, returning from a voyage to India about 108 BC,
               was blown far to the south of Cape Guardafui. Where he landed he found a wooden prow with a
               horse carved on it, and he was told by the Africans that it came from a wrecked ship of men from
               the west.

               About 510 BC Darius the Great, king of Persia, sent one of his officers, Scylax of Caria, to
               explore the Indus. Scylax travelled overland to the Kabul River, reached the Indus, followed it to
               the sea, sailed westward, and, passing by the Persian Gulf (which was already well known),
               explored the Red Sea, finally arriving at Arsinoë, near modern Suez. The greater part of the
               campaigns of the famous conqueror Alexander the Great were military exploratory journeys. The
               earlier expeditions through Babylonia and Persia were through regions already familiar to the
               Greeks, but the later ones through the enormous tract of land from the south of the Caspian Sea to
               the mountains of the Hindu Kush brought the Greeks a great deal of new geographical knowledge.
               Alexander and his army crossed the mountains to the Indus Valley and then made a westward
               march from the lower Indus to Susa through the desolate country along the southern edge of the
               Iranian plateau; Nearchus, his admiral, in command of the naval forces of the expedition, waited for
               the favourable monsoon and then sailed from the mouth of the Indus to the mouth of the Euphrates,
               exploring the northern coast of the Persian Gulf on his way.

               As Roman power grew, increasing wealth brought increasing demands for Oriental luxuries; this led
               to great commercial activity in the eastern seas. As the coasts became well known, the seasonal
               character of the monsoonal winds was skillfully used; the southwest monsoon was long known as
               Hippalus, named for a sailor who was credited with being the first to sail with it direct from the Gulf
               of Aden to the coast of the Indian peninsula. During the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian in the
               1st century BC, Western traders reached Siam (now Thailand), Cambodia, Sumatra, and Java; a
               few also seem to have penetrated northward to the coast of China. In AD 161, according to
               Chinese records, an "embassy" came from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius to the emperor
               Huan-ti, bearing goods that Huan-ti gratefully received as "tribute." Ptolemy, however, did not
               know of these voyages: he swept his peninsula of Colmorgo (Malay) southwestward to join the
               eastward trend of his coast of Africa, thus creating a closed Indian Ocean. He presumably did not
               believe the story of the circumnavigation of Africa. As the 2nd century AD passed and Roman
               power declined, trade with the eastern seas did not cease but was gradually taken over by
               Ethiopians, Parthians, and Arabs. The Arabs, most successful of all, dominated eastern sea routes
               from the 3rd to the 15th century. In the tales of derring-do of Sindbad the Sailor (a hero of the
               collection of Arabian tales called The Thousand and One Nights), there may be found, behind the
               fiction, the knowledge of these adventurous Arab sailors and traders, supplying detail to fill in the
               outline of the geography of the Indian Ocean. THE LAND ROUTES OF CENTRAL ASIA

               The prelude to the Age of Discovery, however, is to be found neither in the Norse explorations in
               the Atlantic nor in the Arab activities in the Indian Ocean but, rather, in the land journeys of Italian
               missionaries and merchants that linked the Mediterranean coasts to the China Sea. Cosmas
               Indicopleustes, an Alexandrian geographer writing in the 6th century, knew that Tzinitza (China)
               could be reached by sailing eastward, but he added: "One who comes by the overland route from
               Tzinitza to Persia makes a very short cut." Goods had certainly passed this way since Roman times,
               but they usually changed hands at many a mart, for disorganized and often warring tribes lived
               along the routes. In the 13th century the political geography changed. In 1206 a Mongol chief
               assumed the title of Genghis Khan and, after campaigns in China that gave him control there, turned
               his conquering armies westward. He and his successors built up an enormous empire until, in the
               late 13th century, one of them, Kublai Khan, reigned supreme from the Black Sea to the Yellow
               Sea. Europeans of perspicacity saw the opportunities that friendship with the Mongol power might
               bring. If Christian Europe could only convert the Mongols, this would at one and the same time
               heavily tip the scales against Muslim and in favour of Christian power and also give political
               protection to Christian merchants along the silk routes to the legendary sources of wealth in China.
               With these opportunities in mind, Pope Innocent IV sent friars to "diligently search out all things that
               concerned the state of the Tartars" and to exhort them "to give over their bloody slaughter of
               mankind and to receive the Christian faith." Among others, Giovanni da Pian del Carpini in 1245
               and Willem van Ruysbroeck in 1253 went forth to follow these instructions. Travelling the great
               caravan routes from southern Russia, north of the Caspian and Aral seas and north of the Tien
               Shan (Tien Mountains), both Carpini and Ruysbroeck eventually reached the court of the emperor
               at Karakorum. Carpini returned confident that the Emperor was about to become a Christian;
               Ruysbroeck told of the city in Cathay "having walls of silver and towers of gold"; he had not seen it
               but had been "credibly informed" of it. (see also Index: Yüan dynasty)

               But the greatest of the 13th-century travellers in Asia were the Polos, wealthy merchants of Venice.
               In 1260 the brothers Nicolo and Maffeo Polo set out on a trading expedition to the Crimea. After
               two years they were ready to return to Venice, but, finding the way home blocked by war, they
               travelled eastward to Bukhara (now in Uzbekistan in Central Asia), where they spent another three
               years. The Polos then accepted an invitation to accompany a party of Tatar envoys returning to the
               court of Kublai Khan at Cambaluc, near Peking. The Khan received them well, provided them with
               a gold tablet as a safe-conduct back to Europe, and gave them a letter begging the pope to send
               "some hundred wise men, learned in the law of Christ and conversant with the seven arts to preach
               to his people." The Polos arrived home, "having toiled three years on the way," to find that Pope
               Clement IV was dead. Two years later they set off again, travelling without the wise men but taking
               with them Nicolo's son, Marco Polo, then a youth of 17. (Marco kept detailed notes of all he saw
               and, late in life when a captive of the Genoese, dictated to a fellow prisoner a book containing an
               account of his travels and adventures.) This time the Polos took a different route: starting from the
               port of Hormuz on the Persian Gulf, they crossed Persia to the Pamirs and then followed a caravan
               route along the southern edge of the Tarim Basin and Gobi Desert to Cambaluc. Information about
               the route is interesting, but the great contribution of Marco Polo to the geographical knowledge of
               the West lay in his vivid descriptions of the East. He had tremendous opportunities of seeing China
               and appreciating its life, for he was taken into the service of the Khan and was sent as an
               administrator to great cities, busy ports, and remote provinces, with instructions to write full
               reports. In his book he described how, upon every main highroad, at a distance apart of 25 or 30
               miles (40 to 50 kilometres), there were stations, with houses of accommodation for travellers, with
               400 good horses kept in constant readiness at each station. He also reported that, along the roads,
               the Great Khan had caused trees to be planted, both to provide shade in summer and to mark the
               route in winter when the ground was covered with snow. Marco Polo lived and worked in western
               China, visiting the provinces of Shensi, Szechwan, and Yunnan, as well as the borders of Burma.
               He frequently visited "the noble and magnificent city of Quinsay [Hang-chou], a name that signifies
               the Celestial City and which it merits from its pre-eminence to all others in the world in point of
               grandeur and beauty." Cipango (Japan) he did not visit, but he heard about it from merchants and
               sailors: "it is situated at a distance of 1,500 miles from the mainland. . . . They have gold in the
               greatest abundance, its sources being inexhaustible." The most detailed descriptions and the
               greatest superlatives were reserved for Cambaluc, capital of Cathay, whose splendours were
               beyond compare; to this city, he said,

                    everything that is most rare and valuable in all parts of the world finds its way: . . . for
                    not fewer than 1,000 carriages and pack-horses loaded with raw silk make their daily
                    entry; and gold tissues and silks of various kinds are manufactured to an immense

               No wonder that, when Europe learned of these things, it became enthralled. After 17 years, the
               Venetians were permitted to depart; they returned to Europe by sea. After visiting Java they sailed
               through the Strait of Malacca (again proving the error of Ptolemy); and, landing at Hormuz, they
               travelled cross-country to Armenia, and so home to Venice, which they reached in 1295.

               A few travellers followed the Polos. Giovanni da Montecorvino, a Franciscan friar from Italy,
               became archbishop of Peking and lived in China from 1294 to 1328. Friar Oderic of Pordenone,
               an Italian monk, became a missionary, journeying throughout the greater part of Asia between
               1316 and 1330. He reached Peking by way of India and Malaya, then travelled by sea to Canton;
               he returned to Europe by way of Central Asia, visiting Tibet in 1325--the first European to do so.
               Friar Oderic's account of his journeys had considerable influence in his day: it was from it that the
               spurious traveller, the English writer Sir John Mandeville, quarried most of his stories.

               Ibn Battutah, an Arab of Tangier, journeyed farther perhaps than any other medieval traveller. In
               1325 he set out to make the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca, and in some 30 years he visited the
               greater part of the Old World, covering, it has been said, more than 75,000 miles. He was the first
               to explore much of Arabia; he travelled extensively in India; he reached Java and Southeast Asia.
               Then toward the end of his life he returned to the west, where, after visiting Spain, he explored
               western Sudan "to the northernmost province of the Negroes." He reached the Niger, which he
               called the Nile, and was astonished by the huge hippopotamuses "taking them to be elephants."
               When he finally returned to Fès in Morocco he "kissed the hand of the Commander of the Faithful
               the Sultan . . . and settled down under the wing of his bounty." He wrote a vivid and perspicacious
               account of his travels, but his book did not become known to Christian Europe for centuries. It
               was Marco Polo's book that was the most popular of all. Some 138 manuscripts of it survive: it
               was translated before 1500 into Latin, German, and Spanish, and the first English translation was
               published in 1577. For centuries Europe's maps of the Far East were based on the information
               provided by Marco Polo; even as late as 1533 Johannes Schöner, the German maker of globes,

                    Behind the Sinae and the Ceres [legendary cities of Central Asia] . . . many countries
                    were discovered by one Marco Polo . . . and the sea coasts of these countries have
                    now recently again been explored by Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci in navigating
                    the Indian Ocean.

               Columbus possessed and annotated a copy of the Latin edition (1483-85) of Marco Polo's book,
               and in his journal he identified many of his own discoveries with places that Marco Polo describes.

               Thus, with Ptolemy in one hand and Marco Polo in the other, the European explorers of the Age
               of Discovery set forth to try to reach Cathay and Cipango by new ways; Ptolemy promised that the
               way was short; Marco Polo promised that the reward was great. The Age of Discovery

               In the 100 years from the mid-15th to the mid-16th century, a combination of circumstances
               stimulated men to seek new routes; and it was new routes rather than new lands that filled the
               minds of kings and commoners, scholars and seamen. First, toward the end of the 14th century, the
               vast empire of the Mongols was breaking up; thus, Western merchants could no longer be ensured
               of safe-conduct along the land routes. Second, the growing power of the Ottoman Turks, who
               were hostile to Christians, blocked yet more firmly the outlets to the Mediterranean of the ancient
               sea routes from the East. Third, new nations on the Atlantic shores of Europe were now ready to
               seek overseas trade and adventure. THE SEA ROUTE EAST BY SOUTH TO CATHAY

               Henry the Navigator, prince of Portugal, initiated the first great enterprise of the Age of
               Discovery--the search for a sea route east by south to Cathay. His motives were mixed. He was
               curious about the world; he was interested in new navigational aids and better ship design and was
               eager to test them; he was also a crusader and hoped that, by sailing south and then east along the
               coast of Africa, Arab power in North Africa could be attacked from the rear. The promotion of
               profitable trade was yet another motive; he aimed to divert the Guinea trade in gold and ivory away
               from its routes across the Sahara to the Moors of Barbary (North Africa) and instead channel it via
               the sea route to Portugal.

               Expedition after expedition was sent forth throughout the 15th century to explore the coast of
               Africa. In 1445 the Portuguese navigator Dinís Dias reached the mouth of the Sénégal, which "men
               say comes from the Nile, being one of the most glorious rivers of Earth, flowing from the Garden of
               Eden and the earthly paradise." Once the desert coast had been passed, the sailors pushed on: in
               1455 and 1456 Alvise Ca' da Mosto made voyages to Gambia and the Cape Verde Islands.
               Prince Henry died in 1460 after a career that had brought the colonization of the Madeira Islands
               and the Azores and the traversal of the African coast to Sierra Leone. Henry's captain, Diogo Cão,
               discovered the Congo River in 1482. All seemed promising; trade was good with the riverine
               peoples, and the coast was trending hopefully eastward. Then the disappointing fact was realized:
               the head of a great gulf had been reached, and, beyond, the coast seemed to stretch endlessly
               southward. Yet, when Columbus sought backing for his plan to sail westward across the Atlantic to
               the Indies, he was refused--"seeing that King John II [of Portugal] ordered the coast of Africa to
               be explored with the intention of going by that route to India."

               King John II sought to establish two routes: the first, a land and sea route through Egypt and
               Ethiopia to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and, the second, a sea route around the southern
               shores of Africa, the latter an act of faith, since Ptolemy's map showed a landlocked Indian Ocean.
               In 1487, a Portuguese emissary, Pêro da Covilhã, successfully followed the first route; but, on
               returning to Cairo, he reported that, in order to travel to India, the Portuguese "could navigate by
               their coasts and the seas of Guinea." In the same year another Portuguese navigator, Bartolomeu
               Dias, found encouraging evidence that this was so. In 1487 he rounded the Cape of Storms in such
               bad weather that he did not see it, but he satisfied himself that the coast was now trending
               northeastward; before turning back, he reached the Great Fish River, in what is now South Africa.
               On the return voyage, he sighted the Cape and set up a pillar upon it to mark its discovery.

               The seaway was now open, but eight years were to elapse before it was exploited. In 1492
               Columbus had apparently reached the East by a much easier route. By the end of the decade,
               however, doubts of the validity of Columbus' claim were current. Interest was therefore renewed in
               establishing the sea route south by east to the known riches of India. In 1497 a Portuguese captain,
               Vasco da Gama, sailed in command of a fleet under instructions to reach Calicut, on India's west
               coast. This he did after a magnificent voyage around the Cape of Storms (which he renamed the
               Cape of Good Hope) and along the unknown coast of East Africa. Yet another Portuguese fleet
               set out in 1500, this one being under the command of Pedro Álvarez Cabral; on the advice of da
               Gama, Cabral steered southwestward to avoid the calms of the Guinea coast; thus, en route for
               Calicut, Brazil was discovered. Soon trading depots, known as factories, were built along the
               African coast, at the strategic entrances to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and along the shores
               of the Indian peninsula. In 1511 the Portuguese established a base at Malacca (now Melaka,
               Malaysia), commanding the straits into the China Sea; in 1511 and 1512, the Moluccas, or Spice
               Islands, and Java were reached; in 1557 the trading port of Macau was founded at the mouth of
               the Canton River. Europe had arrived in the East. It was in the end the Portuguese, not the Turks,
               who destroyed the commercial supremacy of the Italian cities, which had been based on a
               monopoly of Europe's trade with the East by land. But Portugal was soon overextended; it was
               therefore the Dutch, the English, and the French who in the long run reaped the harvest of
               Portuguese enterprise.

               Some idea of the knowledge that these trading explorers brought to the common store may be
               gained by a study of contemporary maps. The map of the German Henricus Martellus, published in
               1492, shows the shores of North Africa and of the Gulf of Guinea more or less correctly and was
               probably taken from numerous seamen's charts. The delineation of the west coast of southern
               Africa from the Guinea Gulf to the Cape suggests a knowledge of the charts of the expedition of
               Bartolomeu Dias. The coastlines of the Indian Ocean are largely Ptolemaic with two exceptions:
               first, the Indian Ocean is no longer landlocked; and second, the Malay Peninsula is shown
               twice--once according to Ptolemy and once again, presumably, according to Marco Polo. The
               Contarini map of 1506 shows further advances; the shape of Africa is generally accurate, and there
               is new knowledge of the Indian Ocean, although it is curiously treated. Peninsular India (on which
               Cananor and Calicut are named) is shown; although too small, it is, however, recognizable. There is
               even an indication to the east of it of the Bay of Bengal, with a great river running into it. Eastward
               of this is Ptolemy's India, with the huge island of Taprobane--a muddled representation of the
               Indian peninsula and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). East again, as on the map of Henricus Martellus, the
               Malay Peninsula appears twice. Ptolemy's bonds were hard to break. THE SEA ROUTE WEST TO CATHAY

               It is not known when the idea originated of sailing westward in order to reach Cathay. Many sailors
               set forth searching for islands in the west; and it was a commonplace among scientists that the east
               could be reached by sailing west, but to believe this a practicable voyage was an entirely different
               matter. Christopher Columbus, a Genoese who had settled in Lisbon about 1476, argued that
               Cipango lay a mere 2,500 nautical miles west of the Canary Islands in the eastern Atlantic. He took
               45 instead of 60 nautical miles as the value of a degree; he accepted Ptolemy's exaggerated
               west-east extent of Asia and then added to it the lands described by Marco Polo, thus reducing the
               true distance between the Canaries and Cipango by about one-third. He could not convince the
               Portuguese scientists nor the merchants of Lisbon that his idea was worth backing; but eventually
               he obtained the support of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The sovereigns probably
               argued that the cost of equipping the expedition would not be very great; the loss, if it failed, could
               be borne; the gain, should it succeed, was incalculable--indeed, it might divert to Spain all the
               wealth of Asia.

               On August 3, 1492, Columbus sailed from Palos, Spain, with three small ships manned by
               Spaniards. From the Canaries he sailed westward, for, on the evidence of the globes and maps in
               which he had faith, Japan was on the same latitude. If Japan should be missed, Columbus thought
               that the route adopted would land him, only a little further on, on the coast of China itself. Fair
               winds favoured him, the sea was calm, and, on October 12, landfall was made on the Bahama
               island of Guanahaní, which he renamed San Salvador (also called Watling Island, though Samana
               Cay and other islands have been identified as Guanahaní). With the help of the local Indians, the
               ships reached Cuba and then Haiti. Although there was no sign of the wealth of the lands of Kublai
               Khan, Columbus nevertheless seemed convinced that he had reached China, since, according to
               his reckoning, he was beyond Japan. A second voyage in 1493 and 1494, searching fruitlessly for
               the court of Kublai Khan, further explored the islands of "the Indies." Doubts seem to have arisen
               among the would-be colonists as to the identity of the islands since Columbus demanded that all
               take an oath that Cuba was the southeast promontory of Asia--the Golden Chersonese. On his
               third voyage, in 1498, Columbus sighted Trinidad, entered the Gulf of Paria, on the coast of what is
               now Venezuela, and annexed for Spain "a very great continent . . . until today unknown." On a
               fourth voyage, from 1502 to 1504, he explored the coast of Central America from Honduras to
               Darien on the Isthmus of Panama, seeking a navigable passage to the west. What passage he had
               in mind is obscure; if at this point he still believed he had reached Asia, it is conceivable that he
               sought a way through Ptolemy's Golden Chersonese into the Indian Ocean.

               Columbus' tenacity, courage, and skill in navigation make him stand out among the few explorers
               who have changed substantially ideas about the world. At the time, however, his efforts must have
               seemed ill-rewarded: he found no emperor's court rich in spices, silks, gold, or precious stones but
               had to contend with mutinous sailors, dissident colonists, and disappointed sovereigns. He died at
               Valladolid in 1506. Did he believe to the end that he indeed had reached Cathay, or did he,
               however dimly, perceive that he had found a New World?

               Whatever Columbus thought, it was clear to others that there was much to be investigated, and
               probably much to be gained, by exploration westward. Not only in Lisbon and Cádiz but also in
               other Atlantic ports, groups of men congregated in hopes of joining in the search. In England,
               Bristol, with its western outlook and Icelandic trade, was the port best placed to nurture
               adventurous seamen. In the latter part of the 15th century, John Cabot, with his wife and three
               sons, came to Bristol from Genoa or Venice. His project to sail west gained support, and with one
               small ship, the "Matthew," he set out in May 1497, taking a course due west from Dursey Head,
               Ireland. His landfall on the other side of the ocean was probably on the northern peninsula of what
               is now known as Newfoundland. From there, Cabot explored southward, perhaps encouraged to
               do so, even if seeking a westward passage, by ice in the Strait of Belle Isle. Little is known of John
               Cabot's first voyage, and almost nothing of his second, in 1498, from which he did not return, but
               his voyages in high latitudes represented almost as great a navigational feat as those of Columbus.

               The coasts between the landfalls of Columbus and of John Cabot were charted in the first quarter
               of the 16th century by Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese sailors. Sebastian Cabot, son of
               John, gained a great reputation as a navigator and promoter of Atlantic exploration, but whether
               this was based primarily on his own experience or on the achievements of his father is uncertain. In
               1499 Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian merchant living in Seville, together with the Spanish explorer
               Alonso de Ojeda, explored the north coast of South America from Suriname to the Golfo de
               Venezuela. His lively and embellished description of these lands became popular, and
               Waldseemüller, on his map of 1507, gave the name America to the southern part of the continent.

               The 1506 map of Contarini represented a brave attempt to collate the mass of new information,
               true and false, that accrued from these western voyages. The land explored by Columbus on his
               third voyage and by Vespucci and de Ojeda in 1499 is shown at the bottom left of the map as a
               promontory of a great northern bulge of a continent extending far to the south. The northeast coast
               of Asia at the top left is pulled out into a great peninsula on which is shown a big river and some
               mountains representing Contarini's concept of Newfoundland and the lands found by the Cabots
               and others. In the wide sea that separates these northern lands from South America, the West
               Indies are shown. Halfway between the Indies and the coast of Asia, Japan is drawn. A legend
               placed between Japan and China reveals the state of opinion among at least some contemporary
               geographers; it presumably refers to the fourth voyage of Columbus in 1502 and may be an
               addition to the map. It runs:

                    Christopher Columbus, Viceroy of Spain, sailing westwards, reached the Spanish
                    islands after many hardships and dangers. Weighing anchor thence he sailed to the
                    province called Ciambra [a province which then adjoined Cochinchina].

               Others did not agree with Contarini's interpretation. To more and more people it was becoming
               plain that a New World had been found, although for a long time there was little inclination to
               explore it but instead a great determination to find a way past it to the wealth of Asia. The voyage
               of the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, from 1519 to 1521, dispelled two long-cherished
               illusions: first, that there was an easy way through the barrier and, second, that, once the barrier
               was passed, Cathay was near at hand.

               Ferdinand Magellan had served in the East Indies as a young man. Familiar with the long sea route
               to Asia eastward from Europe via the Cape of Good Hope, he was convinced that there must be
               an easier sea route westward. His plan was in accord with Spanish hopes; five Spanish ships were
               fitted out in Seville, and in August 1519 they sailed under his command first to the Cape Verde
               Islands and thence to Brazil. Standing offshore, they then sailed southward along the east coast of
               South America; the estuary of the Río de la Plata was explored in the vain hope that it might prove
               to be a strait leading to the Pacific. Magellan's ships then sailed south along the coast of Patagonia.
               The Gulf of St. George, and doubtless many more small embayments, raised hopes that a strait had
               been found, only to dash them; at last at Port Julian, at 49° 15' S, winter quarters were established.
               In September 1520 a southward course was set once more, until, finally, on October 21, Magellan
               found a strait leading westward. It proved to be an extremely difficult one: it was long, deep,
               tortuous, rock-walled, and bedevilled by icy squalls and dense fogs. It was a miracle that three of
               the five ships got through its 325-mile length. After 38 days, they sailed out into the open ocean.
               Once away from land, the ocean seemed calm enough; Magellan consequently named it the Pacific.
               The Pacific, however, proved to be of vast extent, and for 14 weeks the little ships sailed on a
               northwesterly course without encountering land. Short of food and water, the sailors ate sawdust
               mixed with ship's biscuits and chewed the leather parts of their gear to keep themselves alive. At
               last, on March 6, 1521, exhausted and scurvy-ridden, they landed at the island of Guam. Ten days
               later they reached the Philippines, where Magellan was killed in a local quarrel. The survivors, in
               two ships, sailed on to the Moluccas; thus, sailing westward, they arrived at last in territory already
               known to the Portuguese sailing eastward. One ship attempted, but failed, to return across the
               Pacific. The remaining ship, the "Vittoria," laden with spices, under the command of the Spanish
               navigator Juan Sebastián de Elcano, sailed alone across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of
               Good Hope, and arrived at Seville on September 9, 1522, with a crew of four Indians and only 17
               survivors of the 239 Europeans who had set sail with the expedition three years earlier. Elcano,
               not having allowed for the fact that his circumnavigation had caused him to lose a day, was greatly
               puzzled to find that his carefully kept log was one day out; he was, however, delighted to discover
               that the cargo that he had brought back more than paid for the expenses of the voyage. (see also
               Index: Pacific Ocean)

               It is fitting to consider this first circumnavigation as marking the close of the Age of Discovery.
               Magellan and his men had demonstrated that Columbus had discovered a New World and not the
               route to China and that Columbus' "Indies"--the West Indies--were separated from the East Indies
               by a vast ocean.

               Not all the major problems of world geography were, however, now solved. Two great questions
               still remained unanswered. Were there "northern passages" between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
               more easily navigable than the dangerous Strait of Magellan to the south? Was there a great
               landmass somewhere in the vastness of the southern oceans--a Terra Australis ("southern land")
               that would balance the northern continents? The emergence of the modern world

               The centuries that have elapsed since the Age of Discovery have seen the end of dreams of easy
               routes to the East by the north, the discovery of Australasia and Antarctica in place of Terra
               Australis Incognita, and the identification of the major features of the continental interiors.

               While, as in earlier centuries, traders and missionaries often proved themselves also to be intrepid
               explorers, in this period of geographical discovery the seeker after knowledge for its own sake
               played a greater part than ever before. THE NORTHERN PASSAGES

               Roger Barlow, in his Briefe Summe of Geographie, written in 1540-41, asserted that "the
               shortest route, the northern, has been reserved by Divine Providence for England."

               The concept of a Northeast Passage was at first favoured by the English: it was thought that,
               although its entry was in high latitudes, it "turning itself, trendeth towards the southeast . . . and
               stretcheth directly to Cathay." It was also argued that the cold lands bordering this route would
               provide a much needed market for English cloth. In 1553 a trading company, later known as the
               Muscovy Company, was formed with Sebastian Cabot as its governor. Under its auspices
               numerous expeditions were sent out. In 1553 an expedition set sail under the command of Sir Hugh
               Willoughby; Willoughby's ship was lost, but the exploration continued under the leadership of its
               pilot general, Richard Chancellor. Chancellor and his men wintered in the White Sea, and next
               spring "after much adoe at last came to Mosco." Between 1557 and 1560, another English
               voyager, Anthony Jenkinson, following up this opening, travelled from the White Sea to Moscow,
               then to the Caspian, and so on to Bukhara, thus reaching the old east-west trade routes by a new
               way. Soon, attempts to find a passage to Cathay were replaced by efforts to divert the trade of the
               ancient silk routes from their traditional outlets on the Black Sea to new northern outlets on the
               White Sea.

               The Dutch next took up the search for the passage. The Dutch navigator William Barents made
               three expeditions between 1594 and 1597 (when he died in Novaya Zemlya, modern Soviet
               Union). The English navigator Henry Hudson, in the employ of the Dutch, discovered between
               1605 and 1607 that ice blocked the way both east and west of Svalbard (Spitsbergen). Between
               1725 and 1729 and from 1734 to 1743, a series of expeditions inspired by the Danish-Russian
               explorer Vitus Bering attempted the passage from the eastern end, but it was not until 1878-79 that
               Baron Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, the Finnish-Swedish scientist and explorer, sailed through it. (see
               also Index: Netherlands, The)

               The Northwest Passage, on the other hand, also had its strong supporters. In 1576 Humphrey
               Gilbert, the English soldier and navigator, argued that "Mangia [South China], Quinzay
               [Hang-chou] and the Moluccas are nearer to us by the North West than by the North East," while
               John Dee in 1577 set out the view that the Strait of Anian, separating America from Asia, led
               southwest "along the backeside of Newfoundland." In 1534 Jacques Cartier, the French navigator,
               explored the St. Lawrence estuary. In 1576 the English explorer Sir Martin Frobisher found the
               bay named after him. Between 1585 and 1587, the English navigator John Davis explored
               Cumberland Sound and the western shore of Greenland to 73° N; although he met "a mighty block
               of ice," he reported that "the passage is most probable and the execution easy." In 1610 Henry
               Hudson sailed through Hudson Strait to Hudson Bay, confident, before he was set adrift by a
               mutinous crew, that success was at hand. Between 1612 and 1615, three English
               voyagers--Robert Bylot, Sir Thomas Button, and William Baffin--thoroughly explored the bay,
               returning convinced that there was no strait out of it leading westward. As in the quest for a
               Northeast Passage, interest turned from the search for a route leading to the riches of the East to
               the exploitation of local resources. Englishmen of the Hudson's Bay Company, founded in 1670 to
               trade in furs, explored the wide hinterlands of the St. Lawrence estuary and Hudson Bay. Further
               search for the passage itself did not take place until the 19th century: expeditions led by Sir William
               Parry (1819-25) and Sir John Franklin (1819-45), as well as more than 40 expeditions sent out to
               search for Franklin and his party, failed to find the passage. It was left to the Norwegian explorer
               Roald Amundsen to be the first to sail through the passage, which he did in 1903-05. EASTWARD VOYAGES TO THE PACIFIC

               By the end of the 16th century, Portugal in the East held only the ports of Goa and Diu, in India,
               and Macau, in China. The English dominated the trade of India, and the Dutch that of the East
               Indies. It was the Dutch, trading on the fringes of the known world, who were the explorers.
               Victualling their ships at the Cape, they soon learned that, by sailing east for some 3,000 miles
               (5,000 kilometres) before turning north, they would encounter favourable winds in setting a course
               toward the Spice Islands (now the Moluccas). Before long, reports were received of landfalls
               made on an unknown coast; as early as 1618, a Dutch skipper suggested that "this land is a fit
               point to be made by ships . . . in order to get a fixed course for Java." Thereafter, the west coast
               of Australia was gradually charted: it was identified by some as the coast of the great southern
               continent shown on Mercator's map and, by others, as the continent of Loach or Beach mentioned
               by Marco Polo, interpreted as lying to the south of Malacca (Melaka); Polo, however, was
               probably describing the Malay Peninsula.

               In 1642, a farsighted governor general of the Dutch East India Company, Anthony van Diemen,
               sent out the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman for the immediate purpose of making an exploratory
               voyage, but with the ultimate aim of developing trade. Sailing first south then east from Mauritius,
               Tasman landed on the coast of Tasmania, after which he coasted round the island to the south and,
               sailing east, discovered the South Island of New Zealand; "we trust that this is the mainland coast
               of the unknown South land," he wrote. He sailed north without finding Cook Strait, and, making a
               sweeping arc on his voyage back to the Dutch port of Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia), he
               discovered the Tonga and the Fiji Islands. In 1644, on a second voyage, he traced the north coast
               of Australia from Cape York (which he thought to be a part of New Guinea) to the North West

               The earlier European explorers in the Pacific were primarily in search of trade or booty; the later
               ones were primarily in search of information.

               The traders, for the most part Spaniards, established land portages from harbours on the
               Caribbean to harbours on the west coast of Central and South America; from the Pacific coast
               ports of the Americas, they then set a course westward to the Philippines. Many of their ships
               crossed and recrossed the Pacific without making a landfall; many islands were found, named, and
               lost, only to be found again without recognition, renamed, and perhaps lost yet again. In the days
               before longitude could be accurately fixed, such uncertainty was not surprising.

               Some voyages--for example, those of Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, the Spanish explorer, in 1567
               and 1568; Mendaña and the Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernández de Quirós in 1595; Quirós
               and another Portuguese explorer, Luis de Torres, in 1606--had, among other motives, the purpose
               of finding the great southern continent. Quirós was sure that in Espíritu Santo in the New Hebrides
               he had found his goal; he "took possession of the site on which is to be founded the New
               Jerusalem." Torres sailed from there to New Guinea and thence to Manila, in the Philippines. In
               doing so, he coasted the south shore of New Guinea, sailing through Torres Strait, unaware that
               another continent lay on his left hand.

               The English were rivals of the Spaniards in the search for wealth in unknown lands in the Pacific.
               Two English seamen, Sir Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish, circumnavigated the world from
               west to east in 1577 to 1580 and 1586 to 1588, respectively. One of Drake's avowed objects
               was the search for Terra Australis. Once he was through Magellan's straits, however, strong winds
               made him turn north--perhaps not reluctantly. He then sailed along the coast of Peru, surprising and
               plundering Spanish ships laden with gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls. His fortune made,
               Drake continued northward perhaps in search of the Northwest Passage. He explored the west
               coast of North America to 48° N. He returned south to winter in New Albion (California); the next
               summer he sailed on the Spanish route to Manila, then returned home by the Cape.

               Despite the fact that he participated in several buccaneering voyages, the English seaman William
               Dampier, who was active in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, may be regarded as the first to
               travel mainly to satisfy scientific curiosity. He wrote: "I was well satisfied enough knowing that, the
               further we went, the more knowledge and experience I should get, which was the main thing I
               regarded." His book A New Voyage Round the World, published in 1697, further popularized the
               idea of a great southern continent.

               In the late 18th century, the final phase of Pacific exploration occurred. The French sent the
               explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville to the Pacific in 1768. He appears to have been more of a
               skeptic than many of his contemporaries, for, while he agreed "that it is difficult to conceive such a
               number of low islands and almost drowned lands without a continent near them," at the same time
               he maintained that "if any considerable land existed hereabouts we could not fail meeting with it."
               The British, for their part, commissioned John Byron in 1764 and Samuel Wallis and Phillip
               Carteret in 1766 "to discover unknown lands and to explore the coast of New Albion." For all the
               navigational skill and personal endurance shown by captains and crews, the rewards of these
               voyages in increasing geographical knowledge were not great. The courses sailed were in the
               familiar waters of the southern tropics; none was through the dangerous waters of higher latitudes.

               Capt. James Cook, the English navigator, in three magnificent voyages at long last succeeded in
               demolishing the fables about Pacific geography. He was given command of an expedition to
               observe the transit of the planet Venus at Tahiti on June 3, 1769; with the observation completed,
               he carried out his instructions to search the area between 40° and 35° S "until you discover it
               [Terra Australis] or fall in with the eastern side of the land discovered by Tasman and now called
               New Zealand." He reached New Zealand, circumnavigated both islands, sailed westward, and on
               April 19, 1770, made landfall on the eastern coast of Australia. He then turned northward, charting
               carefully, being well aware of the dangers of the Great Barrier Reef. At Cape York, Cook took
               possession of the whole eastern coast, to which he gave the name New South Wales. He sailed
               through Torres Strait, recognizing as he did so that New Guinea was an island. When Cook sailed
               back to England by Batavia and the Cape, the coastline of the fifth continent was almost complete;
               only in the south did it still remain unknown. In 1798 to 1799, two British navigators, George Bass
               and Matthew Flinders, circumnavigated Tasmania, and in 1801-03 Flinders charted the coast of
               the Great Australian Bight and circumnavigated the continent, thereby proving that there was no
               strait from the bight to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

               In a second voyage, from 1772 to 1775, which in many ways was the greatest of the three, Cook
               searched systematically for the elusive continent that many still believed might exist. The first
               summer he examined the area to the south of the Indian Ocean; in the second, he searched the
               ocean between New Zealand and Cape Horn; and, in the third, the ocean between Cape Horn and
               the Cape of Good Hope. He sailed home convinced that the great South Pacific continent of the
               map makers was a fable.

               With the exploration of the Pacific completed, interest in a Northwest Passage revived. In 1778
               Cook proceeded to latitude 65° N, but he found no way through the ice barrier either to east or to
               west. He then sailed south to Hawaii, where he was killed in a dispute with the islanders.

               Terra Australis Incognita had disappeared: there was now no unknown landmass in the southern
               oceans. It was Matthew Flinders who suggested that the fifth continent should be named
               Australia--a name that had long associations with the South Seas and that accorded well with the
               names of the other continents.

               At the opening of the 19th century, the major features of Europe, Asia, and North and
               South America were known; in Africa some classical misconceptions still persisted;
               inland Australia was still almost blank; and Antarctica was not on the map at all.


               The river systems were the key to African geography. The existence of a great river in
               the interior of West Africa was known to the Greeks, but in which direction it flowed
               and whether it found an outlet in the Sénégal, the Gambia, the Congo, or even the Nile
               were in dispute. A young Scottish surgeon, Mungo Park, was asked to explore it by the
               African Association of London. In 1796 Park, who had travelled inland from the
               Gambia, saw "the long sought for majestic Niger flowing slowly eastwards." On a
               second expedition, attempting to follow its course to the mouth, he was drowned near
               Bussa, in what is now Nigeria. In 1830 an English explorer, Richard Lander, travelled
               from the Bight of Benin, on the West African coast, to Bussa, and he then navigated the
               river down to its mouth, which was revealed as being one of the delta distributaries that,
               because of the trade in palm oil, were known to traders as "the oil rivers" on the Gulf of

               The Zambezi, in south central Africa, was not known at all until, in the mid-19th century,
               the Scottish missionary-explorer David Livingstone crossed the Kalahari from the south,
               found Lake Ngami, and, hearing of populous areas farther north, came upon the river in
               midcourse. On a great exploratory journey from 1852 to 1856, the main purpose of
               which was to expose the slave trade, he first travelled upstream, crossed the watershed
               between the tributaries of the upper Zambezi and those of the lower Congo, and
               reached the west coast at Luanda, Angola. From there a year's march brought him back
               to his starting point near the falls that the Africans called "smoke does sound" but that
               Livingstone prosaically renamed the Victoria Falls; from here he followed the Zambezi
               downstream, reaching the east coast at Quelimane, in Portuguese East Africa
               (Mozambique). On his second journey, sent out by the British government to test the
               navigability of the lower Zambezi, he explored the Shire (Chire) and Rovuma rivers and
               reached Lake Nyasa. His last journey, from 1865 to 1871, was undertaken at the
               behest of the president of Britain's Royal Geographical Society (successor to the
               African Association) "to solve a question of intense geographical interest . . . namely the
               watershed or watersheds of southern Africa." On this journey Livingstone investigated
               the complex drainage system between Lake Nyasa and Lake Tanganyika and explored
               the headwaters of the Congo. He refused to return to England with the Welsh explorer
               Henry Morton Stanley, who was sent to his rescue in 1871, because he was still
               uncertain of the position of the watershed between the Nile and the Congo; he
               wondered if the Lualaba was perhaps a headstream of the Nile. He struggled back to
               the maze of waterways around Lake Bangweulu and died there in 1873. (see also
               Index: Zambezi River, Congo River)

               The whereabouts of the source of the Nile had intrigued men since the days of the
               pharaohs. A Scottish explorer, James Bruce, travelling in Ethiopia in 1770, visited the
               two fountains in Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, first discovered by the Spanish
               priest Paez in 1618. The English explorers Richard Burton and John Speke discovered
               Lake Tanganyika in 1857. Speke then travelled north alone and reached the southern
               creek of a lake, which he named Victoria Nyanza. Without exploring farther, he
               returned to England, sure that he had found the source of the Nile. He was right--but he
               had not seen the outlet, and Burton did not believe him. In 1862 Speke, travelling with
               the Scottish explorer James Grant, found the Ripon Falls, in Uganda (now submerged
               following the construction of a dam for Owen Falls hydroelectric station), and "saw
               without any doubt that Old Father Nile rises in Victoria Nyanza." Stanley completed the
               puzzle in 1875; he circumnavigated Victoria Nyanza, crossed to the Lualaba, followed
               that river to the Congo, and then followed the Congo to its mouth. The pattern made by
               the river systems of Africa was elucidated at last. (see also Index: Nile River)


               The interior of Australia also posed a problem: was its heart an inland sea or a desert?
               This question did not arouse anything approaching the same degree of public interest
               that was taken in the geography of Africa. Exploration was slow; the early settlers on
               the east coast found that the valleys led to impassable walls at the valley heads. In 1813
               the Australian explorer Gregory Blaxland successfully crossed the Blue Mountains by
               following a ridge instead of taking a valley route. Rivers were found beyond the
               mountains, but they did not behave as expected. Another explorer, the Australian John
               Oxley, in 1818 observed: "on every hill a spring, in every valley a rivulet, but the river
               itself disappears." He guessed that the great fan of rivers that drained the western slopes
               of the Great Dividing Range of eastern Australia fell into an inland sea. The Australian
               Charles Sturt resolved the problem by an imaginative journey made in 1829-30. He
               embarked on the Murrumbidgee River and was "hurried into a great and noble river [the
               Murray]." A week later he encountered another big river flowing into the Murray from
               the north, that he rightly concluded was the Darling, the middle course of which he had
               explored the year before. The voyage ended when he discovered that the Murray
               drained into Encounter Bay on the south coast. The heart of Australia was not an inland
               sea but a vast desert. Many more expeditions were needed to map the continent's
               major features, but two revealed its great extent. In 1840-41 the Australian Edward
               John Eyre travelled along the south coast from Adelaide to Albany, a distance of more
               than 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometres); the Australians Robert Burke and William John
               Wills travelled from Melbourne in the southeast to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north.
               (see also Index: Murray River)

               Polar regions.

               The exploration of the polar regions was the work of the first half of the 20th century.
               Scientific curiosity mainly inspired the various enterprises, although political rivalry also
               played some part.

               In the North Polar regions, the scientific age began with the voyaging of William
               Scoresby, an English whaler and scientist, who in 1806 reached 81°21'N. In 1828 an
               English explorer, Sir William Parry, travelling over drift ice from Svalbard, reached 82°
               N. The Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen in 1893 attempted to reach the Pole by
               allowing his ship, the "Fram," to be frozen into the ice in the East Siberian Sea in the
               hope that a current would carry it over the Pole to east Greenland. At 84° N 102° E,
               Nansen with a companion left the ship and travelled by sled to 86° 13' N: the ship
               eventually emerged from the pack ice north of Svalbard. In 1909 an American explorer,
               Robert Peary, reached the North Pole by journeying by sled with 50 Eskimos from
               Ellesmere Island, northwest of Greenland. Soundings of 9,000 feet (2,700 metres) were
               made within five miles (eight kilometres) of the Pole; it seemed, therefore, that there
               could be no continent here. In 1958 the U.S. submarines "Skate" and "Nautilus"
               travelled across the Arctic Ocean under the ice cap.

               The great southern continent, which Captain Cook demonstrated could not lie in the
               South Pacific, lay there neglected for some 50 years. From 1839 to 1843, the British
               rear admiral James Ross, in command of the ships "Erebus" and "Terror," explored the
               coast of Victoria Land. In 1894 Leonard Christensen, captain of a Norwegian whaler,
               landed a party at Cape Adare, the first to set foot on Antarctica. In the first decade of
               the 20th century, various explorers, including Britons such as William Bruce, Robert
               Falcon Scott, and Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, the German Erich von Drygalski, and
               the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Charcot, confirmed the existence of an ice cap of
               continental dimensions. In 1908-09 Shackleton led a brilliant expedition, during which
               he examined the Great Barrier, climbed to 11,000 feet (3,400 metres), and reached 88°
               23' S. Scott and his party reached the Pole on January 17, 1912, only to find that the
               Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had already been there on December 14, 1911;
               Scott's party, caught in a blizzard, died on their return journey. In 1928 Sir Hubert
               Wilkins, the British explorer and aviator, flew over Grahamland, using Deception Island
               as a base. In 1957 and 1958 the British explorer Vivian Fuchs and Sir Edmund Hillary,
               the New Zealand mountaineer, travelled across the continent.

The age of modern colonialism began about 1500, following the European discoveries
               of a sea route around Africa's southern coast (1488) and of America (1492). With
               these events sea power shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and to the
               emerging nation-states of Portugal, Spain, the Dutch Republic, France, and England. By
               discovery, conquest, and settlement, these nations expanded and colonized throughout
               the world, spreading European institutions and culture.

               Medieval Europe was largely self-contained until the First Crusade (1096-99), which
               opened new political and commercial communications with the Muslim Near East.
               Although Christian crusading states founded in Palestine and Syria proved ephemeral,
               commercial relations continued, and the European end of this trade fell largely into the
               hands of Italian cities. (see also Index: Middle Ages)
Early European trade with Asia.

               The Oriental land and sea routes terminated at ports in the Crimea, until 1461 at
               Trebizond (now Trabzon, Turkey), Constantinople (now Istanbul), Asiatic Tripoli (in
               modern Lebanon), Antioch (in modern Turkey), Beirut (in modern Lebanon), and
               Alexandria (Egypt), where Italian galleys exchanged European for Eastern products.
               (see also Index: international trade)

               Competition between Mediterranean nations for control of Asiatic commerce gradually
               narrowed to a contest between Venice and Genoa, with the former winning when it
               severely defeated its rival city in 1380; thereafter, in partnership with Egypt, Venice
               principally dominated the Oriental trade coming via the Indian Ocean and Red Sea to

               Overland routes were not wholly closed, but the conquests of the central Asian warrior
               Timur (Tamerlane)--whose empire broke into warring fragments after his death in
               1405--and the advantages of a nearly continuous sea voyage from the Middle and Far
               East to the Mediterranean gave Venice a virtual monopoly of some Oriental products,
               principally spices. The word spices then had a loose application and extended to many
               Oriental luxuries, but the most valuable European imports were pepper, nutmeg,
               cloves, and cinnamon. (see also Index: spice trade)

               The Venetians distributed these expensive condiments throughout the Mediterranean
               region and northern Europe; they were shipped to the latter first by pack trains up the
               Rhône Valley and, after 1314, by Flanders' galleys to the Low Countries, western
               Germany, France, and England. The fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in
               1453 did not seriously affect Venetian control. Although other Europeans resented this
               dominance of the trade, even the Portuguese discovery and exploitation of the Cape of
               Good Hope route could not altogether break it.

               Early Renaissance Europe was short of cash money, though it had substantial banks in
               northern Italy and southern Germany. Florence possessed aggregations of capital, and
               its Bardi bank in the 14th century and the Medici successor in the 15th financed much
               of the eastern Mediterranean trade.

               Later, during the great discoveries, the Augsburg houses of Fugger and Welser
               furnished capital for voyages and New World enterprises.

               Gold came from Central Africa by Saharan caravan from Upper Volta (Burkina Faso)
               near the Niger, and interested persons in Portugal knew something of this. When Prince
               Henry the Navigator undertook sponsorship of Portuguese discovery voyages down the
               west coast of Africa, a principal motive was to find the mouth of a river to be ascended
               to these mines.
Technological improvements.

               Europe had made some progress in discovery before the main age of exploration. The
               discoveries of the Madeira Islands and the Azores in the 14th century by Genoese
               seamen could not be followed up immediately, however, because they had been made
               in galleys built for the Mediterranean and ill suited to ocean travel; the numerous rowers
               that they required and their lack of substantial holds left only limited room for provisions
               and cargo. In the early 15th century all- sails vessels, the caravels, largely superseded
               galleys for Atlantic travel; these were light ships, having usually two but sometimes three
               masts, ordinarily equipped with lateen sails but occasionally square-rigged. When longer
               voyages began, the nao, or carrack, proved better than the caravel; it had three masts
               and square rigging and was a rounder, heavier ship, more fitted to cope with ocean
               winds. (see also Index: sailing craft)

               Navigational instruments were improved. The compass, probably imported in primitive
               form from the Orient, was gradually developed until, by the 15th century, European
               pilots were using an iron pin that pivoted in a round box. They realized that it did not
               point to the true north, and no one at that time knew of the magnetic pole, but they
               learned approximately how to correct the readings. The astrolabe, used for determining
               latitude by the altitude of stars, had been known since Roman times, but its employment
               by seafarers was rare, even as late as 1300; it became more common during the next
               50 years, though most pilots probably did not possess it and often did not need it
               because most voyages took place in the narrow waters of the Mediterranean or Baltic
               or along western European coasts. For longitude, then and many years thereafter, dead
               reckoning had to be employed, but this could be reasonably accurate when done by
               experts. (see also Index: navigation system)

               The typical medieval map had been the planisphere, or mappemonde, which arranged
               the three known continents in circular form on a disk surface and illustrated a concept
               more theological than geographical. The earliest surviving specimens of the portolanic,
               or harbour-finding, charts date from shortly before 1300 and are of Pisan and Genoese
               origin. Portolanic maps aided voyagers by showing Mediterranean coastlines with
               remarkable accuracy, but they gave no attention to hinterlands. As Atlantic sailings
               increased, the coasts of western Europe and Africa south of the Strait of Gibraltar were
               shown somewhat correctly, though less so than for the Mediterranean.

               Portugal's seaborne empire.

               Following Christopher Columbus' first voyage, the rulers of Portugal and Spain, by the
               Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), partitioned the non-Christian world between them by an
               imaginary line in the Atlantic, 370 leagues (about 1,300 miles) west of the Cape Verde
               Islands. Portugal could claim and occupy everything to the east of the line and Spain
               everything to the west (though no one then knew where the demarcation would bisect
               the other side of the globe). Portuguese rule in India, the East Indies, and Brazil rested
               on this treaty, as well as on Portuguese discoveries and on papal sanction (Pope Leo X,
               by a bull of 1514, forbade others to interfere with Portugal's possessions). Except for
               such minor incursions as those of Ferdinand Magellan's surviving ship in 1522 and the
               Englishman Sir Francis Drake's voyage around the world in 1577-80, the Portuguese
               operated in the East for nearly a century without European competition. They faced
               occasional Oriental enemies but weathered these dangers with their superior ships,
               gunnery, and seamanship.

               Territorially, theirs was scarcely an empire; it was a commercial operation based on
               possession of fortifications and posts strategically situated for trade. This policy was
               carried out principally by two viceroys, Francisco de Almeida in 1505-09 and Afonso
               de Albuquerque in 1509-15. Almeida seized several eastern African and Indian points
               and defeated a Muslim naval coalition off Diu (now in Goa, Daman, and Diu union
               territory, India). Albuquerque endeavoured to gain a monopoly of European spice
               trade for his country by sealing off all entrances and exits of the Indian Ocean competing
               with the Portuguese route around the Cape of Good Hope. In 1510 he took Goa, in
               western India, which became the capital and stronghold of the Portuguese East, and in
               1511 he captured Malacca at the farther end of the ocean. Later he subdued Hormuz
               (now in Iran), commanding the Persian Gulf. They brought soldiers from the home
               country in limited numbers; but the Portuguese also relied on alliances with native states
               and enlisted sepoy troops, a policy later followed by the French and English.

               Portugal never fully dominated the Indian Ocean because it lacked warships necessary
               to control the vast water expanse. Albuquerque's failure to capture Aden at the Red
               Sea entrance allowed the old traffic through Egypt to Venice to resume following an
               initial dislocation, and this continued after the Ottoman Turks conquered Egypt in 1517.
               Much of the Indian Ocean trade was local and, until the Portuguese incursion, had been
               conducted by Arabs or at least by Muslims. The Portuguese, who at first had intended
               to oust the Arabs entirely, found it impossible to manage without them. The Hindus,
               whom they hoped to use for local trade purposes, proved unenterprising and had caste
               restrictions regarding sea voyages. Muslims were soon trafficking again vigorously, with
               Portuguese sanction.

               Portuguese subjects also pressed beyond the Strait of Malacca to the East Indies, Siam
               (now Thailand), and Canton in Ming-dynasty China. Trade with the celestial empire,
               difficult at first because of China's exclusionist policies, at length grew, especially after
               Portugal in 1557 leased Macau, through which for the next 300 years passed much of
               the Occidental trade with China. Individual Portuguese reached Japan in 1542, followed
               by traders and Francis Xavier (later made a saint), a renowned Jesuit missionary who
               laboured with small success to make converts. In the 17th century, the Japanese
               adopted a rigorous exclusionist policy, although they allowed Portugal's successors, the
               Dutch, to conduct a limited trade from the small island of Deshima, near Nagasaki.

               Partial domination of the Indian Ocean and much of its valuable trade did not bring
               Portugal's crown as much profit as had been anticipated. The intention had been to
               make Oriental trade a royal monopoly; but Portuguese, from viceroys to humble
               soldiers and seamen, became private merchants and lined their own pockets to the
               deprivation of the royal treasury. The Eastern footholds were expensive to maintain, and
               frequent mishaps to vessels of the Indian fleets, from shipwreck or enemies, reduced
               gains. The lack of a true monopoly prevented the Portuguese from charging the prices
               that they wished in European markets. Moreover, Lisbon, while an ideal starting point
               for voyages around the Cape, proved poorly situated as a distribution centre for spice
               to northern and central Europe. Antwerp, on the Scheldt, was far superior, and for a
               time Portugal maintained a trading house there; but Portuguese agents found spice sales
               taken out of their hands by more experienced Italian, German, and Flemish merchants,
               and the Antwerp establishment was closed in 1549.

               It has been asserted that the Portuguese had no racial prejudice, but their record proves
               the opposite. In the 16th and 17th centuries, they could not be expected to be tolerant
               of Oriental religions, although they soon recognized that wholesale conversion to
               Catholicism was impossible. Some Africans and Asiatics became Christians and even
               entered the clergy; but seldom if ever did they rise above the status of parish priests. In
               other affairs the Portuguese generally treated the dark-skinned peoples as inferiors. (see
               also Index: racism)

               The east coast of Brazil belonged to Portugal by the Tordesillas pact. The government
               of Manuel I and his successor, John III (ruled 1521-57), paid it small attention for 30
               years. It proved nearly useless as a way station to the Cape; its Indian population was
               savage, and its products, consisting chiefly of pau-brasil (Brazilian dyewood), yielded
               much less revenue than those of India. Threats of French and Spanish intrusion caused
               John III, in 1530, to send Martim Afonso de Sousa to make a careful survey of the
               Brazilian coast and to suggest sites for colonization. Next, the littoral was partitioned
               into strips called capitanias, each colonized and governed under feudal terms by a
               proprietor, or donatário. Some limited settlement followed, and in 1549 the capitanias
               were united under a governor general who established residence at Bahia (now
               Salvador, Brazil).

               In 1580 Philip II of Spain seized the Portuguese throne, which had fallen vacant and to
               which he had some blood claim. Portugal remained theoretically independent, bound
               only by a personal union to its neighbour; but succeeding Spanish monarchs steadily
               encroached on its liberties until the small kingdom became, in effect, a conquered
               province. Spain's European enemies meanwhile descended on the Portuguese Empire
               and ended its Eastern supremacy before the restoration of Portugal's independence in
Spain's American empire.

               The conquests.

               Only gradually did the Spaniards realize the possibilities of America. They had
               completed the occupation of the larger West Indian islands by 1512, though they largely
               ignored the smaller ones, to their ultimate regret. Thus far they had found lands nearly
               empty of treasure, populated by naked primitives who died off rapidly on contact with
               Europeans. In 1508 an expedition did leave Hispaniola to colonize the mainland, and,
               after hardship and decimation, the remnant settled at Darién on the Isthmus of Panama,
               from which in 1513 Vasco Núñez de Balboa made his famous march to the Pacific. On
               the Isthmus the Spaniards heard garbled reports of the wealth and splendour of Inca
               Peru. Balboa was succeeded (and judicially murdered) by Pedrarias Dávila, who turned
               his attention to Central America and founded Nicaragua.

               Expeditions sent by Diego Velázquez, governor of Cuba, made contact with the
               decayed Mayan civilization of Yucatán and brought news of the cities and precious
               metals of Aztec Mexico. Hernán Cortés entered Mexico from Cuba in 1519 and spent
               two years overthrowing the Aztec confederation, which dominated Mexico's civilized
               heartland. The Spaniards used firearms effectively but did most of their fighting with
               pikes and blades, aided by numerous Indian allies who hated the dominant Aztecs. The
               conquest of Aztec Mexico led directly to that of Guatemala and about half of Yucatán,
               whose geography and warlike inhabitants slowed Spanish progress.

               Mexico yielded much gold and silver, and the conquerors imagined still greater wealth
               and wonders to the north. None of this existed, but it seemed real when a northern
               wanderer, Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, in 1536 brought to Mexico an exciting but
               fanciful report of the fabulous lands. Expeditions explored northern Mexico and the
               southern part of what is now the United States--notably the expedition of Juan
               Rodríguez Cabrillo by sea along what are now the California and Oregon coasts and the
               expeditions of Hernando de Soto and Francisco Vázquez Coronado through the
               southeastern and southwestern U.S. regions. These brought geographical knowledge
               but nothing of value to the Spaniards, who for years thereafter ignored the northern

               Meanwhile, the Pizarro brothers--Francisco Pizarro and his half-brothers Gonzalo and
               Hernando--entered the Inca Empire from Panama in 1531 and proceeded with its
               conquest. Finding the huge realm divided by a recent civil war over the throne, they
               captured and executed the incumbent usurper, Atahualpa. But the conquest took years
               to complete; the Pizarros had to crush a formidable native rising and to defeat their
               erstwhile associate, Diego de Almagro, who felt cheated of his fair share of the spoils.
               The Pizarros and their followers took and divided a great amount of gold and silver,
               with prospects of more from the mines of Peru and Bolivia. By-products of the Inca
               conquest were the seizure of northern Chile by Pedro de Valdivia and the descent of the
               entire Amazon by Francisco de Orellana. Other conquistadors entered the regions of
               what became Ecuador, Colombia, and Argentina. (See LATIN AMERICA, THE
               HISTORY OF.)

               A colonial period of nearly three centuries followed the major Spanish conquests. The
               empire was created in a time of rising European absolutism, which flourished in both
               Spain and Spanish America and reached its height in the 18th century. The overseas
               colonies became and remained the king's private estate.

               Spanish colonial policies.

               Shortly before the death of Queen Isabella I in 1504, the Spanish sovereigns created
               the House of Trade ( Casa de Contratación) to regulate commerce between Spain and
               the New World. Their purpose was to make the trade monopolistic and thus pour the
               maximum amount of bullion into the royal treasury. This policy, seemingly successful at
               first, fell short later because Spain failed to provide necessary manufactured goods for
               its colonies, foreign competitors appeared, and smuggling grew.

               In 1524 Charles V created the Council of the Indies (Consejo de Indias) as a
               lawmaking body for the colonies. During the three centuries of its existence, this council
               enacted a massive amount of legislation, though much grew obsolete and became a
               dead letter. The industrious Philip II died in 1598, and his indolent or incompetent
               successors left American affairs to the Casa and Consejo; both proved generally
               conscientious and hard-working bodies, though, for a time in the 17th century,
               appointments to the legislating council could be purchased.

               The viceregal system dated from 1535, when Antonio de Mendoza was sent to govern
               New Spain, or Mexico, bypassing the still-vigorous Cortés. A second viceroy was
               named for Peru in 1542, and the viceroyalties of New Granada and Río de la Plata
               were formed in 1739 and 1776, respectively. By the 18th century, viceroys served
               average terms of five years, and under them functioned a hierarchy of bureaucrats,
               nearly all sent from Spain to occupy frequently lucrative posts. American-born
               Spaniards resented this favouritism shown the peninsular Spaniards, and their jealousy
               accounted in part for their later separation from Spain. Lower socially and economically
               than either white class were the mestizo offspring of white and Indian matings, and still
               lower were the Indians and black slaves.

               Though a belief to the contrary exists, Spain sent many colonists to America. One
               indication of this is the number of new cities founded, distinct from the old Indian culture
               centres. A partial list of such cities, besides the early island ones, includes Vera Cruz,
               New Spain; Panama, Cartagena, and Guayaquil, in New Granada (in modern Panama,
               Colombia, and Ecuador, respectively); Lima, Peru; and all those of what are now Chile,
               Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay.

               A problem early faced and never truly solved by Spain was that of the Indians. The
               home government was generally benevolent in legislating for their welfare but could not
               altogether enforce its humane policies in distant America. The foremost controversy in
               early decades involved the encomienda, by which Indian groups were entrusted to
               Spanish proprietors, who in theory cared for them physically and spiritually in return for
               rights to tribute and labour but who in practice often abused and enslaved them. (see
               also Index: American Indian)

               Spanish Dominican friars were the first to condemn the encomienda and work for its
               abolition; the outstanding reformer was a missionary, Bartolomé de Las Casas, who
               devoted most of his long life to the Indian cause. He secured passage of laws in 1542
               ordering the early abolition of the encomienda, but efforts to enforce these brought
               noncompliance in New Spain and armed rebellion in Peru. A belief held by some
               Spanish theologians--that Indians were inferior beings who were destined to be natural
               slaves, to be subdued and forcibly converted to Christianity--generally prevailed over
               the opposition of Las Casas and fellow Dominicans. The encomienda or its equivalent
               endured, although this feudal institution declined as royal absolutism grew.

               The Indians became real or nominal Christians, but their numbers shrank, less from
               slaughter and exploitation than from Old World diseases, frequently smallpox, for which
               they had no inherited immunity. The aboriginal West Indian population virtually
               disappeared in a few generations, to be replaced by black slaves. Indian numbers
               shrank in all mainland areas: at the beginning of Spanish settlement there were perhaps
               50,000,000 aborigines; the figure had decreased to an estimated 4,000,000 in the 17th
               century, after which it slowly rose again. Meanwhile the hybrid mestizo element grew
               and--to a limited extent--replaced the Indians.

               The Leyenda Negra (Black Legend) propagated by critics of Spanish policy still
               contributes to the general belief that Spain exceeded other nations in cruelty to subject
               populations; on the other hand, a review of Spain's record suggests that it was no worse
               than other nations and, in fact, produced a greater number of humanitarian reformers.
               When Dominican zeal declined, the new and powerful Jesuit order became the major
               Indian protector and led in missionary activity until its expulsion from the Spanish
               Empire in 1767; the Jesuits took charge of large converted native communities, notably
               in the area of the viceroyalty of Río de la Plata that is now Paraguay, in their paternalism
               often imposing stern discipline.

Effects of the discoveries and empires.

               Before the discovery of America and the sea route to Asia, the Mediterranean had been
               the trading and naval centre of Europe and the Near East. Italian seamen were rightly
               considered to be the best, and they commanded the first royally sponsored transatlantic
               expeditions--Columbus for Spain, John Cabot for England, and Giovanni da Verrazano
               for France.

               Europe's shift to the Atlantic.

               Until then the Western countries had lain on the fringe of civilization, with nothing
               apparently beyond them but Iceland and small islands. With the discovery of the Cape
               route and America, nations formerly peripheral found themselves central, with
               geographical forces impelling them to leadership.

               The Mediterranean did not become a backwater, and the Venetian republic remained a
               major commercial power in the 16th century. Venice's decline came in the 17th, though
               the Venetians were still formidable against the Turks. As the more powerful Dutch,
               French, and English replaced the Eastern pioneers of Portugal, however, the burden of
               competition became more than the venerable republic could bear. The last decisive
               naval battle fought wholly by Mediterranean seamen was Lepanto (Náupaktos,
               Greece), where Don John of Austria, in 1571, commanding Spanish and Italian galleys,
               defeated an Ottoman fleet. Although Atlantic powers thereafter often fought in the
               Mediterranean, they mainly fought each other, while the Italian cities became pawns in
               international politics. The nation-state was superseding the small principality and
               city-state, a trend that had begun before the discoveries. The new nations lay on the
               Atlantic; and, though Spain and France had Mediterranean frontages, the advantage
               went to those seaports belonging to substantial countries with ready access to the outer

               Changes in Europe.

               The opening of old lands in Asia and new ones in America changed Europe forever, and
               the Iberian countries understandably felt the changes first. The Portuguese government,
               for a time, made large profits from its Eastern trade, and individuals prospered; but
               Oriental luxuries were costly compared with the European goods that Portugal offered,
               and the balance had to be made up in specie. This eastward drain of gold and silver had
               gone on long before Portuguese imperial times, but it was now intensified. Much of the
               bullion reaching the Orient did not circulate but was hoarded or made into ornaments;
               consequently, there was no inflation in Asia, and prices there did not rise enough to
               create a demand for Western goods, which would have reversed the flow of bullion
               from the West. The Portuguese obtained most of the precious metal for this trade from
               spice sales through Antwerp and from Africa. The drain proved critical, and, by the
               reign of John III, the government found itself hard pressed economically and forced to
               abandon overseas posts that were a financial burden. Later, beginning in the 17th
               century, Portugal drew its own supply of jewels and gold from Brazil.

               Spain's case was the reverse; although the first American lands discovered yielded little
               mineral wealth, the mines of Mexico by the 1520s and those of Potosí (in modern
               Bolivia) by the 1540s were shipping to Spain large quantities of bullion, much of it
               crown revenue. This did not furnish Charles V and Philip II their largest income; Spanish
               taxation still exceeded wealth from the New World, yet American silver and gold
               proved sufficient to cause a price revolution in Spain, where costs, depending on the
               region, were multiplied by three and five during the 16th century. The Spanish
               government wished to keep bullion from leaving the kingdom, but high prices in Spain
               made it a good market for outside products. Spanish industry declined in the 16th
               century, in part because of the sales taxes imposed by the crown, which necessitated
               more buying of foreign merchandise. Great quantities of bullion had to be poured out to
               finance the expensive Spanish European empire and the costly wars and diplomacy of
               Charles V and Philip II, both of whom were constantly in debt.

               Price rises followed in other countries, largely from the influx of Spanish bullion. In
               England, where some statistics are available, costs by 1650 had risen by 250 percent
               over those of 1500.

               The European commercial revolution, which brought increased industry, more trade,
               and larger banks, had begun before the discoveries, but it received stimulus from them.
               Bullion from America helped create a money economy, replacing the older and largely
               barter exchange--a trend accentuated by greater European mineral production in the
               early 16th century. The trade emporiums of Italy and the Baltic Hanseatic League
               declined and were largely replaced by those of the Dutch Republic, England, and
               France. Joint-stock companies made an impressive appearance, notably the East India
               Companies of the Dutch Republic, England, and France in the 17th century. The
               mercantile theory that precious metals constitute the true wealth, though it had attracted
               advocates for a long time, now came into full vogue and continued to dominate
               economic thinking.

               Discovery introduced Europe to new foods and beverages. Coffee, from Ethiopia, had
               been consumed in Arabia and Egypt before its wide European use began in the 17th
               century. Tobacco, an American plant smoked by Indians, won an Old World market
               despite many individual objectors; the same proved true of chocolate from Mexico and
               tea from Asia. The South American potato became a staple food in such places as
               Ireland and central Europe. Cotton, from the Old World, took firm root in the New,
               from which Europe received an enormously increased supply. Sugar, introduced to the
               American tropics, along with its molasses and rum derivatives, in time became the
               principal exports of those regions. Spice was certainly more plentiful than before the
               discoveries, though the Dutch, when they controlled the East Indies, were able to limit
               production and thus to keep the price of cloves and nutmegs high.

               The influence of the discoveries permeated literature. Sir Thomas More's Utopia,
               printed in 1516 and dealing with an imaginary island, was suggested by South America.
               The Portuguese poet Luís de Camões recounted the voyage of Vasco da Gama, though
               fancifully, in epic verse. Michel de Montaigne discoursed upon American savages, some
               of whom he had seen in France. Christopher Marlowe's drama Tamburlaine (1587),
               though based on the life of the Asiatic conqueror, was an exhortation to his fellow
               Englishmen to penetrate the New World.

               Historiography acquired a broader base by taking the newly discovered lands into
               account. Astronomy was revolutionized by European penetration of the Southern
               Hemisphere and discovery of constellations unknown before. Map makers, typified by
               the Fleming Gerardus Mercator and the Dutchman Abraham Ortelius, portrayed the
               world in terms that are still recognizable.

               The northern Atlantic powers, for understandable reasons, acquired no permanent
               overseas possessions before 1600. The United Provinces of the Netherlands spent the
               final decades of the 16th century winning independence from Spain; France had
               constant European involvements and wars of religion; England, matrimonially allied with
               Spain as late as 1558, was undergoing its Protestant Reformation and long was
               unwilling to challenge predominant Spain openly in any manner.
The Dutch.

               Although England's defeat of Philip II's Armada in 1588 helped to lessen Spanish sea
               power, it was the Dutch who early in the next century really broke that power and
               became the world's foremost naval and commercial nation, with science and skills
               commensurate with their prowess. Only late in the 17th century did they decline,
               because of Holland's limited size and the inferiority of its geographical position to
               England's. The Dutch, meanwhile, penetrated all the known oceans, including the Arctic,
               and waged unrelenting war against the Iberian kingdoms.

               The Dutch coveted the Portuguese commercial empire more than the Spanish
               continental one. They took much of the Portuguese East and invaded Brazil (1624-54),
               the richer half of which they controlled for a time. They also penetrated Portuguese
               Angola, which they desired because the slaves it exported were beginning to work the
               Brazilian plantations. They ultimately failed in the South Atlantic, though they gained
               Dutch Guiana (now Suriname), Curaçao, and what later became British Guiana
               (Guyana). Meanwhile, Willem Schouten, one of their free-lance voyagers, had made the
               discovery of Cape Horn in 1616.

               Eastern pursuits.

               The Dutch States-General, in 1602, chartered the United East India Company
               (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, popularly called the Dutch East India
               Company), a joint-stock enterprise with investment open to all. In control was a board
               of 17 directors, the so-called Heeren XVII, who received a monopoly of navigational
               rights eastward around the Cape of Good Hope and westward through the Strait of
               Magellan. They could make treaties with native princes on behalf of the States-General
               (from which they were scarcely separable), establish garrisoned forts, and appoint
               governors and justices. The company had no interest in extending Protestantism, and
               there was no mention of religious conversion, though Calvinist ministers later gained
               converts in the East, mostly in communities previously made Catholic by Portuguese

               The company established headquarters first at Bantam in Java in 1607, later moving
               them to Jacatra, renamed Batavia (now Jakarta), in the same island. Its two main
               objectives were the ouster of European competitors--Portuguese, English, and
               Spanish--and dominance of local trade, previously in native hands. Portuguese vigour
               had somewhat declined, and the Dutch were victorious in most armed encounters. They
               also squeezed out the English, whose own East India Company thereafter concentrated
               efforts in the Indian peninsula.

               The principal builder of the Dutch Oriental empire was Jan Pieterszoon Coen, company
               governor general from 1618 to 1623 and again from 1627 until his death in 1629.
               Financially, local trade monopoly was even more important than the expulsion of white
               competitors. The extension of Dutch control to islands beyond Java had started before
               the governorship of Coen, who accentuated the process. He and other company
               officials behaved ruthlessly; for example, when the inhabitants of the nutmeg-growing
               island of Great Banda (modern Pulau Banda Besar in Indonesia) resisted the Dutch in
               1621, Coen had 2,500 of the inhabitants massacred and 800 more transported to
               Batavia. Company policy was to restrict clove production to Amboina and a few
               neighbouring islands firmly under Dutch control. To insure this, about 65,000 clove trees
               were destroyed in the Moluccas, and Dutch subjection of Macassar made the
               monopoly virtually complete. In 1656 the famous Moluccas were described as a
               wilderness. Besides being a conqueror, Coen was an able businessman and an
               economist. When he died he was engaged in gaining a monopoly of the pepper of
               interior Sumatra, which was later sealed off securely by the fall of Portuguese Malacca
               in 1641.

               Batavia became the focal point of the Dutch East, and through it passed the commerce
               of China, Japan, India, Ceylon, and Persia, bound for Europe or other Oriental ports.
               The Dutch never monopolized the China trade because the Portuguese held Macau, the
               Spaniards held Manila, and the Japanese, for a time, engaged in this commerce. The
               Dutch gained a foothold in Formosa in 1624 but lost it to a Chinese pirate in 1662.
               After Japan became exclusionist in 1641, a trickle of Dutch trade continued to enter it
               through the small island of Deshima (now part of Nagasaki, Japan), even after the
               dissolution of the United East India Company in 1799.

               The economy of Java changed somewhat after the importation of the coffee plant in
               1696. Coffee, often simply called java, rapidly became a major island crop and was
               exported from there to Dutch America. The company had earlier brought coffee to
               Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), but that experiment had failed when a blight attacked its
               leaves. The company ousted the Portuguese from Ceylon and dominated the island until
               it was itself dispossessed by the British in 1796. Under its jurisdiction, as earlier, the
               major Ceylonese export was cinnamon, though the Dutch also dealt in jewels and
               pepper and carried on a trade in elephants.

               In their constant search for commercial outlets, the company's officials sponsored new
               exploration. Coen's ablest successor, Antonio van Diemen, governor general in
               1636-45, sent Abel Tasman to investigate the great land (Australia) previously sighted
               by Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch seamen. Tasman sailed around the continent and
               discovered Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), Staatenland (New Zealand), and the Tonga
               and Fiji Islands, but their commercial possibilities seemed insufficient to warrant further

               Dutch penetration of the East was not colonization; small farmers and artisans neither
               could nor would compete with the abundant, cheap native labour. Those Dutchmen
               going eastward were company officials, seamen and soldiers, overseers of plantations
               and commerce, and a few scientists and Calvinist clergymen; there was no place for

               The Dutch moved into uninhabited Mauritius, which they later abandoned and saw pass
               first to France and finally to Great Britain. The Heeren XVII felt the need of a station on
               the arduous voyage between the home country and the East. They obtained it at Cape
               Town (founded in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck), which company ships thereafter
               regularly visited for fresh meat and vegetables to reduce scurvy. The town did not
               altogether live up to first expectations because the harbour was exposed, but the
               hinterland possessed a good climate and no dangerous natives. Beginning in the 1680s
               the company encouraged a moderate influx by Dutch families and French Huguenot
               exiles. Although the British conquered the colony in 1806, the descendants of these
               early settlers remained the largest white element and spoke a variant of Dutch, which
               became Afrikaans.

               Western pursuits.

               Dutch activity in the South Atlantic, Guyana, the West Indies, and New Netherland
               (New York) was the work of the West India Company (West-Indische Compagnie),
               founded in 1621. This never proved as successful as the Heeren XVII's generally
               profitable enterprise, but it did produce results. Except for the Cape, the only real Dutch
               colonization undertaking was New Netherland in North America, started in 1624 by the
               West India Company. Ft. Amsterdam, or New Amsterdam, was founded, and two
               years later the company agent Peter Minuit made a 60-guilder ($24) transaction with
               the local Indians for the purchase of Manhattan island. Dutch settlement along the
               Hudson from New Amsterdam to Ft. Orange (Albany) remained sparse; the company's
               insistence on monopolizing the Indian fur trade discouraged Dutchmen from migrating
               there. Further, the policy of creating large patroon land grants, five in all, along the river
               under feudal proprietors, limited settlement. New Amsterdam itself became fairly
               thriving because it possessed the best harbour in North America. Many besides
               Dutchmen settled there; some came from nearby New England, and there was a
               sprinkling of French, Scandinavian, Irish, German, and Jewish inhabitants. The city was
               weakly defended and fell rather easily to an English fleet in 1664; it was renamed New
               York. Although the Dutch retook it briefly in 1673-74, the colony became permanently
               English by the Treaty of Westminster in 1674. The West India Company was then
               dissolved, to be reconstituted for exploitation of the Caribbean holdings but to attempt
               no further territorial expansion.
The French.

               France probably could have become the leading European colonial power in the 17th
               and 18th centuries. It had the largest population and wealth, the best army while Louis
               XIV ruled, and, for a time in his reign, the strongest navy. But France pursued a
               spasmodic overseas policy because of an intense preoccupation with European affairs;
               England, France's ultimately successful rival, was freer of such entanglements.

               Early settlements in the New World.

               Verrazano reconnoitered the North American coast for France in 1524, and in the next
               decade Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River; his plans to establish a
               colony, however, came to nothing. During most of the rest of the 16th century, French
               colonization efforts were confined to short-lived settlements at Guanabara Bay (Rio de
               Janeiro) and Florida; both met sad ends. France meanwhile was troubled by internal
               religious strife and, for a time, was influenced by Philip II of Spain. But at the beginning
               of the 17th century, with Spanish power declining and domestic religious peace restored
               by King Henry IV's Edict of Nantes (1598), granting religious liberty to the Huguenots,
               the King chartered a Compagnie d'Occident (Western Company). This led to further
               exploration and to a small Acadian (Nova Scotian) settlement, and in 1603 Samuel de
               Champlain went to Canada, called New France. Champlain became Canada's
               outstanding leader, founding Quebec in 1608, defeating the Iroquois of New York,
               stimulating fur trade, and exploring westward to Lake Huron in 1615. He introduced
               Recollet (Franciscan) friars for conversion of the American Indians, but the Jesuit order
               (the Society of Jesus) soon became the principal missionary body in Canada.

               Under the ministership of Cardinal Richelieu (served 1624-42), a Council of Marine
               was created, with responsibility for colonial affairs. French West Indian settlement,
               following the activities of pirates and filibusters, began in 1625 with the admission of
               French settlers to St. Christopher (already settled by the British in 1623 and partitioned
               between the two countries until its cession to the British in 1713), and by 1664 France
               held 14 Antillean islands containing 7,000 whites, the principal possessions being
               Guadeloupe and Martinique. Saint-Domingue (Haiti), not yet annexed, contained
               numbers of Frenchmen, mostly buccaneers from Tortuga. Sugar became the main crop
               of the islands; the date when importation of black slaves began is uncertain, though
               some were sold at Guadeloupe as early as 1642.

               French West Indian society was caste bound, with officials and large planters (gros
               blancs) at the top, followed, in descending order, by merchants, buccaneers, and small
               farmers (petits blancs). Lowest of all were contract labourers from France (engagés)
               and black slaves.

               French Guiana was built around the Cayenne settlement, founded about 1637. There
               were other Frenchmen along the neighbouring coast at first, but, threatened by
               Dutchmen and natives, they finally took refuge at Cayenne. The Cayenne settlers,
               lacking any basis of prosperity, existed partly by raiding the Amazon Indians. The 18th
               century brought some improvement, but as late as 1743 French Guiana had only 600
               whites, living by coffee and cacao culture and without means to import any but the
               crudest necessities.

               Activities in India.

               Jean-Baptiste Colbert held a succession of high offices in France, including the ministry
               of marine, during the early reign of Louis XIV. Colbert was an archmercantilist and
               believed that an abundance of precious metals would enrich France. This required a
               favourable balance of trade and protective tariffs. Most of his policy applied to France
               itself, but he meant to supplement it with colonial markets protected by a strong navy.
               Colbert felt concern over the quantities of cash that Frenchmen paid the Dutch for
               Eastern products and intended for his countrymen to have a share of those profits. In
               1664 he placed hopes in a new French Company of the East Indies (Compagnie
               Française des Indes Orientales), to which he personally subscribed and which bought
               out small predecessors. The company tried unsuccessfully to make Madagascar a great
               centre of trade, and the huge island became a stronghold of piracy, though the French
               acquired nearby Mauritius.

               In the Indian peninsula, where the English East India Company had holdings, French
               progress was slow in Colbert's time and after, partly because the last great Mughal
               emperor, Aurangzeb, reigned and dominated India. The company did acquire
               Pondichéry and several other posts, however, and an affiliate opened a limited trade
               with China. When Aurangzeb died in 1707, his empire declined rapidly. Thereafter, the
               question of future control of India lay chiefly between the French company (reorganized
               and renamed the Compagnie Française des Indes in 1720) and the English company;
               both companies backed or opposed warring native rulers and exacted payment from
               them for financial support and for arming and drilling the native sepoy troops in the
               European manner. By the 1740s the French had gained the upper hand, and in the
               War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48; called King George's War in North
               America), the French governor general of India, Joseph-François Dupleix, captured
               Madras, the centre of British power. But in the ensuing Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle the
               British, who had made gains in North America, recovered Madras. Never again did the
               French come so near success, and their fortunes soon declined. Their company had not
               made large profits because expensive wars and the costs of subsidizing native princes
               had consumed revenue. The home government seldom cooperated, and French
               investors on the whole declined to speculate in overseas ventures.

               Colonization of New France.

               New France became a royal province in 1663, with both good and bad results. The
               arrival of troops in 1665 lessened the danger from the hostile Iroquois. Jean Talon, the
               powerful intendant sent by Colbert in the same year, strove to make Canada a
               self-sustaining economic structure, but his plan was finally thwarted by his home
               government's failure to supply financial means chiefly because of the King's
               extravagance and costly European wars.

               Colbert gave some stimulus to colonization of New France. Grants of land, called
               seigneuries, with frontages on the St. Lawrence, were apportioned to proprietors, who
               then allotted holdings to small farmers, or habitants. More land came under cultivation,
               and the white population grew, though immigration from France declined sharply after
               1681 because the home authorities were reluctant to spare manpower for empty
               Canada. After 1700 most French Canadians were North American born, a factor that
               weakened loyalty to the mother country.

               North American exploration proceeded rapidly in Colbert's time. Fur traders had
               earlier reached Lake Superior; Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette now travelled the
               Fox and Wisconsin rivers to the Mississippi in 1673 and descended it to the Arkansas.
               Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, followed the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico in
               1682 and claimed the entire Mississippi River Basin, or Louisiana, for France; a later
               consequence was the founding of New Orleans (Nouvelle-Orléans) in 1718 by
               Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, sieur de Bienville, the governor of Louisiana. French traders
               ultimately reached Santa Fe in Spanish New Mexico, and the sons of explorer Pierre
               Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de la Vérendrye--Louis-Joseph and François--visited the
               Black Hills of South Dakota and may have seen the Rocky Mountains.

               The Roman Catholic Church became firmly rooted in Canada, without the intellectual
               opposition and anticlericalism that developed in 18th-century France. Jesuit mission
               work among the Indians, extending to the Middle West, saw more devotion and
               bravery by the priests than substantial results. Christianity made small appeal to most
               Indians, who could accept a supreme being but rejected the Christian ethic. Several
               zealous Jesuits became martyrs to the faith; genuine conversions were few and
               backslidings frequent.

               In the 18th century, with the pioneering period over, life in New France became
               easygoing and even pleasant, despite governmental absolutism. But the fur trade in the
               west drew vigorous young men from the seigneurial estates to become coureurs de
               bois (fur traders), and their loss crippled agriculture. Civil and religious authorities tried
               to hold settlers to farming because furs paid neither tithes nor seigneurial dues. This
               drainage of manpower partly explains the slow growth of New France, which, by a
               census of 1754, had only 55,000 whites.
The English.

               There is evidence that Bristol seamen reached Newfoundland before 1497, but John
               Cabot's Atlantic crossing in that year is the first recorded English exploration. After the
               death of Henry VII in 1509, England lost interest in discovery and did not resume it until
               1553 and the formation of the Muscovy Company, which tried to find a Northeast
               Passage to Asia, discovered the island of Novaya Zemlya, and opened a small trade
               with Russia. The English also searched for a Northwest Passage, and Martin Frobisher
               sailed to Greenland, Baffin Island, and the adjacent mainland.

               English ascendancy in India.

               Francis Drake and others raided the Spanish Main, and Drake and Thomas Cavendish
               sailed around the world. The defeat of Philip II's Armada in 1588, though less
               disastrous to Spain's seapower than commonly assumed, contributed to opening the
               way for English colonization of America. Interest in the Orient at first proved greater,
               however, and, in 1600, London merchants formed an East India Company. It could not
               compete with the rival Dutch company in the region of largest profits--the East
               Indies--so it transferred its emphasis to the Indian subcontinent. The English acquired
               Masulipatam in 1611 and Madras in 1639, having meanwhile destroyed Portuguese
               Hormuz in 1622. Charles II obtained Bombay in 1661, as part of his Portuguese
               queen's marriage dowry, and awarded it to the company.

               Collapse of the Mughal Empire after 1707 led ultimately to armed conflict between the
               British and French companies for increased trade and influence. Dupleix had won the
               upper hand for France by 1748; but in the ensuing Seven Years' War (1756-63),
               fought between the major European powers in various parts of the world, the British
               company gained ascendancy in India, thanks largely to the ability of Robert Clive, and
               held it thereafter. Pondichéry surrendered; and, though France recovered this post by
               the ensuing Treaty of Paris (1763), French power in India had shrunk almost to nothing,
               while the British company's was now rivalled only by that of the native Maratha
               confederacy. (see also Index: British Empire)

               Company profits from India came first from the familiar spices, but after 1660, Indian
               textiles outstripped these in importance. Cheap cloths, mainly cottons, found a mass
               market among the English poorer classes, though dainty fabrics for the wealthy also paid
               well. Imports of calicoes (inexpensive cotton fabrics from Calicut) to England grew so
               large that in 1721 Parliament passed the Calico Act to protect English manufacturers,
               forbidding the use of calico in England for apparel or for domestic purposes (repeal of
               the act in 1774 coincided with inventions of mechanical devices that made possible
               English cloth production in successful competition with Eastern fabrics).

               England's American colonies.

               The English West Indies for many years exceeded North America in economic
               importance. The Lesser Antilles, earlier passed over by Spain in favour of the larger
               islands, lay open to any colonizer, though their ferocious Carib inhabitants sometimes
               gave trouble. The Leeward Islands of Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Barbados, as well
               as the Bermudas, were settled by Englishmen between 1609 and 1632. Barbados, at
               first the most important, owed its prosperity to the introduction of sugar culture about
               1637. The size of landholdings increased in all the islands, and the white populations
               accordingly diminished as slavery came to furnish most of the raw labour. When an
               expedition sent by Oliver Cromwell took Spanish Jamaica in 1655, that island became
               the English West Indian centre. Settlement of Belize (later British Honduras) by
               buccaneers and log cutters began in 1636, although more than a century elapsed before
               Spain acknowledged that the English indeed had the right to be there.

               The English islanders, to the envy of their Dutch and French neighbours, enjoyed such
               constitutional privileges as the right to elect semipopular assemblies. Barbados once
               hoped to have two representatives in Parliament, and some Barbadians, during the
               English (Glorious) Revolution (1688-89), thought of making their island an independent
               state, but nothing came of this.

               The original English mainland colonies--Virginia (founded 1607), Plymouth (1620), and
               Massachusetts Bay (1630)--were founded by joint-stock companies. The later New
               England settlements--New Hampshire, New Haven, Connecticut, and Rhode
               Island--began as offshoots of Massachusetts, which acquired jurisdiction over the
               Maine territory. The New England colonies were first peopled partly by religious
               dissenters, but except for the separatist Plymouth Pilgrims they did not formally secede
               from the Church of England for the time being.

               Proprietary colonies, under individual entrepreneurs, began with Maryland, founded in
               1634 under the Catholic direction of Cecilius and Leonard Calvert. Also proprietary
               was Pennsylvania, which originally included Delaware, founded by the Quaker William
               Penn in 1682. Maryland and Pennsylvania, except for a brief royal interlude in
               Maryland, continued under Calvert and Penn heirs until the American Revolution; all
               other colonies except Connecticut and Rhode Island ultimately had royal governments.
               The Carolinas, after abortive attempts at colonization, were effectively founded in 1670
               and became first proprietary and, later, royal colonies. Georgia, last of the 13, began in
               1732, partly as a philanthropic enterprise headed by James Oglethorpe to furnish a
               rehabilitation home for debtors and other underprivileged Englishmen. All the mainland
               colonies eventually had representative assemblies, chosen by the propertied classes, to
               aid and often handicap their English governors.

               The original settlers, predominantly English, were later supplemented by French
               Huguenots, Germans, and Scots-Irish, especially in western New York, Pennsylvania,
               and the southern colonies. New York, acquired from the United Provinces of the
               Netherlands and including New Jersey, continued to have some Dutch flavour long after
               the Dutch had become a small minority. By the French and Indian War (1754-63, the
               American portion of the Seven Years' War), the total population of the mainland
               colonies was estimated as 1,296,000 whites and 300,000 blacks, enormously in excess
               of the 55,000 whites inhabiting French Canada.

               The only bond of union among the British colonies was their allegiance to the king, and
               in the wars with France (c. 1689-1763) it proved hard to unite them against the
               common enemy. All the colonies were agricultural, with New England being a region of
               small farms, the Middle Atlantic colonies having a larger scaled and more diversified
               farming, and the southern ones tending to plantations on which tobacco, rice, and indigo
               were raised by slaves (although slavery was legal throughout all the colonies). There
               was much colonial shipping, especially from New England, whose merchants and
               seamen traded with England, Africa, and the West Indies; Massachusetts shipbuilders
               had built more than 700 ships by 1675. By 1763 several towns had grown into cities,
               including Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston, South


               By the time the term mercantile system was coined in 1776 by the Scottish philosopher
               Adam Smith, European states had been trying for two centuries to put mercantile
               theory into practice. The basis of mercantilism was the notion that national wealth is
               measured by the amount of gold and silver a nation possesses. This seemed proven by
               the fact that Spain's most powerful years had occurred when it was first reaping a
               bullion harvest from its overseas possessions.

               The mercantile theory held that colonies exist for the economic benefit of the mother
               country and are useless unless they help to achieve profit. The mother nation should
               draw raw materials from its possessions and sell them finished goods, with the balance
               favouring the European country. This trade should be monopolistic, with foreign
               intruders barred.

               The Spanish fleet system.

               Spain acted upon the as-yet-undefined mercantile theory when, in 1565, it perfected the
               fleet (flota) system, by which all legal trade with its American colonies was restricted to
               two annual fleets between Seville and designated ports on the Gulf of Mexico and
               Caribbean. The outgoing ships bore manufactured articles; returning, their cargoes
               consisted partly of gold and silver bars. Though the system continued for nearly two
               centuries, Spain was a poor country by 1700.

               French mercantilist activities.

               Ignoring this lesson, other European states adopted the mercantilist policy; the France
               of Louis XIV and Colbert is the outstanding example. Colbert, who dominated French
               policy for 20 years, strictly regulated the economy. He instituted protective tariffs and
               sponsored a monopolistic merchant marine. He regarded what few overseas
               possessions France then had as ultimate sources of liquid wealth, which they were
               poorly situated to furnish because they lacked such supplies of bullion as Spain
               controlled in Mexico and Peru.

               The English navigation acts.

               England adhered to mercantilism for two centuries and, possessing a more lucrative
               empire than France, strove to implement the policy by a series of navigation acts. The
               first, passed by Oliver Cromwell's government in 1651, attempted chiefly to exclude the
               Dutch from England's carrying trade: goods imported from Africa, Asia, or America
               could be brought only in English ships, which included colonial vessels, thus giving the
               English North American merchant marine a substantial stimulus. After the royal
               Restoration in 1660, Parliament renewed and strengthened the Cromwellian measures.
               By then colonial American maritime competition with England had grown so severe that
               laws of 1663 required colonial ships carrying European goods to America to route
               them through English ports, where a duty had to be paid, but from lack of enforcement
               these soon became inoperative. In the early 18th century the English lost some of their
               enthusiasm for bullion alone and placed chief emphasis on commerce and industry. The
               Molasses Act of 1733 was in the interest of the British West Indian sugar growers, who
               complained of the amount of French island molasses imported by the mainland colonies;
               the French planters had been buying fish, livestock, and lumber brought by North
               American ships and gladly exchanging their sugar products for them at low prices.
               Prohibition of colonial purchases of French molasses, though decreed, went largely
               unenforced, and New England, home of most of the carrying trade, continued
               (18TH CENTURY)

               Faith in mercantilism waned during the 18th century, first because of the influence of
               French Physiocrats, who advocated the rule of nature, whereby trade and industry
               would be left to follow a natural course. François Quesnay, a physician at the court of
               Louis XV of France, led this school of thought, fundamentally advocating an agricultural
               economy and holding that productive land was the only genuine wealth, with trade and
               industry existing for the transfer of agricultural products.

               Adam Smith adopted some physiocratic ideas, but he considered labour very important
               and did not altogether accept land as the sole wealth. Smith's Inquiry Into the Nature
               and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), appearing just as Britain was about to
               lose much of its older empire, established the basis of new economic thought--classical
               economics. This denigrated mercantilism and advocated free, or at least freer, trade and
               state noninterference with private enterprise. Laisser-faire et laisser-aller ("to let it
               alone and let it flow") became the slogan of this British economic school. Smith thought
               that regulation only reduced wealth, a view in part adopted by the British government
               56 years after his death.

               Slave trade.

               Slavery, though abundantly practiced in Africa itself and widespread in the ancient
               Mediterranean world, had nearly died out in medieval Europe. It was revived by the
               Portuguese in Prince Henry's time, beginning with the enslavement of Berbers in 1442.
               Portugal populated Cape Verde, Fernando Po (now Bioko), and São Tomé largely
               with black slaves and took many to the home country, especially to the regions south of
               the Tagus River.

               New World black slavery began in 1502, when Gov. Nicolás de Ovando of Hispaniola
               imported a few evidently Spanish-born blacks from Spain. Rapid decimation of the
               Indian population of the Spanish West Indies created a labour shortage, ultimately
               remedied from Africa. The great reformer, Las Casas, advocated importation of blacks
               to replace the vanishing Indians, and he lived to regret having done so. The population
               of the Greater Antilles became largely black and mulatto; on the mainland, at least in the
               more populated parts, the Indians, supplemented by a growing mestizo caste that clung
               more tenaciously to life and seemed more suited to labour, kept African slavery
               somewhat confined to limited areas.

               The Portuguese at first practiced Indian slavery in Brazil and continued to employ it
               partially until 1755. It was gradually replaced by the African variety, beginning
               prominently in the 17th century and coinciding with the rapid rise of Brazilian sugar

               As the English, French, Dutch, and, to a lesser extent, the Danes colonized the smaller
               West Indian islands, these became plantation settlements, largely cultivated by blacks.
               Before the latter arrived in great numbers, the bulk of manual labour, especially in the
               English islands, was performed by poor whites. Some were indentured, or contract,
               servants; some were redemptioners who agreed to pay ship captains their passage fees
               within a stated time or be sold to bidders; others were convicts. Some were kidnapped,
               with the tacit approval of the English authorities, in keeping with the mercantilist policy
               that advocated getting rid of the unemployed and vagrants. Black slavery eventually
               surpassed white servitude in the West Indies.

               John Hawkins commanded the first English slave-trading expedition in 1562 and sold
               his cargo in the Spanish Indies. English slaving, nevertheless, remained minor until the
               establishment of the English island colonies in the reign of James I (ruled 1603-25). A
               Dutch captain sailed the first cargo of black slaves to Virginia in 1619, the year in which
               the colony exported 20,000 pounds (9,000 kilograms) of tobacco. The restored Stuart
               king, Charles II, gave English slave trade to a monopolistic company, the Royal
               Adventurers Trading to Africa, in 1663, but the Adventurers accomplished little
               because of the early outbreak of war with Holland (1665). Its successor, the Royal
               African Company, was founded in 1672 and held the English monopoly until 1698,
               when all Englishmen received the right to trade in slaves. The Royal African Company
               continued slaving until 1731, when it abandoned slaving in favour of traffic in ivory and
               gold dust. A new slaving company, the Merchants Trading to Africa (founded 1750),
               had directors in London, Liverpool, and Bristol, with Bristol furnishing the largest quota
               of ships, estimated at 237 in 1755. Jamaica offered the greatest single market for slaves
               and is believed to have received 610,000 between 1700 and 1786. The slave trade still
               flourished in 1763, when about 150 ships sailed yearly from British ports to Africa with
               capacity for nearly 40,000 slaves.

               There was no well-organized opposition to the slave trade before 1800, although some
               individuals and ephemeral societies condemned it. The Spanish church saw the
               importation of blacks as an opportunity for converting them. The English religionist
               George Fox, founder of Quakerism (founded in the 1650s), accepted the fact that his
               followers had bought slaves in Barbados, but he urged kind treatment. The English
               novelist and political pamphleteer Daniel Defoe later denounced the traffic but seemingly
               regarded slavery itself as inevitable. The English and Pennsylvania Quakers passed
               resolutions forbidding their members to engage in the trade, but their wording suggests
               that some were doing so; in fact, 84 of them were members of the Merchants Trading
               to Africa.

               Those opposing the slave trade often objected on other than humanitarian grounds.
               Some colonials feared any further growth of the black percentage of the population.
               Others, who justified English slave sales to the Spanish colonies because payment was
               in cash, condemned the same traffic with French islanders, who paid in molasses and
               thus competed with nearby English sugar planters.
olonial wars of the first half of the 18th century.

               From 1689 to 1763 the British and French fought four wars that were mainly
               European in origin but which determined the colonial situation, in some cases for two
               centuries. Spain entered all four, first in alliance with England and later in partnership
               with France, though it played a secondary role.

               King William's War (War of the League of Augsburg).

               The war known in Europe as that of the Palatinate, League of Augsburg, or Grand
               Alliance, and in America as King William's War, ended indecisively, after eight years,
               with the Treaty of Rijswijk in 1697. No territorial changes occurred in America, and
               because the great Mughal emperor Aurangzeb reigned in India, very little of the conflict
               penetrated there.

               Queen Anne's War (War of the Spanish Succession).

               Queen Anne's War, the American phase of the War of the Spanish Succession
               (1701-14), began in 1702. Childless king Charles II of Spain, dying in 1700, willed his
               entire possessions to Philip, grandson of Louis XIV of France. England, the United
               Provinces, and Austria intervened, fearing a virtual union between powerful Louis and
               Spain detrimental to the balance of power, and Queen Anne's War lasted until
               terminated by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. England (Great Britain after 1707) gained
               Gibraltar and Minorca and, in North America, acquired Newfoundland and French
               Acadia (renamed Nova Scotia). It also received clear title to the northern area being
               exploited by the Hudson's Bay Company. Bourbon prince Philip was recognized as
               king of Spain, but the British secured the important asiento, or right to supply Spanish
               America with slaves, for 30 years.

               King George's War (War of the Austrian Succession).

               There followed a peace almost unbroken until 1739, when, with the asiento about to
               expire and Spain unwilling to renew it, Great Britain and Spain went to war. The recent
               amputation of an English seaman's ear by a Spanish Caribbean coast guard caused the
               conflict to be named the War of Jenkins' Ear. This merged in 1740 with the War of the
               Austrian Succession (called King George's War in America), between Frederick II the
               Great of Prussia and Maria Theresa of Austria over Silesia. France joined Spain and
               Prussia against Great Britain and Austria, and the war, which was terminated in 1748 by
               the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, proved indecisive. New England colonials captured
               Louisbourg, the fortified French island commanding the St. Lawrence entrance, but
               France's progress in India counterbalanced this conquest. With the Mughal Empire now
               virtually extinct, the British and French East India Companies fought each other, the
               advantage going to the French under Dupleix, who captured Madras and nearly
               expelled the British. The peace treaty restored all conquests; France recovered
               Louisbourg, and the British regained Madras and with it another chance to become
               paramount in India.

The French and Indian War (the Seven Years' War).

               Until 1754, when the two powers resumed their conflict in the French and Indian War in
               America, the overseas possessions maintained a show of peace. During this prewar
               period the French attempted to increase their hold on the Ohio Valley and in 1754 built
               Fort-Duquesne at the future site of Pittsburgh. Lt. Col. George Washington with
               colonial forces, in 1754, and Gen. Edward Braddock with British regulars, in 1755,
               were defeated in attempts to dislodge them. Dupleix and his successor, Charles-Joseph
               Patissier, marquis de Bussy-Castelnau, increased their influence in India; but the recall
               of Dupleix in 1754 damaged French prospects there.

               The Seven Years' War, fought in Europe by Frederick the Great of Prussia against
               Austria, France, and Russia, ended with his survival against overwhelming odds. His
               one ally, Great Britain, helped financially but could render small military assistance.
               Overseas, the British triumphed completely over France, aided by Spain in the last
               years of the war. The French at first had the upper hand in both India and America, but
               the turning point came after William Pitt the Elder, later earl of Chatham, assumed
               direction of the British war effort. In 1757 Clive won victory at Plassey over the Nawab
               of Bengal, an enemy of the British company; Sir Eyre Coote's victory at Wandewash in
               1760, over the French governor Thomas Lally, was followed by the capture of

               In America, thanks largely to the vigorous policy of Pitt, the British won repeated
               victories. The French forts Frontenac, Duquesne, and Carillon fell in 1758 and 1759.
               British generals Sir Jeffrey Amherst and James Wolfe took Louisbourg in 1758,
               Quebec in 1759, and Montreal in 1760, and the surrender of Montreal included that of
               the entire French colony. Meanwhile, Adm. Edward Hawke destroyed or immobilized
               the principal French line fleet at Quiberon Bay in 1759. Spanish intervention in the war
               in 1761 merely enabled the British to seize Havana and Manila.

               The Treaty of Paris in 1763 gave Britain all North America east of the Mississippi,
               including Spanish Florida. France ceded the western Mississippi Valley to Spain as
               compensation for the loss of Florida. Besides having a clear path to domination of India
               in the Old World, Great Britain also gained African Senegal. In the West Indies, it
               returned Martinique and Guadeloupe to France for the sake of peace but remained
               easily second to Spain there in importance.

               The first great era of colonial conflict had ended, and the British Empire, a century and a
               half old, had become the world's foremost overseas domain. Though exceeded in size
               by that of Spain, it was the wealthiest, backed by the overwhelming naval power of
               Great Britain. British prestige had reached a new height, greater perhaps than it would
               ever attain again.
European expansion since 1763

               The global expansion of western Europe between the 1760s and the 1870s differed in
               several important ways from the expansionism and colonialism of previous centuries.
               Along with the rise of the Industrial Revolution, which economic historians generally
               trace to the 1760s, and the continuing spread of industrialization in the empire-building
               countries came a shift in the strategy of trade with the colonial world. Instead of being
               primarily buyers of colonial products (and frequently under strain to offer sufficient
               salable goods to balance the exchange), as in the past, the industrializing nations
               increasingly became sellers in search of markets for the growing volume of their
               machine-produced goods. Furthermore, over the years there occurred a decided shift in
               the composition of demand for goods produced in the colonial areas. Spices, sugar, and
               slaves became relatively less important with the advance of industrialization, concomitant
               with a rising demand for raw materials for industry (e.g., cotton, wool, vegetable oils,
               jute, dyestuffs) and food for the swelling industrial areas (wheat, tea, coffee, cocoa,
               meat, butter).

               This shift in trading patterns entailed in the long run changes in colonial policy and
               practice as well as in the nature of colonial acquisitions. The urgency to create markets
               and the incessant pressure for new materials and food were eventually reflected in
               colonial practices, which sought to adapt the colonial areas to the new priorities of the
               industrializing nations. Such adaptation involved major disruptions of existing social
               systems over wide areas of the globe. Before the impact of the Industrial Revolution,
               European activities in the rest of the world were largely confined to: (1) occupying
               areas that supplied precious metals, slaves, and tropical products then in large demand;
               (2) establishing white-settler colonies along the coast of North America; and (3) setting
               up trading posts and forts and applying superior military strength to achieve the transfer
               to European merchants of as much existing world trade as was feasible. However
               disruptive these changes may have been to the societies of Africa, South America, and
               the isolated plantation and white-settler colonies, the social systems over most of the
               Earth outside Europe nevertheless remained much the same as they had been for
               centuries (in some places for millennia). These societies, with their largely self-sufficient
               small communities based on subsistence agriculture and home industry, provided poor
               markets for the mass-produced goods flowing from the factories of the technologically
               advancing countries; nor were the existing social systems flexible enough to introduce
               and rapidly expand the commercial agriculture (and, later, mineral extraction) required
               to supply the food and raw material needs of the empire builders.

               The adaptation of the nonindustrialized parts of the world to become more profitable
               adjuncts of the industrializing nations embraced, among other things: (1) overhaul of
               existing land and property arrangements, including the introduction of private property in
               land where it did not previously exist, as well as the expropriation of land for use by
               white settlers or for plantation agriculture; (2) creation of a labour supply for commercial
               agriculture and mining by means of direct forced labour and indirect measures aimed at
               generating a body of wage-seeking labourers; (3) spread of the use of money and
               exchange of commodities by imposing money payments for taxes and land rent and by
               inducing a decline of home industry; and (4) where the precolonial society already had a
               developed industry, curtailment of production and exports by native producers.

               The classic illustration of this last policy is found in India. For centuries India had been
               an exporter of cotton goods, to such an extent that Great Britain for a long period
               imposed stiff tariff duties to protect its domestic manufacturers from Indian competition.
               Yet, by the middle of the 19th century, India was receiving one-fourth of all British
               exports of cotton piece goods and had lost its own export markets.

               Clearly, such significant transformations could not get very far in the absence of
               appropriate political changes, such as the development of a sufficiently cooperative local
               elite, effective administrative techniques, and peace-keeping instruments that would
               assure social stability and environments conducive to the radical social changes imposed
               by a foreign power. Consistent with these purposes was the installation of new, or
               amendments of old, legal systems that would facilitate the operation of a money,
               business, and private land economy. Tying it all together was the imposition of the
               culture and language of the dominant power.

               The changing nature of the relations between centres of empire and their colonies, under
               the impact of the unfolding Industrial Revolution, was also reflected in new trends in
               colonial acquisitions. While in preceding centuries colonies, trading posts, and
               settlements were in the main, except for South America, located along the coastline or
               on smaller islands, the expansions of the late 18th century and especially of the 19th
               century were distinguished by the spread of the colonizing powers, or of their emigrants,
               into the interior of continents. Such continental extensions, in general, took one of two
               forms, or some combination of the two: (1) the removal of the indigenous peoples by
               killing them off or forcing them into specially reserved areas, thus providing room for
               settlers from western Europe who then developed the agriculture and industry of these
               lands under the social system imported from the mother countries, or (2) the conquest
               of the indigenous peoples and the transformation of their existing societies to suit the
               changing needs of the more powerful militarily and technically advanced nations.

               At the heart of Western expansionism was the growing disparity in technologies
               between those of the leading European nations and those of the rest of the world.
               Differences between the level of technology in Europe and some of the regions on other
               continents were not especially great in the early part of the 18th century. In fact, some
               of the crucial technical knowledge used in Europe at that time came originally from Asia.
               During the 18th century, however, and at an accelerating pace in the 19th and 20th
               centuries, the gap between the technologically advanced countries and technologically
               backward regions kept on increasing despite the diffusion of modern technology by the
               colonial powers. The most important aspect of this disparity was the technical
               superiority of Western armaments, for this superiority enabled the West to impose its
               will on the much larger colonial populations. Advances in communication and
               transportation, notably railroads, also became important tools for consolidating foreign
               rule over extensive territories. And along with the enormous technical superiority and the
               colonizing experience itself came important psychological instruments of minority rule by
               foreigners: racism and arrogance on the part of the colonizers and a resulting spirit of
               inferiority among the colonized.

               Naturally, the above description and summary telescope events that transpired over
               many decades and the incidence of the changes varied from territory to territory and
               from time to time, influenced by the special conditions in each area, by what took place
               in the process of conquest, by the circumstances at the time when economic exploitation
               of the possessions became desirable and feasible, and by the varying political
               considerations of the several occupying powers. Moreover, it should be emphasized
               that expansion policies and practices, while far from haphazard, were rarely the result of
               long-range and integrated planning. The drive for expansion was persistent, as were the
               pressures to get the greatest advantage possible out of the resulting opportunities. But
               the expansions arose in the midst of intense rivalry among major powers that were
               concerned with the distribution of power on the continent of Europe itself as well as with
               ownership of overseas territories. Thus, the issues of national power, national wealth,
               and military strength shifted more and more to the world stage as commerce and
               territorial acquisitions spread over larger segments of the globe. In fact, colonies were
               themselves often levers of military power--sources of military supplies and of military
               manpower and bases for navies and merchant marines. What appears, then, in tracing
               the concrete course of empire is an intertwining of the struggle for hegemony between
               competing national powers, the manoeuvring for preponderance of military strength, and
               the search for greatest advantage practically obtainable from the world's resources.


               Stages of history rarely, if ever, come in neat packages: the roots of new historical
               periods begin to form in earlier eras, while many aspects of an older phase linger on and
               help shape the new. Nonetheless, there was a convergence of developments in the early
               1760s, which, despite many qualifications, delineates a new stage in European
               expansionism and especially in that of the most successful empire builder, Great Britain.
               It is not only the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain that can be traced to this period
               but also the consequences of England's decisive victory over France in the Seven Years'
               War and the beginnings of what turned out to be the second British Empire. As a result
               of the Treaty of Paris, France lost nearly all of its colonial empire, while Britain became,
               except for Spain, the largest colonial power in the world.

The second British Empire.

               The removal of threat from the strongest competing foreign power set the stage for
               Britain's conquest of India and for operations against the North American Indians to
               extend British settlement in Canada and westerly areas of the North American
               continent. In addition, the new commanding position on the seas provided an
               opportunity for Great Britain to probe for additional markets in Asia and Africa and to
               try to break the Spanish trade monopoly in South America. During this period, the
               scope of British world interests broadened dramatically to cover the South Pacific, the
               Far East, the South Atlantic, and the coast of Africa.

               The initial aim of this outburst of maritime activity was not so much the acquisition of
               extensive fresh territory as the attainment of a far-flung network of trading posts and
               maritime bases. The latter, it was hoped, would serve the interdependent aims of
               widening foreign commerce and controlling ocean shipping routes. But in the long run
               many of these initial bases turned out to be steppingstones to future territorial conquests.
               Because the indigenous populations did not always take kindly to foreign incursions into
               their homelands, even when the foreigners limited themselves to small enclaves,
               penetration of interiors was often necessary to secure base areas against attack.

               Loss of the American colonies.

               The path of conquest and territorial growth was far from orderly. It was frequently
               diverted by the renewal or intensification of rivalry between, notably, England, France,
               Spain, and the Low Countries in colonial areas and on the European continent. The
               most severe blow to Great Britain's 18th-century dreams of empire, however, came
               from the revolt of the 13 American colonies. These contiguous colonies were at the
               heart of the old, or what is often referred to as the first, British Empire, which consisted
               primarily of Ireland, the North American colonies, and the plantation colonies of the
               West Indies. Ironically, the elimination of this core of the first British Empire was to a
               large extent influenced by the upsurge of empire building after the Seven Years' War.
               Great Britain harvested from its victory in that war a new expanse of territory about
               equal to its prewar possessions on the North American continent: French Canada, the
               Floridas, and the territory between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi River. The
               assimilation of the French Canadians, control of the Indians and settlement of the
               trans-Allegheny region, and the opening of new trade channels created a host of
               problems for the British government. Not the least of these were the burdensome costs
               to carry out this program on top of a huge national debt accumulated during the war. To
               cope with these problems, new imperial policies were adopted by the mother country:
               raising (for the first time) revenue from the colonies; tightening mercantile restrictions,
               imposing firm measures against smuggling (an important source of income for colonial
               merchants), and putting obstacles in the way of New England's substantial trade with the
               West Indies. The strains generated by these policies created or intensified the hardships
               of large sections of the colonial population and, in addition, disrupted the relative
               harmony of interests that had been built up between the mother country and important
               elite groups in the colonies. Two additional factors, not unrelated to the enlargement of
               the British Empire, fed the onset and success of the American War of Independence
               (1775-83): first, a lessening need for military support from the mother country once the
               menacing French were removed from the continent and, second, support for the
               American Revolutionary forces from the French and Spanish, who had much to fear
               from the enhanced sea power and expansionism of the British.

               The shock of defeat in North America was not the only problem confronting British
               society. Ireland--in effect, a colonial dependency--also experienced a revolutionary
               upsurge, giving added significance to attacks by leading British free traders against
               existing colonial policies and even at times against colonialism itself. But such criticism
               had little effect except as it may have hastened colonial administrative reforms to
               counteract real and potential independence movements in dependencies such as Canada
               and Ireland.

               Conquest of India.

               Apart from reforms of this nature, the aftermath of American independence was a
               diversion of British imperial interests to other areas--the beginning of the settlement of
               Australia being a case in point. In terms of amount of effort and significance of results,
               however, the pursuit of conquest in India took first place. Starting with the assumption
               of control over the province of Bengal (after the Battle of Plassey, 1757) and especially
               after the virtual removal of French influence from the Indian Ocean, the British waged
               more or less continuous warfare against the Indian people and took over more and
               more of the interior. The Marathas, the main source of resistance to foreign intrusion,
               were decisively defeated in 1803, but military resistance of one sort or another
               continued until the middle of the 19th century. The financing and even the military
               manpower for this prolonged undertaking came mainly from India itself. As British
               sovereignty spread, new land-revenue devices were soon instituted, which resulted in
               raising the revenue to finance the consolidation of power in India and the conquest of
               other regions, breaking up the old system of self-sufficient and self-perpetuating villages
               and supporting an elite whose self-interests would harmonize with British rule.

               Global expansion.

               Except for the acquisition of additional territory in India and colonies in Sierra Leone
               and New South Wales, the important additions to British overseas possessions between
               the Seven Years' War and the end of the Napoleonic era came as prizes of victory in
               wars with rival European colonial powers. In 1763 the first British Empire primarily
               centred on North America. By 1815, despite the loss of the 13 colonies, Britain had a
               second empire, one that straddled the globe from Canada and the Caribbean in the
               Western Hemisphere around the Cape of Good Hope to India and Australia. This
               empire was sustained by and in turn was supported by maritime power that far
               exceeded that of any of Britain's European rivals.

               Policy changes.

               The half century of global expansion is only one aspect of the transition to the second
               British Empire. The operations of the new empire in the longer run also reflected
               decisive changes in British society. The replacement of mercantile by industrial
               enterprise as the main source of national wealth entailed changes to make national and
               colonial policy more consistent with the new hierarchy of interests. The restrictive trade
               practices and monopolistic privileges that sustained the commercial explosion of the
               16th and most of the 17th centuries--built around the slave trade, colonial plantations,
               and monopolistic trading companies--did not provide the most effective environment for
               a nation on its way to becoming the workshop of the world.

               The desired restructuring of policies occurred over decades of intense political conflict:
               the issues were not always clearly delineated, interest groups frequently overlapped, and
               the balance of power between competing vested interests shifted from time to time. The
               issues were clearly drawn in some cases, as for example over the continuation of the
               British East India Company's trade monopoly. The company's export of Indian silk,
               muslins, and other cotton goods was seen by all who were involved in any way in the
               production of British textiles to be an obstacle to the development of markets for
               competing British manufactures. Political opposition to this monopoly was strong at the
               end of the 18th century, but the giant step on the road to free trade was not taken until
               the early decades of the 19th century (termination of the Indian trade monopoly, 1813;
               of the Chinese trade monopoly, 1833).

               In contrast, the issues surrounding the strategic slave trade were much more
               complicated. The West Indies plantations relied on a steady flow of slaves from Africa.
               British merchants and ships profited not only from supplying these slaves but also from
               the slave trade with other colonies in the Western Hemisphere. The British were the
               leading slave traders, controlling at least half of the transatlantic slave trade by the end of
               the 18th century. But the influential planter and slave-trade interests had come under
               vigorous and unrelenting attack by religious and humanitarian leaders and organizations,
               who propelled the issue of abolition to the forefront of British politics around the turn of
               the 19th century. Historians are still unravelling the threads of conflicting arguments
               about the priority of causes in the final abolition of the slave trade and, later, of slavery
               itself, because economic as well as political issues were at play: glutted sugar markets
               (to which low-cost producers in competing colonies contributed) stimulated thoughts
               about controlling future output by limiting the supply of fresh slaves; the compensation
               paid to plantation owners by the British government at the time of the abolition of
               slavery rescued many planters from bankruptcy during a sugar crisis, with a substantial
               part of the compensation money being used to pay off planters' debts to London
               bankers. Moreover, the battle between proslavery and antislavery forces was fought in
               an environment in which free-trade interests were challenging established mercantilist
               practices and the West Indies sugar economy was in a secular decline. (see also Index:

               The British were not the first to abolish the slave trade. Denmark had ended it earlier,
               and the U.S. Constitution, written in 1787, had already provided for its termination in
               1808. But the British Act of 1807 formally forbidding the slave trade was followed up
               by diplomatic and naval pressure to suppress the trade. By the 1820s Holland, Sweden,
               and France had also passed anti-slave-trade laws. Such laws and attempts to enforce
               them by no means stopped the trade, so long as there was buoyant demand for this
               commodity and good profit from dealing in it. Some decline in the demand for slaves did
               follow the final emancipation in 1833 of slaves in British possessions. On the other hand,
               the demand for slaves elsewhere in the Americas took on new life--e.g., to work the
               virgin soils of Cuba and Brazil and to pick the rapidly expanding U.S. cotton crops to
               feed the voracious appetite of the British textile industry. Accordingly, the number of
               slaves shipped across the Atlantic accelerated at the same time Britain and other
               maritime powers outlawed this form of commerce.

               Involvement in Africa.

               Although Britain's energetic activity to suppress the slave trade was far from effective,
               its diplomatic and military operations for this end led it to much greater involvement in
               African affairs. Additional colonies were acquired (Sierra Leone, 1808; Gambia, 1816;
               Gold Coast, 1821) to serve as bases for suppressing the slave trade and for stimulating
               substitute commerce. British naval squadrons touring the coast of Africa, stopping and
               inspecting suspected slavers of other nations, and forcing African tribal chiefs to sign
               antislavery treaties did not halt the expansion of the slave trade, but they did help Britain
               attain a commanding position along the west coast of Africa, which in turn contributed
               to the expansion of both its commercial and colonial empire.

               The growth of informal empire.

               The transformation of the old colonial and mercantilist commercial system was
               completed when, in addition to the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, the Corn
               Laws and the Navigation Acts were repealed in the late 1840s. The repeal of the
               Navigation Acts acknowledged the new reality: the primacy of Britain's navy and
               merchant shipping. The repeal of the Corn Laws (which had protected agricultural
               interests) signalled the maturation of the Industrial Revolution. In the light of Britain's
               manufacturing supremacy, exclusivity and monopolistic trade restraints were less
               important than, and often detrimental to, the need for ever-expanding world markets
               and sources of inexpensive raw materials and food.

               With the new trade strategy, under the impetus of freer trade and technical progress,
               came a broadening of the concept of empire. It was found that the commercial and
               financial advantages of formal empire could often be derived by informal means. The
               development of a worldwide trade network, the growth of overseas banking, the export
               of capital to less advanced regions, the leading position of London's money markets--all
               under the shield of a powerful and mobile navy--led to Great Britain's economic
               preeminence and influence in many parts of the world, even in the absence of political

               Anticolonial sentiment.

               The growing importance of informal empire went hand in hand with increased
               expressions of dissatisfaction with the formal colonial empire. The critical approach to
               empire came from leading statesmen, government officials in charge of colonial policy,
               the free traders, and the philosophic Radicals (the latter, a broad spectrum of opinion
               makers often labelled the Little Englanders, whose voices of dissent were most
               prominent in the years between 1840 and 1870). Taking the long view, however, some
               historians question just how much of this current of political thought was really
               concerned with the transformation of the British Empire into a Little England. Those
               who seriously considered colonial separation were for the most part thinking of the
               more recent white-settler colonies, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and
               definitely not of independence for India nor, for that matter, for Ireland. Differences of
               opinion among the various political factions naturally existed over the best use of limited
               government finance, colonial administrative tactics, how much foreign territory could in
               practice be controlled, and such issues as the costs of friction with the United States
               over Canada. Yet, while there were important differences of opinion on the choice
               between formal and informal empire, no important conflict arose over the desirability of
               continued expansion of Britain's world influence and foreign commercial activity.
               Indeed, during the most active period of what has been presumed to be anticolonialism,
               both the formal and informal empires grew substantially: new colonies were added, the
               territory of existing colonies was enlarged, and military campaigns were conducted to
               widen Britain's trading and investment area, as in the Opium Wars of the mid-19th
Decline of colonial rivalry.

               An outstanding development in colonial and empire affairs during the period between
               the Napoleonic Wars and the 1870s was an evident lessening in conflict between
               European powers. Not that conflict disappeared entirely, but the period as a whole
               was one of relative calm compared with either the almost continuous wars for colonial
               possessions in the 18th century or the revival of intense rivalries during the latter part of
               the 19th and early 20th centuries. Instead of wars among colonial powers during this
               period, there were wars against colonized peoples and their societies, incident either to
               initial conquest or to the extension of territorial possessions farther into the interior.
               Examples are Great Britain in India, Burma, South Africa (Kaffir Wars), New Zealand
               (Maori Wars); France in Algeria and Indochina; the Low Countries in Indonesia; Russia
               in Central Asia; and the United States against the North American Indians.

               Contributing to the abatement of intercolonial rivalries was the undisputable supremacy
               of the British Navy during these years. The increased use of steamships in the 19th
               century helped reinforce this supremacy: Great Britain's ample domestic coal supply and
               its numerous bases around the globe (already owned or newly obtained for this
               purpose) combined to make available needed coaling stations. Over several decades of
               the 19th century and until new developments toward the end of the century opened up a
               new age of naval rivalry, no country was in a position to challenge Britain's dominance
               of the seas. This may have temporarily weakened Britain's acquisitive drive: the motive
               of preclusive occupation of foreign territory still occurred, but it was not as pressing as
               at other times.

               On the whole, despite the relative tranquillity and the rise of anticolonial sentiment in
               Britain, the era was marked by a notable wave of European expansionism. Thus, in
               1800 Europe and its possessions, including former colonies, claimed title to about 55
               percent of the Earth's land surface: Europe, North and South America, most of India,
               the Russian part of Asia, parts of the East Indies, and small sections along the coast of
               Africa. But much of this was merely claimed; effective control existed over a little less
               than 35 percent, most of which consisted of Europe itself. By 1878--that is, before the
               next major wave of European acquisitions began--an additional 6,500,000 square
               miles (16,800,000 square kilometres) were claimed; during this period, control was
               consolidated over the new claims and over all the territory claimed in 1800. Hence,
               from 1800 to 1878, actual European rule (including former colonies in North and
               South America) increased from 35 to 67 percent of the Earth's land surface.

Decline of the Spanish and Portuguese empires.

               During the early 19th century, however, there was a conspicuous exception to the trend
               of colonial growth, and that was the decline of the Portuguese and Spanish empires in
               the Western Hemisphere. The occasion for the decolonization was provided by the
               Napoleonic Wars. The French occupation of the Iberian Peninsula in 1807, combined
               with the ensuing years of intense warfare until 1814 on that peninsula between the
               British and French and their respective allies, effectively isolated the colonies from their
               mother countries. During this isolation the long-smouldering discontents in the colonies
               erupted in influential nationalist movements, revolutions of independence, and civil wars.
               The stricken mother countries could hardly interfere with events on the South American
               continent, nor did they have the resources, even after the Peninsular War was over, to
               bring enough soldiers and armaments across the Atlantic to suppress the independence

               Great Britain could have intervened on behalf of Spain and Portugal, but it declined.
               British commerce with South America had blossomed during the Napoleonic Wars.
               New vistas of potentially profitable opportunities opened up in those years, in contrast
               with preceding decades when British penetration of Spanish colonial markets consisted
               largely of smuggling to get past Spain's mercantile restrictions. The British therefore now
               favoured independence for these colonies and had little interest in helping to reimpose
               colonial rule, with its accompanying limitations on British trade and investment. Support
               for colonial independence by the British came in several ways: merchants and financiers
               provided loans and supplies needed by insurrectionary governments; the Royal Navy
               protected the shipment of those supplies and the returning specie; and the British
               government made it clear to other nations that it considered South American countries
               independent. The British forthright position on independence, as well as the availability
               of the Royal Navy to support this policy, gave substance to the U.S. Monroe Doctrine
               (1823), which the United States had insufficient strength at that time to really enforce.

               After some 15 years of uprisings and wars, Spain by 1825 no longer had any colonies
               in South America itself, retaining only the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico. During the
               same period Brazil achieved its independence from Portugal. The advantages to the
               British economy made possible by the consequent opening up of the Latin-American
               ports were eagerly pursued, facilitated by commercial treaties signed with these young
               nations. The reluctance of France to recognize their new status delayed French
               penetration of their markets and gave an advantage to the British. In one liberated area
               after another, brokers and commercial agents arrived from England to ferret out
               business opportunities. Soon the continent was flooded with British goods, often
               competing with much weaker native industries. Actually, Latin America provided the
               largest single export market for British cotton textiles in the first half of the 19th century.

               Despite the absence of formal empire, the British were able to attain economic
               preeminence in South America. Spanish and Portuguese colonialism had left a heritage
               of disunity and conflict within regions of new nations and between nations, along with
               conditions that led to unstable alliances of ruling elite groups. While this combination of
               weaknesses militated against successful self-development, it was fertile ground for
               energetic foreign entrepreneurs, especially those who had technically advanced
               manufacturing capacities, capital resources, international money markets, insurance and
               shipping facilities, plus supportive foreign policies. The early orgy of speculative loans
               and investments soon ended. But before long, British economic penetration entered into
               more lasting and self-perpetuating activities, such as promoting Latin-American exports,
               providing railroad equipment, constructing public works, and supplying banking
               networks. Thus, while the collapse of the Spanish and Portuguese empires led to the
               decline of colonialism in the Western Hemisphere, it also paved the way for a significant
               expansion of Britain's informal empire of trade, investment, and finance during the 19th

The emigration of European peoples.

               European influence around the globe increased with each new wave of emigration from
               Europe. Tides of settlers brought with them the Old World culture and, often, useful
               agricultural and industrial skills. An estimated 55,000,000 Europeans left their native
               lands in the 100 years after 1820, the product chiefly of two forces: (1) the push to
               emigrate as a result of difficulties arising from economic dislocations at home and (2) the
               pull of land, jobs, and recruitment activities of passenger shipping lines and agents of
               labour-hungry entrepreneurs in the New World. Other factors were also clearly at
               work, such as the search for religious freedom, escape from tyrannical governments,
               avoidance of military conscription, and the desire for greater upward social and
               economic mobility. Such motives had existed throughout the centuries, however, and
               they are insufficient to explain the massive population movements that characterized the
               19th century. Unemployment induced by rapid technological changes in agriculture and
               industry was an important incentive for English emigration in the mid-1800s. The surge
               of German emigration at roughly the same time is largely attributable to an agricultural
               revolution in Germany, which nearly ruined many farmers on small holdings in
               southwestern Germany. Under English rule, the Irish were prevented from industrial
               development and were directed to an economy based on export of cereals grown on
               small holdings. A potato blight, followed by famine and eviction of farm tenants by
               landlords, gave large numbers of Irish no alternative other than emigration or starvation.
               These three nationalities--English, German, and Irish--composed the largest group of
               migrants in the 1850s. In later years Italians and Slavs contributed substantially to the
               population spillover. The emigrants spread throughout the world, but the bulk of the
               population transfer went to the Americas, Siberia, and Australasia. The population
               outflow, greatly facilitated by European supremacy outside Europe, helped ease the
               social pressures and probably abated the dangers of social upheaval in Europe itself.
               (see also Index: human migration)
Advance of the U.S. frontier.

               The outward movement of European peoples in any substantial numbers naturally was
               tied in with conquest and, to a greater or lesser degree, with the displacement of
               indigenous populations. In the United States, where by far the largest number of
               European emigrants went, acquisition of space for development by white immigrants
               entailed activity on two fronts: competition with rival European nations and disposition
               of the Indians. During a large part of the 19th century, the United States remained alert
               to the danger of encirclement by Europeans, but in addition the search for more fertile
               land, pursuit of the fur trade, and desire for ports to serve commerce in the Atlantic and
               Pacific oceans nourished the drive to penetrate the American continent. The most
               pressing points of tension with European nations were eliminated during the first half of
               the century: purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 gave the United
               States control over the heartland of the continent; settlement of the War of 1812 ended
               British claims south of the 49th parallel up to the Rocky Mountains; Spain's cession of
               the Floridas in 1819 rounded out the Atlantic coastal frontier; and Russia's (1824) and
               Great Britain's (1846) relinquishment of claims to the Oregon territory gave the United
               States its window on the Pacific. The expansion of the United States, however, was not
               confined to liquidating rival claims of overseas empires; it also involved taking territory
               from neighbouring Mexico. Settlers from the United States wrested Texas from Mexico
               (1836), and war against Mexico (1846-48) led to the U.S. annexation of the
               southwestern region between New Mexico and Utah to the Pacific Ocean.

               Diplomatic and military victories over the European nations and Mexico were but one
               precondition for the transcontinental expansion of the United States. In addition, the
               Indian tribes sooner or later had to be rooted out to clear the new territory. At times,
               treaties were arranged with Indian tribes, by which vast areas were opened up for white
               settlement. But even where peaceful agreements had been reached, the persistent
               pressure of the search for land and commerce created recurrent wars with Indian tribes
               that were seeking to retain their homes and their land. Room for the new settlers was
               obtained by forced removal of natives to as yet non-white-settled land--a process that
               was repeated as white settlers occupied ever more territory. Massacres during wars,
               susceptibility to infectious European diseases, and hardships endured during forced
               migrations all contributed to the decline in the Indian population and the weakening of its
               resistance. Nevertheless, Indian wars occupied the U.S. Army's attention during most of
               the 19th century, ending with the eventual isolation of the surviving Indians on
               reservations set aside by the U.S. government.

               Reemergence of colonial rivalries.

               Although there are sharp differences of opinion over the reasons for, and the
               significance of, the " new imperialism," there is little dispute that at least two
               developments in the late 19th and in the beginning of the 20th century signify a new
               departure: (1) notable speedup in colonial acquisitions; (2) an increase in the number of
               colonial powers.

               New acquisitions.

               The annexations during this new phase of imperial growth differed significantly from the
               expansionism earlier in the 19th century. While the latter was substantial in magnitude, it
               was primarily devoted to the consolidation of claimed territory (by penetration of
               continental interiors and more effective rule over indigenous populations) and only
               secondarily to new acquisitions. On the other hand, the new imperialism was
               characterized by a burst of activity in carving up as yet independent areas: taking over
               almost all Africa, a good part of Asia, and many Pacific islands. This new vigour in the
               pursuit of colonies is reflected in the fact that the rate of new territorial acquisitions of
               the new imperialism was almost three times that of the earlier period. Thus, the increase
               in new territories claimed in the first 75 years of the 19th century averaged about
               83,000 square miles (215,000 square kilometres) a year. As against this, the colonial
               powers added an average of about 240,000 square miles (620,000 square kilometres)
               a year between the late 1870s and World War I (1914-18). By the beginning of that
               war, the new territory claimed was for the most part fully conquered, and the main
               military resistance of the indigenous populations had been suppressed. Hence, in 1914,
               as a consequence of this new expansion and conquest on top of that of preceding
               centuries, the colonial powers, their colonies, and their former colonies extended over
               approximately 85 percent of the Earth's surface. Economic and political control by
               leading powers reached almost the entire globe, for, in addition to colonial rule, other
               means of domination were exercised in the form of spheres of influence, special
               commercial treaties, and the subordination that lenders often impose on debtor nations.

               New colonial powers.

               This intensification of the drive for colonies reflected much more than a new wave of
               overseas activities by traditional colonial powers, including Russia. The new imperialism
               was distinguished particularly by the emergence of additional nations seeking slices of
               the colonial pie: Germany, the United States, Belgium, Italy, and, for the first time, an
               Asian power, Japan. Indeed, this very multiplication of colonial powers, occurring in a
               relatively short period, accelerated the tempo of colonial growth. Unoccupied space
               that could potentially be colonized was limited. Therefore, the more nations there were
               seeking additional colonies at about the same time, the greater was the premium on
               speed. Thus, the rivalry among the colonizing nations reached new heights, which in turn
               strengthened the motivation for preclusive occupation of territory and for attempts to
               control territory useful for the military defense of existing empires against rivals.

               The impact of the new upsurge of rivalry is well illustrated in the case of Great Britain.
               Relying on its economic preeminence in manufacturing, trade, and international finance
               as well as on its undisputed mastery of the seas during most of the 19th century, Great
               Britain could afford to relax in the search for new colonies, while concentrating on
               consolidation of the empire in hand and on building up an informal empire. But the
               challenge of new empire builders, backed up by increasing naval power, put a new
               priority on Britain's desire to extend its colonial empire. On the other hand, the more
               that potential colonial space shrank, the greater became the urge of lesser powers to
               remedy disparities in size of empires by redivision of the colonial world. The struggle
               over contested space and for redivision of empire generated an increase in wars among
               the colonial powers and an intensification of diplomatic manoeuvring.

               Rise of new industrialized nations.

               Parallel with the emergence of new powers seeking a place in the colonial sun and the
               increasing rivalry among existing colonial powers was the rise of industrialized nations
               able and willing to challenge Great Britain's lead in industry, finance, and world trade. In
               the mid-19th century Britain's economy outdistanced by far its potential rivals. But, by
               the last quarter of that century, Britain was confronted by restless competitors seeking a
               greater share of world trade and finance; the Industrial Revolution had gained a strong
               foothold in these nations, which were spurred on to increasing industrialization with the
               spread of railroad lines and the maturation of integrated national markets.

               Moreover, the major technological innovations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
               improved the competitive potential of the newer industrial nations. Great Britain's
               advantage as the progenitor of the first Industrial Revolution diminished substantially as
               the newer products and sources of energy of what has been called a second Industrial
               Revolution began to dominate industrial activity. The late starters, having digested the
               first Industrial Revolution, now had a more equal footing with Great Britain: they were
               all starting out more or less from the same base to exploit the second Industrial
               Revolution. This new industrialism, notably featuring mass-produced steel, electric
               power and oil as sources of energy, industrial chemistry, and the internal-combustion
               engine, spread over western Europe, the United States, and eventually Japan.

               A world economy.

               To operate efficiently, the new industries required heavy capital investment in large-scale
               units. Accordingly, they encouraged the development of capital markets and banking
               institutions that were large and flexible enough to finance the new enterprises. The larger
               capital markets and industrial enterprises, in turn, helped push forward the geographic
               scale of operations of the industrialized nations: more capital could now be mobilized for
               foreign loans and investment, and the bigger businesses had the resources for the
               worldwide search for and development of the raw materials essential to the success and
               security of their investments. Not only did the new industrialism generate a voracious
               appetite for raw materials, but food for the swelling urban populations was now also
               sought in the far corners of the world. Advances in ship construction (steamships using
               steel hulls, twin screws, and compound engines) made feasible the inexpensive
               movement of bulk raw materials and food over long ocean distances. Under the
               pressures and opportunities of the later decades of the 19th century, more and more of
               the world was drawn upon as primary producers for the industrialized nations.
               Self-contained economic regions dissolved into a world economy, involving an
               international division of labour whereby the leading industrial nations made and sold
               manufactured products and the rest of the world supplied them with raw materials and

               New militarism.

               The complex of social, political, and economic changes that accompanied the new
               industrialism and the vastly expanded and integrated world commerce also provided a
               setting for intensified commercial rivalry, the rebuilding of high tariff walls, and a revival
               of militarism. Of special importance militarily was the race in naval construction, which
               was propelled by the successful introduction and steady improvement of radically new
               warships that were steam driven, armour-plated, and equipped with weapons able to
               penetrate the new armour. Before the development of these new technologies, Britain's
               naval superiority was overwhelming and unchallengeable. But because Britain was now
               obliged in effect to build a completely new navy, other nations with adequate industrial
               capacities and the will to devote their resources to this purpose could challenge Britain's
               supremacy at sea.

               The new militarism and the intensification of colonial rivalry signalled the end of the
               relatively peaceful conditions of the mid-19th century. The conflict over the partition of
               Africa, the South African War (the Boer War), the Sino-Japanese War, the
               Spanish-American War, and the Russo-Japanese War were among the indications that
               the new imperialism had opened a new era that was anything but peaceful.

               The new imperialism also represented an intensification of tendencies that had originated
               in earlier periods. Thus, for example, the decision by the United States to go to war with
               Spain cannot be isolated from the long-standing interest of the United States in the
               Caribbean and the Pacific. The defeat of Spain and the suppression of the
               independence revolutions in Cuba and the Philippines gave substance to the Monroe
               Doctrine: the United States now became the dominant power in the Caribbean, and the
               door was opened for acquisition of greater influence in Latin America. Possession of the
               Philippines was consistent with the historic interest of the United States in the commerce
               of the Pacific, as it had already manifested by its long interest in Hawaii (annexed in
               1898) and by an expedition by Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan (1853).
Historiographical debate.

               The new imperialism marked the end of vacillation over the choice of imperialist military
               and political policies; similar decisions to push imperialist programs to the forefront were
               made by the leading industrial nations over a relatively short period. This historical
               conjuncture requires explanation and still remains the subject of debate among historians
               and social scientists. The pivot of the controversy is the degree to which the new
               imperialism was the product of primarily economic forces and in particular whether it
               was a necessary attribute of the capitalist system.

               Serious analysts on both sides of the argument recognize that there is a multitude of
               factors involved: the main protagonists of economic imperialism recognize that political,
               military, and ideological influences were also at work; similarly, many who dispute the
               economic imperialism thesis acknowledge that economic interests played a significant
               role. The problem, however, is one of assigning priority to causes.

               Economic imperialism.

               The father of the economic interpretation of the new imperialism was the British liberal
               economist John Atkinson Hobson. In his seminal study, Imperialism, a Study (first
               published in 1902), he pointed to the role of such drives as patriotism, philanthropy, and
               the spirit of adventure in advancing the imperialist cause. As he saw it, however, the
               critical question was why the energy of these active agents takes the particular form of
               imperialist expansion. Hobson located the answer in the financial interests of the
               capitalist class as "the governor of the imperial engine." Imperialist policy had to be
               considered irrational if viewed from the vantage point of the nation as a whole: the
               economic benefits derived were far less than the costs of wars and armaments; and
               needed social reforms were shunted aside in the excitement of imperial adventure. But it
               was rational, indeed, in the eyes of the minority of financial interest groups. The reason
               for this, in Hobson's view, was the persistent congestion of capital in manufacturing. The
               pressure of capital needing investment outlets arose in part from a maldistribution of
               income: low mass consuming power blocks the absorption of goods and capital inside
               the country. Moreover, the practices of the larger firms, especially those operating in
               trusts and combines, foster restrictions on output, thus avoiding the risks and waste of
               overproduction. Because of this, the large firms are faced with limited opportunities to
               invest in expanding domestic production. The result of both the maldistribution of
               income and monopolistic behaviour is a need to open up new markets and new
               investment opportunities in foreign countries.

               Hobson's study covered a broader spectrum than the analysis of what he called its
               economic taproot. It also examined the associated features of the new imperialism, such
               as political changes, racial attitudes, and nationalism. The book as a whole made a
               strong impression on, and greatly influenced, Marxist thinkers who were becoming more
               involved with the struggle against imperialism. The most influential of the Marxist studies
               was a small book published by Lenin in 1917, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of
               Capitalism. Despite many similarities, at bottom there is a wide gulf between Hobson's
               and Lenin's frameworks of analysis and also between their respective conclusions.
               While Hobson saw the new imperialism serving the interests of certain capitalist groups,
               he believed that imperialism could be eliminated by social reforms while maintaining the
               capitalist system. This would require restricting the profits of those classes whose
               interests were closely tied to imperialism and attaining a more equitable distribution of
               income so that consumers would be able to buy up a nation's production. Lenin, on the
               other hand, saw imperialism as being so closely integrated with the structure and normal
               functioning of an advanced capitalism that he believed that only the revolutionary
               overthrow of capitalism, with the substitution of Socialism, would rid the world of
               imperialism. (see also Index: Marxism)

               Lenin placed the issues of imperialism in a context broader than the interests of a special
               sector of the capitalist class. According to Lenin, capitalism itself changed in the late
               19th century; moreover, because this happened at pretty much the same time in several
               leading capitalist nations, it explains why the new phase of capitalist development came
               when it did. This new phase, Lenin believed, involves political and social as well as
               economic changes; but its economic essence is the replacement of competitive
               capitalism by monopoly capitalism, a more advanced stage in which finance capital, an
               alliance between large industrial and banking firms, dominates the economic and political
               life of society. Competition continues, but among a relatively small number of giants who
               are able to control large sectors of the national and international economy. It is this
               monopoly capitalism and the resulting rivalry generated among monopoly capitalist
               nations that foster imperialism; in turn, the processes of imperialism stimulate the further
               development of monopoly capital and its influence over the whole society.

               The difference between Lenin's more complex paradigm and Hobson's shows up clearly
               in the treatment of capital export. Like Hobson, Lenin maintained that the increasing
               importance of capital exports is a key figure of imperialism, but he attributed the
               phenomenon to much more than pressure from an overabundance of capital. He also
               saw the acceleration of capital migration arising from the desire to obtain exclusive
               control over raw material sources and to get a tighter grip on foreign markets. He thus
               shifted the emphasis from the general problem of surplus capital, inherent in capitalism in
               all its stages, to the imperatives of control over raw materials and markets in the
               monopoly stage. With this perspective, Lenin also broadened the concept of
               imperialism. Because the thrust is to divide the world among monopoly interest groups,
               the ensuing rivalry extends to a struggle over markets in the leading capitalist nations as
               well as in the less advanced capitalist and colonial countries. This rivalry is intensified
               because of the uneven development of different capitalist nations: the latecomers
               aggressively seek a share of the markets and colonies controlled by those who got there
               first, who naturally resist such a redivision. Other forces--political, military, and
               ideological--are at play in shaping the contours of imperialist policy, but Lenin insisted
               that these influences germinate in the seedbed of monopoly capitalism.

               Noneconomic imperialism.

               Perhaps the most systematic alternative theory of imperialism was proposed by Joseph
               Alois Schumpeter, one of the best known economists of the first half of the 20th
               century. His essay "Zur Soziologie des Imperialismus" ("The Sociology of Imperialism")
               was first published in Germany in the form of two articles in 1919. Although
               Schumpeter was probably not familiar with Lenin's Imperialism at the time he wrote his
               essay, his arguments were directed against the Marxist currents of thought of the early
               20th century and in particular against the idea that imperialism grows naturally out of
               capitalism. Unlike other critics, however, Schumpeter accepted some of the
               components of the Marxist thesis, and to a certain extent he followed the Marxist
               tradition of looking for the influence of class forces and class interests as major levers of
               social change. In doing so, he in effect used the weapons of Marxist thought to rebut the
               essence of Marxist theory.

               A survey of empires, beginning with the earliest days of written history, led Schumpeter
               to conclude that there are three generic characteristics of imperialism: (1) At root is a
               persistent tendency to war and conquest, often producing nonrational expansions that
               have no sound utilitarian aim. (2) These urges are not innate in man. They evolved from
               critical experiences when peoples and classes were molded into warriors to avoid
               extinction; the warrior mentality and the interests of warrior classes live on, however,
               and influence events even after the vital need for wars and conquests disappears. (3)
               The drift to war and conquest is sustained and conditioned by the domestic interests of
               ruling classes, often under the leadership of those individuals who have most to gain
               economically and socially from war. But for these factors, Schumpeter believed,
               imperialism would have been swept away into the dustbin of history as capitalist society
               ripened; for capitalism in its purest form is antithetical to imperialism: it thrives best with
               peace and free trade. Yet despite the innate peaceful nature of capitalism, interest
               groups do emerge that benefit from aggressive foreign conquests. Under monopoly
               capitalism the fusion of big banks and cartels creates a powerful and influential social
               group that pressures for exclusive control in colonies and protectorates, for the sake of
               higher profits.

               Notwithstanding the resemblance between Schumpeter's discussion of monopoly and
               that of Lenin and other Marxists, a crucial difference does remain. Monopoly capitalism
               in Lenin's frame of reference is a natural outgrowth of the previous stage of competitive
               capitalism. But according to Schumpeter, it is an artificial graft on the more natural
               competitive capitalism, made possible by the catalytic effect of the residue from the
               preceding feudal society. Schumpeter argued that monopoly capitalism can only grow
               and prosper under the protection of high tariff walls; without that shield there would be
               large-scale industry but no cartels or other monopolistic arrangements. Because tariff
               walls are erected by political decisions, it is the state and not a natural economic
               process that promotes monopoly. Therefore, it is in the nature of the state--and
               especially those features that blend the heritage of the previous autocratic state, the old
               war machine, and feudal interests and ideas along with capitalist interests--that the cause
               of imperialism will be discovered. The particular form of imperialism in modern times is
               affected by capitalism, and capitalism itself is modified by the imperialist experience. In
               Schumpeter's analysis, however, imperialism is not an inevitable product of capitalism.

               Quest for a general theory of imperialism.

               The main trend of academic thought in the Western world is to follow Schumpeter's
               conclusion--that modern imperialism is not a product of capitalism--without paying
               close attention to Schumpeter's sophisticated sociological analysis. Specialized studies
               have produced a variety of interpretations of the origin or reawakening of the new
               imperialism: for France, bolstering of national prestige after its defeat in the
               Franco-German War (1870-71); for Germany, Bismarck's design to stay in power
               when threatened by political rivals; for England, the desire for greater military security in
               the Mediterranean and India. These reasons--along with other frequently mentioned
               contributing causes, such as the spirit of national and racial superiority and the drive for
               power--are still matters of controversy with respect to specific cases and to the
               problem of fitting them into a general theory of imperialism. For example, if it is found
               that a new colony was acquired for better military defense of existing colonies, the
               questions still remain as to why the existing colonies were acquired in the first place and
               why it was considered necessary to defend them rather than to give them up. Similarly,
               explanations in terms of the search for power still have to account for the close
               relationship between power and wealth, because in the real world adequate economic
               resources are needed for a nation to hold on to its power, let alone to increase it.
               Conversely, increasing a nation's wealth often requires power. As is characteristic of
               historical phenomena, imperialist expansion is conditioned by a nation's previous history
               and the particular situation preceding each expansionist move. Moreover, it is carried
               forth in the midst of a complex of political, military, economic, and psychological
               impulses. It would seem, therefore, that the attempt to arrive at a theory that explains
               each and every imperialist action--ranging from a semifeudal Russia to a relatively
               undeveloped Italy to an industrially powerful Germany--is a vain pursuit. But this does
               not eliminate the more important challenge of constructing a theory that will provide a
               meaningful interpretation of the almost simultaneous eruption of the new imperialism in a
               whole group of leading powers.

               Russia's eastward expansion.

               European nations and Japan at the end of the 19th century spread their influence and
               control throughout the continent of Asia. Russia, because of its geographic position, was
               the only occupying power whose Asian conquests were overland. In that respect there
               is some similarity between Russia and the United States in the forcible outward push of
               their continental frontiers. But there is a significant difference: the United States advance
               displaced the indigenous population, with the remaining Indians becoming wards of the
               state. On the other hand, the Russian march across Asia resulted in the incorporation of
               alien cultures and societies as virtual colonies of the Russian Empire, while providing
               room for the absorption of Russian settlers.

               Although the conquest of Siberia and the drive to the Pacific had been periodically
               absorbing Russia's military energies since the 16th century, the acquisition of additional
               Asian territory and the economic integration of previously acquired territory took a new
               turn in the 19th century. Previously, Russian influence in its occupied territory was quite
               limited, without marked alteration of the social and economic structure of the conquered
               peoples. Aside from looting and exacting tribute from subject tribes, the major objects
               of interest were the fur trade, increased commerce with China and in the Pacific, and
               land. But changes in 19th-century Russian society, especially those coming after the
               Crimean War (1853-56), signalled a new departure. First, Russia's resounding defeat in
               that war temporarily frustrated its aspirations in the Balkans and the Near East; but,
               because its dynastic and military ambitions were in no way diminished, its expansionist
               energies turned with increased vigour to its Asian frontiers. Second, the emancipation of
               the serfs (1861), which eased the feudal restrictions on the landless peasants, led to
               large waves of migration by Russians and Ukrainians--first to Siberia and later to
               Central Asia. Third, the surge of industrialization, foreign trade, and railway building in
               the post-Crimean War decades paved the way for the integration of Russian Asia,
               which formerly, for all practical purposes, had been composed of separate
               dependencies, and for a new type of subjugation for many of these areas, especially in
               Central Asia, in which the conquered societies were "colonized" to suit the political and
               economic needs of the conqueror.

               This process of acquisition and consolidation in Asia spread out in four directions:
               Siberia, the Far East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. This pursuit of tsarist ambitions
               for empire and for warm-water ports involved numerous clashes and conflicts along the
               way. Russian expansion was ultimately limited not by the fierce opposition of the native
               population, which was at times a stumbling block, but by the counterpressure of
               competitive empire builders, such as Great Britain and Japan. Great Britain and Russia
               were mutually alarmed as the distances between the expanding frontiers of Russia and
               India shortened. One point of conflict was finally resolved when both powers agreed on
               the delimitation of the northern border of Afghanistan. A second major area of conflict
               in Central Asia was settled by an Anglo-Russian treaty (1907) to divide Persia into two
               separate spheres of influence, leaving a nominally independent Persian nation.

               As in the case of Afghanistan and Persia, penetration of Chinese territory produced
               clashes with both the native government and other imperialist powers. At times China's
               preoccupation with its struggle against other invading powers eased the way for Russia's
               penetration. Thus, in 1860, when Anglo-French soldiers had entered Peking, Russia
               was able to wrest from China the Amur Province and special privileges in Manchuria
               (Northeast Provinces) south of the Amur River. With this as a stepping-stone, Russia
               took over the seacoast north of Korea and founded the town of Vladivostok. But,
               because the Vladivostok harbour is icebound for some four months of the year, the
               Russians began to pay more attention to getting control of the Korean coastline, where
               many good year-round harbours could be found. Attempts to acquire a share of Korea,
               as well as all of Manchuria, met with the resistance of Britain and Japan. Further thrusts
               into China beyond the Amur and maritime provinces were finally thwarted by defeat in
               1905 in the Russo-Japanese War.
The partitioning of China.

               The evolution of the penetration of Asia was naturally influenced by a multiplicity of
               factors--economic and political conditions in the expanding nations, the strategy of the
               military officials of the latter nations, the problems facing colonial rulers in each locality,
               pressures arising from white settlers and businessmen in the colonies, as well as the
               constraints imposed by the always limited economic and military resources of the
               imperialist powers. All these elements were present to a greater or lesser extent at each
               stage of the forward push of the colonial frontiers by the Dutch in Indonesia, the French
               in Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), and the British in Malaya, Burma, and

               Yet, despite the variety of influences at work, three general types of penetration stand
               out. One of these is expansion designed to overcome resistance to foreign rule.
               Resistance, which assumed many forms ranging from outright rebellion to sabotage of
               colonial political and economic domination, was often strongest in the border areas
               farthest removed from the centres of colonial power. The consequent extension of
               military control to the border regions tended to arouse the fears and opposition of
               neighbouring states or tribal societies and thus led to the further extension of control.
               Hence, attempts to achieve military security prompted the addition of border areas and
               neighbouring nations to the original colony.

               A second type of expansion was a response to the economic opportunities offered by
               exploitation of the colonial interiors. Traditional trade and the free play of market forces
               in Asia did not produce huge supplies of raw materials and food or the enlarged export
               markets sought by the industrializing colonial powers. For this, entrepreneurs and capital
               from abroad were needed, mines and plantations had to be organized, labour supplies
               mobilized, and money economies created. All these alien intrusions functioned best
               under the firm security of an accommodating alien law and order.

               The third type of expansion was the result of rivalry among colonial powers. When
               possible, new territory was acquired or old possessions extended in order either to
               preclude occupation by rivals or to serve as buffers for military security against the
               expansions of nearby colonial powers. Where the crosscurrents of these rivalries
               prevented any one power from obtaining exclusive control, various substitute
               arrangements were arrived at: parts of a country were chipped off and occupied by one
               or more of the powers; spheres of influence were partitioned; unequal commercial
               treaties were imposed--while the countries subjected to such treatment remained
               nominally independent.

               The penetration of China is the outstanding example of this type of expansion. In the
               early 19th century the middle part of eastern Asia (Japan, Korea, and China),
               containing about half the Asian population, was still little affected by Western
               penetration. By the end of the century, Korea was on the way to becoming annexed by
               Japan, which had itself become a leading imperialist power. China remained
               independent politically, though it was already extensively dominated by outside powers.
               Undoubtedly, the intense rivalry of the foreign powers helped save China from being
               taken over outright (as India had been). China was pressed on all sides by competing
               powers anxious for its trade and territory: Russia from the north, Great Britain (via India
               and Burma) from the south and west, France (via Indochina) from the south, and Japan
               and the United States (in part, via the Philippines) from the east.

               The Opium Wars.

               The first phase of the forceful penetration of China by western Europe came in the two
               Opium Wars. Great Britain had been buying increasing quantities of tea from China, but
               it had few products that China was interested in buying by way of exchange. A resulting
               steady drain of British silver to pay for the tea was eventually stopped by Great Britain's
               ascendancy in India. With British merchants in control of India's foreign trade and with
               the financing of this trade centred in London, a three-way exchange developed: the tea
               Britain bought in China was paid for by India's exports of opium and cotton to China.
               And because of a rapidly increasing demand for tea in England, British merchants
               actively fostered the profitable exports of opium and cotton from India.

               An increasing Chinese addiction to opium fed a boom in imports of the drug and led to
               an unfavourable trade balance paid for by a steady loss of China's silver reserves. In
               light of the economic effect of the opium trade plus the physical and mental deterioration
               of opium users, Chinese authorities banned the opium trade. At first this posed few
               obstacles to British merchants, who resorted to smuggling. But enforcement of the ban
               became stringent toward the end of the 1830s; stores of opium were confiscated, and
               warehouses were closed down. British merchants had an additional and longstanding
               grievance because the Chinese limited all trade by foreigners to the port of Canton.

               In June 1840 the British fleet arrived at the mouth of the Canton River to begin the
               Opium War. The Chinese capitulated in 1842 after the fleet reached the Yangtze,
               Shanghai fell, and Nanking was under British guns. The resulting Treaty of Nanking--the
               first in a series of commercial treaties China was forced to sign over the
               years--provided for: (1) cession of Hong Kong to the British crown; (2) the opening of
               five treaty ports, where the British would have residence and trade rights; (3) the right of
               British nationals in China who were accused of criminal acts to be tried in British courts;
               and (4) the limitation of duties on imports and exports to a modest rate. Other countries
               soon took advantage of this forcible opening of China; in a few years similar treaties
               were signed by China with the United States, France, and Russia.

               The Chinese, however, tried to retain some independence by preventing foreigners from
               entering the interior of China. With the country's economic and social institutions still
               intact, markets for Western goods, such as cotton textiles and machinery, remained
               disappointing: the self-sufficient communities of China were not disrupted as those in
               India had been under direct British rule, and opium smuggling by British merchants
               continued as a major component of China's foreign trade. Western merchants sought
               further concessions to improve markets. But meanwhile China's weakness, along with
               the stresses induced by foreign intervention, was further intensified by an upsurge of
               peasant rebellions, especially the massive 14-year Taiping Rebellion (1850-64).

               The Western powers took advantage of the increasing difficulties by pressing for even
               more favourable trade treaties, culminating in a second war against China (1856-60),
               this time by France and England. Characteristically, the Western powers invading China
               played a double role: in addition to forcing a new trade treaty, they also helped to
               sustain the Chinese ruling establishment by participating in the suppression of the Taiping
               Rebellion; they believed that a Taiping victory would result in a reformed and centralized
               China, more resistant to Western penetration. China's defeat in the second war with the
               West produced a series of treaties, signed at Tientsin with Britain, France, Russia, and
               the United States, which brought the Western world deeper into China's affairs. The
               Tientsin treaties provided, among other things, for the right of foreign nationals to travel
               in the interior, the right of foreign ships to trade and patrol on the Yangtze River, the
               opening up of more treaty ports, and additional exclusive legal jurisdiction by foreign
               powers over their nationals residing in China.

               Foreign privileges in China.

               Treaties of this general nature were extended over the years to grant further privileges to
               foreigners. Furthermore, more and more Western nations--including Germany, Italy,
               Denmark, The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, and Austria-Hungary--took advantage of
               the new opportunities by signing such treaties. By the beginning of the 20th century,
               some 90 Chinese ports had been opened to foreign control. While the Chinese
               government retained nominal sovereignty in these ports, de facto rule was exercised by
               one or more of the powers: in Shanghai, for example, Great Britain and the United
               States coalesced their interests to form the Shanghai International Settlement. In most of
               the treaty ports, China leased substantial areas of land at low rates to foreign
               governments. The consulates in these concessions exercised legal jurisdiction over their
               nationals, who thereby escaped China's laws and tax collections. The foreign
               settlements had their own police forces and tax systems and ran their own affairs
               independently of nominally sovereign China.

               These settlements were not the only intrusion on China's sovereignty. In addition, the
               opium trade was finally legalized, customs duties were forced downward to facilitate
               competition of imported Western goods, foreign gunboats patrolled China's rivers, and
               aliens were placed on customs-collection staffs to ensure that China would pay the
               indemnities imposed by various treaties. In response to these indignities and amid
               growing antiforeign sentiment, the Chinese government attempted reforms to modernize
               and develop sufficient strength to resist foreign intrusions. Steps were taken to master
               Western science and technology, erect shipyards and arsenals, and build a more
               effective army and navy. The reforms, however, did not get very far: they did not tackle
               the roots of China's vulnerability, its social and political structure; and they were
               undertaken quite late, after foreign nations had already established a strong foothold.
               Also, it is likely that the reforms were not wholehearted because two opposing
               tendencies were at play: on the one hand, a wish to seek independence and, on the
               other hand, a basic reliance on foreign support by a weak Manchu government beset
               with rebellion and internal opposition.

               The Open Door Policy.

               In any event, preliminary attempts to Westernize Chinese society from within did not
               deter further foreign penetration; nor did the subsequent revolution (1911) succeed in
               freeing China from Western domination. Toward the end of the 19th century, under the
               impact of the new imperialism, the spread of foreign penetration accelerated. Germany
               entered a vigorous bid for its sphere of influence; Japan and Russia pushed forward
               their territorial claims; and U.S. commercial and financial penetration of the Pacific, with
               naval vessels patrolling Chinese rivers, was growing rapidly. But at the same time this
               mounting foreign interest also inhibited the outright partition of China. Any step by one
               of the powers toward outright partition or sizable enlargement of its sphere of influence
               met with strong opposition from other powers. This led eventually to the Open Door
               Policy, advocated by the United States, which limited or restricted exclusive privileges
               of any one power vis-à-vis the others. It became generally accepted after the
               anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion (1900) in China. With the foreign armies that had been
               brought in to suppress the rebellion now stationed in North China, the danger to the
               continued existence of the Chinese government and the danger of war among the
               imperialist powers for their share of the country seemed greater than ever. Agreement
               on the Open Door Policy helped to retain both a compliant native government and equal
               opportunity for commerce, finance, and investment by the more advanced nations.
Japan's rise as a colonial power.

               Japan was the only Asian country to escape colonization from the West. European
               nations and the United States tried to "open the door," and to some extent they
               succeeded; but Japan was able to shake off the kind of subjugation, informal or formal,
               to which the rest of Asia succumbed. Even more important, it moved onto the same
               road of industrialization as did Europe and the United States. And instead of being
               colonized it became one of the colonial powers.

               Japan had traditionally sought to avoid foreign intrusion. For many years, only the Dutch
               and the Chinese were allowed trading depots, each having access to only one port. No
               other foreigners were permitted to land in Japan, though Russia, France, and England
               tried, but with little success. The first significant crack in Japan's trade and travel barriers
               was forced by the United States in an effort to guarantee and strengthen its shipping
               interests in the Far East. Japan's guns and ships were no match for those of
               Commodore Perry in his two U.S. naval expeditions to Japan (1853, 1854).

               The Japanese, well aware of the implications of foreign penetration through observing
               what was happening to China, tried to limit Western trade to two ports. In 1858,
               however, Japan agreed to a full commercial treaty with the United States, followed by
               similar treaties with the Low Countries, Russia, France, and Britain. The treaty pattern
               was familiar: more ports were opened; resident foreigners were granted extraterritorial
               rights, as in China; import and export duties were predetermined, thus removing control
               that Japan might otherwise exercise over its foreign trade.

               Many attempts have been made to explain why a weak Japan was not taken over as a
               colony or, at least, did not follow in China's footsteps. Despite the absence of a
               commonly accepted theory, two factors were undoubtedly crucial. On the one hand, the
               Western nations did not pursue their attempts to control Japan as aggressively as they
               did elsewhere. In Asia the interests of the more aggressively expanding powers had
               centred on India, China, and the immediately surrounding areas. When greater interest
               developed in a possible breakthrough in Japan in the 1850s and 1860s, the leading
               powers were occupied with other pressing affairs, such as thhe 1857 Indian mutiny, the
               Taiping Rebellion, the Crimean War, French intervention in Mexico, and the U.S. Civil
               War. International jealousy may also have played a role in deterring any one power
               from trying to gain exclusive control over the country. On the other hand, in Japan itself,
               the danger of foreign military intervention, a crisis in its traditional feudal society, the rise
               of commerce, and a disaffected peasantry led to an intense internal power struggle and
               finally to a revolutionary change in the country's society and a thoroughgoing
               modernization program, one that brought Japan the economic and military strength to
               resist foreign nations.

               The opposing forces in Japan's civil war were lined up between the supporters of the
               ruling Tokugawa family, which headed a rigid hierarchical feudal society, and the
               supporters of the emperor Meiji, whose court had been isolated from any significant
               government role. The civil war culminated in 1868 in the overthrow of the Tokugawa
               government and the restoration of the rule of the Emperor. The Meiji Restoration also
               brought new interest groups to the centre of political power and instigated a radical
               redirection of Japan's economic development. The nub of the changeover was the
               destruction of the traditional feudal social system and the building of a political, social,
               and economic framework conducive to capitalist industrialization. The new state actively
               participated in the turnabout by various forms of grants and guarantees to enterprising
               industrialists and by direct investment in basic industries such as railways, shipbuilding,
               communications, and machinery. The concentration of resources in the industrial sector
               was matched by social reforms that eliminated feudal restrictions, accelerated mass
               education, and encouraged acquisition of skills in the use of Western technology. The
               ensuing industrialized economy provided the means for Japan to hold its own in modern
               warfare and to withstand foreign economic competition.

               Soon Japan not only followed the Western path of internal industrialization, but it also
               began an outward aggression resembling that of the European nations. First came the
               acquisition and colonization of neighbouring islands: Ryukyu Islands (including
               Okinawa), the Kuril Islands, Bonin Islands, and Hokkaido. Next in Japan's expansion
               program was Korea, but the opposition of other powers postponed the transformation
               of Korea into a Japanese colony. The pursuit of influence in Korea involved Japan in
               war with China (1894-95), at the end of which China recognized Japan's interest in
               Korea and ceded to Japan Taiwan, the Pescadores, and southern Manchuria. At this
               point rival powers interceded to force Japan to forgo taking over the southern
               Manchuria peninsula. While France, Britain, and Germany were involved in seeking to
               frustrate Japan's imperial ambitions, the most direct clash was with Russia over Korea
               and Manchuria. Japan's defeat of Russia in the war of 1904-05 procured for Japan the
               lease of the Liaotung Peninsula, the southern part of the island of Sakhalin, and
               recognition of its "paramount interest" in Korea. Still, pressure by Britain and the United
               States kept Japan from fulfillment of its plan to possess Manchuria outright. By the early
               20th century, however, Japan had, by means of economic and political penetration,
               attained a privileged position in that part of China, as well as colonies in Korea and
               Taiwan and neighbouring islands. (see also Index: Russo-Japanese War)

               By the turn of the 20th century, the map of Africa looked like a huge jigsaw puzzle, with
               most of the boundary lines having been drawn in a sort of game of give-and-take played
               in the foreign offices of the leading European powers. The division of Africa, the last
               continent to be so carved up, was essentially a product of the new imperialism, vividly
               highlighting its essential features. In this respect, the timing and the pace of the scramble
               for Africa are especially noteworthy. Before 1880 colonial possessions in Africa were
               relatively few and limited to coastal areas, with large sections of the coastline and almost
               all the interior still independent. By 1900 Africa was almost entirely divided into
               separate territories that were under the administration of European nations. The only
               exceptions were Liberia, generally regarded as being under the special protection of the
               United States; Morocco, conquered by France a few years later; Libya, later taken
               over by Italy; and Ethiopia.

               The second feature of the new imperialism was also strongly evident. It was in Africa
               that Germany made its first major bid for membership in the club of colonial powers:
               between May 1884 and February 1885, Germany announced its claims to territory in
               South West Africa (now South West Africa/Namibia), Togoland, Cameroon, and part
               of the East African coast opposite Zanzibar. Two smaller nations, Belgium and Italy,
               also entered the ranks, and even Portugal and Spain once again became active in
               bidding for African territory. The increasing number of participants in itself sped up the
               race for conquest. And with the heightened rivalry came more intense concern for
               preclusive occupation, increased attention to military arguments for additional buffer
               zones, and, in a period when free trade was giving way to protective tariffs and
               discriminatory practices in colonies as well as at home, a growing urgency for protected
               overseas markets. Not only the wish but also the means were at hand for this carving up
               of the African pie. Repeating rifles, machine guns, and other advances in weaponry gave
               the small armies of the conquering nations the effective power to defeat the much larger
               armies of the peoples of Africa. Rapid railroad construction provided the means for
               military, political, and economic consolidation of continental interiors. With the new
               steamships, settlers and materials could be moved to Africa with greater dispatch, and
               bulk shipments of raw materials and food from Africa, prohibitively costly for some
               products in the days of the sailing ship, became economically feasible and profitable.

               Penetration of Islamic North Africa was complicated, on the one hand, by the struggle
               among European powers for control of the Mediterranean Sea and, on the other hand,
               by the suzerainty that the Ottoman Empire exercised to a greater or lesser extent over
               large sections of the region. Developments in both respects contributed to the wave of
               partition toward the end of the 19th century. First, Ottoman power was perceptibly
               waning: the military balance had tipped decisively in favour of the European nations,
               and Turkey was becoming increasingly dependent on loans from European centres of
               capital (in the late 1870s Turkey needed half of its government income just to service its
               foreign debt). Second, the importance of domination of the Mediterranean increased
               significantly after the Suez Canal was opened in 1869.

               France was the one European nation that had established a major beachhead in Islamic
               North Africa before the 1880s. At a time when Great Britain was too preoccupied to
               interfere, the French captured the fortress of Algiers in 1830. Frequent revolts kept the
               French Army busy in the Algerian interior for another 50 years before all Algeria was
               under full French rule. While Tunisia and Egypt had been areas of great interest to
               European powers during the long period of France's Algerian takeover, the penetration
               of these countries had been informal, confined to diplomatic and financial manoeuvres.
               Italy, as well as France and England, had loaned large sums to the ruling bey s of
               Tunisia to help loosen that country's ties with Turkey. The inability of the bey s to
               service the foreign debt in the 1870s led to the installation of debt commissioners by the
               lenders. Tunisia's revenues were pledged to pay the interest due on outstanding bonds;
               in fact, the debt charges had first call on the government's income. With this came
               increased pressure on the people for larger tax payments and a growing popular
               dissatisfaction with a government that had "sold out" to foreigners. The weakness of the
               ruling group, intensified by the danger of popular revolt or a military coup, opened the
               door further for formal occupation by one of the interested foreign powers. When Italy's
               actions showed that it might be preparing for outright possession, France jumped the
               gun by invading Tunisia in 1881 and then completed its conquest by defeating the
               rebellions precipitated by this occupation.
The Europeans in North Africa.

               The course of Egypt's loss of sovereignty resembled somewhat the same process in
               Tunisia: easy credit extended by Europeans, bankruptcy, increasing control by
               foreign-debt commissioners, mulcting of the peasants to raise revenue for servicing the
               debt, growing independence movements, and finally military conquest by a foreign
               power. In Egypt, inter-imperialist rivalry, mainly between Great Britain and France,
               reached back to the early 19th century but was intensified under the circumstances of
               the new imperialism and the construction of the Suez Canal. By building the Suez Canal
               and financing Egypt's ruling group, France had gained a prominent position in Egypt. But
               Britain's interests were perhaps even more pressing because the Suez Canal was a
               strategic link to its empire and its other Eastern trade and colonial interests. The
               successful nationalist revolt headed by the Egyptian army imminently threatened in the
               1880s the interests of both powers. France, occupied with war in Tunisia and with
               internal political problems, did not participate in the military intervention to suppress the
               revolt. Great Britain bombarded Alexandria in 1882, landed troops, and thus obtained
               control of Egypt. Unable to find a stable collaborationist government that would also
               pay Egypt's debts and concerned with suppressing not only the rebellion but also a
               powerful anti-Egyptian Mahdist revolt in the Sudan, Britain completely took over the
               reins of government in Egypt.

               The rest of North Africa was carved up in the early 20th century. France, manoeuvring
               for possession of Morocco, which bordered on her Algerian colony, tried to obtain the
               acquiescence of the other powers by both secret and open treaties granting Italy a free
               hand in Libya, allotting to Spain a sphere of influence, and acknowledging Britain's
               paramountcy in Egypt. France had, however, overlooked Germany's ambitions, now
               backed by an increasingly effective army and navy. The tension created by Germany led
               to an international conference at Algeciras (1906), which produced a short-lived
               compromise, including recognition of France's paramount interest, Spanish participation
               in policing Morocco, and an open door for the country's economic penetration by other
               nations. But France's vigorous pursuit of her claims, reinforced by the occupation of
               Casablanca and surrounding territory, precipitated critical confrontations, which reached
               their peak in 1911 when French troops were suppressing a Moroccan revolt and a
               German cruiser appeared before Agadir in a show of force. The resulting settlements
               completed the European partition of North Africa: France obtained the lion's share of
               Morocco; in return, Germany received a large part of the French Congo; Italy was
               given the green light for its war with Turkey over control of Tripoli, the first step in its
               eventual acquisition of Libya; and Spain was enabled to extend its Río de Oro
               protectorate to the southern frontier of Morocco. The more or less peaceful trade-offs
               by the occupying powers differed sharply from the long, bitter, and expensive wars they
               waged against the indigenous peoples and rulers of Islamic North Africa to solidify
               European rule. (see also Index: Algeciras Conference)
The race for colonies in sub-Saharan Africa.

               The partition of Africa below the Sahara took place at two levels: (1) on paper--in
               deals made among colonial powers who were seeking colonies partly for the sake of the
               colonies themselves and partly as pawns in the power play of European nations
               struggling for world dominance--and (2) in the field--in battles of conquest against
               African states and tribes and in military confrontations among the rival powers
               themselves. This process produced, over and above the ravages of colonialism, a
               wasp's nest of problems that was to plague African nations long after they achieved
               independence. Boundary lines between colonies were often drawn arbitrarily, with little
               or no attention to ethnic unity, regional economic ties, tribal migratory patterns, or even
               natural boundaries.

               Before the race for partition, only three European powers--France, Portugal, and
               Britain--had territory in tropical Africa, located mainly in West Africa. Only France had
               moved into the interior along the Sénégal River. The other French colonies or spheres of
               influence were located along the Ivory Coast and in Dahomey (now Benin) and Gabon.
               Portugal held on to some coastal points in Angola, Mozambique (Moçambique), and
               Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau). While Great Britain had a virtual protectorate
               over Zanzibar in East Africa, its actual possessions were on the west coast in the
               Gambia, the Gold Coast, the Sierra Leone, all of them surrounded by African states that
               had enough organization and military strength to make the British hesitate about further
               expansion. Meanwhile, the ground for eventual occupation of the interior of tropical
               Africa was being prepared by explorers, missionaries, and traders. But such penetration
               remained tenuous until the construction of railroads and the arrival of steamships on
               navigable waterways made it feasible for European merchants to dominate the trade of
               the interior and for European governments to consolidate conquests.

               Once conditions were ripe for the introduction of railroads and steamships in West
               Africa, tensions between the English and French increased as each country tried to
               extend its sphere of influence. As customs duties, the prime source of colonial revenue,
               could be evaded in uncontrolled ports, both powers began to stretch their coastal
               frontiers, and overlapping claims and disputes soon arose. The commercial penetration
               of the interior created additional rivalry and set off a chain reaction. The drive for
               exclusive control over interior areas intensified in response to both economic
               competition and the need for protection from African states resisting foreign intrusion.
               This drive for African possessions was intensified by the new entrants to the colonial
               race who felt menaced by the possibility of being completely locked out.

               Perhaps the most important stimulants to the scramble for colonies south of the Sahara
               were the opening up of the Congo Basin by Belgium's king Leopold II and Germany's
               energetic annexationist activities on both the east and west coasts. As the dash for
               territory began to accelerate, 15 nations convened in Berlin in 1884 for the West
               African Conference, which, however, merely set ground rules for the ensuing intensified
               scramble for colonies. It also recognized the Congo Free State ruled by King Leopold,
               while insisting that the rivers in the Congo Basin be open to free trade. From his base in
               the Congo, the King subsequently took over mineral-rich Katanga, transferring both
               territories to Belgium in 1908.

               In West Africa, Germany concentrated on consolidating its possessions of Togoland
               and Cameroon (Kamerun), while England and France pushed northward and eastward
               from their bases: England concentrated on the Niger region, the centre of its commercial
               activity, while France aimed at joining its possessions at Lake Chad within a grand
               design for an empire of contiguous territories from Algeria to the Congo. Final
               boundaries were arrived at after the British had defeated, among others, the Ashanti, the
               Fanti Confederation, the Opobo kingdom, and the Fulani; and the French won wars
               against the Fon kingdom, the Tuareg, the Mandingo, and other resisting tribes. The
               boundaries determined by conquest and agreement between the conquerors gave
               France the lion's share: in addition to the extension of its former coastal possessions,
               France acquired French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa, while Britain carved
               out its Nigerian colony.

               In southern Africa, the intercolonial rivalries chiefly involved the British, the Portuguese,
               the South African Republic of the Transvaal, the British-backed Cape Colony, and the
               Germans. The acquisitive drive was enormously stimulated by dreams of wealth
               generated by the discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West and gold in Matabeleland.
               Encouraged by these discoveries, Cecil Rhodes (heading the British South Africa
               Company) and other entrepreneurs expected to find gold, copper, and diamonds in the
               regions surrounding the Transvaal, among them Bechuanaland, Matabeleland,
               Mashonaland, and Trans-Zambezia. In the ensuing struggle, which involved the
               conquest of the Nbele and Shona peoples, Britain obtained control over Bechuanaland
               and, through the British South Africa Company, over the areas later designated as the
               Rhodesias and Nyasaland. At the same time, Portugal moved inland to seize control
               over the colony of Mozambique. It was clearly the rivalries of stronger powers,
               especially the concern of Germany and France over the extension of British rule in
               southern Africa, that enabled a weak Portugal to have its way in Angola and

               The boundary lines in East Africa were arrived at largely in settlements between Britain
               and Germany, the two chief rivals in that region. Zanzibar and the future Tanganyika
               were divided in the Anglo-German treaty of 1890: Britain obtained the future Uganda
               and recognition of its paramount interest in Zanzibar and Pemba in exchange for ceding
               the strategic North Sea island of Heligoland (Helgoland) and noninterference in
               Germany's acquisitions in Tanganyika, Rwanda, and Urundi. Britain began to build an
               East African railroad to the coast, establishing the East African Protectorate (later
               Kenya) over the area where the railroad was to be built. (see also Index: eastern

               Rivalry in northeastern Africa between the French and British was based on domination
               of the upper end of the Nile. Italy had established itself at two ends of Ethiopia, in an
               area on the Red Sea that the Italians called Eritrea and in Italian Somaliland along the
               Indian Ocean. Italy's inland thrust led to war with Ethiopia and defeat at the hands of the
               Ethiopians at Adwa (Adowa) in 1896. Ethiopia, surrounded by Italian and British
               armies, had turned to French advisers. The unique victory by an African state over a
               European army strengthened French influence in Ethiopia and enabled France to stage
               military expeditions from Ethiopia as well as from the Congo in order to establish
               footholds on the Upper Nile. The resulting race between British and French armies
               ended in a confrontation at Fashoda in 1898, with the British army in the stronger
               position. War was narrowly avoided in a settlement that completed the partition of the
               region: eastern Sudan was to be ruled jointly by Britain and Egypt, while France was to
               have the remaining Sudan from the Congo and Lake Chad to Darfur. (see also Index:
               Adowa, Battle of, Fashoda Incident)

               Germany's entrance into southern Africa through occupation and conquest of South
               West Africa touched off an upsurge of British colonial activity in that area, notably the
               separation of Basutoland (Lesotho) as a crown colony from the Cape Colony and the
               annexation of Zululand. As a consequence of the South African (Boer) War
               (1899-1902) Britain obtained sovereignty over the Transvaal and the Afrikaner Orange
               Free State.

               Postwar redistribution of colonies.

               After World War I the Allied powers partitioned among themselves both the German
               overseas colonial holdings and the vast Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. They
               carried out this operation through the League of Nations, which awarded mandates
               under varying conditions. Great Britain received as mandates Iraq and Palestine (which
               it promptly split into Transjordan and Palestine proper); the Palestine mandate obligated
               Britain to respect its contradictory wartime commitments to both Jews and Arabs.
               France assumed a mandate over both Syria and Lebanon. In Africa the two powers
               divided Togo and Cameroon between them, Britain acquired Tanganyika (with a few
               thousand German settlers), Belgium took Rwanda-Urundi, and South Africa received
               German South West Africa. Italy, as compensation for not sharing in the award of
               mandates, obtained from Britain the Juba (Giuba) Valley on the Kenya-Somali frontier,
               and France eventually ceded to Italy a desert area that rounded out Libya's southern

               The interwar years marked the apex of colonial empires throughout the world, and
               indirect forms of colonial penetration grew with the development of the petroleum
               industry. Nevertheless, most colonial systems began to show clear signs of strain and
               even revolt. The Russian Revolution, the Nationalist and Communist successes in China
               during the 1920s and '30s, the radical nationalism of Kemal Atatürk, all contributed to
               the rise of political movements opposed to colonialism. The very process of economic
               modernization, however--with the rise of factories, coordination with the world market,
               and mass urbanization--did more than any political or cultural factor, taken in itself, to
               undermine the paternal-militaristic forms of direct colonial domination.
The British Empire.

               Britain tended toward a decentralized and empirical type of colonial administration, in
               which some degree of partial decolonization could prepare the way for eventual self-rule.
               Realizing that direct rule over ancient civilized lands could not last indefinitely, Britain
               worked for a continued British presence in areas where the empire conferred

               Middle East.

               At the outset of World War I, Britain had proclaimed a protectorate over Egypt, annulling
               Ottoman sovereignty; afterward, Egyptian nationalist leaders finally brought the British to
               recognize Egypt as an independent kingdom in 1922. In 1936-37 Egypt received control
               over its own economic development, and British military forces were confined to the Suez
               Canal area. Britain granted Iraq independence in 1932 but retained a military power base
               in the new kingdom. Both the world strategic balance and the British petroleum industry
               ruled out any possibility of a real British withdrawal from either of these Middle Eastern

               In Palestine the political claims of Arabs and Jews proved to be irreconcilable, and
               insurrection, terrorism, and occasional guerrilla warfare marked the whole period of British
               rule. Finally, in 1939, with war looming, the British decided to limit and eventually
               terminate the flow of Jewish refugees into Palestine, though not proposing to force the
               more than 500,000 Jewish inhabitants to live under an Arab national regime. Transjordan,
               detached from Palestine, became a British protectorate.


               In India Britain faced a powerful adversary, the Indian National Congress, uniting
               businessmen and working classes, Hindus of high and low caste, in a common drive
               toward independence. The Congress never, however, succeeded in bridging the gap that
               separated the country's Hindu and Sikh majority from its 90,000,000 Muslims. The British
               met the Indian anticolonial movement half way. In 1919-23 a series of measures gave the
               Indians a certain degree of self-rule in a "dyarchy" in which elected Indian ministers
               governed together with British administrators. These constitutional reforms, however,
               failed to bring the princely states into line with the new trend toward self-rule. Though
               Mahatma Gandhi denounced the new system as a "whited sepulchre," Congress in fact
               began to participate in the governmental process. Under the constitution granted in
               1935-37, the British maintained separate voting rolls for the Muslim minority, in order to
               ensure its proportional representation; in 1939 relations between Britain and the Congress
               Party were tense, but India was clearly headed for independence in some form.

               In 1937 the British gave a separate constitution to Burma. Ceylon (renamed Sri Lanka in
               1972) had been separate and self-governing from 1931.


               In British Africa decolonization progressed more slowly, but London began to accept it as
               an ultimate outcome. In Kenya, for example, the British government refused to grant the
               20,000 European settlers in the "white highlands" any kind of direct political power over
               the mass of tribal blacks who constituted the colony's overwhelming majority. In British
               West Africa the passage from direct colonial government to self-rule by a black elite had
               started by 1939, there being no white settlers or Indian merchants (as there were in East
               Africa) to complicate matters. Only in the mining areas of Northern Rhodesia (the
               Copperbelt) and in Southern Rhodesia, where white farmer settlers enjoyed
               self-government and caste privileges over a disenfranchised black majority, did
               decolonization make no headway at all.
Overseas France.

               France, in contrast to Britain, preferred centralized and assimilative methods in an effort to
               integrate its colonies into a greater Overseas France. It made no progress in colonial
               devolution and refused even to grant independence to Syria and Lebanon. In North Africa
               the French energetically implanted large agrarian capitalist enterprises as well as some
               industries connected with the area's mineral wealth. These modern production centres and
               infrastructures were directed and financed by metropolitan French business and were
               staffed and operated by a large, politically aggressive European settler population. The
               Muslim majority was subordinate both politically and economically; North African
               peasants struggled to subsist on the margins. Overt resistance was strongest in Morocco,
               where a rural Muslim rebellion endangered both the French and the Spanish protectorates.
               Abd el-Krim, a Berber Moroccan leader who combined tradition with modern
               nationalism, waged a brilliant five-year campaign till a combined French and Spanish force
               finally defeated him in 1926. After 1934, resistance to France revived in Morocco, this
               time in the cities. In Tunisia resistance was centred in Habib Bourguiba's constitutional
               party; in Algeria the urban Muslim middle classes merely sked for true civil rights and
               integration. The French Communist Party did not move to mobilize the peasant masses in
               an anticolonial struggle, and, in consequence, future rebellion in the Maghrib was to be
               Arab nationalist and not Marxist in its leadership and doctrines.

               Matters were different in French Indochina, where the growth of a modern,
               French-directed agricultural economy had thrown masses of peasants into debt slavery.
               The circumstances favoured the formation of an independence movement much influenced
               by both the Chinese Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) and the Chinese Communist Party;
               the movement in the 1930s took the form of a Communist party under the leadership of
               Ho Chi Minh.

               French sub-Saharan Africa attracted no European settler population. The French colonial
               authorities promoted a shift from subsistence to market economies, and their methods,
               including labour conscription for public works, led to protest and questions in the French
               parliament. The results, guaranteed by a protective tariff linking the colonies to France,
               were solid but unspectacular.

               Axis Powers.

               In the 1930s an aggressive new colonialism developed on the part of the Axis Powers,
               which developed a new colonial doctrine ("living space" in German geopolitics, the
               "empire" in Italian Fascist ideology, the "co-prosperity sphere" in Japan) aiming at the
               repartition of the world's colonial areas, justified by the supposed racial superiority, higher
               birth rates, and greater productivity that the Axis Powers enjoyed as against the
               "decadent" West. To this the Japanese added a slogan of their own, "Asia for the Asians."
               In fact, the three powers aimed at carving out for themselves vast, self-sufficient empires.
               Though intent on a new colonialism of their own, they had to use anticolonialism as a
               political instrument before and during World War II; in doing so, they helped in the
               process of world decolonization.

               Fascist Italy's first colonial war was a long, bloody campaign in Cyrenaica that lasted until
               the early 1930s, when Italy began developing Libya as a place of settlement for Italian
               peasants. Then a dispute over the border between Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia (1934)
               gave the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, the opportunity to move against the African
               power that had routed Italian armies at Adwa. In October 1935 Italian troops from Eritrea
               moved into the Tigray province of northern Ethiopia, although war was never declared.
               Ethiopia, underequipped and feudal, could not long hold out in open combat, especially
               against Italian air attacks. In May 1936 Italian motorized columns reached Addis Ababa,
               and the Emperor went into exile. Mussolini proclaimed the Italian "empire" in East Africa.
               In reality, however, Ethiopian feudal chiefs continued violent resistance, even in the
               environs of the capital, while the Italians massacred hundreds of nobles, clergy, and
               commoners in an effort to repress Ethiopia by terror. In this their success was limited. The
               Italians built roads and kept control over all principal communication lines, but they never
               subdued the mountainous hinterland.

               The Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere, Japan's new order, amounted to a
               self-contained empire from Manchuria to the Dutch East Indies, including China,
               Indochina, Thailand, and Malaya as satellite states. Japan intended to exclude both
               European imperialism and Communist influence from the entire Far East, while ensuring
               Japanese political and industrial hegemony.

               The United States and the Soviet Union.

               During World War I the United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark
               (1917), but it acquired no new colonies thereafter. In the 1920s the United States agreed
               to leave unfortified its possessions beyond Hawaii, in exchange for Japan's accepting naval
               limitations. The Philippines, by the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, were to become
               independent on July 4, 1946. Until U.S.-Japanese relations began to worsen, in 1939,
               U.S. possessions in the Pacific counted for little in world affairs. On the other hand, the
               United States established or continued virtual protectorates in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican
               Republic, Nicaragua, and Panama during the Harding and Coolidge administrations
               (1921-29), a trend reversed under Hoover and Roosevelt, particularly under the latter's
               Good Neighbor Policy toward Latin America.

               The new Soviet Russian regime succeeded, after years of civil and foreign war, in regaining
               the Asian possessions of its tsarist predecessor. The Caucasus was repossessed step by
               step between 1919 and 1921; after the mountain areas and Azerbaijan were brought back
               under Soviet control, Armenia was partitioned between Russia and Turkey. Then Georgia,
               an independent parliamentary republic, was overrun by the Red Army. Russian Turkistan
               was subdued by 1922, and the khanates of Khiva and Bukhara were suppressed. By
               1922, Outer Mongolia was also solidly linked to the Soviet state. Nevertheless, the
               Russian revolutionary government was ideologically opposed to colonialism, especially
               where it had no colonial interests that it cared to defend. In general, the Soviet authorities
               hesitated during the interwar period between the alternatives of backing liberation
               movements of "national bourgeoisies" and supporting peasant revolutionary parties.

               In Central Asia the Soviet authorities followed a moderate line up to 1928, but with the
               advent of Stalin a new policy, consisting in purges of national leaders, increasing
               industrialization, and forced settlement of nomad populations, led to a great increase in the
               proportion of European settlers, mostly Russians and Ukrainians, to native Muslims.
               During the 1930s the Kazaks declined sharply in absolute numbers as well as in ratio to
               the Europeans in their areas. Other Muslim nationalities, especially the Uzbeks, stemmed
               the Slavic tide of settlement only by virtue of their birth rates, which greatly exceeded
               those of the Russians and Ukrainians
WORLD WAR II (1939-45)

               Although the Axis Powers failed in their global strategy, they crippled European colonial
               rule in Asia.


               Japan conquered its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere and arrived at the gates of
               India, displacing British, Dutch, and French colonial rulers as well as the Americans in
               Guam and the Philippines. The Japanese had to allow some margin of freedom to their
               satellite regimes in Burma and Indonesia in both of which preexisting local parties proved
               capable of creating sovereign states after the war. On August 17, 1945, Sukarno declared
               Indonesia independent. Indonesia had had a long history of Muslim, nationalist, and
               Communist agitation against the Dutch; with captured Japanese arms, Indonesia could
               resist reimposition of Dutch authority.

               In India the Congress Party, though totally unsympathetic to the Axis, tried to take
               advantage of Britain's wartime extremity in order to secure immediate independence. The
               Muslim League supported the British administration during the war but demanded a
               sovereign Muslim homeland (Pakistan) as a postwar objective. By 1945 direct British rule
               in India was coming to an end, but the contest between Britain, the Congress Party, and
               the Muslim League clouded any final settlement.

               In the Middle East, Britain returned to forms of direct colonial control as Axis forces drew
               near, and in June-July 1941 it occupied Syria and Lebanon, under the guise of Free
               French administration. With Beirut and Damascus secured, the British supported Syrian
               and Lebanese independence from France; the two states were incorporated into the
               sterling area. Only U.S. and Soviet support guaranteed the independence of the two
               republics (1944) and their subsequent admission to the United Nations.

               In Egypt, when Axis forces in 1941 and 1942 came within striking distance of Alexandria,
               both the king, Farouk, and groups of dissident army officers were ready to welcome them
               and turn against the British. In February 1942 the British minister forced the King to
               appoint a government willing to cooperate with the Anglo-Americans; the defeat of the
               Germans in the Egyptian desert later that year put Egypt firmly in the Allied camp.
               Nevertheless much anti-British and anticolonial bitterness remained in Egypt, with postwar

               At the outset of World War II Iran was pro-German, and in August 1941 the Soviet
               Union and Britain jointly occupied the country, which then became the main supply line
               connecting the Soviet Union with the Western Allies. In 1942, in a three-power treaty,
               both Britain and the Soviet Union promised to leave Iran six months after the end of the
               war. Notwithstanding such commitments, the Soviet Union began to build spheres of
               influence in northern Iran; in 1944 the Soviet Union brought pressure to bear on Iran for
               an oil concession.

               During the final years of World War II the United States became vitally interested in the
               Middle East because of United States petroleum ventures in Saudi Arabia and because of
               strategic considerations. By the end of the war it was clear to both the Soviet Union and
               Britain that the United States, as a world power, would support no imposition of direct
               colonial controls in the postwar Middle East.


               During World War II Italy lost its entire colonial domain. Ethiopia was restored as an
               independent empire, and the other colonies eventually came under UN jurisdiction, in the
               first step toward decolonization in the African continent.

               In the first postwar years there were some prospects that (except in the case of the Indian
               subcontinent) decolonization might come gradually and on terms favourable to the
               continued world power positions of the western European colonial nations. After the
               French defeat at Dien Bien Phu (Vietnam) in 1954 and the abortive Anglo-French Suez
               expedition of 1956, however, decolonization took on an irresistible momentum, so that by
               the mid-1970s only scattered vestiges of Europe's colonial territories remained.

               The reasons for this accelerated decolonization were threefold. First, the two postwar
               superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, preferred to exert their might by
               indirect means of penetration--ideological, economic, and military--often supplanting
               previous colonial rulers; both the United States and the Soviet Union took up positions
               opposed to colonialism. Second, the mass revolutionary movements of the colonial world
               fought colonial wars that were expensive and bloody. Third, the war-weary public of
               western Europe eventually refused any further sacrifices to maintain overseas colonies.

               In general, those colonies that offered neither concentrated resources nor strategic
               advantages and that harboured no European settlers won easy separation from their
               overlords. Armed struggle against colonialism centred in a few areas, which mark the real
               milestones in the history of postwar decolonization.

               British decolonization, 1945-56.

               General elections in India in 1946 strengthened the Muslim League. In subsequent
               negotiations, punctuated by mass violence, the Congress Party leaders finally accepted
               partition as preferable to civil war, and in 1947 the British evacuated the subcontinent,
               leaving India and a territorially divided Pakistan to contend with problems of communal
               strife. (see also Index: British Empire)

               Far more damaging to Britain's world position as a great power was the end of the
               Palestine mandate. The British would have favoured an Arab state in Palestine, tied to the
               British system in the Middle East, with Jews as a permanent minority. The Jewish national
               movement, however, succeeded in making this policy both costly and unpopular; in
               particular, the U.S. and Soviet governments began to see a Jewish state in Palestine as a
               necessary solution to the problem of Europe's surviving Jewry. All Arab spokesmen
               expressed intransigent opposition to any two-nation solution. Britain, isolated
               internationally, threw the problem into the lap of the United Nations; in November 1947
               the General Assembly voted for partition. Britain, exhausted both politically and financially,
               decided to leave by May 15, 1948. The Jewish national movement's military branch
               succeeded in defeating the Palestine Arab terrorist and guerrilla bands step by step, and
               after British evacuation, and the declaration of Israel's independence, the Arab states in
               turn suffered a series of military defeats. The new Jewish state, recognized by the United
               States, the Soviet Union, and France, reached an uneasy armistice with the Arabs in 1949,
               and Britain's position in the Middle East began to crumble.

               The Arab chain reaction against Britain started in Egypt, where in July 1952 a group of
               army officers seized power. By the end of 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser had induced Britain
               to accept total withdrawal by June 1956 and set to work to undermine Britain's position in
               Iraq and Jordan. In June 1956 the British troops quit Suez on schedule. At that point
               Britain's Middle Eastern position, which depended on a chain of bases and friendly
               governments, was imperilled. Iran had moved close to the United States, warding off
               Soviet penetration and expropriating British oil holdings. Now Cyprus and the Persian Gulf
               oil ports remained the last outposts under British control in the Middle East. Nasser's next
               move was to cut the link between them. On July 26, 1956, he nationalized the Suez Canal
               Company, ending the last vestiges of European authority over that vital waterway and
               precipitating the most serious international crisis of the postwar era.

               Wars in overseas France, 1945-56.

               The constitution of the French Fourth Republic provided for token decentralization of
               colonial rule, and cycles of revolt and repression marked French history for 15 years after
               the end of World War II. The first colonial war was in Indochina, where a power vacuum,
               caused by Japan's removal after wartime occupation, gave a unique opportunity to the
               Communist Viet Minh. When in 1946 the French Army tried to regain the colony, the
               Communists, proclaiming a republic, resorted to the political and military strategies of Mao
               Tse-tung to wear down and eventually defeat France. All chances for maintaining a
               semicolonial administration in Indochina ended when the Communists won the civil war in
               China (1949). Eventually, in 1954, when the French engaged the Communist armies in a
               pitched battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Communists won with the help of new heavy guns
               supplied by the Chinese. The Fourth Republic left Indochina under the terms of the
               Geneva Accords (1954), which set up two independent regimes.

               By 1954 French North Africa was beginning to stir; guerrilla warfare occurred in both
               Morocco (where the French had deposed and exiled Sultan Muhammad V) and Tunisia.
               On November 1, 1954, Algerian rebels began a revolt against France in which for the first
               time urban Muslims and Muslim peasants joined forces. In March 1956 France accorded
               complete independence to Morocco and Tunisia, while the army concentrated on a
               "revolutionary" counterinsurgent war in order to hold Algeria, where French rule had solid
               local support from about a million European settlers. The Muslim rebels depended on
               help from the Arab world, especially Egypt. Hence the French took the initiative, in
               October 1956, in forming an alliance with Nasser's principal adversaries, Britain and
               Israel, to reclaim the Suez Canal for the West and overthrow the pan-Arab regime in
The Sinai-Suez campaign (October-November 1956).

               On October 29, 1956, Israel's army attacked Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula, and within 48
               hours the British and French were fighting Egypt for control of the Suez area. But the
               Western allies found Egyptian resistance more determined than they had anticipated.
               Before they could turn their invasion into a real occupation, U.S. and Soviet pressure
               forced them to desist (November 7). The Suez campaign was thus a political disaster for
               the two colonial powers. The events of November 1956 showed the decline of European
               colonialism to be irreversible.

               Algeria and French decolonization, from 1956.

               Between 1956 and 1958 French army commanders in Algeria, politically radicalized, tried
               to promote a new Franco-Muslim society in preparation for Algeria's total integration into
               France. Hundreds of thousands of rural Muslims were resettled under French military
               control, Algiers was successfully cleared of all guerrilla cells, French investments in
               Saharan petroleum grew, and, in a dramatic climax, a coalition of European settlers,
               colonial troops, and armed forces commanders in May 1958 refused further obedience to
               the Fourth Republic.

               Charles de Gaulle, first president of the Fifth Republic, thought that the effort of fighting
               colonial wars had prevented France from developing nuclear weapons and also came to
               realize that Algerian Muslims could not be converted to a French identity. He began to
               negotiate with the rebels; the negotiations culminated in a plebiscite, French evacuation,
               and proclamation of the independence of Muslim Algeria (July 1962). De Gaulle then
               proceeded to develop a nuclear striking force as the new foundation of France's status as
               a great power. The Fifth Republic moved rapidly toward freeing the colonies of
               sub-Saharan Africa, and France's colonial realm became vestigial and insular.

               British decolonization after 1956.

               During the 15 years after the Suez disaster, Britain divested itself of most colonial holdings
               and abandoned most power positions in Africa and Asia. In 1958 the pro-British
               monarchy in Iraq fell; during the 1960s Cyprus and Malta became independent; and in
               1971 Britain left the Persian Gulf. Of the imperial lifelines, only Gibraltar remains. After
               1956 Britain moved rapidly to grant independence to its black African colonies. One
               British colony, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), broke away unilaterally in 1965.

               In Malaya the British fought a successful counterinsurgent war against a predominantly
               Chinese guerrilla movement and then turned over sovereignty to a federal Malaysian
               government (1957). In 1971 the Royal Navy left Singapore (an independent state since
               1965), thus ending British presence in the Far East except (until 1997) at Hong Kong and
               (until 1983) at Brunei.

               Britain's world position shrank, in effect, to membership in the North Atlantic Treaty
               Organization and the European Economic Community, with the postcolonial
               Commonwealth decreasing in importance.

               Dutch, Belgian, and Portuguese decolonization.

               After World War II the Dutch tried to regain some of their lost control in Indonesia. The
               Sukarno regime held fast through three years of intermittent war, however, and the Dutch
               found no allies and no international support. In 1950 Indonesia became a centralized,
               independent republic.

               The Belgian administration in the Congo had never trained even a small number of Africans
               much beyond the grade-school level. When Britain and France began to divest themselves
               of their colonies, Belgium was in no position to impose on the Congo a schedule of its own
               for gradual withdrawal. The abrupt granting of independence to the Belgian Congo in the
               summer of 1960 led to a series of civil wars, with intervention by the UN, European
               business interests employing white mercenaries, and other outside forces. In 1965 Joseph
               Mobutu (later Mobutu Sese Seko) gained control over the central government and
               created an independent African state, renamed Zaire in 1971.

               Portugal, in the 20th century the poorest and least developed of the western European
               powers, was the first nation (with Spain) to establish itself as a colonial power and the last
               to give up its colonial possessions. In Portuguese Africa during the authoritarian regime of
               António de Oliveira Salazar, the settler population had grown to about 400,000. After
               1961 pan-African pressures grew, and Portugal found itself mired in a series of colonial
               wars, while the development of mining in Angola and Mozambique revealed hitherto
               unknown economic assets. In 1974 the armed forces overthrew the successors to Salazar,
               and in the unstable political situation it became clear that Portugal would cut its colonial ties
               to Africa. Portuguese Guinea (Guinea-Bissau) became independent in 1974. In June 1975
               Mozambique achieved independence as a people's republic; in July 1975 São Tomé and
               Príncipe became an independent republic; and in November of the same year Angola,
               involved in a civil war between three rival liberation movements, also received sovereignty.


               Historians will long debate the heritage of economic development, mass bitterness, and
               cultural cleavage that colonialism has left to the world, but the political problems of
               decolonization are grave and immediate. The international community is laden with minute
               states unable to secure either sovereignty or solvency and with large states erected without
               a common ethnic base. The world's postcolonial areas often have been scenes of
               protracted and violent conflicts: ethnic, as in Nigeria's Biafran war (1967-70);
               national-religious, as in the Arab-Israeli conflicts, the civil wars in Cyprus, and the clashes
               between India and Pakistan; or purely political, as in the confrontation between
               Communist and Nationalist regimes in the divided Korean Peninsula. The end of
               colonialism did not bring with it the spread of new, neatly divided nation-states throughout
               the world, nor did it abate or ease rivalry between the great powers.