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  • Hi I'm John Green and this is Crash Course European History.

  • So, remember back in May of 1453 when the Ottomans smashed the thick walls of Constantinople,

  • captured the city, and beheaded the Byzantine emperor?

  • You probably don't remember May of 1453, come to think of it, but you remember learning

  • about it.

  • It was a bit of a footnote in our first episode, but you never know when the footnotes are

  • going to be very important, but that one really did change the world.

  • With the Ottomans now also controlling much of southeastern Europe, they established a

  • navy, which they used in the Black, Adriatic, and other seas in the region.

  • Ottoman domination meant that European kingdoms and empires needed to find different paths

  • to Afroeurasian trading routes--which ultimately helped spark the voyages of explorers from

  • the Iberian peninsula.

  • INTRO So we've talked already in this series about

  • the importance of shifting perspective when looking at history, and today we're going

  • to ask you to shift perspective several times, but let's begin with the perspective of

  • the Portuguese.

  • In the fifteenth century, Portugal was poor, and it became more so as the Ottomans contested

  • their access to overland trade.

  • But luckily for Portugal, the fourth son of their king was Prince Henry, who came to be

  • called The Navigator because he funded and encouraged exploration, the study of navigation,

  • and the development of new tools to aid in navigation.

  • The Portuguese began to increase their travels along the Mediterranean's southern shore.

  • And by the mid-15th century, they were venturing southward along the Atlantic coast of Africa,

  • where they expected to find vast wealth.

  • In those days, Africa was rich in food, salt, gold, and slaves.

  • Mansa Musa, the Malian king who made a spectacular hajj to Mecca in 1324-1325, was legendary

  • and very inspiring to the Portuguese.

  • He had an entourage of 60,000 people including 12,000 slaves and huge quantities of gold.

  • He seemed like the model of what the Portuguese hoped to become by traveling to Africa: that

  • is, rich beyond imagining.

  • In this pursuit of food, slaves, and gold, the Portuguese gradually made their way down

  • the African coast, locating island clusters like the Canaries.

  • And they kidnapped local people to sell into European slave markets and began dotting the

  • coast with stone fortresses that doubled as trading stations.

  • And there, many European men partnered with African women and started families.

  • These women were often themselves traders and would be crucial for all European nations;

  • because they were the main force behind local markets and regional trade networks, and they

  • provided essential connections to trade.

  • Again, most of the Portuguese explorers were poor, and many of these female traders were

  • wealthy and successful.

  • From their perspective, Portuguese traders offered them access to new markets and access

  • to new goods.

  • I know we're all very accustomed to thinking of Europe as rich and Africa as poor, but

  • that frame is both relatively new and way too essentializing--the truth as always resists

  • simplicity.

  • So in 1488, Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, or, as it was called at the

  • time, the Cape of Storms.

  • And then the Portuguese ventured further afield into the Indian Ocean.

  • When we talk about explorers and exploring, we often conjure up images of intrepid groups

  • wearing hats trekking through empty lands in search of hidden treasures, but that was

  • certainly not the reality when, for instance, Vasco De Gama reached India in 1498 and found

  • a highly developed Indian Ocean commerce with trading posts run by sophisticated Muslim

  • merchants.

  • Da Gama's instincts were to menace and fight them and he did.

  • And when the Portuguese reached Southeast Asia and China, they found a cornucopia of

  • goods that Europeans came to crave and about whose production they hadn't the slightest

  • knowledge: colorful, washable cottons, and finely crafted porcelain, also tea.

  • Where would we be without Tea?

  • Well, I'd be fine, actually.

  • I'd just drink coffee.

  • What's that?

  • Oh, Stan informs me that coffee also isn't from Europe.

  • By the seventeenth century, the Portuguese were importing millions of pieces of porcelain

  • into Europe along with lots of delicious spices.

  • And spices were not only important for flavouring, but also for food preservation.

  • Which I suppose is a kind of flavouring if you like your food not-mouldy tasting.

  • Let's go to the Thought Bubble.

  • The Portugueseempirewas, at first anyway, a trading empire,

  • with small and agile ships known as caravels patrolling ports and collecting large fees.

  • The wealth would be extracted from controlling shipping and trading routes,

  • as the Ottomans were doing in the eastern Mediterranean.

  • In contrast, the Spanish empire, which began in 1492 with the exploratory voyages of Genoese

  • ship captain Christopher Columbus, was based on colonies--

  • that is, rather than controlling trade routes, the empire would control the land itself and

  • the people who lived there, and extract wealth from them to enrich the

  • empire.

  • Columbus was a student of geography and maps and he'd lobbied the Portuguese king to

  • back his voyages.

  • But when that didn't go to plan, he headed for Spain to petition its devoutly Catholic

  • rulers, Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand

  • of Aragon.

  • These two monarchs were finishing up the drive to expel Muslims from Spain

  • and to force Spanish Jews to convert to Christianity.

  • But religious persecution wasn't cheap.

  • The motto of the Iberian pathfindersGod, gold, and gloryperfectly described their

  • ambitions.

  • Although perhaps not in that order.

  • Hopping the islands along the African coast and using the trade winds,

  • Columbus's ships made it to the Caribbean islands,

  • and his crews, which tellingly included both clergy and bankers,

  • found signs of gold but not great quantities of it.

  • However, they did find people to enslave, and because no one knew the size or shape

  • of the Americas, there was the perpetual hope that gold or

  • other riches might lie just on the other side of this river,

  • or that mountain.

  • Thanks Thought Bubble.

  • So I want to stop here to shift perspective: From the perspective of European explorers,

  • these lands were new, and potentially very lucrative, and the colonization model that

  • Spain adopted, and that Portugal began using in Brazil, and that the rest of Europe's

  • empires would eventually use, was built on the idea that colonies existed for the benefit

  • and enrichment of the colonizers--and secondarily to convert human souls to Christianity.

  • Much of the wealth that was generated by these empires was done so by claiming human beings

  • as a form of property--both through the slave trade and through forcing colonized people

  • to work.

  • And the systems that were built to support the colonies--from roads and bridges to churches--were

  • built to extract wealth and convert people to Christianity.

  • So from the perspective of indigenous people living in colonized communities, colonization

  • meant impoverishment in many forms--the loss of land for use, the loss of life itself at

  • an unprecedented scale, the loss of long-held religious beliefs, and the loss of all sorts

  • of community assets.

  • But from the colonziers' perspective, it meant the possibility of getting rich, and

  • so waves of ambitious sailors followed Columbus, searching both North and South America for

  • extractable wealth.

  • OK.

  • Another breakthrough occurred in 1519-22, when Ferdinand Magellan's Spanish ships

  • circumnavigated the globe.

  • Magellan had alienated members of the Portuguese court and like Columbus he found no backing

  • for his proposed trip there.

  • Also like Columbus, he went to Spain to fund his voyage.

  • If you were going to be somewhere between 1519 and 1522, on one of Magellan's ships

  • was not necessarily the best place.The conditions and Magellan's no-nonsense discipline caused

  • mutinies and other problems which Magellan also handled harshly, executing or marooning

  • mutineering captains in the fleet.

  • But after finding the straits at the tip of South America, the fleet set out across the

  • Pacific, eventually returning to Spain despite Magellan's death at the hands of local leaders

  • in the Philippines in 1521.

  • Of the 237 original voyagers and five ships, only eighteen men and one ship returned to

  • Spain in 1522.

  • But, the voyage arranged and headed by Magellan was a revelation, it opened the world up to

  • global transportation, exchange, settlement, and yes, global slavery, warfare, pandemics,

  • and conquest.

  • The Spanish could now stock their new world settlements with Chinese and Indian luxuries

  • by crossing the Pacific and fill their coffers from profits in New World goods by crossing

  • the Atlantic.

  • In 1519, Spanish invader Hernan Cortés came in contact with indigenous people in present-day

  • Mexico, landing on its Mayan eastern coast with several hundred soldiers and making his

  • way inland, starting battles and forging alliances.

  • He eventually reached the center of the Aztec empire at Tenochtitlan, the Spaniards were

  • astonished at the wealth of this civilization and Cortes bowed before its king, Montezuma

  • II, who led a vast empire that stretched to present-day Honduras and Nicaragua.

  • The capital had tens of thousands of inhabitants, perhaps hundreds of thousands.

  • Markets overflowed with luscious produce and crafts, and the city had a sophistication

  • that, like the wealth itself, was foreign to Europeans, even if the Aztec practice of

  • human sacrifice was also foreign.

  • A similar awe filled Francisco Pizarro when he saw the superb textiles and silver and

  • gold objects crafted by the Incas, who'd also created thousands of miles of roads and

  • efficient institutions to hold their vast empire together along the west coast of present-day

  • South America.

  • Both Pizarro and Cortes relied on help from rival indigenous communities to help them

  • take control from the Incas and Aztecs.

  • The conquerors also married the princesses and other noble women they had raped as a

  • ritual of domination.

  • And marriage gave them access to insider information, local networks, and the wealth that such women

  • possessedincluding wealth in enslaved peoples.

  • So, Iberians were incentivized to set sail by their poverty and by their Catholic faith,

  • but they were disadvantaged by a comparative lack of manufacturing skills when it came

  • to trade.

  • What they did have, at least at first, was sailing prowess and weaponry on their side.

  • Iberian caravels were nimble and they could be loaded with cannons.

  • The Portuguese borrowed the use of triangular sails from the Arabs, often combining them

  • with square-rigged ones to make better use of the winds.

  • And Iberians also employed a range of navigational instrumentstechnology generally taken from

  • other culturesin determining latitude, while their on-board cartographers created

  • portolan charts--literally, charts related to ports--indicating coastal dangers, good

  • harbors, and other details important to seafarers.

  • Astrolabes, quadrants, compasses, and other instruments gave good indications of location

  • and direction but you know what you really needed?

  • A clock.

  • That's right, there's a clock in the center of the world.

  • This six dollar clock is an astonishing piece of technology.

  • Stan would like me to point out that it was actually eight dollars.

  • Thank you for your support on Patreon.com/crashcourse it wasn't until the eighteenth century development

  • of the chronometer that sailors could chart longitudinal location, and even now, GPS relies

  • on an extremely precise knowledge of the time.

  • In short when it comes to history and also everything else, it's not just a question

  • of where you are, it's a question of when you are.

  • Early European explorers almost always had to enlist local people to advise them how

  • to navigate the seas, especially the Indian ocean, and local, non-European traders served

  • as intermediaries for the artisans in porcelain, cotton, and other crafted products.

  • Through them, Europeans slowly learned about trading procedures, sources of goods, and

  • the means of judging quality, as initially the Iberians were not well acquainted with

  • the goods available in these trading ports.

  • And there were other go-betweens, like translators, connecting Europeans and local people.

  • One example is Malinche (or Doña Maria, as the Spanish called her).

  • She facilitated the passage of Hernan Cortes and his small army across Mexico and into

  • the capital of the Aztec empire, gathering allies for him and warning him of impending

  • danger along the way.

  • Because of the hostility among different groups, go-betweens who knew about the animosities

  • and warfare among them could help mobilize support for the Europeans, so that one local

  • group would lead the charge against another.

  • That happened in the conquest of both Central America in the 1520s and the Inca Empire in

  • the 1530s.

  • In Europe meanwhile, all of this voyaging and conquering produced chaos between the

  • Iberian kingdoms--what land would be Spain's, and what land would be Portugal's?

  • A treaty sponsored by the Church eventually settled disputes between Spain and Portugal

  • over territory that each was claiming.

  • I mean, who do you call about property disputes, if not the pope?

  • The Treaty of Tordesillas, which was signed in 1494, provided a permanent line of demarcation

  • 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands off the Atlantic coast of Africa.

  • In 1529, another treaty set bounds for each country in the Indian Ocean and Pacific regions.

  • But treaties of course did not prevent the death at the hands of European weaponry and

  • diseases that contact entailed.

  • In the Western Hemisphere, the local inhabitants' lack of resistance to European diseases was

  • probably a more important factor than in conquest than weaponry was.

  • In the long run, violence, enslavement, and European diseases like smallpox and measles

  • led to the death of perhaps as much as ninety percent of the indigenous American population.

  • Diseases spread and killed so quickly that entire communities ceased to exist almost

  • --- at once, and with them their traditions, stories, and values.

  • Meanwhile, colonization proved extremely lucrative for Spain and Portugal, which within a century

  • went from being poor kingdoms to astonishingly rich ones, especially after 1545, when the

  • Spanish uncovered a huge deposit of silver in Potosi, in present day Bolivia, and began

  • conscripting indigenous people to do the most dangerous work in the mines.

  • Migration to both regions swelled, and ships now criss-crossed both Atlantic and the Pacific.

  • And this huge influx of wealth to Spain and Portugal would reshape power in Europe and

  • also life everywhere else, as everything from microbes to ideas suddenly had a truly global

  • reach.

  • Thanks for watching.

  • I'll see you next time.

Hi I'm John Green and this is Crash Course European History.

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大航海時代。クラッシュ・コース ヨーロッパの歴史 #4 (The Age of Exploration: Crash Course European History #4)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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