Christopher Columbus’s and John Cabot’s Voyages to America

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From the Early 15th century till near the end of the 18th century, positive things were happening in the world. Advancements and discoveries. This time period is known as the Age of Exploration, or the Age of Discovery, and it’s all because of one man, who goes by the name of Christopher Columbus and his failed attempt to find a short route to Asia that we have this period in history. In the sources, the “Journal of Christopher Columbus, 1492” and “John Cabot: Voyage to North America, 1497,” we are able to take a look into this era. Both Columbus and Cabot were “going” to the Americas, but for different reasons and different mindsets and there for, different perspectives on the New World and the exploration period as a whole.

Starting off with the “Journal of Christopher Columbus, 1492,” we are shown his voyage to this new land that he discovers through letters that he sent back to Spain. His goal was to find a shorter route to Asia, he took three ships with him, the Santa Maria, Pinta, and Nina, on a journey to find a western sea route, or so he thought that was what he was going to find. Columbus supplied 1/3rd of the funds contributed by the King and Queen of Spain, who were the ones that helped Columbus through his journey, and originally chose him to lead this expedition, they put all their trust in him.

While he failed at his goal of finding Asia, his failed attempt eventually led him to discovering new land, the “New World,” the Americas. It took him two months to get to his destination, which was not Asia, but actually an island in what some would say is present day Bahamas, which he renamed San Salvador, but no one is completely sure of the exact location in which he landed. Christopher Columbus sent his first document to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. In his letter he wrote; “There I found very many islands, filled with innumerable people, and I have taken possession of them all for their Highnesses, done by proclamation…” In this, he was referring to the Native Americans in which he has communicated with and with all the new land that he has found he has claimed it all, for the possession of the Spanish.

After his letter had gotten back to the Spanish monarchy, they were intrigued. His report on his trip made the King and Queen very curious and proud of his discoveries and wanted him to continue what he was doing. They had such high hopes of finding an abundance of riches that they sent Christopher Columbus back. He ended up making a total of four voyages to the Americas and back to see what he could see and claim what land he discovered.

After Columbus had discovered America in 1492, he initiated an immense number of voyages out west by sailors and explorers to see what they could find. And so, this led to “John Cabot: Voyage to North America, 1497.” John Cabot is given a letter, paten, from Henry VII, giving him the exclusive right for him to travel across the Atlantic to the so called “Americas” and that the right has been granted. Since, Christopher Columbus was sent out from Spain, Henry VII knew that the Spain had a head start on claiming the New World.

So, Henry VII agreed to Cabot’s proposition to set sail on a westward route. Henry raised all the funds for the voyage and the Matthew was built and sent out on its way in 1497. When Cabot landed, somehow like Christopher Columbus, he ended up in North America. Cabot sent letters to Henry VII of England informing him of what parts of the New world he was trying to claim, any of the hardships he runs into along the way like what he finds or who he finds. His goal is to “seek out, discover, and find,” new lands to be owned by England. Eventually, Cabot claimed land. Sending Cabot over to the Americas, and claiming land under England’s name, set the path, leading to the rise of power in England in the 16th century and 17th century. His discoveries really helped to implement and set up the basis of England as a country.

Both Columbus and Cabot were going to the Americas, whether they knew it or not. Many discoveries were made between the two of them and helped to create the period of the Age of Discovery. While this was the same, their voyages were very different, in many ways. First of all, Columbus left the Spanish Port of Palos with the intention of discovering a western sea route. Columbus set out of his expedition using three ships; Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, with a total of about eighty-six to eighty-nine men on the boats combined, and two months later he landed in the present-day Bahamas. Columbus took a total of four trips to the newly discovered Americas to come across new land.

On the other hand, Cabot set out on his voyage knowing what was over there and going with the intention of finding a part of land for England to claim. He only took one ship, the Matthew, carrying approximately twenty people on board the ship. Cabot’s journey only lasted about fifty days, since this route had already been done before and it was somewhat “paved” out, he knew what he was doing. While there were not only differences in the actual voyages, there was also a difference in the letters that were sent back to the King and Queen or Henry VII. Columbus was focused on the discoveries and all the new things that he was exploring and the people that he was encountering, while Cabot’s letters were focused on what was already discovered, and what he could claim as “his own” territory.

These two explorers had different perspectives going into their explorations and different perspectives in their letters. First of all, for Cabot, the New Land had already been found, already been discovered, and so he is going to take what he wants from it, he is there on a mission. A mission where all of England is counting on him to claim more land under their name. He had no interest in exploring, only to get there and get out.

But, for Columbus, he didn’t intentionally find the land, but when he did he was amazed. He wanted to keep exploring and just seeing what the New land had to offer. He ended up getting much more out of his trip than what was originally thought. He had a lot to say in his letters about the “first encounters between Europeans and the Native Americans… and the potential to serve European economic interests.” Both of these sources are journal entries kept by the two explorers. They help us to see what was happening in that time period and how the New World started and how it became to what it is today. Most importantly, theses letters help us grasp a better understanding of what early civilization was like and how it all began. Without this period of exploration and discovery, things would be tremendously different today.

Cite this paper

Christopher Columbus’s and John Cabot’s Voyages to America. (2021, Nov 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/christopher-columbuss-and-john-cabots-voyages-to-america/

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