A School History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 507 pages of information about A School History of the United States.

Meantime another Spaniard, named Ponce de Leon (pon’tha da la-on’), sailed with three ships from Porto Rico, in March, 1513, and on the 27th of that month came in sight of the mainland.  As the day was Easter Sunday, which the Spaniards call Pascua (pas’-coo-ah) Florida, he called the country Florida.

[Illustration:  Map of 1515][1]

[Footnote 1:  Showing what was then supposed to be the shape and position of the newly discovered lands.]

Six years later (1519) Pineda (pe-na’-da) skirted the shores of the Gulf from Florida to Mexico.

%8.  Spaniards sail round the World.%—­In the same year (1519) that Pineda explored the Gulf coast, a Portuguese named Magellan (ma-jel’-an) led a Spanish fleet across the Atlantic.  He coasted along South America to Tierra del Fuego, entered the strait which now bears his name, passed well up the western coast, and turning westward sailed toward India.  He was then on the ocean which Balboa had discovered and named the South Sea.  But Magellan found it so much smoother than the Atlantic that he called it the Pacific.  Five ships and 254 men left Spain; but only one ship and fifteen men returned to Spain by way of India and Cape of Good Hope.  Magellan himself was among the dead.[1]

[Footnote 1:  Magellan was killed by the natives of one of the Philippine Islands.  The captain of the ship which made the voyage was greatly honored.  The King of Spain ennobled him, and on his coat of arms was a globe representing the earth, and on it the motto “You first sailed round me.”]

%9.  Importance of Magellan’s Voyage.%—­Of all the voyages ever made by man this was the greatest.[2] In the first place, it proved beyond dispute that the earth is round.  In the second place, it proved that South America is a great continent, and that there is no short southwest passage to India.

[Footnote 2:  By all means read the account of this voyage by Fiske, in his Discovery of America, Vol.  II., pp. 190-211.]

%10.  Search for a Northwest Passage; our North Atlantic Coast explored.%—­All eyes, therefore, turned northward; the quest for a northwest passage began, and in that quest the Atlantic coast of the United States was examined most thoroughly.


1.  Towards the close of the fifteenth century the Turks cut off the old route of trade between Asia and Europe.

2.  In attempting to find a new way to Asia, the Portuguese then began to explore the west coast of Africa.

3.  When at last they got well down the African coast it was thought that such a route was too long.

4.  Columbus (1492) then attempted to find a shorter way to Asia by sailing westward across the Atlantic Ocean, and landed on some islands which he supposed to be the East Indies.

5.  The explorations of men who followed Columbus proved that a new continent had been discovered and that it blocked the way to India.

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A School History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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