The Story of Geographical Discovery eBook

Joseph Jacobs
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 165 pages of information about The Story of Geographical Discovery.


The Emperor was naturally delighted with the result of the voyage.  He granted Del Cano a pension, and a coat of arms commemorating his services.  The terms of the grant are very significant:  or, two cinnamon sticks saltire proper, three nutmegs and twelve cloves, a chief gules, a castle or; crest, a globe, bearing the motto, “Primus circumdedisti me” (thou wert the first to go round me); supporters, two Malay kings crowned, holding in the exterior hand a spice branch proper.  The castle, of course, refers to Castile, but the rest of the blazon indicates the importance attributed to the voyage as resting mainly upon the visit to the Spice Islands.  As we have already seen, however, the Portuguese recovered their position in the Moluccas immediately after the departure of the Victoria, and seven years later Charles V. gave up any claims he might possess through Magelhaens’ visit.

But for a long time afterwards the Spaniards still cast longing eyes upon the Spice Islands, and the Fuggers, the great bankers of Augsburg, who financed the Spanish monarch, for a long time attempted to get possession of Peru, with the scarcely disguised object of making it a “jumping-place” from which to make a fresh attempt at obtaining possession of the Moluccas.  A modern parallel will doubtless occur to the reader.

There are thus three stages to be distinguished in the successive discovery and delimitation of the New World:—­

(i.) At first Columbus imagined that he had actually reached Zipangu or Japan, and achieved the object of his voyage.

(ii.) Then Amerigo Vespucci, by coasting down South America, ascertained that there was a huge unknown land intervening even between Columbus’ discoveries and the long-desired Spice Islands.

(iii.) Magelhaens clinches this view by traversing the Southern Pacific for thousands of miles before reaching the Moluccas.

There is still a fourth stage by which it was gradually discovered that the North-west of America was not joined on to Asia, but this stage was only gradually reached and finally determined by the voyages of Behring and Cook.

[Authorities: Justin Winsor, Christopher Columbus, 1894; Guillemard, Ferdinand Magellan, 1894.]



The discovery of the New World had the most important consequences on the relative importance of the different nations of Europe.  Hitherto the chief centres for over two thousand years had been round the shores of the Mediterranean, and, as we have seen, Venice, by her central position and extensive trade to the East, had become a world-centre during the latter Middle Ages.  But after Columbus, and still more after Magelhaens, the European nations on the Atlantic

Project Gutenberg
The Story of Geographical Discovery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook