The great geographical discoveries made it possible to create a modern map of the world. Columbus, Vespucci, Magellan, Vasco da Gama, Cook and many others were pioneers. 400 years of adventure in distant oceans to paint the "face" of planet Earth.
How dare people go to the ocean in the days when they still believed in demons and the hellish sea, when their only cards were cards created in antiquity? How much they had to endure to create a picture of the world as it is now.
The first map of the hemispheres of Ptolemy, dates back to the II century. ad. But it was only in the Middle Ages that further movement began. Marco Polo's journey to Asia opened up new riches for Europe. Porcelain, precious stones, silk and, most importantly, spices. The aristocracy was ready to pay for this luxury in gold. But for the Europeans to the east, where the Arabs ruled, the way was closed. To do without intermediaries, Portugal at the beginning of the 15th century. began to look for an alternative sea route. And the Portuguese circled Africa for the first time.
Ptolemy's worldview collapsed. The world map has acquired new features. Spain, the main rival of Portugal, did not compete for dominance on the newly opened routes, but took advantage of the fact that the earth was round and found another way. Relying on incredible speculation, the Spaniards traveled west to reach Asia.
An unexpected new world
Looking at the world's first Beheim globe, one can see the depth of ignorance of the first cartographers. America and the Pacific are unknown. In the summer of 1492, caravels under the command of Christopher Columbus set out from Spain. Heading west. The calculation of longitude was still a mystery at that time. The sailors had to rely on intuition, experience, providence and luck. And on October 12, 1492, Columbus discovers the land, the inhabitants of which, he considers Indians. He is convinced that he has reached the islands foreshadowing the Asian continent. And again the world map is enriched with new outlines.
The news in Europe thundered like a thunderclap. Amerigo Vespucci was one of those merchants who would not hesitate to go in search of adventure. Equipped with Portuguese money, he travels west to explore a route south of the Columbus paths. But instead of going to Asia, a new light had to be applied to the world map. A whole giant continent. The Pope divides the globe in half by his decree. Everything to the left of the islands discovered by Columbus belongs to Spain, everything to the right of this line belongs to Portugal.
But now everyone was interested in another question. What's on the other side of the earth? Where are the spice islands now? Who do they belong to - Spain or Portugal? Magellan devoted 10 years of his life to the study of this mystery. He suggested that a shorter route to the Spice Islands would be through the west, provided that the new continent could be rounded from the south.
After incredible storms in the southern latitudes, he circled the mainland and entered the new ocean, which seemed to him so calm and quiet. Then he put this name on the map. Pacific Ocean. The world map was taking on an increasingly modern look.
It took three months to cross the Pacific Ocean. It turned out to be larger than Magellan had expected and the spice islands cannot be in the Spanish zone. Having gone through many hardships and troubles with the natives of the open lands, of the five ships that went on the expedition, only one returned home. This was the first circumnavigation in the history of mankind.
The next voyage around the world had to wait for 250 years. And it took the rivalry between England and France for James Cook to make the last and significant changes on the map of the world, which took on the outlines familiar to everyone now.