The history of discovery and exploration of South America

Genoese sailor Christopher Columbus, having received the consent of the Spanish king, went to seek a sea route to India. In 1492 an expedition on three ships set off across the Atlantic Ocean to the west. On day 70, the sailors of Columbus saw the earth. So America was discovered. After the first voyage, Columbus carried out three more. Until the end of his life, he believed that he had discovered India.

The idea that Columbus discovered a new part of the world was expressed by the Italian Amerigo Vespucci, who participated in several Spanish and Portuguese expeditions to new lands. In his name, a new part of the world was called America.

Continuation of the discovery of South America can be considered the first round-the-world trip of Fernand Magellan in 1519. He was the first on ships to pass through the strait that separates the mainland from the island of Tierra del Fuego, and left the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Legends about the fantastically rich country

of Eldorado attracted to the new lands of the Spaniards. One of them was the head of the Spanish military expedition Francisco Pizarro. He went to the Pacific coast of South America, where several strongholds were founded. In 1532, his squad destroyed the ancient Inca empire in a few months. The epoch of bloody wars began for the seizure of the territory of the continent.

The first scientific research on the mainland was carried out at the beginning of the 19th century. German geographer Alexander Humboldt. Together with the French botanist Aime Boplan, he studied the inland territories of the continent. Traveling. Humboldt noticed that the vegetation of South America is not only different from that to which he is accustomed in Europe, but also varies depending on the height: beneath – flowering tropical plants, and near the mountain peaks – lichens and mosses, like those that grow in the mountains Europe. In this way. Humboldt was the first to substantiate the phenomenon of altitude zonality. A great impression on the members of the expedition was caused by an earthquake in the city of Quito. After it, Humboldt devoted much time to the study of earthquakes and volcanoes in the equatorial Andes, carried out an ascent to a number of mountain peaks.

The expedition of Alexander Humboldt was opened over 3 thousand species of plants and about 1 thousand species of animals. The results of the expedition were of such great importance for science that Humboldt was called “the second Columbus”.

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The history of discovery and exploration of South America