The Expansion of the American Empires
Although Columbus’ discovery of America in 1492 is a landmark in the history of the human race, he went to his grave convinced that what he had found were islands off the landmass of Asia. His four voyages (1492,1493,1498 and 1502) did nothing to dissuade him.1 Not until 1513 when Vasco NGnez de Balboa (1475-1519) set eyes on the Pacific (the whole of which he claimed for the king of Spain) did the Europeans realize their error. By then, the southern half of the continent had been named not after Columbus, but after another Italian, Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512), who had sailed as far as present-day Argentina. A hundred years later the focus of European attention was still on Asia. It took a long time before Europe conceded the existence of a continent that would radically change its own history and that of the world.
KeywordsModern World Southern Half Concise History American Revolution White Settler
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