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THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.
1. Civilization, or the history of it, at least, commenced in the Eastern continent. The Western was, until a comparatively recent period, quite unknown to those who recorded the progress of mankind, and the events by which it was marked. The science of the most learned men and nations of ancient times did not extend to a comprehension of geography beyond the limits of their own countries, and of the countries conquered by their rulers, or those which, bordering on these, held some relations with them.
2. The world appeared to be a flat surface, and no one thought of questioning that it was so only in appearance. It was reserved for a daring Genoese sea captain, about four hundred years ago, to conceive the happy idea that this appearance was deceptive; that it was really round; and that, by sailing westward, the distant East, or India, might be readily reached. Columbus, having become fully satisfied that this theory was correct, and not being rich enough to fit out an expedition himself, endeavored to convince others, who had the means, of the truth of his views, and to induce them to aid him to put them to the test.
3. The Genoese, living by commerce, and, at that time wealthy and powerful, gave him no encouragement. They even regarded him as a madman. He applied to the Governments of Portugal, England, and Spain, but gained little attention for many years. At length Queen Isabella, of Spain, became interested in his theories, and, with much effort, as
sisted him to put them to proof. He set sail August 3, 1492, with three small vessels, on an unknown sea. His crew were filled with fear to find themselves so far from land, and sailing toward unknown dangers. He had great difficulty in calming their terrors, and was in great danger of perishing in the mutiny they contemplated. He was saved by the opportune appearance of land on the 11th of October. He had reached che group of islands lying between North and South America. The one first discovered was called, by the natives whom he found inhabiting it, Guanahani. He named it, in remembrance of his peril, San Salvador-St. Savior. Supposing he had reached the Indies lying to the eastward of Asia, and not dreaming of a new continent, he called the inhabitants Indians. Cuba and Hayti, larger islands lying further south, were soon •fter discovered, and he hastened to carry back the wonderful cidings of his discovery to Spain. He reached home seven months and eleven days after his departure. · 4. He and his discoveries immediately became famous. The world had never been struck with a surprise so great, and all Europe was in a ferment at the news. He soon returned as Viceroy of the newly discovered lands, to establish a colony and extend his researches. Five years later, in 1498, he discovered the main land near the river Orinoco, in the northern part of South America. He died in 1506, unaware of the magnitude of his discoveries, still believing he had only reached India from the west, and treated with much ingratitude by the government he had so much benefited by his bold genius. The first published account of the new continent was by a Florentine, Amerigo Vespucci, who visited the main land in 1499, claimed the merit of the discovery, and gave it his name, America. His claim has long been disallowed, and Columbus duly honored as the real discoverer, though the name was never changed.
5. It is believed that North America was known to the mar. iners of the North of Europe as early as the tenth century; and that settlements, that afterwards perished, were made from
Iceland and Greenland as far south as the shores of New England. This, however, is only a dim tradition, there being no detailed and authentic history of these events left on record so far as is yet known.
6. An English mariner, by descent a Venitian, disputes with Columbus the first sight of the main continent in 1498. He first touched the coast of Labrador, and sailed as far south as Florida in the next year. It was near a hundred years later before a permanent settlement was made within the territory that is now the United States, by the English, though the city of St. Augustine was founded in Florida by the Spaniards in 1565.
In 1607 a settlement was made at Jamestown, on the James river, in Virginia, and in 1620 the Puritans of England persecuted there for their religious views, sought liberty of worship in the new world, establishing a colony at Plymouth, in the eastern part of New England. Others followed in succession until many distinct colonies had been planted on the eastern coast of the United States; all of which—except Florida, belonging to the Spaniards, on the south, and Canada, settled by the French, on the north-were under the control of, and received their laws from, England.
HRONOLOGICAL AISTORY OF ANGLO AMERICAN COLONIZATION FROM
1492 to 1763.
1492–October 12, Christopher Columbus discovered land
belonging the Western Hemisphere—one of the Bahama Islands. He touches at Cuba and Hayti before his
return. 1497-John Cabot, master of an English vessel, and his son
Sebastian, touched at Newfoundland in June, and soon
after explored the coast of Labrador. 1498—Columbus, on his third voyage, discovers the American
Continent, near the mouth of the Orinoco river, in South
explores our Atlantic coast as far south as Maryland. 1499—Amerigo Vespucci, or Americus Vespucius, a Floren.
tine merchant, conducts a vessel to the coast of South America. Returning to Europe he publishes a book. claiming to have first discovered the continent, and is
receives his name, America. 1500—Columbus is sent to Spain in chains by a Spanish officer
whom the jealousy of Ferdinand, the Spanish King, placed over him. Treated with injustice and neglect,
he died at Valladolid, Spain, in 1506. 1512—Ponce de Leon, a Spaniard in search of the “Fountain
of Youth,” discovers Florida, near St. Augustine. 1524 John Verrazani, a Florentine, commanding a French vessel, touches the coast near Wilmington, North Caro
lina, and explores it north to Nova Scotia. He wrote a
narrative describing the country and the Indians. 1535~James Cartier, a French navigator, discovers the St.
Lawrence. 1541—He builds a Fort at Quebec, but soon abandons it.
-De Soto, a Spaniard, discovers the Mississippi. He
traveled, with six hundred men, through Georgia and
mouth of the Red river, May 21, 1542. .
They gave the name Carolina to the coast on the north.
8th, with five hundred colonists. It was the first per-
- Melendez destroys the French colony.
hundred Spaniards on the river May, in retaliation. 1578~The first English settlement contemplated. Queen
Elizabeth grants a patent to Sir Humphrey Gilbert “ to
perishes with his vessel, September 23, 1583.
two vessels to the shores of Pamlico Sound. Queen
Elizabeth names the country Virginia. 1585—Raleigh sends a colony to Roanoke Island, but it is
unfortunate, and returns home. 1587—He sends another colony, but the Spanish Armada