Among the landmarks which divide the Middle Ages from modern times the most conspicuous is the discovery of America by the Genoese captain Cristoforo Colombo in 1492. We shall discuss in the next chapter the nature and consequences of this discovery; the present deals briefly with the series of facts and events which led up to and prepared for it, and with the circumstances in which it was made. For Colombo's voyage, the most daring and brilliant feat of seamanship on record, though inferior to some others in the labour and difficulty involved in it, was but a link in a long chain of maritime enterprise stretching backward from our own times, through thirty centuries, to the infancy of Mediterranean civilisation. During this period the progress of discovery was far from uniform. Its principal achievements belong to its earliest stage, having been made by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians before the Mediterranean peoples fell under the dominion of Rome. By that time, the coasts of Southern Europe and Asia, and of Northern Africa, together with at least one—perhaps more—among the neighbouring island groups in the Atlantic, were known in their general configuration, and some progress had been made in the task of fixing their places on the sphere, though their geographical outlines had not been accurately ascertained, and the longitude of the united terra firma of Europe and Asia was greatly over-estimated. In consequence of this excessive estimate Greek geographers speculated on the possibility of more easily reaching the Far East by a western voyage from the Pillars of Hercules; and this suggestion was occasionally revived in the earlier days of the Roman Empire. Yet from the foundation of that Empire down to the thirteenth century of our era, such a voyage was never seriously contemplated; nor was anything substantial added to the maritime knowledge inherited by the Middle Ages from antiquity. About the beginning of the twelfth century maritime activity recommenced, and by the end of the fifteenth a degree of progress had been reached which forced the idea of a westward voyage to the Far East into prominence, and ultimately brought it to the test of experience. These four centuries, the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth, constitute what is called the Age of Discovery. The fifteenth century marks its greatest development; and in the last decade of that century it enters on its final stage, consequent on the discovery of America.
This period was an Age of Discovery in a wider sense than the word denotes when associated with maritime enterprise only. It beheld signal discoveries in the arts and sciences-the result of a renewed intellectual activity contrasting vividly with the stagnation or retrogression of the ten centuries preceding. It witnessed the rise and development of Gothic architecture, in connexion with the foundation or rebuilding of cathedrals and monasteries; the beginnings of modern painting, sculpture, and .music; the institution of universities; the revival of Greek philosophy and Roman law; and some premature strivings after freedom of thought in religion, sternly repressed at the time, but destined finally to triumph in the Reformation. All these movements were in fact signs of increased vitality and influence on the part of Roman Christianity; and this cause stimulated geographical discovery in more than one way. Various religious and military Orders now assumed, and vigorously exercised, the function of spreading Christianity beyond the limits of the Roman Empire. By the end of the tenth century, the Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Poles, and Hungarians had already been partly converted. During the twelfth century, the borders of the Roman faith were greatly enlarged. Missionary enterprise was extended to the Pomeranians and other Slavonic peoples, the Finns, Lieflanders, and Esthonians. The Russians had already been christianised by preachers of the Greek Church; Nestorians had penetrated Central Asia, and converted a powerful Khan who himself became a priest, and whose fame rapidly overspread Christendom under the name of Presbyter or "Prester" John. Prester John was succeeded by a son, or brother, who bore the name of David; but Genghis Khan attacked him, and towards the end of the twelfth century put an end to the Christian Khanate. In the thirteenth century, Roman missionaries sought to recover the ground thus lost, and Roman envoys made their way through Central Asia, though the Catholic faith never obtained in these Eastern parts more than an imperfect reception and a precarious footing. Traders and other travellers brought the Far East into communication with Europe in other ways; and Marco Polo, a Venetian adventurer who had found employment at the Great Khan's court, even compiled a handbook to the East for the use of European visitors.
While inland discovery and the spread of Christianity were thus proceeding concurrently in the North of Europe and Central Asia, a process somewhat similar in principle, but different in its aspect, was going on in the South, where the Mediterranean Sea divided the Christian world from the powerful "Saracens," or Mohammadans of Northern Africa. The conquests of this people, of mixed race, but united in their fanatical propagation of the neo-Arab religion, had been made when Southern Europe, weak and divided, still bore the marks of the ruin which had befallen the Western Empire. The greater part of Spain had fallen into their hands, and they had invaded, though fruitlessly, France itself. Charles the Great had begun the process of restoring the Christian West to stability and influence, and under his successors Western Christendom recovered its balance. Yet the Saracen peoples still preponderated in maritime power. They long held in check the rising maritime power of Venice and Genoa; they overran Corsica, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands. Nor was the domination of these vigorous peoples confined to the Mediterranean. In the Red Sea and on the East coast of Africa, frequented by them as far south as Madagascar, they had no rivals. Eastward from the Red Sea they traded to, and in many places settled on, the coasts of India, and the continental shores and islands of the Far East. That branch which held Barbary and Spain was not likely to leave unexplored the Western coast of Africa and the Canary Islands. It was on this coast that the principal work achieved in the Age of Discovery had its beginnings; and although maritime enterprise flourished at Constantinople and Venice, there can be little doubt that these beginnings are due to the Saracens. The Moors, or Saracens of North-west Africa, must have made great progress in ship-building and navigation to have been able to hold the Mediterranean against their Christian rivals. Masters of North Africa, they carried on a large caravan trade across the Sahara with the negro tribes of the Soudan. It is certain that at the beginning of the Age of Discovery they were well acquainted with the dreary and barren Atlantic coast of the Sahara, and knew it to be terminated by the fertile and populous tract watered by the Senegal river; for this tract, marked "Bilad Ghana" or "Land of Wealth," appears on a map constructed by the Arab geographer Edrisi for Roger II, the Norman King of Sicily, about the year 1150. That they habitually or indeed ever visited it by sea, is improbable, since it was more easily and safely accessible to them by land; and the blank sea-board of the Sahara offered nothing worthy of attention. The Italians and Portuguese, on the contrary, excluded from the African trade by land, saw in Bilad Ghana a country which it was their interest to reach, and which they could only reach by sea. Hence, the important events of the Age of Discovery begin with the coasting of the Atlantic margin of the Sahara-first by the Genoese, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, then by the Portuguese, in the first half of the fifteenth-and with the slave-raiding expeditions of the latter people on the voyage to and in Bilad Ghana itself. The name Ghana became known to the Genoese and Portuguese as "Guinea," and the negroes who inhabited it-a pure black race, easily distinguishable from the hybrid wanderers, half Berber and half black, of the Western Sahara—were called "Guineos." Hitherto the Portuguese and Spaniards had purchased blacks from the Moors; by navigating the African coast they hoped to procure them at first hand, and largely by the direct process of kidnapping.
While we know nothing of any voyages made by the Moors to Bilad Ghana, and very little of the expeditions of the Genoese explorers who followed them, we possess tolerably full accounts of the Portuguese voyages from their beginning; and these accounts leave us in no doubt that the nature and object of the earliest series of expeditions were those above indicated. The slave-traders of Barbary, until the capture of Ceuta by the Portuguese in 1415, may have occasionally supplemented their supply of slaves obtained through inland traffic, by voyages to the Canary Islands, made for the purpose of carrying off the Guanche natives. Probably they also frequented the ports and roadsteads on the Barbary coast outside the Straits. But the possession of Ceuta enabled the Portuguese to gain a command of the Atlantic which the Moors were not in a position to contest. Dom Henrique, Iffante of Portugal, and third surviving son of King Joao I, by Philippa of Lancaster, sister of Henry IV, King of England, became Governor of Ceuta, in the capture of which he had taken part, and conceived the plan of forming a "Greater Portugal1" by colonising the Azores and the islands of the Madeira group, all recently discovered, or rediscovered, by the Genoese, and conquering the "wealthy land" which lay beyond the dreary shore of the Sahara. The latter part of this project, commenced by the Iffante about 1426, involved an outlay which required to be compensated by making some pecuniary profit; and with a view to this Dom Henrique subsequently resolved to embark in the slave-trade, the principal commerce carried on by the Moors, over inland routes, with the Soudan and Bilad Ghana. Having given his slave-hunters a preliminary training, by employing them in capturing Guanches in the Canary Islands, he commissioned them in 1434 to pass Cape Bojador and make similar raids on the sea-board of the Sahara. The hardy hybrid wanderers of the desert proved more difficult game than the Guanches. For the purpose of running them down, horses were shipped with the slave-hunters, but the emissaries of the Iffante still failed to secure the intended victims. Vainly, says the chronicler, did they explore the inlet of the Rio do Ouro, and the remoter one of Angra de Cintra " to see if they could make capture of any man, or hunt down any woman or boy, whereby the desire of their lord might be satisfied." In default of slaves, they loaded their vessels with the skins and oil of seals. This poor traffic was scarcely worth pursuing, and for several years (1434-41) the project of conquering Bilad Ghana and annexing it to the Portuguese Crown remained in abeyance.
Yet Dom Henrique was not a mere slave-trader. The capture of slaves was destined to subserve a greater purpose-the conversion of Ghana into a Christian dependency of Portugal, to be administered by the military Order of Jesus Christ. In Portugal this Order had succeeded to the property and functions of the dissolved Order of the Temple, and Dom Henrique was its Governor. His project was in substance similar to that carried out by the Teutonic Order in conquering and christianising the heathen Prussians; and the Order of Christ corresponded in its function to the Orders of Santiago and Alcantara, which were actively engaged in ridding Spain of the Moors. Dom Henrique's scheme represents the final effort of the crusading spirit; and the naval campaigns against the Muslim in the Indian seas, in which it culminated, forty years after Dom Henrique's death, may be described as the Last Crusade. We shall see that Albuquerque, the great leader of this Crusade, who established the Portuguese dominion in the East on a secure footing, included in his plan the recovery of the holy places of Jerusalem. The same object was avowed by Colombo, who thought he had brought its attainment within measurable distance by the successful voyage in which he had sought to reach the Far East by way of the West.
A curious geographical illusion served as a background and supplement to the scheme. The Senegal river, which fertilises Bilad Ghana, and is the first considerable stream to the southward of the Pillars of Hercules, was believed by Arab geographers to flow from a lake near those in which the Nile originated, and was itself described as the "Western Nile." The eastern branch of the true Nile flowed through the Christian kingdom of Abyssinia; and if the " Western Nile" could also be christianised from its mouth to its supposed source-no insuperable task, for Bilad Ghana had not fallen under the sway of Islam- Christian Europe would join hands with Christian East Africa, the flank of the Mohammadan power would be turned, and European adventure would have unmolested access to the Bed Sea and the ports of Arabia, India, and China. How far in this direction the Iffante's imagination habitually travelled, is uncertain. His immediate object was to subjugate and convert the not yet Islamised heathen in the North-west of Africa, beginning with the Senegal river, and to create here a great Portuguese dependency, the spiritualities of which were, with the consent of the Holy See, to be vested in the Order of Jesus Christ, and were destined to furnish a fund for the aggrandisement of the Order, and the furtherance of its objects.
In recent times Dom Henrique has been named Prince Henry the Navigator,-a title founded on the supposition that his expeditions mainly aimed at the extension of nautical enterprise for its own sake, or had for their conscious though remote object the discovery of the sea-route to India and the westward exploration of the Atlantic Ocean. It has even been stated that the town founded by him on the southernmost point of the Sacred Promontory, the westernmost angle of which bears the name of Cape St Vincent-a town now represented by the little village of Sagres-was the seat of a school of scientific seamanship, and that his aim was to train up for the national service a continuous supply of intrepid and accomplished sailors, destined in the third and fourth generation to perform the memorable feats associated with the names of Da Gama and Magalhaes. All this must be dismissed as illusory, and the picturesque title " the Navigator" is calculated to mislead. There is nothing to show, or even to suggest, that Dom Henrique was ever further away from Portugal than Ceuta and its immediate neighbourhood, or that he had formed any plans for the extension of ocean navigation beyond a point long previously reached by the Genoese, or ever thought of the route round the southernmost point of Africa as a practical route to India. A more truthful clue to the aims of his life occurs near the beginning of his last will, wherein, after invoking "my Lord God" and "my Lady Saint Mary for that she is the Mother of Mercy," he beseeches "my Lord Saint Louis, to whom I have been dedicated from my birth, that he and all Saints and Angels will pray God to grant me salvation." The model of conduct and policy affected by Dom Henrique was the heroic and sainted French King who had flourished two centuries before. Louis, after ascertaining by disastrous experience the impracticability of driving the Saracens from the Holy Land and Egypt, had sought to convert the Sultanate of Tunis into a dependency of France as the first step in recovering northern Africa for Christendom. In some respects the plan of Dom Henrique was easier of achievement than that of Louis. Islam having not yet overspread Bilad Ghana, it would be far less difficult to conquer and convert its undisciplined savages to the Gospel, than to drive a wedge into the heart of Mohammadan North Africa by the conquest of Tunis. Both schemes were late offshoots of the crusading spirit; Dom Henrique's plan was among its last manifestations. As in the case of the later Crusades, this plan was largely inspired by political objects. The Villa do Iff'ante on the Sacred Promontory was destined to be the maritime centre of the united empire of Peninsular Portugal and Greater Portugal-the latter comprising the Madeira group and the Azores, together with Bilad Ghana, and whatever else the Iff'ante might annex to the ancient dominion of Portugal and Algarve. It was a sacred spot; for hither the Christians of Valencia had fled, seven centuries before, from the terrible Abd-ur'rahman Adahil, carrying with them the body of St Vincent, from whose last burial-place the westernmost promontory of Europe thenceforth took its name.
In 1441, twenty-six years after the capture of Ceuta, and the year after Terceira, the first among the Azores to be discovered, had been reached, a sudden impetus was given to the Iffante's project. Antam Goncalvez had sailed to the Rio do Ouro for sealskins and oil. Having secured his cargo, he landed with nine armed men on the shore of the inlet, and after a desperate struggle with a solitary naked African succeeded in wounding and capturing him. To this feat he added that of cutting off a female slave from her party, and securing her also. Shortly afterwards Nuno Tristam, a knight highly esteemed by Dom Henrique, arrived at the Rio do Ouro with a caravel, intending to explore the coast beyond Angra de Cintra in search of captives. Fired by the exploit of Goncalvez, Tristam landed, marked down a party of natives, and after killing several captured ten men, women, and children, including a personage who ranked as a chief. After exploring the coast, with no further success, as far as Cape Branco, Tristam followed Goncalvez to Portugal, where they joyfully presented to the Iffante the long-desired first-fruit of his projects. Chroniclers dwell complacently on the joy experienced by the Iffante, commensurate not to the value of the slaves actually taken but to the hope of future captures, and on his pious rapture at the prospect of saving the souls of so many African heathen. Dom Henrique now sought and obtained from the Pope a special indulgence for all who should fight under the banner of the Order of Christ for the destruction and confusion of the Moors and other enemies of Christ, and for the exaltation of the Catholic faith. He further procured from his brother Dom Pedro, regent of the kingdom, an exclusive right of navigation on the West African coast, and a surrender of the whole of the royalties due to the Crown on the profits of these voyages. A new stimulus was given to the enterprise by the discovery that captives of rank could be held to ransom, and exchanged for several slaves. In the following year (1442) Goncalvez obtained ten slaves in exchange for two captured chiefs, and brought back a little gold dust and some ostrich eggs. In the next year Tristam passed in his caravel beyond Cape Branco, and reached the island of Arguin. Fortune favoured him in an unusual degree, for he returned with his caravel laden with captives to its full capacity. The success of the enterprise was now assured, and in the next year it was prosecuted on a more extensive scale. The people of Lagos, the port where the captured slaves were landed, roused by the prospect of still greater gains, made preparations for seeking them, by way of joint-stock enterprise, on a larger scale than heretofore. The Iffante licensed an expedition consisting of six caravels, the command being given to Lanzarote, receiver of the royal customs at Lagos, and presented each with a banner emblazoned with the cross of the Order of Christ, to be hoisted as its flag. Lanzarote and his companions raided the coast as far as Cape Branco, shouting "Santiago! San Jorge! Portugal!" as their war-cry, and ruthlessly slaying all who resisted, whether men, women, or children. They brought back to Lagos no less than 235 captives; the receiver of customs was raised by the Iffante to the rank of knight, and the wretched captives were sold and dispersed throughout the kingdom. Large tracts, both of Portugal and Spain, remained waste or half cultivated as a result of the Moorish wars: and the grantees of these lands eagerly purchased the human chattels now imported in increasing numbers.
The project of Dom Henrique had now made an important advance. Its ultimate success appeared certain; and the Iffante resolved that a direct effort should be made to reach Bilad Ghana itself, through which the " Western Nile" rolled its waters from the highlands of Abyssinia and the Christian realm of " Prester John." A certain equerry was commanded to go with a caravel straight for Guinea, and to reach it without fail. He passed Cape Branco, but was unable to resist the temptation of a profitable capture on his route. Landing on one of the islands near the Bank of Arguin, he and his men were surprised by a large party of natives, who put off from the mainland in canoes, and killed most of the raiders, including their commander. Five only returned to Portugal. Diniz Diaz, an adventurer of Lisbon, claimed about the same time to have passed the Senegal river, to have sailed along the thirty-four leagues of coast which separate it from Cape Verde, and on the strength of having on his way picked up a few natives in canoes, to haye been the first to bring back real " Guinea negroes " for the Portuguese slave-market. How far his claim to this distinction is sustainable, is left an open question by the authorities. The wave of African enterprise was now steadily gaining strength. The Iffante readily licensed all intending adventurers, and the coast, long unfrequented by the European sailor, swarmed with caravels. In 1445 twenty-six vessels, fourteen of which belonged to Lagos, left that port under the command of the experienced Lanzarote, specially commissioned to avenge the IfFante's unfortunate equerry who had fallen as a protomartyr on the African shore, carrying the Cross-emblazoned banner of the Order of Christ. Six of these fulfilled the Iffante's direction to push on to the " River of Nile," and land in Bilad Ghana. The palm-trees and other rich vegetation, the beautiful tropical birds which flitted round their caravels, the strange kinds of fish observed in the waters, gave promise of the approaching goal; and at length the voyagers beheld the sea discoloured by the muddy waters of the Senegal to a distance of two leagues from land. Scooping these up in their hands, and finding them fresh, they knew that their object was attained, sought the river's mouth, anchored outside the bar, launched their boats, captured a few hapless negroes, and returned to Dom Henrique, picking up more captives on the way, with the welcome intelligence that his desires were at length accomplished, that the " River of Nile" had been reached, and the way opened to the kingdom of Prester John.
In the nineteenth year of his efforts to reach Bilad Ghana the Iffante thus saw them at length crowned with success; and his licensees pursued the trade thus opened up so vigorously that in 1448, seven years after the capture of the first natives, and three years after the Senegal had been reached, not less than 927 African slaves had been brought to the Portuguese markets, the greater part of whom, it is unctuously observed by Zurara, were converted to the true way of salvation. The rich field of commerce thus entered upon was rapidly developed by the continued exploration of the coast. We have seen that even before the Iffante's emissaries anchored at the mouth of the Senegal a navigator standing further out to sea claimed to have passed it, and reached Cape Verde. The year in which the Senegal river was actually reached (1445) was marked by another important advance. The Venetian captain Ca da Mosto and the Genoese Antonio de Nola, both in the Iffante's employ, passed beyond Cape Verde, and reached the Gambia river; the Iffante began also in this year the colonisation of San Miguel, which had been reached in the previous year, and was the second among the Azores Islands in order of discovery. In 1446 Ca da Mosto and Antonio de Nola not only discovered the four Cape Verde Islands, Boavista, Santiago, San Filippe, and San Cristovao, but passed Capo Roxo, far beyond the Gambia River, and coasted the shore to an equal distance beyond Capo Roxo, discovering the rivers Sant' Anna, San Domingos, and Rio Grande. From the coast south of Cape Verde new wonders were brought back to Portugal. The Iffante's eyes were gladdened by beholding tusks of the African elephant, and a living African lion.
How far southward along the coast the Iffante's licensees had actually sailed at the time of his death (1460), is uncertain. Could the distances reported by them as expressed in nautical leagues be accepted as trustworthy evidence, they must have passed the Bissagos and De Los Islands, and here reached the latitude of Sierra Leone, only eight degrees north of the equator. But the estimates given in the chronicle, founded only on dead reckoning, are in excess of actual geographical distances. We doubt whether before Dom Henrique's death Portuguese seamen had passed the tenth parallel of north latitude; and it is known that in his last years the complete discovery and colonisation of the Azores group chiefly occupied his attention. Dom Henrique's will, which specifies churches founded by him in each of the Azores, in Madeira, Porto Santo, and Deserta, as well as in various towns of Portugal and on the opposite coast of Morocco, speaks of the great dependency of Guinea, which he had secured for the Portuguese Crown, in general terms only. He looked on it as a certain source, in the future, of large ecclesiastical revenues. These, following a common practice of the age, were settled by him, with the Pope's assent, on the military and religious Order of which he was governor. Guinea was to be parcelled into parishes, each having a stipendiary vicar or chaplain, charged for ever with the duty of saying " one weekly mass of St Mary " for the Iffante's soul. We find nothing about the circumnavigation of Africa, or the extension of the enterprise to the Indian Ocean. Down to his death he probably expected that a junction with the Christians of Abyssinia and the East would be ultimately effected by ascending the Western Nile or Senegal River to its sources, which were universally supposed to be near those of the Egyptian Nile. This expectation, however, he associated with the remote future; his present policy was to secure Guinea as a dependency for Portugal and a rich appanage for the Order of Christ, by the construction of forts, the establishment of parochial settlements, and the foundation of churches. The economic character of the Iffante's enterprise was felt, even in his lifetime, to be so little in accordance with the character which history demands for its heroes, that a contemporary chronicle of the Guinea expeditions, compiled by one Cerveira, is known to have been suppressed, and replaced by the garbled work of Zurara, whose object it was to write the Iffante's panegyric as a great soldier and eminent Christian, and as the patriotic founder of the Greater Portugal which posterity would never cease to associate with his name. As the enterprise assumed larger proportions, the pretence that the negro was captured and shipped to Portugal for the salvation of his soul was abandoned. Even more valuable, for commercial purposes, than negro slaves, were the gold and ivory in which the tribes south of the Gambia River abounded. The Portuguese, who were now expert slave-raiders, found that the reward of their enterprise was best secured by disposing of their prey to the chiefs of other tribes, who were ready to give gold and ivory in exchange. The Guinea trade, which assumed this character almost exclusively soon after Dom Henrique's death, was now farmed out to the highest bidders. Affonso V in 1469 granted it to one Fernam Gomes for five years, at an annual rent of 500 crusados, on condition that the grantee should in each year discover a hundred leagues of coast, or five hundred leagues altogether during the term. Pursuant to these conditions Gomes pushed the task of exploration vigorously forward. His sailors rounded Cape Palmas, the south-western extremity of North Africa, whence the coast trends to the north-east, passed the "Ivory Coast," and reached what has ever since been known as "the Gold Coast11 in a special sense-the land of the Fantee, having as a background the mountains of Ashantee ; and here, a few years later, Joao II founded the fort of San Jorge da Mina, the first great permanent fortress of the Portuguese on the Guinea coast. Before the death of Affonso V (1481), his subjects had coasted along the kingdoms of Dahomey and Benin, passed the delta of the Niger, crossed the bight of Biafra, where the coast at length bends to southward, discovered the island of Fernam do Po, followed the southwards-trending coast-line past Cape Lopez, and reached Cape St Catherine, two degrees south of the equator. These explorations proved that the general outline of Southern Africa had been correctly traced on Italian charts dating from the preceding century; and the last steps in the process of exploration, which finally verified this outline, were taken with extraordinary rapidity. In 1484 Diego Cam reached the mouth of the Congo, sailed a short way up the river, and brought back with him four natives, who quickly acquired enough Portuguese to communicate important information regarding their own country and the coast beyond it. Returning with them in 1485, he proceeded some distance to the southward, but made no extensive discoveries; nor was it until the following year that Bartolomeo Diaz, charged by Joao II with the task of following the continent to its southern extremity, passed from the mouth of the Congo two degrees beyond the southern tropic, and reached the Sierra Parda, near Angra Pequena. From this point he resolved to stand out to sea, instead of following the shore. Strong westerly gales drove him back towards it; and he at length reached Mossel Bay, named by him Bahia dos Vaqueiros, from the herdsmen who pastured their flocks on its shore. He was now on the southern coast of Africa, having circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope unawares. From this point Diaz followed the coast past Algoa Bay as far as the Great Fish River. Its trend being now unmistakably to the north-east, he knew that he had accomplished his task. Returning towards the Cape, to which he gave the name Cabo Tormentoso, or Cape Tempestuous, he rounded it in the reverse direction to that which he had at first intended, and returned to Portugal.
As the Portuguese exploration of the African coast proceeded during sixty years, the objects with which it was pursued were almost completely transformed; and it illustrates perhaps more aptly than any other episode in European history the transition from the ideas of the crusading age to those of the age of dominant commerce and colonisation. Dom Henrique's conception of a " Greater Portugal" including the island groups of the Atlantic and Bilad Ghana on the Senegal River certainly recalls, and was probably founded on, the Mohammadan dominion which included Southern Spain, the Balearic Islands, and Northern Africa, and which St Louis proposed to replace by a Christian dominion equally comprehensive. To this strictly medieval conception the Iffante added some dim idea of a junction with the Christian sovereign of Abyssinia, to be effected by ascending the Western Nile. Beyond this point we have no reason to conclude that his imagination ever wandered. The transformation began after his death. The new dominion called "Guinea" was ascertained by a rapidly extending process of exploration to be of enormous size; this modest province, as it had seemed in prospect, assumed the proportions and character of a vast and hitherto unknown continent. Twenty-six years of discovery, after the Iffante's death, revealed three times the length of coast which had been made known in the course of a considerably longer period during his lifetime; and the Portuguese sailors had now been brought within measurable distance of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf of India, China, and the Spice Islands. Europe's commerce with the East-an object far exceeding in importance the conquest of Guinea-^-was evidently within the grasp of Portugal. Ten years elapsed, and a transcendent effort of seamanship had to be made, before actual possession was taken of the prize. Meanwhile, the geographical knowledge attained during these twenty-six years wrought like a ferment in the minds of European observers. It was felt that the little kingdom of Portugal had effected something like a revolution in the intellectual world: and the ideas inspired by this change, while the existence of the New World, called afterwards America, was as yet unsuspected, are admirably expressed in an epistle addressed to Joao II by Angiolo Poliziano, professor of Greek and Latin literature at Florence. The foremost scholar of the Renaissance tenders to the Portuguese King the thanks of cultivated Europe. Not only have the Pillars of Hercules been left behind, and a raging ocean subdued, but the interrupted continuity of the habitable world has been restored, and a continent long abandoned to savagery, representing one-third of the habitable world, has been recovered for Christianity and civilisation. What new commodities and economic advantages, what accessions to knowledge, what confirmations of ancient history, heretofore rejected as incredible, may now be expected! New lands, new seas, new worlds (alii mundi), even new constellations, have been dragged from secular darkness into the light of day. Portugal stands forth the trustee, the guardian, of a second world (mundus alter), holding in the hollow of her hand a vast series of lands, ports, seas, and islands, revealed by the industry of her sons and the enterprise of her Kings. The purpose of Politian's epistle is to suggest that the story of this momentous acquisition should be adequately written while the memorials of it are yet fresh and complete, and to this end he offers his own services. Its significance for ourselves lies in the fact that his admiration is couched in terms which would apply with equal or greater propriety to the impending discovery of the western continent. The existence of America was as yet unsuspected : and the mental fermentation produced in Europe by the Portuguese voyages quickly led to its discovery. To cosmographers this fermentation irresistibly suggested the revival of an idea evolved eighteen hundred years previously by Greek geographers from the consideration of the recently ascertained sphericity of the earth and the approximate dimensions of its known continental areas. A few days1 sail, with a fair wind, it had been long ago contended, would suffice to carry a ship from the shores of Spain, by a westward course, to the eastern shores of Asia. The argument had never been wholly lost sight of; and the revival of science in the thirteenth century had once more brought it into prominence. Roger Bacon had given it a conspicuous place in his speculations as to the distribution of land and ocean over the globe. One is even tempted to think that those adventurous Genoese who in 1281 passed the Straits of Gibraltar with two vessels, intending to make their way to the Indies, and were never again heard of, prematurely sought to bring it to the test of experience; but the better opinion is that they merely proposed to circumnavigate South Africa. As the African coast was progressively explored by the Portuguese and laid down on the chart, the realisation of the idea of reaching the East by way of the West became a practical matter. While Gomes was pushing forward the exploration of Southern Guinea, a canon of Lisbon, on a visit to Florence, consulted Toscanelli, the most celebrated of Italian physicists, on the feasibility of such a voyage, and brought back to Affonso V a verbal opinion favourable to it; and this opinion was shortly confirmed by a letter and a chart on which the proposed westward course was laid down. Twelve years were yet to pass before Diaz reached the Cape of Good Hope; the time for testing the scheme had not fully come. But as the Portuguese ships drew nearer to their goal, the western voyage more and more attracted attention; and the idea gained countenance through the extension of maritime enterprise further and further into the unknown westward expanses of the Atlantic Ocean, pursuant to the development of a Greater Portugal according to Dom Henrique's design.
Before his death the Ift'ante had provided for colonisation and church-building in each island of the Azores group. Beyond the Azores, medieval imaginative cartographers dotted the unknown Atlantic with numerous islands, some of which were distinguished by positive names. Scholars pondered over Pliny's account, based on a legend stated at length in Plato's Timaeus, of the great island Atlantis, believed to have formerly existed far to the westward of Mount Atlas, from which both island and ocean derived their familiar name. Later legends described various existing islands as having been actually reached in historical times. Arab sailors had discovered the " Isle of Sheep"; Welsh emigrants had peopled a distant land in the west; seven bishops, fleeing before the Mohammadan invaders, had sailed westward from the Spanish peninsula and founded Christian communities on an island which thenceforward bore the name of the Isle of the Seven Cities. Saint Brandan, an Irish missionary, had reached another rich and fertile island, traditionally named from its discoverer; another island, believed to lie not far to westward of the Irish coast, bore the name " Brasil." Far to the north-west, a perfectly truthful historical tradition embodied in the Sagas of Iceland, and repeated by geographers, placed the " New Land"" or " New Isle " discovered in the tenth century by Northmen from Iceland, and by them named " Vineland," from the small indigenous American grape. All the Azores Islands had been colonised in the Iffante's lifetime. As after his death the Guinea coast was revealed in ever-lengthening extent, other adventurers dared to sail further and further westward into the unknown expanses of the Atlantic. The name commonly given among the Portuguese seamen to the object of such voyages was "Antilha,"-a word by some antiquaries derived from the Arabic, though more probably a Compound Portuguese word meaning " opposite island,1' or " island in the distance," and denoting any land expected to be descried on the horizon. Year by year vessels from Lisbon scoured the sea beyond the Azores in search of " Antilha" or " Antilhas." In I486, the year in which Diaz reached the Cape of Good Hope, Fernam Dolmos, lord of Terceira, procured from Joao II a grant of Antilha to his own use, conditionally upon its discovery by him within two years. The terms in which it was on this occasion described clearly illustrate the contemporary idea concerning it-" a great isle, or isles, or continental coast." The possibility of reaching Eastern Asia, with its continental coast and numerous islands, by a western passage was no doubt present to the minds of those who framed this grant. But Antilha was by no means conceived of as part of the Asiatic coast, or as one of the adjacent islands. It was believed to lie nearly midway between Europe and Asia, and would form the voyager's half-way station on his passage to and fro; hence its discovery was looked forward to as the first step in the achievement of the westward passage. The description of it as "a great isle, or isles, or continental coast" perhaps connects it with the " New Land " or " Vineland " of the Northmen, which was represented as a continental shore bordering the northern expanses of the Atlantic, with islands of its own adjacent to it. Some such conception of the half-way land was probably present to the mind of John Cabot, who reached Labrador and Newfoundland by taking a northward route, passing by or near to Iceland, the maritime base of the Northmen's discovery of " Vineland."
The more usual conception of Antilha was that of a large solitary island in the midst of the Atlantic in more southern latitudes: and it had been so indicated on the chart sent by Toscanelli for the guidance of Portuguese explorers in 1474. Similar notions were entertained as to the islands of St Brandan, and Brasil, by the seamen of Bristol, who during these years were scouring the Atlantic further to the northward, with not less eagerness than those of Lisbon. The general object of all these voyages was the same. It was to find some convenient halfway island as an outpost of further exploration in the direction of the Far East, and a station in the new commercial route about to be established. Year by year sailors from Bristol sailed from Dingle Bay, on the southwest coast of Ireland, in search of "Brasil Island," pursuing the same plan as that of the Portuguese who sailed from Lisbon in quest of the " Antilha," or " Antilhas." No record exists of the course taken in these voyages: but we can have little doubt that after sailing for some distance due west the course was changed, and a zigzag mode of exploration was adopted, which could lead to nothing but failure. The explorer, ever haunted by the suspicion that he had left Antilha behind him, would at length change his course, and look out in the reverse direction. It is easy to see that the first condition of a westward voyage which was to produce a positive discovery was definitively to abandon this fruitless method, and to sail due west from the Old World; Colombo was the fint to reach America because he was the first to take this view of the Conditions of his task. His plan, early determined on and tenaciously adhered to, was to abandon Antilha and Brasil, and to assume that between the Azores and the Eastern shores and islands of Asia there were no lands to be discovered, and that there was accordingly nothing to be done but to cross the trackless Atlantic by as direct a course as .possible. This perfectly accurate forecast, and the firmness with which he adhered to the plan founded upon it, rank among the most conspicuous indications of Colombo's greatness.
The execution of such a plan involved great preparations. Three ships, provisioned for twelve months, represented Colombo's estimate of what was necessary; and whatever power should accept his offer to sail with such an equipment for the Eastern shores and islands of Asia, was destined to acquire the substantial sovereignty of that New Continent whose existence remained as yet unsuspected. Both Cristoforo and Bartolomeo Colombo had been from their youth in the maritime service of Portugal, and Cristoforo had married a Portuguese wife. In early life he had found constant employment in the Guinea voyages; having also sailed to Bristol, and from Bristol far beyond Iceland, he knew the entire field of Atlantic navigation from the Arctic circle to the equator. It was natural that his first proposal for making a westward passage to the East should be made to the King of Portugal. It was equally natural that the proposal should be rejected. The circumnavigation of Africa was nearly accomplished; of this route to the wealthy East the Portuguese would enjoy a practical monopoly, and it could be effectively defended. Contemporary explorations in the Western Atlantic left doubtful the question whether any land, island or continent, existed in this direction within practical sailing distance. Even if the westward passage were successfully accomplished, it was manifest that Portugal would be unable to monopolise it, and that the discovery must ultimately enure for the benefit of the stronger maritime nations of Western Europe. Considerations of this kind sufficed to ensure the rejection of Colombo's proposals by the prudent counsellors of Affonso V; but the projector always remembered his repulse with bitter resentment, and mockingly remarked, in after years, that the Almighty had rendered Affonso " blind and deaf to the miracle about to be wrought by Him through the agency of the King and Queen of Castile." Having failed in the land of his adoption, Colombo carried his project to the republic of which he was born a citizen, where it met with no better reception. The interest of Genoa was to keep the Oriental trade in its existing overland channels; and the same consideration prevailed with the rival city of Venice, to whose Signoria the projector made his next application. It was now clear that the project would only be taken up by some power which had no vested interest in maintaining the existing state of commercial intercourse-some power on the western sea-board of Europe, for which the establishment of the proposed route would open up a new field of enterprise. Such powers were Spain, England, and France; and Colombo astutely bethought himself of applying simultaneously to the two former, and playing them off against each other until one of them definitely accepted his proposals. He carried his plan in person to Spain, and commissioned his brother Bartolomeo to lay it before Henry VII of England (1485). Accidents, delays, and circumstances of. various kinds put off for four years longer the momentous issue which of these two powers would accept the plan and obtain the inheritance of the unknown New World. Fortune inclined the balance in favour of Spain. When a message at length arrived summoning Colombo to a conference with the King of England, he had already come to a substantial agreement, though he had not yet concluded all the terms of his bargain, with Ferdinand and Isabella. Bartolomeo Diaz, at this juncture, had just returned from his cruise on the southernmost shore of Africa. On April 17, 1492, the contract was signed which secured to Colombo, not merely the usual rewards of maritime enterprise accorded to adventurers in Portuguese practice, but some additional advantages of a personal nature, including the dignity of Admiral and Viceroy in the islands and continental provinces to be acquired by him for the Castilian Crown. On August 3 he sailed from Palos; on September 6 he quitted the roadstead of Gomera; and three days later the breeze sprang up which carried his three caravels successfully across the Atlantic.
At this point it will be convenient to glance for a moment at the existing state of geographical knowledge, which had become considerably augmented during the fifteenth century. With one vast deduction-namely, the northern and north-eastern coasts of Europe and Asia from the North Cape of Norway eastward as far as Northern China, including Northern Russia and Siberia-the Old World had now been completely revealed. To Europeans, indeed, the contour of Southeastern Africa remained unascertained. Its true shape, nevertheless, must have been known to the Arab seamen who navigated the Indian ocean: many of these were also well acquainted with the Eastern Archipelago, known to Europeans only as passengers or overland travellers, as far as a point near the western end of New Guinea. Greenland was known, and in Northern and Western Europe the discovery of "Vineland1" by Norse adventurers five hundred years previously was still a familiar tradition. From the point of view of scientific geography all this amounted to little. Not more than one-fourth of the earth's surface had been laid down on the map. Colombo's first expedition did no more than determine the breadth of the Atlantic in the latitude of the northern tropic, and prove that a numerous group of islands, from which the proximity of a continental shore or Terra Firma might fairly be inferred, existed on the other side. His subsequent voyages changed this inference into certainty: but the fact that the Terra Firma here encountered was a continent hitherto unknown, though its northern parts had been reached by the Northmen five centuries before, was never ascertained by him, and to the day of his death, fourteen years later, he believed himself to have merely reached the eastern parts of Asia. In fact, he was nearly at the opposite meridian, and a hemisphere raised its immense dome between. Colombo's five weeks' voyage, nevertheless, proved the great turning-point in man's slowly-progressing knowledge of the globe. Eighteen years after his death the general figure of the New World had been ascertained, its southernmost point rounded, the Pacific crossed, and the first furrow ploughed by a ship's keel around the sphere. Small as was his own actual contribution to geographical knowledge, it was his energy and enterprise, and his alone, which rapidly forced on a conception of geography sufficiently accurate to last with little improvement to the time of Cook, nearly three centuries later.
The consequences of this voyage must ever render all its details and circumstances matters of exceptional interest; but it is impossible here to enter into them. On October 12, 1492, Colombo landed on one of the Bahama Islands from his ship's boat, wearing the costume of Admiral of Castile, and holding aloft the Castilian banner; and in the course of a three months' cruise he visited Cuba and Hayti, and gained a general notion of the West Indian archipelago. The tidings of his voyage were joyfully received both in Spain and at Rome; and a petition was preferred to Pope Alexander VI for a confirmation to the Spanish Crown of the district comprising the newly-found islands, subject only to the rights of any Christian communities which might happen to be included in it. In answer to this two separate bulls were issued. One simply contained the confirmation desired; the other was framed in similar terms, but limited the area of Spanish enterprise to a meridian line to be drawn one hundred leagues west of the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands. The last, often singled out as a prominent illustration of Romish arrogance, was in fact only a suggestion intended to prevent disputes, probably due to some official of the papal chancery. It was never acted on by the parties, and was withdrawn in the same year by the Pope himself. For by a third bull, dated September 25, 1493, and superseding previous ones, the entire field of oceanic enterprise was expressly declared to be open to both nations, on the understanding that Spain should approach it by the westward passage only, and not infringe Portugal's monopoly of the African coast. The parties, thus remitted to their original rights, fixed as the boundary of their areas of enterprise a meridian of their own selection, 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands, and intended to mark a midway line between the Azores, the westernmost of Portugal's possessions, and the new islands in the West Indies, supposed to be the easternmost parts of the Spanish acquisitions. The action of the Holy See in assuming to partition the globe between the sovereigns of Spain and Portugal has often been ridiculed. Such ridicule, it will be seen, is misplaced; and the papal claim to universal dominion, in its practical bearings, represented nothing more than a simple counterclaim against the more ancient and equally extravagant pretensions of the successors of Mohammad.
A second voyage made by Colombo in 1493, a third in 1498, and a fourth in 1502, added something, but not much, to the sum of his discoveries; and his administration as governor of the new Spanish acquisitions was only remarkable for demonstrating his utter incapacity for the post. Naturally enough, his conception of his duties and of the purpose which the new possessions of Spain were destined to serve, was based on the policy of the Portuguese on the coast of Guinea. Gold, and slaves as a means to gold, and as the only product immediately procurable and readily exchangeable for gold, were the only commodities worth carrying to Europe; and the scantier the supply of the former, the greater was the necessity for pushing the quest of the latter. The true riches of the Indies, Colombo wrote, are the Indians. The wretched natives, unable to procure the small quantity of gold demanded of them as a poll-tax, were provoked to resistance, and then captured and shipped by him in great numbers to Europe to be sold in the market of Seville. But the feeble and intractable Indians proved of little value as labourers; and it was at length ordered that this revolting traffic must cease. The Spanish adventurers who accompanied him frustrated his plans and procured his recall; and at his death in 1506, fourteen years after his unique nautical achievement, the first seaman in Europe, who might in half that time have revealed the whole American coast, had only added to the map the West Indian archipelago and the coasts of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Darien, and Paria in Venezuela. In a few years his name was almost forgotten; and, by a strange freak of fortune, one Americo Vespucci, a man of mercantile pursuits who happened more than once to visit the New World and wrote accounts of his adventures, was credited by an ignorant public with Colombo's discovery, and from him the new continent received its name.
Meanwhile, the success of Colombo's first and second voyages urged on the Portuguese the necessity of prosecuting to its conclusion their own national enterprise. Dom Manoel the Fortunate now succeeded to the throne (1495); and Vasco da Gama, a young seaman who had been selected by Joao II, after the return of Diaz, to command the expedition which was to complete the work of sixty years by carrying the Portuguese flag round the newly-discovered southern cape to the shores of India, was commissioned to undertake the task. A voyage from Lisbon to India was by far the greatest feat of seamanship ever attempted; even its first portion, the voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, which it was proposed to make as directly as possible from the Cape Verde Islands across the open ocean, avoiding the circuitous route by the Guinea coast and the mouth of the Congo, was a far greater undertaking than the voyage of Colombo. The discoverer of America had but to sail 86 days, with a fair wind, to traverse the 2,600 miles between Gomera and the Bahamas. The distance from the Cape Verde Islands to the Cape was 3,770 miles. It was impossible to make the voyage by great-circle sailing. Contrary winds and currents made it necessary to shape a course curving to the extent of almost half a circle, the direct line forming the chord of the arc; and 93 days elapsed after Da Gama had left the Cape Verde Islands before he reached the coast of South Africa. Leaving Lisbon on July 8, 1497, and the Island of Santiago, the southernmost of the Cape Verde group, on August 3, he first sighted land on November 4>, and on the 8th anchored in the bay of St Helena, in the land of the Hottentots, where he remained eight days, careening his ships and taking in wood. Quitting his anchorage on the 16th, he doubled the Cape on the 22nd, and three days later reached Mossel Bay, where he remained thirteen days. Resuming his course on December 8, he eight days afterwards passed the mouth of the Great Fish river, the last point reached by Diaz, and was now in waters never before traversed by European vessels. Struggling against the Agulhas current, which had baffled his predecessor, he on Christmas Day reached the roadstead which from that circumstance obtained the name of Port Natal. After making halts in the bay of Lourenco Marques, and at the mouth of the Kiliman river, Da Gama once more stood out to sea, and on March 2, 1498, anchored in the roadstead of Mozambique. He had now effected the desired junction of the West with the East; for the Mohammadan population here spoke the Arabic language, and through his own interpreters he could freely communicate with them.
From this point Da Gama's task was easy. He had entered a field of navigation known in all its parts from remote times, and familiar ground to resident Mohammadan seamen and traders, who received him amicably and furnished him with pilots. From Mozambique he proceeded to Mombasa, where he fell in with non-Mohammadan residents, supposed by him to be Christians, but in reality Banyans of India. A still larger "Christian" population of the same nation was found in the port of Malindi. Here the adventurers were furnished with a " Christian" pilot, who conducted them safely across the Indian Ocean to Calicut, off which place Da Gama anchored on May 20, ten months and twelve days after leaving Lisbon. Calicut was the great emporium of Arab trade. It was the chief among the many ports ot the Malabar coast, whence Europe drew its supplies of pepper and ginger. Here Mohammadan merchants purchased cinnamon brought from Ceylon and spices from the Molucca Islands, which they carried to the port of Jiddah in Arabia, and then to the port of Tor in the Sinaitic peninsula, whence they were carried overland to Cairo. Here they were shipped down the Nile to Rosetta, and the last stage of transport was performed on camels to Alexandria, where they were purchased by European merchants. At all these places duties had to be paid, in consequence of which the cost of the merchandise was quadrupled; and large profits could be reaped by merchants who carried them directly from the East to Western Europe. There was another trade route to Europe by way of the Persian Gulf, and so through Syria to Aleppo and Beyrut. Although frequent wars were waged between the native princes of the Malabar coast, they all maintained a good understanding with the Muslim sailors and traders, and many of the latter permanently resided on the Malabar coast and in the Far East. The arrival of the Portuguese was not altogether unexpected. Their intention of penetrating the Indian Ocean was well known; and on his arrival Da Gama pretended to be in search of some missing vessels of his squadron. Having landed to enquire concerning them, he asked permission to trade, which was granted. Meanwhile the Muslim residents intrigued with the native prince, entitled the " Samori," or " Zamorin," hoping to deal the Portuguese a crushing blow on the very threshold of their undertaking. Representing the new-comers as mere marauders, they so far succeeded as to induce the Zamorin to detain Da Gama and some of his companions as prisoners. He barely himself escaped assassination; but a good understanding was at length restored, and the Portuguese commander, after taking in a valuable cargo of pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmegs, besides rubies and other precious stones, sailed on his return voyage on August 29, 1498, and in September 1499 at length made his triumphal entry into Lisbon. Besides the merchandise which he secured, he brought back precise information concerning the coasts of India as far as Bengal, Ceylon, Malacca, Pegu, and Sumatra.
Thus was the way opened for Europe's maritime invasion of the East; a process in modern history perhaps of even greater importance than the European occupation of the New World. Ever since Da Gama's great voyage Southern and Eastern Asia, comprising then as now the most populous nations on the globe, have been gradually falling under the sway of the European powers, who have first appropriated their foreign trade, making permanent settlements on their coasts in order to secure it, thence advanced to controlling their administration and usurping their government, and in some varying degree have succeeded in the more difficult task of gradually changing their habits of life and thought. In all this Europeans have been following in the footsteps of the Mohammadans of Western Asia and Northern Africa; and these had inherited their commercial sphere from remote antiquity. Greek tradition even ascribed the invention of ocean navigation to the aboriginal Erythraeans, who had ploughed the Red Sea long before Phoenicians and Greeks ventured to cross the Mediterranean; and ancient ethnology distinguished these from the Semitic adventurers who in historical times had colonised the islands on the southern coast of Arabia, and not only traded by sea along this coast in its entire length, but frequented the adjacent shores of Africa, and regularly crossed the mouth of the Persian Gulf with the monsoon in search of the commodities of Western India.
The establishment of Islam gave a new and powerful stimulus to all Arabian enterprise. By the end of the fifteenth century there existed from the Red Sea to Japan a valuable and well-organised commerce, mainly in the hands of Arabian or other Muslim seamen and merchants. For the effect of the propagation of Islam had been to bring to the field of Asiatic trade a crowd of adventurers of many nations, many of whom were Turks of Anatolia or Europe. Others were Greeks, Albanians, Circassians, and other Levantines of European descent who had abandoned the Christian faith for gain, and had brought to the Muslim sailors and merchants of the Eastern ocean the knowledge and experience of the Mediterranean peoples. These were generally known in India and the Far East as " Rumes" (Arab. Rumi, a Greek); and Muslim opponents found in the East by the Portuguese thus included not only true Arabs, whether of Arabia, Africa, or India, generally known as " Moors," but large numbers of Turks and " Rumes," whose European experience and connexion greatly aided the Moors in their resistance to the European maritime invasion.
The course of trade in these seas was not exclusively from west to east and back again. From very early times a maritime commerce had been carried on in the reverse direction; and the meeting-place of the two trades was the port of Calicut. Hither came, once a year-for only during the summer were the Chinese seas navigable for Chinese vessels- a large trading fleet from the ports of China. The huge Chinese junks, with their fixed sails of matted reeds, never lowered, even in harbour, and mainly propelled by oars of immense length, and having on board gardens of growing vegetables, and large chambers for the ships' officers and their families, so that each was as it were a floating town, were objects of curious interest to the Arabian sailors. The largest were reputed to carry a thousand persons, and each was attended by three smaller craft for the purpose of loading and unloading. It was natural for the Arabs, who had already secured a part of the Indian coasting trade, to push their way towards the Far East, and to claim a share in the trade of China and the Spice Islands. They found a convenient station in the port of Malacca, which in their hands quickly became the second great emporium of the Eastern trade. Nor did they rest here. Making their way to the ports of China itself, they were amicably received, and allowed to form settlements of their own. Many such settlements, each having its resident magistrate and Sheikh ul Islam, existed hard by the chief Chinese ports, and others were scattered through the Eastern Archipelago. Malacca became the western outpost of the Far-Eastern trade thus developed. Hither were brought the cloves of the Moluccas, the mace and nutmeg of Banda, the sandal wood of Timor, the camphire of Borneo, and many other spices, drugs, dyes, and perfumes from Java, Siam, China, and the Philippine Islands, all of which could be purchased here more cheaply of the resident Arab merchants than of those of Calicut, who obtained them in the ancient course of trade from the Chinese fleet. Hence the sailors of Africa and Arabia, at the arrival of the Portuguese, already resorted directly to Malacca for the produce of the Far East, and Calicut became chiefly a market for the cinnamon of Ceylon, and the ginger, pepper, and miscellaneous commodities of Malabar itself.
The ports of Arabia, and the Arab settlements in Eastern Africa, were the inlets through which the produce of India and the Far East were finally dispersed; and large quantities found their way through Suez, Jiddah, Mascat, and Hormuz, to the markets of Europe. It thus appears that the area of the Eastern trade naturally fell into two divisions, the mouth of the Persian Gulf marking the partition. Eastward of this lay the area of export, westward the area of import. Hence the fact that the Portuguese, having rounded Southern Africa, made straight for Calicut, the outpost of the exporting area. The ideas and expectations with which they approached this immense and unique field of enterprise were tinged with the arrogance of prolonged success. It was necessary, as a means to making themselves masters of the Eastern trade, before all else, not only to prove themselves masters of the Asiatic seas, but to be able to defy resistance on land, and to hold by military force whatever positions it might be desirable to occupy. For these purposes such demonstrations of force as had availed them on the African coast were insufficient. Society in the East rested everywhere on a military basis. The native Asiatic princes universally possessed numerous and not ill-equipped armies, though ill-supplied, or not at all, with firearms. By sea the Arabs and Rumes were more formidable. Wherever maritime trade exists it must defend itself against pirates; and piracy was rife on all the Indian and Chinese shores. Hence the larger vessels, both on the Malabar coast and on that of China, were usually manned with fighting men, and those of the Arabs and Rumes occasionally carried large guns. The Oriental fleets, if assembled in one place, would have immensely outnumbered the ships capable of being sent against them by Portugal. But in regard to construction, equipment, and the art of navigation the Portuguese had greatly the advantage. Even the Arabs knew nothing of the art of using a vessel mainly as a military machine, much less of manoeuvring and combined action for attack, defence, pursuit, and co-operation with troops on land. Eastern vessels, indeed, were scarcely capable of being so employed. The hard woods used in constructing them forbade the use of iron nails, and their heavy planks were rudely made fast with cocoa-nut cordage and wooden pins. Steering gear and ground-tackle were of a rudimentary sort: even a moderate gale rendered the ship scarcely manageable, and the guns were useless except at close quarters. The Portuguese, who inherited the naval experience of two thousand years, had become through their African voyages the best seamen in Europe, possessed ships of the newest type, and attacked the Arabian vessels with the confidence begotten of their maritime successes against the Barbary Moors.
The treachery experienced by Da Gama from the Zamorin of Calicut made it still more necessary for the Portuguese to be strong enough to punish, as well as to invade, the enemy; and when Pedro Alvarez Cabral sailed in 1500 in command of the second expedition to India his vessels were formidably armed with artillery. By way of demonstrating his strength Cabral shortly after his arrival captured a large Moorish vessel as it passed the roadstead and presented her to the Zamorin. Suspecting the Moors of obstructing him in procuring lading for his fleet, he attacked and captured a Moorish vessel in the roadstead itself. In reprisal the Moors on shore destroyed the Portuguese factory and massacred its inhabitants. Cabral seized and destroyed ten large Moorish ships, and bombarded the town. He then sailed for Cochin, burning two more ships of Calicut on the way. Cochin, the seat of a Rajah hostile to the Zamorin, was also a port frequented by the Moors, and a few of them resided there permanently. Cabral was amicably received, completed his lading, and promised the Rajah to add Calicut to his dominions, his design in this being to gain the Rajah's assistance in conquering Calicut for the Portuguese. Being now ready to return, Cabral declined invitations from the Rajahs of Cananor and Quilon, and sailed for Europe. Having encountered a storm, he put into Cananor, where the Rajah promised free trade to the Portuguese, and sent on board an envoy with presents for the Portuguese king. Before his return João de Nueva had sailed from Lisbon for India, with four ships and four hundred men. In view of the hostile attitude of the Zamorin, De Nueva made for Cananor, where he learned that the Indian King was ready to attack him with forty ships. Leaving his factors at Cananor, De Nueva sailed at once to attack the enemy in their own waters, and inflicted on them a signal defeat. Successful though the Portuguese had been, the tidings of this continued hostility on the part of the Rajah who dominated the principal emporium of India gave rise at home to grave misgivings. Some counselled the abandonment of an enterprise to which the strength of a small European power seemed unequal. Even if the resistance of Calicut were broken, what would be the situation when Turkey and Egypt should combine with the Arabs to drive Portugal from the precarious lodgment she had acquired ? And if the mere threshold of the East had proved so hard to win, how much harder would it be to strike into the heart of the field, and attack the Muslim in the strong positions of the Far East, with the countless millions of China at their back ?
Against such arguments the honour of a Christian nation, the lust of territorial aggrandisement, and above all the greed of gold, prevailed in the end. Twenty ships were despatched, in three squadrons, under the general command of the first adventurer, Vasco da Gama, and other commanders followed in rapid succession. The original plan of campaign was still adhered to. Whatever the cost, the Moors must be dislodged from Calicut, the resistance of the native king broken, and the control of the trade transferred to the Portuguese, whose king the Zamorin must acknowledge as his sovereign. Beaten at every point in fair fight, the Zamorin maintained his ground by fraud and treachery. The stream of wealth still poured into Portugal through Cochin and Cananor, immensely augmented by the spoils of captured Moorish vessels, but the Zamorin still held his ground. In an interval during which the Portuguese forces were weakened by the withdrawal of returning ships, he attacked and destroyed Cochin. The Portuguese having retaken it, restored its prince, and built a strong fort for themselves, the infuriated Rajah, having roused such of his neighbours as were amenable to his appeal, seized a similar opportunity and assailed Cochin with fifty thousand men. In a campaign of five months he was defeated and slain by the Portuguese under Duarte Pacheco, who earned the title of the Portuguese Achilles; but his successor maintained the same attitude, and despatched an embassy to the Sultan of Egypt, asking for aid in resisting the invaders. The Sultan sent word to the Pope threatening to destroy the holy places at Jerusalem if the Portuguese persisted in their invasion of India. The only effect of this empty menace was to stimulate the Portuguese King to renewed efforts on a larger scale. The crisis of the struggle was approaching; and in view of this a more comprehensive scheme was adopted. Abandoning the attempt to reduce the obstinate resistance of a single prince, it was determined to attack the Muslim maritime system in all its parts, and to establish a new emporium on the Malabar coast as the commercial and naval centre of the new Portuguese eastern empire. Already the Moorish traders in search of the produce of the Far East had begun to avoid the Malabar coast, and to make their way from the Arabian and African ports by a new route to Malacca. It was resolved to seize this key of the Far East without delay, and to gain possession of the Moorish settlements on the African coast, and the Arabian ports of Hormuz and Aden. By exacting heavy duties at these places the whole trade would gradually be diverted, and the Portuguese would ultimately control the Red Sea itself. The chief African settlements were seized with little difficulty by Francisco de Almeida; and the rest of the programme was successfully carried out by Affonso de Albuquerque (1509-15). The excellent natural harbour of Goa had already been chosen as the new seat of the Portuguese dominions. The town, built by the Muslim fifty years previously, had lately fallen, together with the adjacent country, under the swav of the powerful Adil Khan; and it was well known that here the Muslim enemy intended to concentrate their forces with the view of driving the Portuguese from the Indian seas. A Muslim pirate who foresaw the issue of the contest allied himself with the Portuguese, on the terms that he should be appointed guaztt or port-admiral of Goa, and farmer of the large demesne lands which the conquest would annex to the Portuguese Crown; and on March 4, 1510, Albuquerque entered Goa and received the keys of the fortress. The dispossessed Hindoo inhabitants welcomed the Portuguese as deliverers; and although Adil Khan forced his way again into the town, compelling the Portuguese to evacuate, it was recaptured by Albuquerque (November 25), and strongly fortified. Many Portuguese received grants of land, and married native women; the confiscated estates of the Moorish mosques and Hindoo temples were annexed to the great church of S. Catherina: a mint was set up, the new coinage having on one side the cross of the Order of Christ, on the other ManoePs device of a sphere, lately adopted by him to signalise the vast accession which his dominions had now received. Hindoos and Moors returned to the settlement, acknowledging the Portuguese supremacy; and Goa thus became the most thriving port of the Malabar coast.
Albuquerque followed up this success by sailing in person for Malacca, where he arrived in June, 1511. A few Portuguese had already been allowed to settle there for the purpose of trade. They had been treacherously attacked by the Moors, and their property confiscated; and although a few effected their escape, several were still held prisoners. Mohammad, the Sultan of Malacca, having refused Albuquerque's demand for their liberation and the restitution of their property, Albuquerque assaulted and sacked the town, capturing hundreds of guns, erected a fortress, set up a mint, and built a church dedicated to the Virgin. The native princes of the adjoining mainland and islands hastened to offer their friendship and urge the Portuguese commander to make his footing secure. In this he completely succeeded, for although repeated attempts were made to dislodge the Portuguese, the settlement was successfully defended, and became, as was foreseen, a base from which all the Muslim settlements in the Far East were gradually reduced to subjection.
The news of the capture of Malacca was in due time communicated to the Court of Rome. A public thanksgiving was appointed, marked by processions in which the Pope figured in person. Later came an embassy from Portugal, headed by Tristao da Cunha, under whom Albuquerque had seen his first service in the East. The presents of gold, jewels, and oriental embroidery, an earnest of the future wealth to be drawn by the Holy See from the East, were borne in triumphal procession. They were followed by richly caparisoned Persian horses, leopards, a panther, and a gigantic elephant, which knelt thrice before the Holy Father; and in reply to an address Leo X delivered a Latin oration, in which he praised the maintenance of peace by the Christian powers, and spoke hopefully of the union of their forces against the Muslim. Meanwhile Albuquerque, having almost swept the Turkish and Arab ships from the Indian sea, was preparing to carry the war into their own waters. Early in 1513 he sailed from Goa with twenty vessels, and after an unsuccessful attack on Aden entered the Red Sea. His successes had filled his mind with the wildest expectations. By an alliance with the Christian sovereign of Abyssinia he dreamed of establishing himself on the Upper Nile, cutting a canal through the mountains separating it from the Red Sea, diverting the river, and thus turning into a desert the most flourishing of the Muslim countries. Another project was to land a force in the harbour of Yembo, plunder the temple of Medina, and carry away Mohammad's coffin, to be held until the holy places of Jerusalem should be surrendered in exchange for it. A fiery cross, seen over the African coast as he waited for a wind, was hailed as an omen of success; but prudence and the affairs of Goa suggested his return, and after a very limited reconnaissance of the Red Sea coasts he returned to India. The voyage confirmed his belief in the capture and fortification of Aden as the necessary means of effecting a junction with Abyssinia at the port of Massowah. This once accomplished, Suez, Jiddah, and Mecca itself would be practically at the invader's mercy.
At another important point Albuquerque strengthened the Portuguese position. Before succeeding to the chief command he had set up a small Portuguese factory at the ancient port of Hormuz, near the entrance of the Persian Gulf. From this the Portuguese had advanced to obtaining control of the customs payable on Persian exports to India. Albuquerque now obtained the surrender of the fort of Hormuz, with the command of the entire import trade from India to Persia, as well as. through Mesopotamia to Aleppo, and Beyrut on the Mediterranean. At the time of his death he was preparing an expedition for the conquest of Aden, the only thing which seemed still undone in order to give Portugal complete control of the eastern seas, being, in his own words, " the closing of the gates of the Straits." He died at Goa, habited as a. commendador of the Order of Santiago. By his will he desired that his bones should be carried to Portugal. This was strenuously opposed by the settlers of Goa, who believed their city to be only safe so long as the bones of the great commander remained among them; nor was it until fifty years later, when the Portuguese dominion seemed absolutely safe from attack, that they were at length removed to Lisbon. During these fifty years the main features of his scheme had been carried out. Unmolested access to all the trading stations in the Far East was obtained, and of many the Portuguese were in uncontrolled possession. In other places they shared the trade with those whom they had hoped to expel. Albuquerque's scheme for seizing and holding the Red Sea was abandoned : and the culmination of the Portuguese successes in the East was followed by the rapid decline of their power. We must now recur to the situation of other European powers at the time of Dom Manoel's succession to the throne in 1495.
Not merely were the Spaniards by this time actively preparing for the exploration and effective occupation of their newly acquired transatlantic islands; but Englishmen, who had so long been prosecuting westward discovery, and whose king, Henry VII, had barely missed the prize which had fallen to the lot of Spain, now bestirred themselves once more. Bristol was at this time one of the most considerable ports in Europe; its merchants and seamen vied with those of Genoa and Venice, and skilled navigators from those great ports here found ready employment. Doubtless in 1495, or earlier, the news of Colombo's success in a quest which Bristol men had long made an interest of their own roused its merchants to activity; and John Cabot, a citizen of Venice, though of Genoese extraction, became the chosen instrument of their designs. Cabot's three sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sanctus, had apparently all been educated to his own calling; and on March 5, 1496, Henry VII granted a petition preferred by the father and sons, praying the sanction of the Crown to a voyage contemplated by them in search of unknown countries, understood or believed to exist beyond the ocean in northern latitudes. Having regard to the large commerce carried on between Bristol and Iceland, and to the continuity of Icelandic tradition, embodied in the Sagas, we entertain no doubt that the intention was to seek the "New Land," "New Isle," or "Vineland" of the Northmen ; and this conclusion is borne out by the course actually taken when the voyage was begun. Pursuant to this petition, still preserved in the Public Record Office, the Privy Seal was on the same day affixed to the first charter authorising its holders to hoist the English flag on shores hitherto unknown to Christian people, and to acquire the sovereignty of them for the English Crown. This charter, and the voyage made pursuant to it, were put forward in a later generation, and are still sometimes regarded, as the root of England's title to her American possessions; and the date of the letters patent (March 5, 1496) has not ineptly been styled the birthday of the British Empire. It is stipulated that the grantees, who are authorised to enter the Northern, Western, and Eastern seas, but not the Southern, shall after each voyage return to the port of Bristol; that they shall then and there pay to the Crown, in money or merchandise, one-fifth of their net profits: that they shall be allowed to import their goods free of customs : and that no English subject shall frequent the continents, islands, villages, towns, castles, and places generally frequented by them without their licence. While the Cabot grant disregards the Pope's supposed partition of the globe between Portugal and Spain, it forbids, by implication, any intrusion into those southern seas in which each of these powers had already acquired territory by actual occupation. Colombo's discoveries were as yet limited to the chain of islands separating the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic; the Portuguese had not as yet set foot on American soil. The voyage of Cabot, which had no practical results, and was soon well-nigh forgotten, will be briefly noticed in our next chapter. Englishmen, eminently practical, saw in the intelligence brought back by him no promise of a profitable commerce, or indeed of commerce at all; nor did English colonial ideas take a definite shape until nearly a century later.
Meanwhile the Spanish monarchs, anxious to ascertain the extent > of their trans-oceanic possessions and to secure them from intrusion, licensed Vicente Yafiez Pinzon, who had commanded a vessel under Colombo in his first voyage, to prosecute the discovery of the supposed coast of Eastern Asia. Pinzon was directed to avoid interference with the private rights acquired by Colombo, and to visit only the coast to southward of the Orinoco, the limit of Colombo's explorations. Starting from the Cape Verde Islands on November 14, 1499, and having on board Americo Vespucci, through whose narrative the voyage became well known, though the name of the captain who conducted it was suppressed, Pinzon stood to the south-west and struck the coast of Brazil near Cape St Augustin in the State of Pernambuco. Sailing northwards along the coast, he rounded Cape San Roque, the north-western promontory of South America, coasted along the north-eastern shore of Brazil and the coasts of Guiana and Venezuela, passing the mouth of the Amazon river, the rivers of Guiana, and the Orinoco, and reached the Gulf of Paria, whence he made his way back to Europe, bringing with him thirty Indian captives and a quantity of strange vegetable products, including various dye-woods, whence the coast ultimately obtained its permanent name of " Brazil." When these new discoveries were laid down on the chart, it became manifest that a considerable part of them were to the east of the 370 leagues' line, agreed on in 1494 as the boundary between the Spanish and Portuguese areas of enterprise; and by a singular accident these very coasts were reached in the last year of the fifteenth century by Pedro Alvarez Cabral, the commander of the second Portuguese expedition to India and the Far East. Like Da Gama himself, Cabral proposed to cross from the Cape Verde Islands to the Cape of Good Hope athwart the open sea, making, for the reason already given in our description of Da Gama's voyage, an immense circuit to the westward. In so doing he lost sight as might be anticipated, of one of his ships; while seeking her he lost his course, and unexpectedly descried land. It was the Brazilian coast, the mountain range called Pascoal, in the State of Bahia, to the south of the spot where Pinzon had landed three months previously. Having discovered a safe harbour, named by him Porto Seguro, Cabral proceeded on his voyage to the Cape and India. Thus was America discovered for the second time, and independently of the enterprise of Colombo. The discovery was rapidly followed up. In May, 1501, Manoel despatched three vessels commissioned to explore from Porto Seguro southwards, as far as the coast within the Portuguese line might extend. They returned in September, 1502, having discovered it as far south as 32 degrees of south latitude. Adding this coast to what had already been discovered by Colombo and others in the Caribbean Sea, it will be seen that at the time of Colombo's death in 1506, and in the course of fourteen years from his first voyage, about seven thousand miles of the Atlantic coast of America had been revealed. As a mere matter of measurement, this fell short of the length of coast-line which Portuguese enterprise had added to, or rather, had accurately traced on, the map of Africa since the year 1426. But its geographical importance and general significance were far greater, for it became more and more doubtful whether this immense coast could possibly be the eastern shore of Asia. Colombo himself, in writing of the lands reached by him, occasionally referred to them as constituting "Another world (orfti?)" or "A new world." The former expression had been commonly employed in late Roman times to denote regions separated, or apparently separated, by the ocean from the continent of Europe, such as the British Islands were, and the Scandinavian peninsula was supposed to be. The latter expression came into general use. It was employed by Vespucci in the narrative of his voyages, which he circulated in manuscript with a view to his own promotion in the maritime profession; a narrative which fell into the hands of an obscure printer, one Walzmiiller of St Die in Lorraine, and was embodied in a brief outline of geography compiled by him and printed in 1507. Half in jest, half seriously, Walzmiiller proposed to denominate the New World from the seaman whom he supposed to be its discoverer, and gave it the name AMERICA.
By similar steps proceeded the final stage of the great discovery, in which the New World was revealed in something nearly approximating to its real extent, and its discontinuity with Asia proved everywhere except in the northernmost parts of the Pacific. From the Caribbean Sea Spanish explorers advanced northwards to the Gulf of Mexico, circumnavigated Cuba, reached the peninsula of Florida and the mouth of the Mississippi, proved the continuity of these northern shores with the "America" of the South, and showed them to be probably continuous with the "New Land" of the Northmen which had been revisited by Cabot, and subsequently by the Portuguese navigator Cortereal. This probability was strengthened by the voyage of the Florentine seaman Giovanni da Verrazzano, commissioned for the purpose by Francis I of France, in 1524, in circumstances to be mentioned presently. Before this, not only had the Pacific been reached by crossing the continent in more than one place, but Magalhaes had discovered and passed the strait which bears his name. Juan Diaz de Solis in 1515 reached the Plate River, where he and several companions were killed in a kidnapping raid on the natives. Probably he supposed himself to have reached the southern extremity of the continent. Shortly afterwards the estuary was examined by a more famous captain, who ascertained its real geographical character. Fernao de Magalhaes, a skilful Portuguese seaman who had long been employed in the Portuguese trade to the Far East, having been refused an increase of pay to which he considered himself fairly entitled, quitted the service of Manoel, and sought to revenge himself by persuading Charles V that the Spice Islands were within the hemisphere assigned to Spain by the treaty of 14*94). He undertook to demonstrate this, and to conduct Spanish vessels thither by a route round the southern cape of America; and on September 20, 1519, he sailed from San Lucar for this purpose. The enormous estuary of the Plate River had to be completely explored, in order to ascertain that it was not in fact the passage of which he was in search; and more than a year elapsed before this intrepid navigator found himself past the 50th parallel of latitude, painfully coasting the barren and apparently interminable coast of Patagonia. Nearly two months elapsed before he reached the Strait which bears his name. On November 27, 1520, having occupied twenty days in threading the Strait, he reached the Pacific; and fourteen months afterwards he was slowly nearing the Ladrones, after accomplishing the greatest feat of continuous seamanship the world has ever known. Magalhaes was fated not to complete his task. He fell by the spear of a native at Zebu, one of the Philippine Islands, on April 27, 1521; and his vessel, the "Victoria," was brought home on September 8, 1522, after making the first circumnavigation of the globe in a voyage which occupied three years less fourteen days. The feat which Colombo proposed to accomplish-a voyage to the Far East by a westward passage across the Atlantic-was at length achieved, thirty years after its projector made the first attempt to perform it, and twenty-four after he stumbled unexpectedly on the vast continent which barred the way.