During Term 1 we have been learning about European Explorers and how and why they explored the world. To begin with Mrs Baldwin set the following task:
Pretend you are the first to find this new land called “school’. Your home country has told you to go, discover new places, and share all of the information you find when you get home. Your key task this trip is to draw a map of the area. It must include all of the key details, and show the route you took in your discovery. You may also include key details in writing to help you remember what you saw.
Why did European Explorers travel the world?
There were many reason as to why people went explorer all those years ago. As a class we were given 5 information cards about why people went exploring. Mrs Baldwin then showed us different objects that provided a clue as to why people went exploring. We had to guess what the clue meant and find the piece of information that matched the clue and then record some interesting facts about the reason as to why they went exploring. The clues were:
What were the reasons?
Trade of Spices
Spices were only found in Asian countries like China, Japan, and India (these countries were known together as “The Indies”). Exotic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and peppercorns were used to cover the foul taste of salted meat, a process that was necessary to preserve meat for the winter season. The wealthy also used ground spices in medicines.
Where some countries found power in wealth, others found power in land. Many explorers were sponsored by kings who wanted to conquer new areas to colonize and civilize. This lead to a competition between several of Europe’s countries. Portugal, England, France and Spain were battling over land in the New World and on other continents. Some European rulers, Empires especially the King of Spain and the King of Portugal, wanted to claim as much land as they could. They wanted to take all of the natural resources from this land and use the people that lived there as slaves to do their work.
The spread of Christianity
Religion was very important to people and many explorers left their own country to spread their religion to new lands. In the late 1400s, there was only one religion in Europe, Christianity. Christianity was a popular religion throughout Europe during the Age of Exploration. Members tried to convert others who do not believe in the same faith.
European rulers fought many wars. They fought against each other and against the Turkish Empire. These wars were very expensive, so they needed to find lots of gold, silver, and precious stones to pay for them. They believed that Asia was loaded with gold, silver, and precious stones, so they decided to find it and bring it back. Many explorers went on voyages based on legends and stories of cities built of gold and roads paved with gems.
Adventure and Glory
Many explorers and travelers had a desire to “find out what was on the other side.” They loved life on the sea and were intrigued by the thought of new culture and new discovery. In the late 1400s, Europeans did not know much about the world. The European map of the world included only Europe, Asia, and the top of Africa.
We all did a fantastic job with reading the information and using our own words to record some interesting facts. Check out some of recordings below.
What were the problems that Explorers faced?
We had a discussion about what problems explorers would have encountered when travelling the world. Long ago people thought the the Earth was flat and that when they got to the edge they would fall off Earth. They also thought that if you sailed out far enough, you would encounter sea monsters of all kind. Because of that, early cartographers would draw monsters based on stories they heard and what they thought they saw in the ocean. As a class we also discussed how these drawings were used to put fear in people as well, to not encourage people to explore out too far.
As a class we looked at a map called the Carta Marina which was a map of Sea Monsters that were thought to be in the ocean many years ago.
If you click HERE you can look even closer at the monsters on the map.
We then designed our own maps making sure we only included Africa, Europe and Asia as these were the main land areas discovered back then. We then created 5 Sea Monsters and wrote descriptions about each one.