The History of the Royal Navy


The Voyages of Discovery,where do we start?

For thousands of years,man has been curious to explore what is beyond the horizon.           However the subject is controversial,for example,whenever an explorer thought he had  found a new land,there was allready someone there.So who actually discovered it in the  first place? Columbus was credited with discovering the Americas,but it was allready      populated,and there was evidence that the Vikings had been there 100s of years before.  Also there is much speculation that the original  indiginous  inhabitants  had  been           driven south,as far as the tip of South America by invaders from the North who had         gained access from Siberia via the Bearing Straights.The physical appearance of the        Eskimos,Red Indians and Aztecs is a sure sign that there was much mass imigration in    this continent.This is also true of the hundreds of Islands in the Pacific and the vast area of Polynesia,were the great distance involved in getting to them left them in isolation      for many years.Yet they were still inhabited.So the question is:-Who discovered them?   

So,where do we start?The nations surrounding the Med were all explorers,and this hugh expanse of water kept them busy for hundreds of years and led to many myths and legends.We hear of stories of Neptune the god of the sea,the Argonaughts and the way the Greeks explored the many islands in this sea.But the great discoveries started when man found the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans,not to mention the Indian Ocean and the China Sea.The Norse explorers,around 900 ad were great seamen,they had allready been to Britain and Ireland and were now looking further to the west,and without a doubt were the first to discover Iceland and  settled there.Leif Ericson,970-1020 ad,was a Norse explorer who established a settlement in Vinland,he was also regarded as the first European to land in North America,his father was Erik Thorvaldsson,(Erik the Red)

Once the Vikings had successfully settled in Iceland, they moved further westward and reached Canada.       They established a settlement in Newfoundland named  L'Anse aux Meadows.

L'Anse aux Meadows.

Marco Polo.1254-8th Jan 1324, was a merchant from the Venetian Republic,he wrote ll Milione which introduced the Europeans to Central Asia and China,    he learned about trading from his father Niccolo and uncle Maffeo who had travelled through Asia and met  Kublai Khan.They returned to Venice in 1269,and with Marco embarked on an epic journey to Asia,returning after 24 years to find Venice at war with Genoa.Marco was imprisoned and released in 1299 and became a wealthy merchant.His writings documented his father's journey to meet Kublai Khan,who ask them to become ambassadors and communicate with the Pope.This led to Marco's first quest through Acre into China and on to the Mongol Court.

ll Milione

Marco and the Mongols.




So what did Columbus actually discover?

We cannot dispute that he was a great explorer,but in reality he only proved that the world was round,he was endeavouring to reach India by travelling west,this is why the inhabitants of America inherited the name "Indians".The sad thing about all these so-called discoveries is that they resulted in the conquest and sometimes complette demise of a tribe,the Seminos in Florida are just one example of a race becoming extinct.Which is very sad.   The Europeans had a terrible reputation of exploiting the indiginous  population because of the mineral wealth that could be found in these lands.Without a doubt the Spaniards where probably the worst offenders,they were very cruel,they not only killed and robbed the people,but inflicted their religion on them by intimidation.  The Spanish inquisition was a terrible episode in their history.

Christopher Columbus,31st Oct 1451-20th May 1506.  Born in Genoa,Italy,with his 4 voyages of exploration and several attempts to establish a settlement on the island of Hispaniola (all funded by Isabella of Castile).  He was not the first to reach the Americas from Europe he was preceded by the Norse nearly 500 years before. His 1492 voyage came at a critical time of growing National Imperialism and competition between all of the developing nations seeking wealth from the establishment of trade routes and colonies. He believed that the earth was round,and proved it was,although he underestimated the circumference of the planet,it was much larger than he thought.


What did he find in the Americas?




And the ultimate result.




Much,Much More Information is to be found on the links page in the sidebar menu.You can use these sites to do your own research,and if you see anything that you find interesting and want to save,eg: an image,        just right click it and select "save as" to save it to your PC for your own use.An example of a link is below:-

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