Explore the Explorers

I vividly recount reading in my Social Science textbook that it was The Great Explorer Christopher Columbus who discovered America. Well..the matter of fact is that it wasn’t the Genoese sailor, but the Viking chief Leif the Lucky, who actually landed first on the shores of what is now Newfoundland, Canada, that too a five hundred years before the Santa Maria captain.

Statues of Leif the Lucky in an American City

History has told us over and over again the tales of Europeans sailors, adventures and colonisers who under the flag of their kings would sail across the raging seas to find new routes, discover new places or claim more land for their rulers.

As the trade routes to the fabled land of India were under Portuguese control, the Spanish appointed Magellan to find a route to the Spice Islands in the far East, following the footsteps of Columbus ; sailing West of Europe

The very same textbook that taught me about the Discovery of America by the Spanish, explained to me with utmost confidence that the Spanish explorer was the first one to sail across the globe.

In reality, Magellan left the European shores with five ships under his command. His flagship, Trinidad, Santiago, that was wrecked, San Antonio that mutinied along with other two, and the Victoria, which was the only one to return to Spain with just eighteen original sailors, captained by Sebastian del Cole.

The natives of Philippines had killed the Spanish sailor, so he could never make the journey back home, and hence never sailed around the globe.

Speaking of the , the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama, famed for finding a trade route to India insulted the Sultan of Mozambique by offering them cheap trinkets.

While arriving at the shores of India, the Portuguese were awed by the flourishing trade and thought that they had arrived at a land of riches. Although the Hindu king of Calicut welcomed them, he refused to trade with them as the Portuguese goods like olive oil or beads failed to interest the rich ruler.

The Moroccan traveller Ibin Battuta travelled to the the court of the Sultan of Delhi Mohammad bin Tughlaq who is famous for impractical and unprecedent decisions like shifting the capital to the south and then relocating the seat of governance back to Delhi . There is a vivid account of the life in India during the time of the Sultante given by the traveller.

Later he was sent as the envoy of Delhi to China, along with the Chinese officials came to Delhi to excort him to the Chinese borders.
However, this expedition was deserted and thus after months touring South India, the traveller left for China.

Be it Pizzaro annexing the Inca empire,or Captain Cook, on a scientific expediton, being given special set of sealed istructions which he were to open when he landed at Tiahti to ” locate Terra Australis Incognita or the Unknown Southern Island, which he could never claim for the British Empire, history is full of stories and folklores revolving around the Explores.

The Endeavour, ship of Captain Cook

Some are factual, some are faulty, some are malicious, some are magical and thus there is a lot left to explored with respect to the ones who are credited for exploring the world.Thus, the them has come to keep the old dusty conventional textbooks aside and do some research, read articles , scan through encyclopedias and start the adventures to Explore the Explorers.

Open a book and dive into the ocean of history

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